Saturday, August 18, 2012

You wanted Fitzwalkerstan, YOU GOT IT! Part Deux

I have a feeling this will be a recurrent theme, where pro-Walker areas get their asses kicked due to the Walker policies they supported. We saw this 2 weeks back with the drinking water disasters in Jackson and Oconomowoc, and the higher school levies in Shawano, and more news out this week added to this trend.

1. You may remember that I ripped WEDC and the Village of Menomonee Falls for their $100 million tax credit giveaway to Kohl's Corporation. Well, that Bagger town (voted 70-30 for Walker) suffered another setback this week when it was announced that Innoware paper was closing, taking 100 jobs with it.

So not only does Menomonee Falls lose jobs, it also loses that tax base from that Innoware Property, and given that Kohl's also isn't paying taxes in the next few years, guess who has to pay the difference? That's right, those same folks who voted overwhelmingly for Walker in June, because property tax rates will have to go up to make up for the lack of tax base these companies will contribute. And oh yeah, that's on top of Falls schools losing nearly $1.5 million in school aid from the state for this year, which means property taxes will have to be raised to make up the difference. And yet, a lot of Falls residents probably voted for Walker because they thought their property taxes wouldn't go up. SUCKERS!

2. And if you are a homeowner, chances are that you're less wealthy in the age of Fitzwalkerstan, as the Wisconsin DOR came out with their annual equalized values report, and it showed that Wisconsin property values dropped 3.2% in 2011, the largest one-year drop in decades.

And it's even worse when you drill down into the DOR's equalized values report. Check out some of the drops in the largest and most pro-Walker counties.

Residential property value change 2011-2012
Walworth -7.41%
Waukesha -4.44%
Washington -4.34%
Ozaukee -3.49%
Sheboygan -3.70%
Outagamie -2.91%
Marathon -3.08%

And when those property values go down, that means there's less value out there to tax, so everyone's rates has to go up just to stay level. Well if you're in a home that did keep value or wasn't revalued for 2012, that means your property taxes just went up, even with Walker's tax limits put in place. And oh yeah, good luck trying to sell that home now that you've defunded schools and devalued community services. But hey, people in those communities identified themselves as "taxpayers" and part of an "ownership society" instead of being people who cared about their community and investing in what makes it desirable and livable. So now they'll pay the price with higher taxes and underwater home values.

3. And Act 10 isn't "working" the way they thought it would. Remember when Act 10 was sold as a one-time fix to get costs under control, and that things would likely return to normal once the "tools" were put in place? Well, Walker's DOA sent out instructions this week to departments for their 2013-2015 budgets, and that isn't going to happen. But before we get to that, let's also note that much of this letter is a giant pile of garbage and spin that anyone who's followed the Fitzwalkerstan budget knows is false. The budget instructions letter quotes the "$3.6 billion budget deficit" figure that has been debunked, and also says it didn't do one-time gimmicks when the Walker folks borrowed more than a half-billion dollars to balance this current budget.

Anyway, the budget instructions tell departments they will get no increases in their budgets from the cuts given in the last budget. Which means that prisons will continue to get more money from the state than the UW System will. (Nice priorities, eh?) This 0% increase budget is despite the fact that the CPI is up 5% in the last 24 months, so this means further cuts in service will have to happen.

No, the Walker spin of "we put in Act 10 to save services" is not going to come to fruition. All Act 10 really did was take money out of the pockets of teachers, nurses, and other public workers and send it to Walker's cronies in the form of tax cuts and high-paying government appointments. And yet 38% of households with a union member voted to keep this bum in office (if you believe the exit polls). Hope that vote was worth it, you self-absorbed dingbats, because your community and your family's paychecks are declining as a result of votes like that one.

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