Falk Raised Taxes By Millions As County Exec

Politifact has rated that claim by Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch as true.

“In a national economic downturn, Wisconsin families cannot afford to have a leader with an addiction to taxing and spending,” Kleefisch wrote in an opinion piece published by Madison’s Capital Times on Feb. 3, 2012. “The failed policies Falk has consistently stood for throughout her career are exactly the same policies that led Wisconsin down an irresponsible path to a $3.6 billion budget deficit.”

Kleefisch went on to cite chapter and verse:

“As Dane County executive, Falk raised taxes by millions of dollars every year, most notably in 2010, when she increased taxes by 8 percent, the second highest increase across the entire state of Wisconsin.”

The op-ed piece contrasts these claims with Walker’s state budget, which Kleefisch says was balanced “without raising taxes on Wisconsin families.”

The proof behind this truth?

Asked to back up the claim about Falk, the Walker campaign — speaking for Kleefisch — pointed us to property tax figures compiled by Dane County and the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, a nonpartisan research group.

Falk’s approach as executive from 1997 to 2011 was to limit increases in the property tax levy to inflation with a factor built in for population growth. It was an effort to tie increases to service demand, said Scott McDonell, chairman of the Dane County Board, which largely approved of Falk’s approach.

Did Falk’s budget raise property taxes by 8 percent in 2010, “the second highest” in the state? Yes.

In 2010, Falk busted past her self-imposed levy limit of 1.19 percent for that year. She blamed lagging sales tax and other revenue due to the Great Recession, and said higher property taxes, a 3 percent wage cut negotiated with county unions and efficiency moves would preserve needed services.

Head to the source to see Politifact’s full assessment.

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Unions Looking For Puppet

When it comes to the recall attempt of Governor Scott Walker, unions are looking for a candidate to be their puppet.  And they appear to have found one.

Union leaders are asking Democratic candidates for governor to veto the next state budget if it doesn’t restore collective bargaining for public workers and one leading candidate – Kathleen Falk – has agreed, participants in the private meetings say.

The plan, which could lead to shortages or even layoffs in government if it doesn’t succeed, is a key strategy that union leaders are considering for undoing Gov. Scott Walker’s repeal last year of most collective bargaining for public employees. Falk, the former Dane County executive, has committed to restoring collective bargaining in the next state budget and vetoing the budget if those provisions come out, while at least three other candidates including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said they wouldn’t commit to any one strategy to accomplish that.

“The governor’s job is to veto budget items that don’t reflect citizens’ values. That’s why a million people signed recall petitions – because Scott Walker’s budgets didn’t reflect citizens’ values,” Falk spokesman Scot Ross said. “All the support she’ll receive is because she the best candidate to take on Gov. Walker’s divisive, extreme, national tea party agenda and bring Wisconsin back together.”

Unions helped launch the recall effort against Walker in November in response to Walker’s labor legislation, and the state teachers union on Wednesday endorsed Falk in that looming contest. All the potential Democratic challengers to Walker support restoring collective bargaining, but they don’t all agree on how to make that happen.

Smells like pay-to-play.

The union request and Falk’s commitment brought withering criticism from Republicans, who said the move would be bad for the state and wouldn’t succeed with the GOP-controlled Legislature.

“This backroom deal reeks of pay-to-play,” state Republican Party spokesman Ben Sparks said.

What’s amazing is that a candidate would publicly commit to such a request.  It’s one that other Democrats said no to.

In an interview Wednesday, Barrett said that when he spoke with unions he told them that he would call a special session to seek the restoration of collective bargaining. If that didn’t work, Barrett said he would look at other means of accomplishing that goal but he stopped short of committing to veto the state budget over collective bargaining.

“My position has always been legislatively that I don’t rule anything out and I don’t rule anything in,” Barrett said.

“I said I could not make that promise and I did not think any serious candidate for governor could or should make that commitment,” Cullen said of a veto of the state budget. “It’s a $60 billion document.”

Vinehout said that she would seek to sell the state public on the importance of restoring collective bargaining rather than attempt to force it through the Legislature in a budget standoff.

“The answer to that was that was I would do my very best to avoid a situation where we have brinkmanship,” Vinehout said.

Unfortunately public sector unions like WEAC and WSEU don’t care what happens to Wisconsin as long as like spoiled children they get what they want.

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