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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Janesville Newspaper Spins Tax Hike Referendum Into a Spending Referendum

Several items stand out after reading this article from the Janesville Gazette, but for the sake of brevity, I'll stick with only two.

One, in a story that centers on shared state revenue shortfalls for Janesville and cuts in local road funding, Forward Janesville is not mentioned at all. Why is that? After all, Forward Janesville membership clinked champagne glasses when Scott Walker won the governorship, and posted editorials criticizing and opposing Tom Barrett for suggesting local roads and shared revenues would be among his top funding priorities if elected governor.

Back then, Forward Janesville lobbied against the restoration of state aid for local roads so they can carve out a bigger share from the zero-sum revenue pie for the I39/90 expansion. Since city officials seem so heavily vested in Forward Janesville's legislative agenda, it's an eye-roller now to see officials talk about funding problems that have worsened due to their lobbyist efforts, without mentioning them. Most people can see right through it.

Two, the Janesville Gazette laughably described a tax hike referendum as a "spending" referendum.

JG Excerpt:
The city is floating a spending referendum for street repairs. The referendum asks residents for permission to exceed state revenue caps to pump as much as $1.2 million into street repairs over a five-year period.

To be fair, it's not an out-an-out lie ... but it's still bullshit. The city council is floating pushing a "TAX INCREASE" referendum earmarked for street repair. The city intends on spending $1.2 million more annually for street repairs whether the referendum is approved or not. THAT means it is NOT a referendum on city "spending." It's a average $37 tax hike that will be buried in property tax bills of Janesville homeowners if voters approve. Council members said if the referendum fails, they will likely approve a borrowing note to pay for the additional spending - referendum not required.

People of Janesville, aren't you sick of having a news service constantly work and rework the angles of a story until it fits a particular narrative to serve their political agenda?


RNR - Local Walker Cartel Gear Up To Provide "Cover" For Political Cronies


Anonymous said...

Do you realize mccoy's petitions are tea party type referendums to cut spending and handcuff the city council? . Your defense for that man's petitions is absurd.Those are not progressive ideals. Far from it.

Lou Kaye said...

To the contrary, anonymous. All citizen initiatives, referendums, ballot measures, propositions, the right to recall or simply a question made in legal form according to state statutes are signature achievements of the Progressive Era. They are all firmly rooted in the 1st Amendment people's right to petition their government. I would go as far as saying that the council's decision to ignore these statutes and petitions because they don't agree with the question is profoundly anti-progressive. In my view, the council trashed citizen participation and dare residents to do something about it.

McCoy did his due diligence and played by the rules. His petitions qualify for the ballot. Those are progressive values. The questions themselves are a different question. I take no position on their intent, resolve or progressivity. That should be up for the people to decide if they ever get the chance to vote on them.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I misunderstood your position. Thanks for the clarification but I still don't support his petitions.

Democurmudgeon said...

Thanks for connecting the dots tying state road funding cuts to local funding shortfalls and referendums. I'm surprised more local governments pondering a referendum aren't blaming the state for funding cuts. Because of the lack of complaints, I questioned the connection. Not my area of expertise basically.

Lou Kaye said...

I really think many local government's and even the people fear political retribution from the Walker Adm. if they start pointing blame. The establishment doesn't want more or deeper cuts in state aid although many business groups' legislative agenda call for more tax cuts = less state aid. It's a regressive dichotomy worth exploiting.

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