“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.
Gov. Walker has been in the middle of one of the most controversial political events in our country with his fight against Unions. Despite fierce opposition from the Unions, he has created jobs, He passed a state budget with NO tax increases. Turned a $3 billion deficit into a $300 million surplus. One of my personal favorites, he instituted the first permanent property tax cap in his state’s history. He enacted sweeping business tax reforms that will save Wisconsin’s job creators over $130 million a year when fully implemented. I LOVE that he protected votes by requiring a picture I.D at the polls. He expanded school choice. He paid back the $200 million from Gov Doyle’s unconstitutional raid of the Patients Compensation Fund. He followed Texas by passing the Castle Doctrine that expands protections for homeowners and passed Concealed Carry.
As a result, unemployment is down and Wisconsin has added 40,000 jobs showing job growth more than twice the national rate.
The proof is in the pudding. This is what happens when states enact common sense conservative measures. Gov. Walker took on a tough opponent who threw everything they had at him. I really admire how he handled it, and how he came out on top.
This is the type of message conservatives across Wisconsin need to convey to battle the misinformation of the liberals and unions.
Superintendent Dan Nerad won’t make his preliminary budget recommendations until April 1, but in its first look at the 2012-13 school budget, the district is projecting a $12.4 million deficit based on current budget trends.
Factoring in rising insurance and fuel costs, the district projects general fund spending of $319.7 million, up from $310.9 million this year. Revenues are projected to be $307.3 million.
The district is looking at several options to close the gap, such as eliminating its most expensive health insurance option, renegotiating nonunion employee contracts, energy efficiency projects, refinancing debt and raising property taxes, said Erik Kass, assistant superintendent for business services.
But the district doesn’t want to do what other districts around the state have done – have employees contribute more to their health insurance premiums.
One way Madison expects to close its $12.4 million deficit this year is to eliminate Wisconsin Physicians Service as an insurance provider, which would save about $5 million. Madison Teachers Inc. agreed to that option as part of the current contract.
The union also agreed to pay up to 15 percent of the premium for the other three insurance options, Group Health Cooperative, Dean and Physicians Plus. But Madison didn’t exercise that option last year and might not have to this year, Kass said.
The 15 percent contribution would generate up to $7.5 million in savings, but would cost teachers up to about $900 for a single plan and $2,700 for a family plan. Most other districts around the state had employees pay more toward premiums last year.
MTI executive director John Matthews said an average teacher is already losing about $2,600 in take-home pay because of the pension contribution. Not having to contribute to health insurance premiums would be “a huge relief.”
“Many employees were forced to reduce their standard of living, many are having financial problems, some unable to afford college tuition and some are unable to qualify for mortgage to enable home purchase,” Matthews wrote in an email.
School Board President James Howard said asking employees to contribute more than what they do now would be a “double whammy” because they also are affected by property tax increases. But the board may look at ways to spread out the budget’s impact.
Why can’t employees in the Madison school district do what private sector employees have been doing during the current economic downturn? Why should they not have to make adjustments in their standard of living and pay more?
Instead the Madison Metropolitan School District thinks it is better to raise taxes to cover the shortfall. To not exercise options that the union agreed to is absurd. But then again it was also absurd to agree to new contracts with the unions last year before Act 10 became law.