My Milwaukee County supervisor has a bad idea

That would be Steve Taylor.

His crazy idea: He wants a tax increase, and he wants you to approve it and impose it on yourself.

Even after I thought about it along with Taylor’s rationale I still consider it about the dumbest thing I can think of from a local political standpoint.

What’s that old political phrase? The devil is in the details. Taylor outlined his ‘idea’ in his latest newsletter.

To say I was stunned would be too strong. But I was very surprised and downright disappointed.

First Taylor lays out his doomsday scenario. From his newsletter:

I am sure you have heard the stories about our fiscal challenges, pension issues, shortage of employees, deferred maintenance, lack of revenue, and so on and so on. You may have encountered a closed pool, roads needing major repair/reconstruction, bus routes cut and no longer in service, and your favorite park that doesn’t seem to get the love and attention it once did.

These are some of the issues that Milwaukee County deals with daily, and without an increase in revenue the result will be – to be blunt – a death sentence. Starting in approximately 2027, discretionary dollars (mostly from property taxes) will have to go towards state and federal mandated services. This means there will be no money for our parks, pools, roads, buses, museums, senior centers, and even our zoo. The County will not be able to operate as it does today.


Next, how does Taylor propose avoiding the death sentence? Back to his newsletter:

To solve the problem (some of which was selfinflicted), the State of Wisconsin must allow Milwaukee County to impose a 1% sale tax on its residents. For conservatives like myself, this isn’t an easy pill to swallow—especially considering the numerous poor policy decisions and wasteful spending that has occurred in the past. Getting this authorization will be an uphill battle if the Board continues to make political partisan decisions. For example, placing two non-binding referendum questions (1. “Prohibiting the import, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of semiautomatic ‘military-style’ firearms” [22-776] and 2. “Allowing adults 21 years of age and older to engage in the personal use of marijuana, while also regulating commercial marijuana-related activities, and imposing a tax on the sale of marijuana” [22-800]) on the November ballot was politically motivated; these are issues on which the Board cannot effectuate policy change. Decisions like this are unfortunate because they take focus away from the important work that needs to be done, as well as pit Milwaukee County against the Republican-controlled legislature that controls our financial future.

Taylor is absolutely correct about Milwaukee County killing themselves by pushing meaningless referenda. HOWEVER, he still advocates for a tax increase.  Back to his newsletter.  Repeat THE SKY IS FALLING:

What happens if Milwaukee County is not allowed to impose a sales tax, and therefore we can’t provide the services that our residents need? That hasn’t been determined yet but considering that Milwaukee County is an arm of the State, it is conceivable that the State could take over County government. I am not saying this will happen, but unless this Board makes every decision based on fiscal sanity and not to gain political popularity, it becomes a definite possibility.

Wow. That must be some crystal ball he’s got.

There are so many things wrong with this, especially considering the source considers himself a conservative. I am shaking my head.

Taylor now joins thousands of liberal voters in supporting a referendum to impose a sales tax increase.

He needs to check the history books. In November of 2008 Milwaukee County voters said “yes” to raising Milwaukee County’s sales tax by one percentage point to beef up funding for parks, transit and paramedics and to reduce property taxes, in an advisory referendum. The advisory referendum was approved by a margin of 52% to 48%, with 96% of the vote counted not long after the polls closed.  The all-but-certain win came over the objections of then-County Executive Scott Walker (a true conservative) but the sales tax increase needed additional approvals that never materialized.

Then there was September of 2019. Leaders of municipalities in Milwaukee County wanted the GOP -controlled state Legislature to approve placing a binding referendum on the ballot asking to increase the county sales tax from .5% to 1.5%, a 200% increase.

Franklin Mayor Steve Olson said he opposed the specifics in the referendum proposal, but supported voters having an opportunity via referendum.

What a great line at the time from Milwaukee Alderwoman Nikya Dodd who also served on the Milwaukee County Board and in the state Senate. Dodd is a liberal, but was not happy with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and his budget proposal that increased taxes and cut police. Here’s that line: To believe that the only way to increase our city’s revenues is to rely on a sales tax that has already been confirmed as dead on arrival is irresponsible.

She got it.

Why, why, why. And as Dodd mentioned WHY is the ONLY way to resolve an issue in local government is to raise taxes? That’s a liberal approach and solution by the way.

How will the GOP-controlled state Legislature respond? Let’s be real. Dear Milwaukee County: Pound sand. And have a nice day.

The reality of sales taxes. Sales taxes are considered regressive because they take a larger percentage of income from low-income taxpayers than from high-income taxpayers. Liberals should, as a result, hate this plan (but won’t). That apparently won’t dissuade Taylor who cuddles up far too much to the lefties for my blood.

Ironic. Last spring in opposing Patti Logsdon’s re-election run for county board Taylor ripped her in a meme on this very issue. Full disclosure: I assisted in the production of that meme. But I still oppose a sales tax increase. Taylor apparently does not.

My friend (and he is) Taylor won’t like this post. I really don’t care.

After 11 days and nights in the ICU last September I couldn’t care less if someone, no matter who, finds fault with something I write which is pretty small potatoes in comparison.

Taylor is my supervisor. He works for me. Barring some profanity-laced tantrum he should understand feedback is part of the deal.

And given he’s gung-ho about John Nelson defeating Mayor Steve Olson, if Nelson wins will the two lobby the state to increase your taxes?

7 thoughts on “My Milwaukee County supervisor has a bad idea

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