WI Dems running on platform of property-tax hikes

posted at 2:31 pm on April 17, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Small wonder Democrats poll so poorly against Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin, even when surveys come from their own allies.  Their two main candidates in the recall election in June have both demanded an end to the caps imposed on property-tax hikes implemented by Walker and Republicans in the legislature — even though they balanced the state budget while lowering taxes on Wisconsin voters:

The two leading Democrats in the governor’s recall election are criticizing the tight limits on local property tax increases that Republicans imposed a year ago. Kathleen Falk said she would repeal those caps, while Tom Barrett stopped short of making that promise. Because of those limits, Republican Governor Scott Walker and the state Revenue Department said yesterday that the average local taxes went down last year for the first time since 1999. …

Walker and legislative Republicans imposed the tight limits on property tax hikes so local and school officials couldn’t raise those taxes by large amounts to make up for losses in state aid. But Phil Walzak of the Barrett campaign said the caps are quote, “absolute and draconian” – and they don’t account for adjustments in inflation or economic growth.

In other words, Barrett and Falk want to return Wisconsin property owners to a system where property taxes can get increased without any restraint at all.  Does that seem like a winning argument, especially after the fiscal discipline of this session in the state legislature?  Probably not, but Democrats don’t have much choice.  If they repeal Walker’s public-employee union reforms, they have to find the money to cover what the WEA Trust has lost since unions lost the ability to negotiate on benefits packages:

WEA Trust, the not-for-profit insurer that covered about two-thirds of Wisconsin school districts last year, has seen its revenue decline almost $70 million after the state gave districts more freedom to switch insurers.

Despite the drop in revenue, WEA Trust officials say they’re confident in their long-term business plan. They say the trust has expanded its market beyond school districts to include municipalities and individual state employees, and they believe their customer service may coax former customers back.

A number of school districts — including current and former WEA Trust clients — agree that the insurer’s service has been consistently strong. However, they note that cost is always a key factor, and that WEA Trust’s longevity will depend on its ability to keep its prices competitive.

They are being forced to compete now, thanks to the PEU reforms Walker and the GOP put in place last year.  The WEA Trust is owned by the Wisconsin Education Association, the union representing teachers throughout the state.  The WEA Trust had been able to gouge taxpayers for decades with prices far above market rates on health insurance, thanks to the unions’ ability to force cities, counties, and school districts to use them as their single source, and keeping the excess revenue for political activities.  Governments in Wisconsin had no choice but to pay their prices when unions played hardball to keep this sinecure in place.  After the PEUs lost the ability to demand that the WEA Trust coverage, school districts like Muskego-Norway discovered that they could get the came coverage by almost 25% less cost through private-sector insurance.  Suddenly, the WEA Trust had to compete, and ended up cutting its prices substantially to stay alive.

That brings us back to the property-tax hike caps.  If Barrett or Falk win the recall election, they will want to repeal the PEU reforms that allowed localities to get competitive pricing for health insurance, saving tens of millions of dollars each year.  Once that happens, the WEA Trust can return to gouging taxpayers through bare-knuckled labor actions, but those local communities will have to find the cash to cover those costs.  That’s why Barrett and Falk want to expose Wisconsin voters to rapid property-tax increases — to funnel the money back into the coffers of their union allies.  After all, that $70 million could fund a lot of statewide political races in Wisconsin.

Update: I suspect that even Democrats will know this is a losing platform — which may be why they’re focusing on slut-shaming Walker aide Ciara Matthews for a college job as a waitress at Hooters.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

3 minutes, no comments, come on gang.

Bmore on April 17, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Trying to get a large turnout?

KOOLAID2 on April 17, 2012 at 2:34 PM

If elected, I promise to raise your taxes.
- Walter Mondale, 1984

aunursa on April 17, 2012 at 2:35 PM

angrymike will be here in 3 more minutes…so go crazy and post Bmore. (I wasn’t here)

KOOLAID2 on April 17, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Look over there…. a Lt Governor in Hooters shorts.

ObamatheMessiah on April 17, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Well, that’s a winning strategy. Every property owner I know can’t wait to have their taxes raised. Not.

totherightofthem on April 17, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Update:

This is great. Should they run on unlimited property tax hikes, or attack the young lady who worked her way through college (and looked good doing it) and now works for the governor. It’s a big success story that really needs to be maligned.

I hope they do both.

forest on April 17, 2012 at 2:39 PM

This is what I’ve never understood. I get the union bosses wanting to throw Walker out. But even partisan Dems cannot seriously want to elect someone running on a platform of raising property taxes. We’re not talking the Buffett Rule here. If you own any kind of real estate, you’re going to pay more to the local government. Most of the people hit by this ain’t gonna be 1%’ers.

Doughboy on April 17, 2012 at 2:39 PM

As an Indiana resident I strongly support the democratic party of Wisconsin. Great for chasing business away and we have a good of chance as any of getting some of it.

acyl72 on April 17, 2012 at 2:40 PM

I suspect that even Democrats will know this is a losing platform — which may be why they’re focusing on slut-shaming Walker aide Ciara Matthews for a college job as a waitress at Hooters.

That is also a losing argument. Anyone who has ever been to a Hooters knows that it is a respectable place to work, or have a few beers and wings. The waitresses at Hooters are not pole dancers or hookers. Most are young women who are also college students and trying to make a few extra bucks waiting tables, not dancing on them.

As Steve Eggleston wrote earlier today, Gov. Walker is way up even in a PPP/Kos poll. All the Wisconsin Democrats have left is to slime the opposition.

simkeith on April 17, 2012 at 2:40 PM

Look over there…. a Lt Governor in Hooters shorts.

ObamatheMessiah on April 17, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Another winning strategy. Yep. I know that the first thing I ask about a candidate is whether or not he or she had a job where skimpy attire was required. Eliminates all lifeguards, volleyball professionals and Hooters’ wait staff right off the bat and makes it so much easier for me to vote on something other than the issues. /s

totherightofthem on April 17, 2012 at 2:41 PM

It’s amazing how many people will vote for a crap sandwich.

Gotta admire people who can sell “Pay more for less!”.

NoDonkey on April 17, 2012 at 2:41 PM

http://www.gallup.com/poll/150743/Obama-Romney.aspx

2012 – The year liberalism died in America

1984 in real life on April 17, 2012 at 2:42 PM

WI Dems running on platform of property-tax hikes

A question for Barrett and Falk:

If the budget is balanced, Why raise taxes?

WisRich on April 17, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Motto of the WEA Ins Trust:

Gentleman, we must protect our phoney baloney jobs!!

Rich on April 17, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Governments in Wisconsin had no choice but to pay their prices when unions played hardball to keep this sinecure in place.

WEA Trust would not even give the government claims data so the governments could shop around. If you can’t break down your coverage into claims filed and premiums paid, you aren’t able to compare the premuims WEA Trust was charging against another broker’s offer.

Wethal on April 17, 2012 at 2:43 PM

A question for Barrett and Falk:

If the budget is balanced, Why raise taxes?

WisRich on April 17, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Silly. So they can spend any surplus into a deficit. It’s how things are done, don’t you know.

totherightofthem on April 17, 2012 at 2:43 PM

If the budget is balanced, Why raise taxes?

WisRich on April 17, 2012 at 2:42 PM

There you go, being rational again….

Wethal on April 17, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Look over there…. a Lt Governor in Hooters shorts.

ObamatheMessiah on April 17, 2012 at 2:37 PM

The woman in the shorts is the spokesman for the gov.

The Lt. Gov is the one the local liberal talk show host falsely attacked for “pulling train

The liberals are pulling out the stops with the misogyny up there.

forest on April 17, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Walker is polling well, but we will not have Voter ID in place for the recall, so, Hello Vote Fraud! As to the latest tactic…I am left wondering why the staffer working at Hooters over a decade ago means Walker (who I assume never worked at Hooters himself) should be recalled today. Just in case you were wondering: spending 20 years in Jeremiah Wright’d church, and be president. Wait tables to pay the bills, and you’re not worthy to work in politics. The hypocrisy is astounding, and just like the attack on Ann Romney, it will blow up in their faces. War on women, indeed.

englishqueen01 on April 17, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Look over there…. a Lt Governor in Hooters shorts.

ObamatheMessiah on April 17, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Hoo-yah! I’ll vote for her. What’s her name? /

platypus on April 17, 2012 at 2:47 PM

If you own any kind of real estate, you’re going to pay more to the local government. Most of the people hit by this ain’t gonna be 1%’ers.

Doughboy on April 17, 2012 at 2:39 PM

It isn’t just people who own real estate who are hit by it. Anyone who rents is also hit by it. I’ve seen it before though, idiots who claim it isn’t their problem because they just rent and then who don’t understand why the landlord raises the cost when their current contract expires.

Which actually is a pretty devastating attack on just how “good” some of those now disgruntled (well, OK they always were, just more so at the moment) WEAC teachers are at their job actually.

Betenoire on April 17, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Hmmm. So Sandra Fluke can’t get the church to pay for her birth control = war on women. But a young girl working at Hooters =/= war on women?

Bitter Clinger on April 17, 2012 at 2:47 PM

I’ve heard that WI residents want to pay higher property taxes, just like the super rich want to pay higher income taxes.

BobMbx on April 17, 2012 at 2:48 PM

If the budget is balanced, Why raise taxes?

WisRich on April 17, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Heresy!!!!! We must have ever more revenue to spend!!!! Btw, what’s a budget?
//Democrats

Bitter Clinger on April 17, 2012 at 2:50 PM

What do we want? HIGHER TAXES

When do we want them? NOW!

Yeah, always a winning campaign strategy. Even Martin O’Malley wasn’t stupid enough to push through higher taxes in the People’s Republic of Maryland until after he got reelected.

Happy Nomad on April 17, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Walker is polling well, but we will not have Voter ID in place for the recall, so, Hello Vote Fraud! As to the latest tactic…I am left wondering why the staffer working at Hooters over a decade ago means Walker (who I assume never worked at Hooters himself) should be recalled today. Just in case you were wondering: spending 20 years in Jeremiah Wright’d church, and be president. Wait tables to pay the bills, and you’re not worthy to work in politics. The hypocrisy is astounding, and just like the attack on Ann Romney, it will blow up in their faces. War on women, indeed.

englishqueen01 on April 17, 2012 at 2:46 PM

I’m wondering if the New Black Panthers will be setting up shop at Wisconsin polling places.

Bitter Clinger on April 17, 2012 at 2:52 PM

I <3 Hooters gurlz. She's got my vote! Oh, wait–she's not running? So….what's the issue?

quikstrike98 on April 17, 2012 at 2:52 PM

slut shaming? Is that a Dem tactic now? I thought free birth control was Fluke’s territory.

DHChron on April 17, 2012 at 2:52 PM

It isn’t just people who own real estate who are hit by it. Anyone who rents is also hit by it. I’ve seen it before though, idiots who claim it isn’t their problem because they just rent and then who don’t understand why the landlord raises the cost when their current contract expires.

Betenoire on April 17, 2012 at 2:47 PM

True, but I was just including folks who are going to see it immediately and not in a hidden cost kind of way like renters would. You’re right though. Anyone with a roof over their head pretty much will be affected by this.

Doughboy on April 17, 2012 at 2:53 PM

more taxes please!

also charge me an arm and a d!ck for gas. I’m down. Dems!

DHChron on April 17, 2012 at 2:54 PM

WALKER will win and set the precedent across the nation for defeating unions and their liberal progressive ways.

UNIONS ARE DESTROYING AMERICA

Unions are severely damaging whole industries
Unions are ruining public education
Unions are costing you billions of tax dollars
Unions are fundamentally anti-democratic
Government unions are bankrupting cities and states

Brushjumper on April 17, 2012 at 2:54 PM

This must be the Democrat War on Women – piling on hard working waitresses – pathetic.

Tigerbythetail on April 17, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Stupid is as stupid does. WI voters must be about tapped out.

FerdtheMoonCat on April 17, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Now that is a strategy only a ‘rat could come up with: “I’m going to raise your taxes and my opponent has a cute former Hooter’s girl on his staff, so vote for me.”

Bishop on April 17, 2012 at 3:03 PM

The Lt. Gov is the one the local liberal talk show host falsely attacked for “pulling train”

The liberals are pulling out the stops with the misogyny up there.

forest on April 17, 2012 at 2:44 PM

O_O

Wow.

How did that radio douchebag not get dragged out of his studio by management?

Bishop on April 17, 2012 at 3:07 PM

WALKER will win and set the precedent across the nation for defeating unions and their liberal progressive ways.

Brushjumper on April 17, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Their ever rising levels of desperation make me smile.

Roy Rogers on April 17, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Now that is a strategy only a ‘rat could come up with: “I’m going to raise your taxes and my opponent has a cute former Hooter’s girl on his staff, so vote for me.”

Bishop on April 17, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Their opposition research needs to post more images of Ciara

Roy Rogers on April 17, 2012 at 3:10 PM

How did that radio douchebag not get dragged out of his studio by management?

Bishop on April 17, 2012 at 3:07 PM

You didn’t ask that seriously…See Bob Beckel, Bell maher et al.

cozmo on April 17, 2012 at 3:11 PM

hahahhahahahaha

the Dems are gonna lose…even to mittens

these are the times that make life worth living

DHChron on April 17, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Look for the union libel.

2Tru2Tru on April 17, 2012 at 3:16 PM

You didn’t ask that seriously…See Bob Beckel, Bell maher et al.

cozmo on April 17, 2012 at 3:11 PM

No really. Was the guy a local radio yutz or is he national, because I can’t imagine a local radio station letting that go.

Bishop on April 17, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Walker for VP. Yea, that’s the ticket.

msupertas on April 17, 2012 at 3:18 PM

What the good people of Wisconsin need to do, and especially certain county elections folk, is to withhold some of the results until after Dane and Milwaukee counties report 100%, then come in.

This was done in the last WI election to oust Prosser. Which failed.

Waukesha and St. Croix counties could easily do this, as could Outagamie or Winnebago counties.

Seriously, GOP elections coordinators and chairmen in the counties need to withhold the ballots until the big ones report.

UODuckMan on April 17, 2012 at 3:19 PM

I live in Texas and have signed up with a law firm that fights the city’s view of the worth of my house every year unless I tell them not to. It only costs me 10% of the taxes saved for the year. This is typically about $40-50.

Those pricks in the city keep trying to tell me that my house is valued like 10-20 thousand more than I could ever sell it. There are just liars trying to take from other people.

jeffn21 on April 17, 2012 at 3:20 PM

I wonder if any of the Dems harshing on the Hooters Girl complained about their Dem legislators hanging out at the Tilted Kilt during the Madison Uprising?

AScott on April 17, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Update: I suspect that even Democrats will know this is a losing platform — which may be why they’re focusing on slut-shaming Walker aide Ciara Matthews for a college job as a waitress at Hooters.

WAR ON WOMEN!!!

KS Rex on April 17, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Is having a girl that works for you that used to work for Hooters a bad thing now?

I am so confused by Democrat logic.

milcus on April 17, 2012 at 3:30 PM

I think your Wisconsin democrat party is going to go the way of the Texas democrat party. Not a single state wide office and they are about to lose even the municipalities down here.

That balanced budget requirement is a real problem for dems isn’t it? Let’s take it national.

DanMan on April 17, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Dems apalled that a Rep aide worked at Hooter’s?

Really!?

Where do you begin to explain that they have no moral ground to stand on?

WTF, are they THIS dense?

NapaConservative on April 17, 2012 at 3:33 PM

jeffn21 on April 17, 2012 at 3:20 PM

who do you use Jeff? Mine takes 30%

DanMan on April 17, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Walker is polling well, but we will not have Voter ID in place for the recall, so, Hello Vote Fraud!
englishqueen01 on April 17, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Rule #1 of RomneyAir: Any poll other than Fox News or Rasmuseen is not real.

Rule #2 of RomneyAir: When a Republican loses it’s because of voter fraud

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Trouble is, Apartment and dormitory dwellers don’t have to write that check to the property tax agency.

And let’s face it, the class hatred that the libs are using as their campaign plank is working, and half the electorate is all for ‘taxing those rich b@$tard$ who can own homes and commercial buildings must be punished.’

I don’t see this as a losing strategy, at least in the cities.

LegendHasIt on April 17, 2012 at 3:36 PM

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Ed, can you swat this pesky threadsnatcher? Why a poster like Cindy Mumford thinks he’s okay is beyond me. We get it ed, you’re angry, you have Romney issues. Be gone until you get over it squirt.

DanMan on April 17, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Rule #1 of RomneyAir: Any poll other than Fox News or Rasmuseen is not real.

Rule #2 of RomneyAir: When a Republican loses it’s because of voter fraud

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Here’s an O’DumDum vote we’ll never get back. What a shame.

NapaConservative on April 17, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Running on raising property taxes. Now that is a winner./sarc

SC.Charlie on April 17, 2012 at 3:45 PM

for the non-Badgers, let’s talk about Wisconsin’s “progressive” property tax system. a very complicated system that sends A LOT of money to the state where it gets “shuffled” and sent back down. The result? NOBODY focuses on how much gets spent because the number is masked by the state-aid. Walker’s proposals aim to fix that by reducing the state-aid and let the residents of the particular school/city/county see what really gets spent and decide whether they want it.

teejk on April 17, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Would you expect anything less from the party of Tax and Spend?

DDay on April 17, 2012 at 4:09 PM

The real question: Does Warren Buffett’s secretary pay property taxes in Wisconsin?

J.E. Dyer on April 17, 2012 at 4:19 PM

After Walker wins the recall, he should double-down and crush the unions once and for all. He should include Emergency Service Unions in the deal, and make Wisconsin Right to Work.

Iblis on April 17, 2012 at 4:20 PM

teejk on April 17, 2012 at 3:46 PM

sounds whack but in Houston my house has 9 jurisdictions taxing it, most of those jurisdiction have off year, oddball vote opportunities and there has been recent legislation to make them all be on regular combined dates

DanMan on April 17, 2012 at 4:30 PM

I am from Wisconsin. We can not put up yard signs because we have grandchildren in the local public school. I am not the only one who is “not advertising” that we Stand with Walker. Many of us are only trying to protect our children from the wrath of the union. Wish us luck.

HOOLiBAR6 on April 17, 2012 at 4:39 PM

Rule #1 of RomneyAir: Any poll other than Fox News or Rasmuseen is not real.

Rule #2 of RomneyAir: When a Republican loses it’s because of voter fraud

angryed on April 17, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Rule #1 of angryed: Any poll who reveals its demographics and puts them to the test should not be used by anybody, especially if Fox is in the name.

Rule #2 of angryed: If even you have no way to argue against the actual blog post, pull out a comment and attack that instead.

PastorJon on April 17, 2012 at 4:39 PM

First rule of Romney Rlub:
Everyone else is an 0bama operative.

That is the only rule of Romney Club.

LegendHasIt on April 17, 2012 at 4:49 PM

I live in Minnesota and mark silver spoon dayton is our gov so I have a message for my neighbors in Wisconsin….Walker, Walker, Walker,,,,you are idiots if you take him down

crosshugger on April 17, 2012 at 4:52 PM

HOOLiBAR6 on April 17, 2012 at 4:39 PM

You are indeed not alone. Who wants to invite the thugs? And on the road, who wants to be stopped for doing 26mph in a 25mph zone for displaying a “I Stand with Walker” bumper sticker?

I think the Walker supporters now know what Anne Frank felt like (realizing that comment may get me banned, but it’s meant to be true, not in jest).

teejk on April 17, 2012 at 4:59 PM

DanMan on April 17, 2012 at 4:30 PM

It is “whack” but we are “home” to the “progressive” movement and our system let’s them “redistribute wealth” (does it sound like Obamatuer took notes)?

By paring the state-aid, Walker is putting “transparency” (Obamatuer must have missed that session) into the system. People are much more likely to attend a local budget meeting than a state budget meeting.

When they actually get to see what they are spending $$$ on, they are apt to either say “I want that” or “whoa!!!”.

teejk on April 17, 2012 at 5:20 PM

So what they are using is guaranteed to lose them the election. Obviously at some point they actually believed these approaches were sheer genius tactics.

Wow.

dogsoldier on April 17, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Vote for me so I can RAISE your taxes!

Yeah, that’ll work. /s

GarandFan on April 17, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Most of the people hit by this [tax] ain’t gonna be 1%’ers.

Doughboy on April 17, 2012 at 2:39 PM

For tax purposes, they will be.

PersonFromPorlock on April 17, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Great plan! My property taxes in Marion county, FL were close to $600 a year which included Homestead exemption…to high (3 ac and house on stilts), imo. Moved to Dixie county, FL, downsized to 1 ac (2 lots), 320 sq ft living space and, paid $172 for last year (apparently no property tax but a required payment for garbage and something else…garbage has to be transported to another county because of water tables and swamps). I’ve complained about that price, but they say that is the lowest for Dixie county. How much are property taxes in WI now? ;-)

Karmi on April 17, 2012 at 7:08 PM

Some day they will come out and say it:

“No property. Not unless you’re me.”

WeekendAtBernankes on April 17, 2012 at 7:19 PM

What I don’t understand is why the union membership would go to the mat to retain WEA Trust insurance… They’d fight to have WEA Trust as the exclusive health insurance provider (read that: “Monopoly”), only so the Trust could rape the school districts.

Then when the teachers were looking for raises, they’d wonder why there wasn’t any money left. Turns out that maybe their health insurance costs weren’t actually rising the way WEA Trust claimed every year.

It’s just as pathetic as it is amusing.

the botnet on April 17, 2012 at 8:48 PM

The strongest arguments are on the way. Wait until the Milwaukee school teacher “sick day” fiasco goes viral….

psychocyber on April 17, 2012 at 9:14 PM

No really. Was the guy a local radio yutz or is he national, because I can’t imagine a local radio station letting that go.

Bishop on April 17, 2012 at 3:17 PM

It was in Madison.
Even the Russkies would call the Madison horde a bunch of f*ning communists.
So long as it’s a conservative they’re trashing, no harm, no foul.

VelvetElvis on April 17, 2012 at 9:31 PM