Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
City leaders, I’m sorry to say, have failed in their attempts to hold the line, more often than not, taxing and spending like nobody’s business.
We’re in a recession?
People are losing their jobs?
People are losing their homes?
Again, doesn’t matter.
Like so many other municipalities,
All across the nation during 2010, citizens made their voices loud and clear. Enough is enough. You are taxing us to death. Did city of
In June of 2010, I was hoping the light bulb would finally go on. Gloomy news was released that should have been a wake-up call.
The city of
As of that June 2010 report,
What’s causing the budget shortfall? Building permits, planning fees, fire inspections, tippage,
I’m not on the Finance Committee, though Mayor Taylor has asked me to serve in the past. If I was, my advice would be clear, concise, and simple. The piggy bank is broke. Time to stop spending. Cut up the VISA card. If you don't want to make budget cuts, then it’s time to enact a property tax freeze/spending freeze right now. Take your lumps temporarily. Ride through this mess. Get back on track. Gain some political favor with suffering taxpayers.
In November, the Franklin Common Council on a vote of 5-1 with support from Mayor Tom Taylor adopted a 2.6 percent property tax levy increase during a recession when taxpayers are facing salary and benefit cuts, job losses, and foreclosures. We who pay the bills were lectured that this tax and spending increase was “responsible.”
Alderman Steve Olson made several motions to get the budget closer to a 0% property tax levy increase. None of his proposals would have cut police, fire, or public works. All of his motions were rejected, some without a second.
A few weeks later, City Hall went into damage control.
At the request of Mayor Taylor, an informational report was compiled for a Franklin Common Council meeting entitled: “Comparison of Municipal Property Tax Rates and Other Municipal Charges.” The intent was crystal clear. The report, prepared November 30, was to be used as ammunition in defense of the recession property tax levy hike.
The Mayor, the report states, asked for the analysis “to address whether or not
City staff analyzed the assessed property tax rates for all 19
The report then makes this bold claim:
“From this perspective,
Another key point of the report is that other communities impose “special charges” for services.
Finally, the report asserts, “
This analysis is not convincing and, quite frankly, flawed.
The report emphasizes tax rates, a common ploy of the tax and spenders. The tax rate is meaningless. It’s the property tax levy that’s important.
Also, I’m not sold by an analysis that compares our tax hell to 18 other tax hells.
The timing of this report, just a few weeks after a property tax levy increase was adopted, is also suspect. If this is supposed to make taxpayers feel better about our fiscal condition, shouldn’t this report have been done and announced prior to action on the city budget last month?
All this PR spin does is make the taxers and spenders feel good about what they’ve done. It does nothing for the taxpayers. The time to help taxpayers was at budget time, not two weeks later.
Steve Walters wrote this in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Walters’ column got me wondering how the city of
Again, the property tax levy is the most important tax piece. In 2002,
Rather than focus on the levy,
OK, so let’s look at the tax rate. In 2002,
Alderman Steve Taylor went on a tirade blasting bloggers that would dare criticize
Franklin Mayor Tom Taylor, Alderman Doug Schmidt, Alderman Steve Taylor, Alderman Timothy Solomon, Alderman Steve Olson, and Alderman Kristen Wilhelm received the following e-mail this month from a
The author gave me permission to publish the e-mail. I am withholding, by request, the author’s name.
Dear Common Council,
Gotta say, that in these economic times, I am overwhelmed by my tax bill. It went up about $518. We were already short based on last year's taxes, now it is even worse. Currently, I am way under-employed. My husband is under-employed and may not even have a job come January.
Plus, the new assessments are way out of line for these economic times. There is no way anyone would pay $244,000 for my house. I think I would be lucky to sell it for $150,000 right now. In fact, if anyone of you would like to pay $244,000 for my house, you've got a sale. Because as soon as I can, I have got to move out of
Please stop spending our money. I have had to cut way back. Perhaps the city should cut back, too. Quit building these "super-highway" roads all over the city. Quit building parks and trails. Quit trying to build new schools. Quit hiring new policemen. These things are not necessary right now. We can make do with what we have. That's what I have to do. When I go shopping, I look at everything in my cart and ask myself, "Do I really NEED this?" Perhaps that is what the city should be doing, too.
Remember what Alderman Steve Taylor said:
“Then get the hell out of here if you don't like it."
I’ve written a lot about the wonders of
4) FRANKLIN CITY HALL: WHAT RECESSION?
5) CHEAP WEATHER RADIOS-NO/ EXPENSIVE SIRENS- YES
6) THE DREXEL INTERCHANGE
7) FRANKLIN'S FLOWER TAX
8) IT'S DEJA VU FOR FRANKLIN FOOTBALL
9) DOES FRANKLIN NEED/WANT A FULL-TIME MAYOR?
10)NPR IN BIG TROUBLE....THE LOCAL ANGLE