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Sunday, October 04, 2020

Janesville Taxpayers: Don't Be Fooled By The Math Of School District Officials

Janesville school district officials must think we're stupid with the new math they use to deceive taxpayers.

Their four year operations referendum shows an escalating amount each year, almost doubling, of captured revenue while their math claims to ask less from taxpayers each year. That's quite a trick. They made this claim in the Janesville Gazette and again on a WCLO radio program.

The problem is; they don't tell us each tax increase from the previous year becomes permanently embedded into the operational budget. They also finalize this deception by claiming each $100,000 in taxable property assessed value pays a total of only $127 over the life of the referendum. If it costs Janesville taxpayers $39 to raise $3,500,000 in the first year, only a fool would believe it will cost us only $31 to raise $7,500,000 the next year, $29 to raise $11,500,00 in the third year, and so on. The fact is, their referendum will cost the owner of an average $168K assessed home $563 over the life of the four year referendum - and that's a conservative figure.

Keep in mind this is a tax hike referendum beginning with a base budget and different revenue cap established through a state formula each year and ends four years later. That means the school district can also claim any other increases it may be entitled to under the cap each year AND THEN exceed that by the amount in the binding referendum.

The school district begins post-referendum year five with a base budget including the final $14.5M captured in year four fully embedded, under the cap and permanent. In other words, just because the referendum expired, doesn't mean it no longer impacts homeowners.

The proposed tax hikes are outrageous enough, but for me, having folks running our city and schools with a seemingly perpetual mentality to deceive residents should have no place in our community. The school superintendent and finance officer watch each other's back as they double down on this deception while our local media offer no debate, rebuttal or inspection. City hall officials are no different. Even more troubling is some see this behavior as normal if not rewarding.

If you wake up in the morning in Janesville, it seems like city and school officials find a new excuse every day to increase our tax burden AND conjure new ways to deceive us. This simply doesn't have to be and it shouldn't be this way for the good folks who want to call Janesville home.

But it's too late to fix with the current leadership. Janesville needs a clean sweep top to bottom of the phantoms running our fair city along with a complete restructuring of how we elect residents to represent us in city hall and the school district.

Please vote NO on all tax hike referendums on the November ballot. We simply can't afford them on top of our property tax bills that are already among the highest in the nation per home value. But we also have to come together soon in an effort to reform our city and schools. Clearly, we are not represented.

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