Skip to comments.Tax Revolt: Wisconsin Style
Posted on 08/08/2003 5:55:22 AM PDT by ninenot
Kenosha - Promising to start a tax revolution in Wisconsin, hundreds of taxpayers fed up with the governor's veto of strict limits on local property taxes showed their displeasure during a rally Thursday night.
Chanting "Support the freeze," a crowd of more than 400 listened to legislators and rally organizers complain about taxes.
"The taxpayers have woke up and are revolting," said Ralph Lisowski, who helped organize the event at a Kenosha restaurant.
"Our intent is to start a new revolution with a shout heard 'round the state," Lisowski said as the crowd cheered.
Outside the Parkway Chateau Brat Stop as folks walked into the rally, more than 100 people clad in red shirts marched in a circle with signs that said: "More Cuts Will Hurt Kids" and "Let Locally Elected Leaders Make LOCAL decisions."
While legislators and Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle debate the Republican-proposed limits on taxes, residents on both sides of the issue expressed their views Thursday by picketing, chanting, waving signs and wearing red or blue shirts.
Supporters of the tax limits wore blue because it signifies a freeze and represents blue-collar workers, Lisowski said. Those in favor of Doyle's veto wore red for contrast with blue.
Regardless of apparel color, the sentiments were fervent on each side.
David Singer, a Kenosha County Board member, marched with those who backed Doyle's veto because he said he supports local control. Serving his third two-year term, Singer said Kenosha County has managed to control its costs while the state's budget has spiraled into a $3.2 billion deficit.
"The state already controls most of the taxes, and now they want to control property taxes," said Singer as he walked with his Dalmatian, Cleo, who, like Singer, was wearing red.
Neal Skrenes, a Kenosha middle school teacher, said he worries about the effect tax limits might have on school districts. He said enrollment in the Kenosha School District is rising because families are moving to the area.
"That means we'll need more schools and more staffing. How can we do that without raising money?" he asked.
But Bill Peterson of Pleasant Prairie said he's not against teachers, he's against high taxes.
"I'm 100% for education, but I'm getting taxed to death," said Peterson, who said the property tax bill on his home has risen from $84 to $3,300 since he bought it in 1956.
"We bought our home to live in in our retirement and to die there, and they're taxing us out of our home," Peterson said.
Several Republican legislators attended the rally, including Senate Majority Leader Mary Panzer (R-West Bend) and Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), who wore yellow stickers that read "Support the Freeze."
"You're starting the Wisconsin tax revolution tonight," Darling said before leading the crowd in a chant of "Freeze it!"
The rally was one of two scheduled for this week in the Milwaukee area. On Saturday, Citizens for Responsible Government will hold a 2 p.m. rally at Serb Memorial Hall in Milwaukee.
On Thursday, Republican leaders in the Capitol scheduled an override vote for Tuesday. In order to overturn Doyle's veto, it would take a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and Assembly. Republicans control the Senate 18-15 and the Assembly 59-40.
Republicans need 22 votes in the Senate to override, which means four Democrats would have to join the GOP. So far, Democratic Sens. Tim Carpenter of Milwaukee and Jeff Plale of South Milwaukee have said they will vote to override the veto or are leaning that way.
An override vote will be held first in the Senate and then, if needed, in the Assembly. If the Senate fails to override the veto, no Assembly vote would be taken.
The proposed three-year limit on local property taxes was included in the 2003-'05 state budget passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature. Under those caps, municipalities could increase property taxes only for new construction costs or by referendum. Schools would have been allowed to increase their revenue from property taxes by 2% in the first year of the budget and 1.6% in the second.
Doyle vetoed the measure last month, saying it would strip local leaders of their decision-making ability and devastate services and programs.
And the governor hammered home those points again Thursday when he launched his own effort to rally public opinion behind his veto.
Doyle stood with mayors and uniformed emergency workers outside city halls in La Crosse and Chippewa Falls, saying he was forced to be the "grown-up in charge" in the Capitol by vetoing the Legislature's "arrogant" plan to cripple local services and public schools.
The governor was scheduled to make a similar appearance in Stevens Point today.
Doyle again predicted he would win a Tuesday state Senate vote to override his veto, saying too much is at stake now for legislators to enact the GOP plan over his objections.
"It's one thing to stick this in the budget, knowing that there's a grown-up as governor who is going to take care of it and veto it," Doyle said in Chippewa Falls. "It's another thing to say, 'OK, we're really going to cut our schools by $400 million over the next two years, we're going to tell local leaders that they're all big spendthrifts.' I think that's a very hard vote for a legislator to take."
In La Crosse, Doyle said: "It's really arrogant that people in one part of the state are telling people in another part of the state what to do."
Mayors at Doyle's side in the two cities echoed that theme.
"Shouldn't all levels of state government be focused on helping local decision-makers, rather than dictating terms and limits to how we spend your tax dollars?" asked Chippewa Falls Mayor Doug Sandvick.
A former Democratic legislator, La Crosse Mayor John Medinger, said he was developing a 2004 budget that would hold property taxes "at the level of 2003" - something Doyle has repeatedly asked all elected local officials to do voluntarily.
Steven Walters of the Journal Sentinel staff, reporting from Madison, and correspondent David Marcou, reporting from La Crosse, contributed to this report.
As a result, many taxpaying citizens of this Wisconsin town leave and more across the state line. This allows them to pay less taxes, stay close to their birthplaces, and continue to work their jobs regardless of which state they work in.
The result is that more taxpayers leave and more tax consumers remain shifting an even greater tax load on those who choose to remain.
Nah, they wore red because they are commie pinko socialists... but that's just a guess ;0)
Okay, all you tax-paying "children," Doyle says you're all just too young and stupid to question his judgement.
Notice who was gathered to tell you how stupid and selfish you all are. Every single one of those people is on the government payroll, being paid with your money to tell you have no business trying to stop them from taking more of your money for themselves. This is the apex of a conflict of interest. Every single one of those "Uniformed emergency workers" should be immediately fired and have all of their benefits revoked. By attending this event, they ceased being "public servants" and have become policy wonks and political hacks.
"They stink on ice!"
The truth is often hard to take...
Either his precious teachers union members are going to get the 400 million or they're not.
I'd prefer not.
Our property taxes in Texas are outrageous, and we have a high sales tax.
But, thankfully, no income tax.
(remember this is an article about a LARGE group of tax-freeze supporters, and a much SMALLER group of tax-freeze opponents)
1. SIZE - The tax-freeze supporters (taxpayers) outnumbered the tax-freeze opponents (teacher's unions) at this rally. Yet the Journal/Sentinel prints a larger picture of the tax-freeze opponents than the tax-freeze supporters. The ratio in the printed paper's picture size is probably 3 to 1.
2. CONTENT - The larger picture of the tax-freeze opponents shows a bunch of happy faces, while the picture of the tax-freeze supporters is of (what looks like) an angry mob.
3. CONTENT - The smaller picture of the tax-freeze supporters features the view toward the armpit of one of the supporters (who is holding up a sign)
4. PLACEMENT - On the printed copy of this liberal paper, the larger picture of the tax-freeze opponents is placed ABOVE the fold on the front page, while the smaller picture of the tax-freeze supporters is at the BOTTOM of the page.
Even on the website there is the same liberal emphasis.
A PERFECT example of liberal bias (what you CHOOSE to publish, how you emphasize it, how you place the photos, what the tone is)
I have to emphasize again that it was the tax-freeze supporters that OUTNUMBERED, by at least 4 to 1, the opponents.
But, glancing at a liberal newspaper, you got the OPPOSITE IDEA!
Journalists = Objective?? HA HA HA HA HA HA !!!