I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.
While I already gave my thoughts why I do not support the Sales Tax increase, I thought it was important to post both sides of the coin. I emailed 8th District Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik for her reason for voting yes and she emailed me back, very quickly I may add, a link with her reasoning. I have included District #17 Milwaukee County Supervisor Joe Sanfelippo response to why he voted no and does not support the referendum.
Keep in mind, when has a sales tax been reduced, and when do you say enough is enough and look at what can be done to lower the costs?
Here are two sides of the County Board Approves Sales Tax Referendum
8th District Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik
901 N. 9th Street, Courthouse RM 201, Milwaukee, WI 53233
Phone: 414-278-4231 Fax: 414-223-1380
Parks, Transit & Paramedics Funding; Property Tax Relief
The County Board passed a non-binding, advisory referendum question to ask voters whether they would approve a 1% sales tax to pay for parks, recreation and culture; transit; and emergency medical services (EMS). This would provide property tax relief by removing $67 million from the property tax levy. It would also provide additional money to purchase buses (currently we have depleted our bus replacement program) and to care for our deteriorating parks, which have also faced cuts over the last 5 to 7 years.
It is estimated that an owner of a home valued at $150,000 would save about $165 on the property tax bill. A 1% increase in purchases subject to the sales tax would also collect revenue from visitors who enjoy Milwaukee County’s amenities. While I would have preferred asking the question in a different way with perhaps a ½ cent hike, I voted yes on the question to give constituents an opportunity to indicate whether they want parks and transit preserved by taking these systems off the property tax levy and paying through a dedicated sales tax. It is my pledge to educate voters on the referendum question before the November 4 election. I will honor the will of the voters. It must be made clear that if we choose to say No, the Board will need to make deep cuts in both transit and parks spending.
County Board Approves Sales Tax Referendum
By Joe Sanfelippo
Milwaukee County Supervisor
Last week the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors by a vote of 12-6 voted to put a referendum on the November ballot asking Milwaukee County residents to approve a 1% increase to the County Sales tax. I was one of the six that voted against the resolution.
I cast my no vote for a variety of reasons, the first of which is the misleading wording of the referendum. The referendum asks whether you favor a 1% county sales tax increase, with proceeds to fund parks, transit, emergency medical services and property tax relief. On the surface, it appears that a yes vote for the sales tax increase will result in a reduction of your taxes. On the contrary, a yes vote will RAISE taxes.
Currently, the County Tax Levy for the parks, transit system and EMS services totals $67 million dollars. The 1% sales tax increase will cost taxpayers an extra $130 million dollars per year, $63 million dollars more than you are currently paying to fund these programs through the property tax roles. In reality, a yes vote is a vote to RAISE overall taxes.
Second, imposing a new tax dedicated for "transit funding" amounts to double taxation. The State of Wisconsin will collect $1.5 billion dollars in 2008 for transit funding from gasoline taxes, vehicle title and registration fees. A reasonable estimate is that almost $200 million dollars of that tax will be collected in Milwaukee County. Why do we need another transit tax when we already have one?
Since entering office, Governor Doyle has taken nearly $1 billion dollars out of the transportation trust fund and spent it on non-transportation items. Rather than burdening the taxpayers with another tax, we should be working with the Senate and Assembly in Madison to stop the Governor from raiding the transportation fund, and to properly fund transit programs. We don't need to collect more taxes, we just need to use the money already being collected for the reason it is being collected in the first place.
Third, sales taxes are regressive, meaning they hurt some people more than others. Studies have shown that lower income people, the working poor and seniors living on fixed incomes, pay as much as five times more of their income in sales taxes than the most financially well off citizens. Simply put, those earning the least in our County will feel the hardest hit.
If the referendum makes it onto the November ballot, and it appears that it will, please remember that a yes vote in reality is a vote for a tax increase.
Milwaukee County Supervisor
Shall the State of Wisconsin grant Milwaukee County the authority to provide property tax relief of at least sixty-five million dollars ($65 million) by levying a one percent (1%) county sales and use tax to be used to removed the following three items from the property tax levy: parks recreation culture, transit and emergency medical services (EMS)?