Sunday, July 13, 2008

When You Need A Firefighter, Call The WMC

The $265 million tax break goosed through the State Supreme Court by the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and its servant, Justice Annette Ziegler, will cost the average Wisconsin family of four about $200.

Someone is going to have to fill up that $265 million hole in the state budget - - the source of revenue that comes back to municipalities and schools - - and that someone is you and yours truly.

So figure it this way: the next time you hit an unfilled pothole, or it takes an extra week for the streetlight by your house to be repaired, or the snowplow runs seem fewer this winter - - remember that a special interest got a big gob of public funding and you made up the difference.

People complain about taxes, but never want services cut.

Well, actually, that's not accurate.

What they want cut is a service that other people use, or that they believe they themselves will never want or need.

People complain about services provided to the general public, and especially to the poor, but then demand services that cost money on the back end - - after a crime has been committed, or blight has dragged down property values, or their kids' school performance has fallen.

If you are in a traffic accident, you want the police there - - now.

If your house catches fire, you want the fire department there - - immediately.

If a storm brings down a tree that blocks the street in front of your driveway, you want the public works crew there to remove it - - fast.

If the water tastes foul, or a restaurant meal makes you sick, or your neighbor has too many tenants, you want those inspectors to get to the bottom of the problem - - instantly.

These service cost money, and are costing individual property taxpayers more and more each year because business has managed to shift a greater percentage of its share of social responsibility financing to ordinary taxpayers and homeowners.

The WMC, whose members already enjoy tax breaks on manufacturing, equipment, computers and construction (through taxpayer-subsidized Industrial Revenue Bonds and Tax Increment Financing borrowings), are now getting an even bigger serving from the public trough through friendly members of the State Supreme Court.

Think of the WMC-serving Justices as flight attendants in first-class, while you're sitting in a seat designed for ten-year-olds and paying for a mini-bag of pretzels.

"Cocktail before takeoff? Hot towel? White wine, or red with dinner?"

Ziegler should have recused herself from the $265 million computer software case, but didn't.

The WMC didn't spend nearly $2 million on her 2007 campaign, and spend heavily again to get Justice-elect Michael Gableman on the Court later this year and have them step back from WMC inspired and supported cases.

Democracy and simple fairness, whether in the court house or on your annual tax bill, are in real trouble here, but people may not realize it until the firefighter or the police officer or the street repair crew they need is, at best, late arriving..

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Shirley A, the Old Girl, is the next one to be dispatched. Justice Ziegler was voted in to make legal decisions. If she did not participate, a 3-3 tie would have let the tax stay. Tsk. Tsk.

The Menasha Corp case proves that one can fight city hall. You know, like you fight SEWRPC.