Thursday, September 24, 2009

The County Budget Isn’t Your Campaign Credit Card!

I just sat through about 20 minutes of political talking points with very little substance and whole mountain of double talk. In other words, I just listened to Scott Walker give a speech proposing a 2010 budget that has more to do with his campaign for governor than it does with what is best for Milwaukee County. Essentially he is treating the Milwaukee County budget as if it is really his campaign's credit card, but unfortunately the rest of us have to deal with the maxed out balance later.

The most important thing to point out right from the top is this simple fact:

Walker's proposed budget for 2003 carried a total property tax levy of $218,708,524

Walker's proposed budget for 2010 carries a total property tax levy of $257,637,284

That amounts to an increase of over 18% in the property tax levy during his time as County Executive! Those are Walker's PROPOSED budget numbers, so they can't be laid at anyone else's feet but his (but God knows he will try). With this kind of increase between his first proposed budget and his most recent, he should have to answer a few questions the next time that he tries to lecture anyone about an increase in the tax levy. Reporters and the public should be demanding answers based on this reality rather than based in his delusionary talking points. Walker is just as much of a "big spender" as anyone else.

To further that point. It looks like Walker is not only going to rely on another increase in the tax levy (in HIS proposed budget) but he now wants Milwaukee County take on a massive amount of debt. Shamelessly after attacking the federal stimulus from the very beginning, now Walker has had a convenient change of heart. Now he is heavily relying on stimulus programs that help pay large amounts of interest on his planned increase in borrowing. Will real conservatives that really hate the stimulus hold him accountable?

During his reading of campaign talking points today, he said that he would reject front loading the money won by the county in the pension scandal lawsuit. While he apparently is against front loading that money to pay for his increased spending, he does not appear to be shy at all about front loading other monies. Essentially Walker is trying to spend three years of bonding in one year, and yes it just happens to be the same year that he is running for governor. He is perfectly willing to run up the Milwaukee County credit card for one year with the hopes of leaving the massive debt to the taxpayers as he again tries to leave town.

There is a lot of low hanging fruit that I could rail on after listening to Walker's campaign speech today, but there will certainly be much more time to address the rest. Right now I think that the most important action that we can take is to tell Scott Walker that the Milwaukee County budget is not his campaign's credit card and he should not be trying to use it as such!

Update: The money quote from the MJS story on the speech:

Despite his fiscal austerity theme, Walker's overall county budget would grow by
more than 6% to almost $1.5 billion next year. Greatly increasing borrowing for
capital projects and an expected influx of federal stimulus aid account for much
of the overall budget growth. Walker wants to more than triple annual borrowing
in 2010 to create his own local economic stimulus plan.


Aaron Rodriguez said...


Walker's budget proposals start with a 0% tax levy increase. Are you really blaming him for the Milwaukee County Board raising property taxes?

Cory Liebmann said...

try to go beyond his spin for a quick second...his proposed budget in 2003 called for a property tax levy of over $218 million (go look it up) he has added nearly $40 million (over 18%)to that number proposing a property tax levy of nearly $258 million. Those are from HIS NUBMERS from HIS OWN PROPOSALS. That is hardly a "0% tax levy increase".

Aaron Rodriguez said...

How about providing a source? Until you can provide a link, your opinion is just an opinion.

Cory Liebmann said...

wow that is an embarrassingly weak comment. i already provided the sources...walker's proposed 2003 and 2010 budgets...the figures are right there in black and white. Those walker proposed budgets are not online or i would have put in a link to what i did and go to the court house and pay for them if you really want to know the truth.

capper said...

That is the key, Cory. People like Aaron don't want to know the truth, and definitely don't want others to know it either.

Anonymous said...

Questions. Saying the levy is up 18% is somewhat cloudy, leaving the impression everyone’s property taxe rose 18% during that time.

Have you looked at how much the tax base grew during the same time?

Have you the numbers of a typical business or personal property...what rate, in real numbers, did those properties change by over that time? Of the rates that did change how much was because of the board voting for and how much was in Walker’s budget?

Tossing the phrase "18%" makes for a nonsensical political football but has no meat; without a balanced look at real numbers it is meaningless.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of weak, 12 hours and my post was not put up.

Cory Liebmann said...

comments that are posted within three days go up right away...usually only spam comes in later than that, so i'm not going to rush to post anything coming in that late.

regarding the actual issue, it is very simple and i'm not exactly sure why you are trying to make it into something overly complicated.

1. walker's first proposed budget= $218million tax levy

2. walker's most recent proposed budget=nearly $258million tax levy

3. that is an increase of nearly $40million (over 18%)during his time as county exec.

Given those simple facts, he and his followers can't run around pretending that he hasn't proposed raising the tax levy. it is simply not true but that is exactly the kind of misleading talking points that they are trying to push. exposing that specific deception with a simple fact is the entire point being made here. if you want to jump in the weeds on some other issue go right ahead, but i'm not going with you.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, hate to see you jump from the weeds with all the facts...after all it is 2.5% every year, since his time in office. Hmmm wonder what percentage the rest of the state and local area has risen too over the same time.

Wow, turns out Milwaukee county is below the average after all on levy increases during this time.

But, the whole truth is not what you were looking for when you tossed your political football.

Cory Liebmann said...

ok, you are having a conversation with yourself about things that are not being addressed in this blog post. I don't mind discussing them but it is off subject here. let me try to point out the simple points that are being made in this blog posting.

a. Walker is lying.
the point to his raising the tax levy 18 percent is not about if it is too much or not enough, it is about him running around talking about a zero precent increase when he has really caused an 18 percent increase. he is playing a shell game and being deceptive at best. that is the point of that entire discussion, that walker is lying about a "zero precentage increase" in the tax levy.

b. walker talks out of both sides of his mouth.
walker took the lead in attacking the federal stimulus but now he is apparantly in love with it because his entire budget relies heavily on it.

c. it is a credit card budget.
since when is it being "conservative" to front load three years of government borrowing and spending into one year (the same year that he is running for governor)? he can't run around pretending to be a "fiscal conservative" when he plans on going on that kind of a spending spree. his new budget plans on grossly running up the county's debt and having no plan for paying it back.

Anonymous said...

“Conversation with yourself”; Is that really how adults talk?

I addressed specifically your claim of “big spender” ref: 18% increase in the levy. I purposely left out the campaign credit card reference as it has no merit other than meaningless fodder. Your answer to these facts; walker is lying and walker is talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Where is the lie when his budget proposals offer no increase on a year to year basis? Are you expecting him to take credit for the county board increases that are vetoed and then overridden?

Cory Liebmann said...

you are talking to yourself on some of your early comments because you are talking about things not even in discussion in my blog posting.

he is using the budget like a credit card...he is borrowing huge amounts of money (three year's worth in one). He is increasing spending by more than double the rate of inflation. he is heavily relying on the federal stimulus that he used to attack.

the tax levy numbers are his numbers in his own proposed budgets and it shows an 18percent increase since he has been in office. you can't pawn it off on the county board when these are HIS NUMBERS FROM HIS OWN PROPOSED BUDGETS. No one made him propose that 18 percent increase, he did that all by himself as evidenced by his own budget proposals over the last seven years. deal with it.