Friday, April 16, 2010
Tea Party Activists Ignore Hometown Brews
While local Paul Ryan supporters and other establishments types prepare to foist a $1.5 billion interstate expansion tax hike on Wisconsin for the benefit of their organized business associates and capture millions more in tax shift credits and financial "incentives" for their wealthiest members, Tea Party activists, known for their anti-corporate welfare and tax wary position appear to be looking the other way. The reality is, they have to.
Over the past few months, I've also noticed a few Tea Party gatherings in Janesville near the Milton Ave. Post Office. Upon review I thought, why in the world are these folks marching by the Post Office when they should be in front the Janesville Municipal Building or the county building? I mean, Tea partiers purport to be everyday regular people. So if they really wanted to make a stink about new taxes, higher taxes and corporate welfare, the best way to make a difference is to start local and look to the folks who are capitulating to the tax hike requests. Afterall, all politics is local.
Over the past several years, Janesville city government has handed some of the wealthiest local players substantial awards for their private-for-profit business ventures. One developer received a $2.7 million water tower paid for socially by Janesville water users. Another "connected insider" picked up a soft lease on a city facility. Other crony capitalists have each captured hundreds of thousands in TIF surplus (TIF surplus is tax revenue legally withheld from the general fund) and forgivable loans under the guise of job creation or community development. The most obnoxious breach into modest local taxpayer coffers happened recently when the Janesville city council apologetically rubber stamped without a single question, nearly a quarter million dollar "loan" to another Forward Janesville member, multi-billion dollar corporation W.W. Grainger. The money was gone in sixty seconds.
Through nearly all of these tax-jacking wealth redistributive schemes pitched at Janesville City Hall, few if anyone ever publicly objects. Whether at the hearings, through Web-based social media or through traditional newsprint. (Except here of course) Let alone any objection from the local Tea Partiers. They're too busy protesting the second lowest federal income tax in 50 years.
So, there are several explanations I can offer of the Tea Party folks, both local and national. They are either loyal foot soldiers for the revenue confiscating GOP establishment or unknowning dupes. Probably a little of both. Okay, that's not exactly news. But the lack of a local theme to their anger cannot be ignored and may prove their membership is both utterly insincere and mostly bussed-in astro-turf. If small town corporate welfare and tax hikes are too small for the movement to handle, how do they expect to tackle the bigger picture? That's precisely the point, they don't. With each passing day, their only purpose and intent seems to be built on opposing the radical socialist agenda of the black Muslim from Kenya residing in the White House. I admit, I'm purposely trying to sound a little naive here.
Yet the facts remain. All of these business perks and handouts have directly resulted in incrementally higher local taxes and fees without any credit or definitive proof of creating demand, much less even one new job. While general funds are being looted, services are being cut and public schools are beginning to look for charitable donations. And it doesn't end there. Janesville and county residents can expect higher tax levies and a steady stream of new and creative ways from local government to incrementally confiscate more dollars with more fees. Old standbys like a vehicle wheel tax or a municipal sales tax are just around the corner.
The tea partiers demand the impossible. They expect government on all levels to create jobs in the private sector. While their Republican controllers are protesting every Democratic effort to do so - just to win in November. It is phony outrage.