Thursday, October 27th, 2016

A sow’s ear


I’m recovering from an ear infection of sorts. I think it started when I heard Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas do his imitation of the late Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier.

Counties should be allowed to tap into rising revenue from the state’s sales tax and keep some of the money for themselves, Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas said Wednesday.

Vrakas said he might seek state legislation that would permit counties to capture a share of revenue collected locally, using it to offset the cost of unfunded state mandates on county government.

“That’s only right – it’s only fair,” he said during a meeting in Milwaukee with members of the Journal Sentinel’s Editorial Board.

The former Republican state legislator noted that Waukesha County and others generate steadily increasing revenues through collections of the state’s 5% sales tax at local malls and other retail outlets.

“It’s only fair” to whom? The taxpayers?

If Vrakas really believes that the state is collecting too much money from the sales tax (“the state sales tax has increased steadily from $2.5 billion to $4 billion annually in the past 10 years”), rather than stick his nose in the trough maybe he should instead demand the state cut the sales tax rate and give his taxpayers a break. Furthermore, if Vrakas and his fellow county executives truly believe there are “unfunded state mandates” that are not paid for by shared revenue, his party, I’m told they are called Republicans, controls the state legislature and could begin repealing some of those “mandates.”*

Perhaps a county executive that has proposed a county budget that increased the tax levy and government spending (“increase from $251 million to $254 million, with property tax collections climbing 1.3%, from $90.1 million to $91.3 million”) should spend a little less time asking the state for more money and figure out how to spend less.

*Be proud of me. I’m resisting saying that I thought “mandates” would be outlawed by the proposed amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage.

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