Today is

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rocked By Walker - Janesville Considers Higher Taxes and Fees

According to this report from the City of Janesville, due to fiscal constraints with Scott Walker's draconian budget the City’s funding from the State will be reduced by almost a million dollars.

So City officials have created a survey asking residents to weigh in on some of the options they are considering to deal with the lost revenue. Among the considerations are reductions in police, fire and emergency service and the introduction of a vehicle tax, new charges on seniors and downtown businesses paying to maintain downtown parking lots and snow removal.

JG Excerpt:
Over the last couple years, the city reduced about $500,000 in salaries by eliminating jobs or holding jobs open, Levitt said.

But have they reduced salaries? Not that I know of.

City officials apparently have not yet received the message or don't fully understand what the election of Scott Walker really means to them. You didn't think that the ALEC-written Walker/Fitzgerald/Koch agenda was only meant for school teachers and unions, did you? Everyone will have to do with less and that includes you. The ratcheting down of wages and benefits in the private sector over the past decade was merely the preliminary groundwork to raise the wage-envy temperature of the average taxpayer against the public sector and government. Walker even alluded to this when he described public sector workers as the "haves." While the plutocrats continue to enjoy record profits at the expense of their workers, they knew their wage-earning employees were also taxpayers who would not let the taxes collected from their ever declining compensation continue to support "union" class public sector wages and benefits that they no longer can relate to.

Walker and his class war Tea Party conservatives knew his budget proposal would pit brothers against sisters against brothers and create a never before seen friction between neighbors and communities. In the beginning if you recall, he was prepping for a National Guard response to the expected public's outrage. They knew all along this would start a taxpayer driven class war.

So the City of Janesville is not alone in this wage envy battle and public sector workers of all stripes should consider themselves targets of this new and regressive economic contract. Unless you are a card-carrying member of a Fortune 500 family or one of their bought and paid for politicians or employees - you are one of us - a person made to feel lucky to have a job, if you have one at all.

The temperature within the Janesville School District is even higher than at city hall. Here the Janesville School Board is looking for ways to find $2.1 million to balance this year's budget.

It turns out the Janesville School District's current deficit of $2.1 million was a charade. This article published Aug. 24th states the school district actually has a surplus of about $3 million. The Walker class war budget won't begin effecting the district until next year, when the district is expecting a $9 million deficit.

Saying it might be just a matter of additional cuts or taxes doesn't quite tell the whole story. The relationship between the school teachers, the school board and administration continues to suffer at the hands of the Pro-Walker Janesville Gazette, while the propaganda machine pummels the local teachers union with anonymous sources in their weekly "news" articles and Sound Off column.

Last year, I wrote that the Gazette and their political base was closing in on victory after a decades old local "cleansing" campaign against living wages, decent benefits and organized employee unions. In their view, the school teachers collective bargaining power is hopefully the final remnant of any leverage the working and middle class might strive for in Janesville. With the Walker union-busting budget, that battle is nearly over. The more anger they manufactured against taxpayer supported public employee wage and benefits - the better for their agenda. Taxes are bad. Taxes pay for government­. Government is bad. Government enables the people and everyone knows we can't have that.

Over the past few months, Bliss Com, the Gazette and their affiliates have started to soft-pedal their GOP politics and anti-union rhetoric a little. They cut loose the bomb-throwing Dan Conry from WCLO while the Ayn Rand worshipping Janesville Messenger appears, for the moment at least, to have halted their vicious attacks against Democrats and have embarked on a phony community outreach campaign all in the name of making amends towards compromise and bi-partisanship. It's too late. Besides, before compromise can be reached on genuine bi-partisan proposals - many reversals would be in order first.

It is as if they are all taking their marching orders directly from Scott Walker himself. They know the tide is changing and they don't want to lose any of the gains they've made on the working poor and middle-class.

This tells me more than ever before that ...this is our time.


Walker increased spending by $1.1 billion, property taxes are projected to rise an average of 2.6% while communities are shortchanged.

No comments:

Post a Comment