LETTER: Campaign contributors put before public interestIn my five years as mayor, state government has been on a continual assault on local property taxpayers. Both parties with their perpetual pointing of fingers indicating the other party has it all wrong.
To The Telegram:
In my five years as mayor, state government has been on a continual assault on local property taxpayers. Both parties with their perpetual pointing of fingers indicating the other party has it all wrong.
Our politicians have sold themselves to their campaign contributors and their blind party loyalty is at the expense of you, the property taxpayer.
The legislature lacks the discipline to live within its budget. They lack the courage to cut even the smallest pet projects from the budget, while returning to their districts with projects paid for by the state credit card. Our grandchildren will be left to pay the debt.
Wisconsin has one of the worst credit ratings in the country. Constant creative shifting of funds has allowed the state to avoid the inevitable — legitimately balancing the budget.
You may ask why they won’t cut the spending. The bottom line is that spending buys votes and lobbyist help fund their campaigns. In the latest Budget Repair Bill, both parties have cooked up another attack on local taxpayers, which is a low-income housing bill that would further exempt low-income properties from the property tax. This bill will not lower rents for the poor who occupy these housing units. It will only fatten the bottom line of these so called not-for-profit housing corporations who charge exorbitant management, legal and consulting fees. These corporations feel they should not have to pay for local services like police and fire protection.
The cities of Milwaukee and Madison support this legislation. Michael Kurth of the City Assessor’s Office of Madison said they would lose about $30 million in tax base. “It’s not that much,” he was quoted as saying. That’s fine for Milwaukee or Madison, but Superior has an unusually large percentage of subsidized housing. It would greatly harm our tax base and shift the burden to our hard-working homeowners.
This bill has nothing to do with balancing the state budget. It was slipped through on a fast track — no hearings, no public input and no ability for cities like Superior to respond to this destructive legislation. The legislature must end the smoke and mirrors budget process.
Please do not confuse responsible housing authorities like the Superior Housing Authority as part of the problem. The problem is with housing owned by not-for-profit and for-profit corporations owned by investors who are in this business for the bottom line. The huge fees they collect and pay themselves are not enough. Now they want your money. When they don’t pay their fair share of property taxes, you make up the difference.
Remember, if they get this exemption, it will not result in lower rents for the poor. The legislators who vote for this bill are showing they care more about powerful special interests than their local communities.
I want to thank Gov. Jim Doyle who had the courage to veto this punitive legislation and stand up for local communities like Superior.
— Mayor Dave Ross,