Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
No one has covered the tax and spend policies of Tax Hell, Wisconsin (i.e., Franklin) more extensively than yours truly since I started blogging in 2007.
The predominant attitude in Franklin among elected, taxing officials for many years has been that there is absolutely no way we can produce an annual budget without spending and property tax levy increases.
Typically in Franklin, we throw up every imaginable regulatory or tax obstacle in the way of economic development and job creation that ends up elsewhere (Can we say Meijer’s?).
This year, the city of Franklin commendably has, so far, pushed a budget with no property tax levy increase. Of course, that will be offset and then some by the fiscally irresponsible bunch who run our public schools who think the taxpayers provide a continuously open tax and spend spigot. Their spin will be that the electorate approved a gargantuan package of referenda.
“I’ve been longing to blog about this for a long time” file. I’m fascinated and intrigued by this idea.
This goes back to September of last year when Marlboro Township of New Jersey instituted a program to reward local shoppers on their tax bills. The township has a population of just over 40,000, slightly larger than Tax Hell, WI (Franklin). Marlboro enacted a first of its kind program in the country allowing residents to reduce their property tax bill by spending money at local businesses.
How does it work? From The Frequently Asked Questions in Marlboro:
What is the Shop Marlboro Property Tax Reward program?
This program provides property tax incentives for Marlboro residents to keep their purchasing dollars for goods and services in Marlboro. To our knowledge the program is the first-of-its-kind in the United States! It was developed in furtherance of Mayor Hornik’s Plan for Progress in Marlboro.
How does the program work?
When you purchase goods or services from a participating Marlboro business, you will receive a credit toward your annual property tax bill. The program is open to all property owners in Marlboro Township.
Example: The price of your dinner for four people at a restaurant that is participating in the Shop Marlboro program with a 20% program rebate is $200. When paying the bill (either cash or credit card), just present your Shop Marlboro card, which is then swiped. Thereafter, $40 (less third-party program management and processing fees) will be applied as a credit against your annual property tax bill. Annually, when the Township issues its next property tax bill the cumulative transactions will show up as a tax credit, thereby reducing your tax due.
How much will it cost to register for the Shop Marlboro Property Tax Reward Program and to obtain the cards?
Nothing! It is free to Township residents. The cost to produce the initial batch of 30,000 Shop Marlboro swipe cards was borne solely by Investors Bank. THANK YOU INVESTORS BANK!!
So, imagine a similar program in Franklin. You wake up one morning and hit Starbucks on S. 27th Street for a latte and a cheese danish.
Now you head to the Franklin Target for some inexpensive children’s tops.
It’s lunchtime. Possibly a combination plate at Gus’ Mexican Cantina.
A few nights later, you have dinner at Casa di Giorgio.
On your way home you decice you need new tires so you stop at F & F Tire or Gerard's, both located on Rawson Avenue.
All of these visits to Franklin businesses are worth credits to your property tax bills. Interested?
I know I am. Of course more details are necessary. But this concept is worth exploring.
Unfortunately, Franklin is void of critical thinkers. This idea, no matter how exciting or promising or loaded with common sense would be too visionary and complex and out there for the Flintstones crowd we currently have running our local government.