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 baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
You thought Franklin’s $78-million referenda were eye-popping?
On November 6, voters in West Bend will go to the polls to cast ballots on a $119.3-million referendum, the largest in the history of the state of Wisconsin.
In a story in the Waukesha Freeman, you have to wait until 32nd paragraph, the 32nd paragraph, before you read the sentence, “Regardless, the referendum causes a tax hike.”
Franklin School Board members must be literally salivating, grinning from ear to ear as they watch West Bend from the sidelines. And I’ll throw their hand-picked superintendent in the mix, too.
This predictable bunch just keeps wanting to tax and tax and tax and tax and tax the bejeebers out of us.
Like Pavlov’s dog, they’re waiting and hoping, keeping their fingers cross that the West Bend referendum either passes, or comes close enough to passage that they can proudly proclaim, “You see. Taxpayers don’t mind spending lots of money on schools. They did it in West Bend. We can do it in Franklin!”
And they’ll propose a big, fat whopping referendum that they’ve almost certainly begun working on the day after the $78-million tax increase went down to a stinging defeat in April.
Referendum supporters in West Bend have gone to the same old, tired playbook for their spin and talking points.
There is the obligatory use of the word, “invest.” Approving the referendum is an “investment.”
Translation: They want to “spend” more money. INVEST=SPEND.
The $119.3-million referendum will be spaced over a period of a few consecutive years.
Translation: You’re going to get several big tax increases every year for the next few years. Doesn’t that feel much better?
And, if the referendum should fail, West Bend will simply do what Franklin and every other school district does when the voters say NO:
1) They will ignore the voters.
2) They will come back again and again and again and again and again until they get a referendum that ultimately passes.
Here in Franklin, a big school tax increase is likely. The School Board operates like there’s a skip in the record: “The state doesn’t give us enough money. The state doesn’t give us enough money. The state doesn’t give us enough money.”
If that were indeed the case, and it’s not, the Franklin School Board does have options, despite what member Sue Huhn says.
Huhn says the board has no other choice but to raise taxes, and by a lot.
Sure, that’s an option. It’s been used time and time again by the taxers and spenders, which has put us in a deep tax hell.
But there is another option, one that Huhn and her colleagues don’t want to consider. It would be a common sense approach taken by most hard-working families at times when costs outweigh incoming revenue: YOU STOP SPENDING.
Nothing, absolutely nothing today, even with the uncertainty of the state budget, is precluding the Franklin School Board from making cuts to avoid an outrageous, beyond the rate of inflation school tax levy. But they won’t do it. Why?
1) That would require hard, tough choices. They don’t want to do that.(Even though that’s what they were elected to do).
2) It’s much easier to simply round up a bunch of fellow tax-lovers, herd them to a School Board meeting, put cards in their hands telling them what to say at the appropriate time when called upon, and orchestrate and vote for a tax increase. (The card example actually does happen, for those who’ve never been to a meeting). And taxpayers are inconsistent when it to comes to their wallets. They will get in their cars and drive in any kind of weather several miles to the polls in April to vote NO on the referenda, yet they won’t get off their lounge chairs or couches to pick up a phone and call School Board members to politely ask them to hold the line on spending.
And why does that happen?
Maybe they’re just tired of fighting knowing that this prize fight never ends. The tax and spenders keep answering the next bell for the next round.
Karen Taubenheim of MenomeneeFallsNOW.com offers some great analysis on this, calling it “Tax Fatigue.”
Franklin, you are about to be held up, robbed, tied up, and tossed to the lions.
Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
FRANKLIN SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS ARE PLANNING A 5.6% INCREASE IN THE SCHOOL TAX LEVY, AND ANOTHER HUGE REFERENDUM. CONTACT SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS NOW TO TELL THEM YOU OPPOSE BIG TAX INCREASES!