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					        The TAX TIMES
                                                                                                February,
                                                                                                  2011
           Newsletter of the “BROWN COUNTY TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION.”                            Volume 26, Issue 4


                                                Branded.
Just weeks into the new state government, one in which Republican control has replaced Democrat control in
the Assembly, Senate, and Governor’s seat, the daily stream of news from the capitol is almost overwhelming.
In large part that’s driven by the pace with which Governor Walker is moving his agenda. In the midst of all
this I find myself thinking back to a day last March.

At the invitation of Jo Egelhoff, creator of the wonderful daily political and policy news blog foxpolitics.net, I
had the opportunity to hear Grover Norquist speak to a small political gathering in Madison. Norquist, a lead-
ing national conservative advocate, heads Americans for Tax Reform in Washington, D.C. (www.atr.org).

Norquist’s topic was “the Republican brand”. Branding has huge market advantages, as every day we make
instinctive decisions about where we eat or shop, what goods or services we buy, influenced by brand names
we’ve come to value and trust. Norquist contends that what most distinguishes Republicans from Democrats
in the minds of citizens is that Republicans are thought to stand for less government spending, and Democrats
for more. He said Republican “brand equity” – the value of the brand – results from voters concerned about
too much spending opting for GOP candidates because the name “Republican” means “less spending”.

With a graphic analogy, Norquist went on to talk about how brand equity can be damaged. “Let’s say”, he
said, “that you are drinking a bottle of Coke and half-way through the bottle you notice a rat’s head afloat in
the remaining drink at the bottom of the bottle. At that moment, you’re probably making a larger decision than
just not finishing that bottle. You’re probably deciding never to drink Coke again.” Driving home his point,
Norquist asserted that “the Republican who votes for higher spending is the rat’s head in the bottle of Coke --
they are doing permanent damage to the brand.”

While it seems counterintuitive, shared party control of government is the time when brand distinctions be-
come blurred, as all the arguing, impeding and tumult leave average citizens shrugging their shoulders, lament-
ing that there’s no difference between the parties. As evidenced over the past two years, it is the period when
one party has full control that the controlling party’s brand acquires bright, unmistakable clarity. In the elec-
tions of 2010 voters were convinced that they knew and understood exactly what the Democrat brand repre-
sents.

At the state level, like it or not, the Republicans will now have their brand defined. In 2012, voters will believe
they know exactly what the “GOP” label means. What will it be?

                                              Tom Sladek           - Treasurer,
                                                                     Brown County Taxpayers Association



 The BROWN COUNTY TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION
  In our 26th Year of Promoting Fiscal Responsibility in Government.
                                                        1
                                                     The TAX TIMES - February, 2011

Truth in Taxation.                                    Can Credit Cards Save National Debt. Update.
           Get ready for the usual cries to                                          Quietly, at some unnoticed time
magically fix Wisconsin’s budget by making
                                                      Taxpayers Money?      during the month of January the U. S. na-
“the rich” pay higher taxes. For perspective,                    A recent Press-Gazette article told   tional debt passed the $14 Trillion mark
there’s the state’s Comprehensive Annual              of Brown County employees authorized to          and now stands at $14,090,695,427,909.00
Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2009-10,             use credit cards to make purchases. It ex-       or an increase of about $159 Billion since
published in December. Deeply buried in the           plained the county uses a system of checks       the end of December. As the debt increases
report is a table breaking down personal tax          and balances to verify purchases apply to        so does the interest payment.
filers and tax liability by income                    budgeted items approved by a supervisor.                    Congress sets the debt limit, which
level. Those who casually assume wealthy                        While we hear stories of the fla-      now stands at $14.3 Trillion, and which will
people escape paying taxes should review it.          grant abuse of credit cards in the hands of      likely be reached by the end of February or
           Wisconsin residents with annual            public employees, particularly those em-         early March at the present rate of spending.
incomes above $1 million are barely more              ployed by the federal government, if used                   While the new Congress would
than one-tenth of one percent of all taxpayers        responsibly they could a tool to save taxpay-    like to freeze spending, they are finding it
but pay more than eight percent of all tax            ers and vendors some money.                      easier said than done. While they have iden-
collections.                                                    For example: Municipal units of        tified a number of potential cuts, they still
           Those with incomes between half a          government are responsible for buildings,        have a long way to go.
million and one million dollars represent             vehicles, and operations requiring a constant               The states and cities collectively
one-quarter of one percent of filers and pay          stream of supply and maintenance items.          have about $2.86 Trillion in debt, so it is
five percent of all taxes collected. Those            Many of them day to day items available          unlikely they will get any help from Wash-
who earn between $200,000 and half a mil-             from local vendors for immediate use. They       ington. In addition there are estimated un-
lion are just over 1.4 percent of filers and          should be as easy to obtain as possible.         funded liabilities of $112.3 Trillion lurking
pay 11.4 percent of all taxes.                                  Anything that simplifies and expe-     on the horizon for Social Security, Prescrip-
           Fifty-eight percent of revenue             dites the purchasing process, especially on      tion drugs and Medicare which will have to
comes from the 30 percent of filers in the            smaller items, can save taxpayers dollars.       be dealt with before long. They haven’t put
middle, with incomes between $50,000 and              with fewer formal purchase orders, payment       a total on unfunded government employee
$200,000. That’s spread across more than              Credit card use can eliminate purchase or-       pension plans yet.
850,000 filers. The total tax contribution            ders, payment checks, postage and clerical                  In his State of The Union address
shrinks as income levels go down.                     expense. The receipt for the purchase must       President Obama flatly said he would not
           Even taking into account the flexi-        be turned in for record keeping purposes.        sign any piece of legislation that contained
bility of wealthy taxpayers to defer income                     My experience as a former owner        any earmarks. He also proposed making
and minimize tax exposure, they contribute a          of a supply business providing tools and         “investments” in the future in education and
share of revenue far beyond their presence in         maintenance items to schools and govern-         research. His economic advisors claim that
the population. That isn’t necessarily wrong          ment units in the area, led mr to the conclu-    if Congress fails to raise the debt limit the results
but it puts a hole in the claim that high-            sion there had to be a better way for venders    would be “catastrophic” and that critics of rais-
income individuals are somehow responsible            accommodate this type of transaction.            ing the limit were ruled by “Insanity.”
for the state’s budget woes. Confiscate every                   We would be expected to mail out                  Probably it depends a lot as to what
penny from Wisconsin’s 3,000-or-so mil-               invoices for $3.00 item, and then wait a         your definition of “catastrophe” is
lionaires and you probably still couldn't plug        month for payment         While credit cards                                 Jim Frink - BCTA
the hole left by Doyle and the Democrats.             where not widely used at the time, it would
           The ideal tax code would encour-           definitely have saved us and our customers       “Americans will put up with anything
age productive activity to grow an economy            money. Now virtually all retailers accept        as long as it doesn’t block traffic.”
that generates both individual prosperity and         credit cards, which eliminate overhead ex-                      , , , Dan Rather
the revenue to finance necessary government           penses on both sides of a transaction. It can
                                                      also simplify ordering by mail or internet.      “Blessed are the young, for they
services. When, instead, taxation becomes a                                                            shall inherit the National Debt.”
means of venting frustration and resentment,                    For various reasons some vendors
                                                                                                                          . . . Herbert Hoover
bad things happen to everyone—including               are reluctant to accept orders or offer credit
                                                      to government accounts.                          “Public opinion in this country is eve-
those doing the venting.
           WISCONSIN CLUB FOR GROWTH                            Government units prepare an an-        rything.” . . . Abraham Lincoln
                                                      nual budget provides for maintenance and
                                                      other supply items. In order for the use of      “Never believe anything in politics
Candidates for Office Invited to At-                                                                   until it has been officially denied.”
tend Meetings. With Spring elections just             credit cards by employees to succeed without
                                                                                                                         . . . Otto Von Bismarck
around the corner, we remind all candidates for       making unauthorized purchases is to make it
                                                      a strict rule that each purchase receipt be      “Politicians are like diapers, they
public office they are cordially invited to attend                                                     both should be changed frequently
our meetings to be recognized and say a few           turned in for approval by a responsible su-
                                                      pervisor and be properly recorded as a           and for the same reasons”
words.      Meeting schedule on back page.                                                                             . . . Anonymous
                                                      budget expense.                          JF

                                                                           2
                                                The TAX TIMES - February, 2011

JANUARY MEETING NOTES.                                           Wisconsin Debt and Segregated Funds.
   Green Bay Assessor Speaks to BCTA.                                       Currently, Wisconsin is faced with a $3.3 billion dollar structural
          January 2011 BCTA meeting at Titletown                 deficit. One of the questions I am frequently asked is "what exactly is a struc-
Brewing Co.          Russ Schwandt, City of Green Bay As-        tural deficit?"
sessor, spoke about the functions and responsibilities of the               In order to understand structural deficits, let's envision two families
Assessor's Office. He explained that his office does not         purchase a refrigerator during a "no money down, no payment, and no interest
assess businesses, but assesses real estate. It is responsible   for 2 years" sale.
for the valuation of all real and personal property located                 The 1st family adds the cost for the refrigerator to their monthly
within the City of Green Bay for tax purposes. His goal is       budget from the day of purchase until the payment's due date. However, the
parity between properties, fair and equitable assessments        2nd family uses month to month current expenses budgeting. Their failure to
throughout the city. The valuation process operates inde-        account for the purchase will result in not having the means to pay for the re-
pendently of the budget and tax processes.                       frigerator when the payment is due.
          The Assessor's office does not set the tax rate nor               Wisconsin is like the 2nd family. The government has previously
raise taxes to cover municipal budgets. In Green Bay, the        purchased goods and services greater than incoming revenue can support in
Mayor and the City Council set the tax rate for the city.        the next 2 years. Even if last year's budget is frozen, the state is $3.3 billion short.
          Reviews are done annually, just after January 1,                  The budget is further complicated from segregated fund raids. Since
comparing sales to assessments. The rules for assessments        2003, you have read about numerous transportation fund raids totaling $1.3
are uniform across the state. The laws are very specific as      billion. A letter dated June 15, 2009 from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal
to how the work is carried out.                                  Bureau lists the additional following segregated accounts raided during the
          The Assessor's Office must be within 10 percent        same time period:
of market value, as defined by Statute, at least once in         • Recycling Fund - $119.9 million.
every 5 year period. Failure to comply with this require-        • Petroleum Inspection Fund - $119.9 million.
ment would result in a state ordered reassessment paid for       • Public Benefits Fund - $102.5 million.
by the local government. Green Bay property assessments          • Universal Service Fund -- Library Aid & Service Contracts
are currently at approximately 99 percent of fair market                    - $57.2 million.
value. Building permits provide information for adjusting        • Forestry Account of the Conservation Fund - $54.6 million.
assessments.                                                     • Nonpoint Account of the Environmental Fund - $33.4 million.
          Notices are sent out when valuations change.           • Environmental Management Account - $20.3 million.
Property owners may appeal their valuations to the Board         • Wireless 911 Fund - $20.3 million.
of Review. If not satisfied, they can take their cases to Cir-   • WHEDA - Dividends for Wisconsin - $16 million.
cuit Court. Finally, they may request a review by the Wis-       • Information Technology (Various Funds) - $7.3 million.
consin Department of Revenue, which requires a $100 fee.         • Agricultural Management Fund - $2.9 million.
          Mr. Schwandt noted that the foreclosure rate in        • Agricultural Chemical Cleanup Program Fund - $2.1 million.
the Green Bay area is lower than in the rest of the country.     • Health Insurance Premiums for Part-Time Employees (Various
He stated that the website for the City of Green Bay pro-              Funds) - $1.9 million.
vides lots of information about property values and the                     Wisconsinites deserve to know the specifics. As we move forward
assessment process that can be accessed from the Asses-          this session, you now know the baseline where the governor and state legisla-
sor's Office page.                                               ture are starting. It's from the baseline we'll work together in balancing the
          The County/Municipal Committee reported that           budget and stopping accounting gimmicks of the past. Rep. Kevin Peterson
the Brown County Board has voted to make supervisory
employees of the Brown County Sheriff's Department ex-            “It is not the business of politicians to please everyone.”
empt employees. Andy Nicholson, Brown County Super-                                                       . . . Margaret Thatcher
visor and candidate for Brown County Executive, ex-               “Some people think of football as a matter of life or death.
plained that this has been an issue he has advocated for sev-      I don’t like that attitude. I can assure them that it is much more
eral years.                                                       serious than that.”                         . . . Bill Shankly
          Troy Streckenbach, candidate For Brown County
Executive, expressed his concerns about the Brown County
budget and outlined his priorities and goals.                     Articles and views appearing in the “TAX TIMES” do not
          The next monthly meeting is scheduled for               necessarily represent the official position of the Brown County
Thursday, Feb. 17, at Titletown Brewing. Details on the           Taxpayers Association. We want to encourage discussion and
back page of this TAX TIMES. Dave Nelson, Secretary               input on current issues of taxpayer interest and invite your
                                                                  comments or articles suitable for future “TAX TIMES.” Please
           VISIT OUR WEBSITE                                      send them to the BCTA, P.O. Box 684, Green Bay, WI 54305-
             www.BCTAxpayers.Org                                  0684, or call Jim Frink at 336-6410.
        EMail, BCTA@ExecPc.Com                                    E-Mail BCTA@ExecPC.Com.


                                                                        3
                                                  The TAX TIMES - February, 2011

Consumer Choice Auto Insurance                                                  Top 10 ways government kills jobs in America.
                                                                                          There was an interesting article in the Washington Exam-
        Repeal Act Introduced.                                                  iner by Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Insti-
          One of the more questionable items included in last year state        tute. Since most of our politicians seem to agree that there will be no
budget mandating that all motorists carry a minimum amount of liability         recovery unless somehow America gets back to work, this could be
insurance. In many cases this was far in excess of what they presently          rewritten as a primer on how government could partner with business
carried or even needed and imposed an unnecessary expense burden.               to create more jobs in America. The complete article is available
While we all recognize the need for liability protection and taking re-         upon request.
sponsibility it should be left to individuals to make the decision of insur-
ance coverage.                                                          JF      1. Uncertainty and business: Business never knows when or
                                                                                even if proposed regulations and tax law change will apply making it
          In a press conference this week, I alongside Senator Frank            difficult to make plans for the future.
Lasee (R-DePere) introduced legislation called the Consumer Choice              2. Uncertainty and the consumer: At the same time, one
in Auto Insurance Bill which would repeal the cost-driving portions of          never knows what taxes and regulations will effect business custom-
the auto insurance mandate passed under Governor Doyle. This repeal             ers, and the ability to forecast future business conditions.
legislation would allow individuals to take control of their auto insur-        2. High corporate taxes: The U.S. has some of the highest cor-
ance decisions instead of forcing families to abide by government set limits.   porate taxes in the world. While this is often viewed by politicians as
          Nearly 95% of accidents are covered under the former mini-            a source of revenue, it greatly reduces the ability of business to ex-
mum coverage limits, so increasing the limits only force individuals to         pand and add good paying jobs.
purchase coverage that they may not have even wanted. This will also            4. Unhealthy health insurance costs: The high costs of pro-
eliminate the "stacking" provision that has doubled or tripled coverage         viding employee health insurance, compounded by government
in some households and caused premiums to skyrocket.                            mandates makes it difficult for many business’s, especially small
          For example, take a 26 year old, single mother, residing in           business to hire additional employees.
Milwaukee who drives a 1993 Plymouth Acclaim scraping to get                    5. The threat of unionization: While more government policies
by. She has a non-standard auto insurance policy with liability                 are enacted which favor unionization, this is probably the biggest
only. She paid $1,177.92 per year to insure her vehicle under the old           factor in encouraging companies to move their production facilities
laws. Now, thanks to the Democrats and their changes in the budget,             overseas.
she is forced to pay $1786.68, an increase of $608.76 per year or a             6. Inability to hire and fire: Lack of flexibility enforced by regu-
52% increase to insure her vehicle.                                             lation on companies wishing to downsize, lay off or fire certain em-
          The democrats buried their unnecessary and over-reaching              ployees or even add certain employees when needed makes it diffi-
auto insurance policy in the 1,700 page state budget. We will not do            cult to operate at a profit.
that. Our policy will go through the entire legislative process as a            7. Trade restrictions: Tariffs and trade restrictions between coun-
stand-alone bill because we know that it's the right decision for Wis-          tries may benefit some companies but often end up being a job killer.
consin families.                                                                8. Credit: Government regulations on financial institutions in many
          My legislation would put the decision in the hands of the con-        cases makes it more difficult for business to receive necessary credit
sumer, putting government and trial lawyers aside, and putting indi-            to operate or expand. Particularly true with small or new business.
viduals and families across the state first.
                                                                                9. Increasing unemployment insurance: While we all want
          It's a shame that I have to even introduce this legislation, be-
                                                                                to ease the burden on the unemployed, the cost of extending unem-
cause last session the governing party should have been concentrating
                                                                                ployment insurance to 73 weeks imposes a tremendous expense bur-
more on creating jobs instead of increasing auto insurance premiums
                                                                                den on business and discourages job formation. It is estimated that
for Wisconsin drivers. This legislation will free up resources for small
                                                                                unemployment could now be 6.8% rather than 9.0% present rate.
businesses and families across this state and get Wisconsin working
                                                                                10. Encouraging frivolous lawsuits: This increases the cost of
again.                                                Rep. John Nygren
                                                                                doing business in America by an estimated $900 Billion per year in
                                                                                excessive tort litigation. That amounts to 6.5% of our GNP or
Thank you, Jo Egelhoff.                                                         $12,000 annually for a family of four. This waste drives up costs for
          For the past 4 1/2 years, Jo Egelhoff of Appleton arises              consumers as well as killing jobs. We acknowledge that business
at 2:30 A.M. on weekdays to search many of the newspapers and                   should be responsible for its actions, but some type of tort reform is
news sources of Wisconsin and the rest of the country for inclusion             in order. Requests are ignored by Congress and state legislators in
in her daily blog, FoxPoliticsNews.Net.                                         preference to the personal injury lawyer lobby.
          Those of us who receive it each day will attest that it an                        We would like to add #11, which could apply to Wiscon-
invaluable and complete source of information as to what is hap-                sin in particular which would be to limit excessive regulations and
pening in the state and nation including diversified views .                    mandates often making it needlessly expensive and cumbersome to
          She has announced that as of January 28, she will take a              do business here. While regulations in the name of environmental
Months hiatus to care for her mother in law in Florida. As much                 protection may be in order, economic impact should also be a con-
as we will miss receiving FoxPolitics.Net during that time, we                  sideration.
wish her the best and hope she also receives some well deserved                                                                   Jim Frink – BCTA
rest until her return.   The Brown County Taxpayers Association


                                                                           4
                                               The TAX TIMES - February, 2011
                                                in assistance money to provide jobs/                 Gov. Walker has invited Illinois
Things That Make Us                                                                          business to consider locating in Wiscon-
                                                          *    *    *    *    *
Wonder.                                                  Despite predictions that can-
                                                                                             sin, but they pointed out that we still
                                                                                             have more taxes than they do.
               * * * * *                        celing plans for the “High-speed” rail
         Plans are underway to re-open          line between Milwaukee and Madison                     *    *    *    *   *
an iron mine in Iron County which has           would cost Wisconsin jobs, no one                     Where are all the people who
been closed since the l960’s. It is esti-       really came up with a compelling rea-        want to “Tax the rich,” in order to solve
mated that as a result 600 people could         son that we had to have it. Protesters       all of our government spending prob-
be employed in the county that has lost         from Milwaukee will still have to take       lems when we constantly read about
11% of its population since 2000.               the bus to Madison.                          huge multi-million dollar salaries being
         If the major reason of re-                      So far the official job loss from   paid to athletes in order to keep them
opening the mine is to provide jobs per-        canceling the project stands at 12.          happy and the astronomical salaries
haps someone should dust off the plans          Two were from private companies              paid to popular entertainers.
for the copper mines planned for Forest         looking for business and 10 from the                  Consider the money to pay
and Oneida counties a few years ago             DOT doing preliminary layout work.           these idols comes either directly or indi-
but which were abandoned due to envi-           Also a number of law firms were gear-        rectly from the pockets from average
ronmental concerns.                             ing up for extra business from legal         people struggling to make a decent liv-
                                                services connected with contracts and        ing. Since many of them are in lower
           *    *    *    *    *                land purchases for the rail line.            tax brackets shifting their disposable in-
         One big reason blamed for our                   Meanwhile in Florida, which         come to those in higher brackets may
economic and employment problems is             went for the railroad handout finds that     be a boost to government budgets.
the number of jobs shipped overseas by          it is now $3 Billion over budget as a re-
established American companies.                                                                        *    *    *    *   *
                                                sult. California figures it will cost at               A Jan. 21, New York Times arti-
         Go into any store and you will         least $5.5 Billion of their own money as
find products once proudly made in Wis-                                                      cle claims that lawmakers are consider-
                                                they proceed with planning.                  ing ways to make it possible for states to
consin labeled “made in China.” Maybe,
just maybe this trend can be reversed.                    *    *    *    *    *              declare bankruptcy to correct their
         Case in point is the Master Lock                 Is the money in the Social Se-     budget problems. Similar to what busi-
Co of Milwaukee. As domestic labor              curity “trust fund” safe?     In a letter    ness’s do when they can’t pay their bills.
costs kept rising, they kept sending pro-       from Senator Kohl to one of our mem-                   It is claimed that much of the
duction to plants in Mexico and China,          bers, he explained that $2.5 Trillion of     states problems are caused by pension
along with about 1,000 production jobs.         trust fund reserves has been invested        obligations and declaring bankruptcy would
Unfortunately when production leaves            in U. S. Treasury Bonds, which also          make it possible to restructure these
the country a lot of our know-how goes          provide interest income for the fund.        plans. It would probably disrupt the mu-
along also.                                               Payment of full benefits to re-    nicipal bond market as much of the debt
         However, Master Lock found             cipients is projected until about 2037       is in bonds to finance state debt.
that the Chinese are learning about mini-       but new options will probably be neces-                Bankruptcy lawyers probably
mum wage laws and other benefits, and           sary by that time.                           like the idea but usually when someone
the cost of their labor is rapidly rising.                *    *    *    *    *              declares bankruptcy under any circum-
Also currency value fluctuations have                                                        stances someone else loses their in-
                                                          Despite campaign promises to
had their effect. The result is that some                                                    vestment and this would have a huge
                                                the contrary, Governor Quinn and the
of their production is being returned to                                                     trickle effect effecting all of us.
                                                Illinois legislature pushed through a
the United States and Mexico.                   67% “temporary” personal income tax                    *    *    *    *   *
         According to the Journal/              increase. The next thing they did was                   The new Congress is taking
Sentinel article employment in the union-       to approve the purchase of $15 Billion       their campaign promises seriously, and
ized Milwaukee plant stands at 379,             in bonds, the purchase of which would        so far have identified a possible $2.5
down from a high of 1,300. While they           be to finance pensions for retired state     Trillion in cuts which could be applied to
may never reach that total again, per-          employees and legislators. In other          the Federal Budget over the next 10 years.
haps other companies in similar situa-          words, much of the tax increase is for                  This includes cuts to Amtrack
tions give Wisconsin a second chance.           state employee pension benefits.             subsidies, Nat. Endowment of The Arts,
           *    *    *    *    *                          Taxpayers United of Illinois       remaining stimulus spending, the federal
          An article in the New York Times      points out that their pension plans are      workforce, public broadcasting, and
reported that a Massachusetts manufac-          among the most generous in the coun-         about 50 other programs including cut-
turer that was the third largest producer of    try with some state officials receiving      ting back Obamacare.
solar panels in the country was moving          over $200,000 annual pensions. The                      No doubt there will be fierce
production to China and laying off 800          sales tax rate in Chicago is 10.25%,         debate defending some of these pro-
workers. Making matter worse, the State         and much higher for certain services         grams judged on their merits.
had recently given the company $43 Million      such as hotel rooms                                    *    *    *    *   *
                                                The TAX TIMES - February, 2011
          We acknowledge that attorneys          pleted the plant is supposed to convert          12 states allow same day registration, and it is
are an integral part of government op-           150 tons of waste material daily into            argued that there is ample opportunity for
erations assuming their function is to           methane gas to generate electricity.             people to register and establish their eligibility
protect the interests of taxpayers. How-                  Some of the concerns are of             to vote in a district prior to elections.
ever a recent Press-Gazette article dis-         odors, environmental damage, and nega-                      There are probably valid arguments
closed that a total of $1.5 Million has al-      tive impact of real estate values on adja-       on both sides of the question. Voter fraud is a
ready been rung up for attorney fees in          cent properties.                                 serious problem that must be prevented,
the cities dispute with Younkers over their               In the meantime the state has           while people should not be discouraged from
claim for $5.7 Million. While we could al-       canceled plans to build a similar plant at       exercising the privilege of voting.
low that placing responsibility in creating      the UW-Madison. Reasons given that a                          * * * * *
this mess was probably due to misun-             conventional coal or gas fired plant will be                Ever since Gov. Elbridge Gerry of
derstandings in the first place you can          less expensive to build and operate.             Massachusetts took it upon himself to re-
place a lot of legal double talk and testi-                  * * * * *                            draw the voting districts of his state to his
mony in $1.5 Million worth of court docu-                  While some citizens wee pro-           advantage back in 1812, redistricting has
ments. Right now taxpayers are on the            testing placement of a biomass energy            always been a controversial subject.
hook for that amount plus the original           producing plant in their neighborhood, the                  One of his districts was so lop-
$5.7 Million and it would be nice to get         Green Bay City Council has been debat-           sided that it resembled a salamander, and
this settled and move on.                        ing ordinances to regulate the placement         thus the word “Gerrymander” was created.
           *    *    *    *     *                of wind turbines within the city. While          Sort of like the origination of “Obamacare.”
         Gov. Walker has announced he            they may not bring the same objections                      Every 10 years the result of the
would like to impose strict limits on local      as a biomass plant their construction so         US Census are used to redraw state and
property tax increases, and also to give         far has been controversial.                      federal. voting districts. They are sup-
local governments more tools with which                    There have been several wind-          posed to be geographical based on popu-
to manage costs. In the meantime he              farms built in rural areas of the county,        lation, but since some districts may contain
may want to cut state aids to municipali-        with mixed acceptance. Some people               more Democrats than Republicans, and
ties even more to reduce state ex-               say they don’t mind them but others say          vice-versa, the party in power usually de-
penses. These all sound great.                   they are noisy and disturbing. In any            cides where the lines will be drawn.
         We are sure he will appreciate          event it will probably be a while before we                 Fortunately Wisconsin didn’t lose
any suggestions as to how to achieve             all have a windmill in our back yards.           a Congressional seat as expected this
these goals and you can send your                            * * * * *                            year, but with computers used to analyze
thoughts to Governor Scott Walker, P.O.                                                           population, voting and economic trends the
                                                            Since 1967 Wisconsin and Min-
Box 7863, Madison, WI 53707-7863.                                                                 ghost of Elbridge Gerry is still present.
                                                 nesota have had a reciprocity pact whereby
           *    *    *    *     *                residents living in one state but working in                  * * * * *
          Initiatives that the Legislature is    the other would only pay income taxes in                   All of us are excited about the
now considering are reforming tort re-           the state they lived, and their respective       success of the Packers, and acknowledge
form by limiting punitive damages in per-        Departments Of Revenue would make                that their presence means a lot to the
sonal injury lawsuits and making the             the necessary adjustments between the            economy of Green Bay.
plaintiff responsible for payment of all         two states. This saves taxpayers from                      Regardless of the Super Bowl, at
legal fees in the case of lawsuits consid-       having to file returns in the state they lived   this time there is some uncertainty as to
ered to be frivolous by the courts.              in and the state they worked in. and ef-         whether there will even be a 2011 season
          Also considered for repeal are         fected about 57,000 Wisconsin workers            due to the NFL players contract.
the provisions inserted by Gov. Doyle in         and 22,000 from Minnesota. Since Wis-                      One article has the players union
last years budget which increased the            consin has more persons earning income           petitioning Congress to intervene and push
amount of liability insurance coverage           in Minnesota, we own them more.                  the leagues owners to agree to settlement.
required by state motorists. While we all                   A recent Journal/Sentinel article     Another article has the players union work-
acknowledge that motorists should take           reports that through the years Wisconsin         ing with Teamsters and AFL-CIO to press
responsibility for their actions increasing      apparently has fallen behind in payments.        their side of the issue.
the limits imposed additional expense to         Now Minnesota claims we owe them $58                       Included in the equation are the
many motorists and increased the limits          Million, including a million in interest which   TV networks, Las Vegas betting, publicly
attorneys could sue defendants to the            is adding up at the rate of $4,584 per day.      owned stadiums, advertisers, millionaire
advantage of the attorneys.                      Is that what happens when units of govern-       owners and millionaire players all wanting
                                                 ment try to do business which each other?        a piece of the pie. Unfortunately the fans
           *    *    *    *     *                                                                 of the game can just sit and watch.
         Ashwaubenon residents are                            * * * * *                                     Whatever the outcome, you can
concerned about plans to construct a                       Many people, in an effort to assure
                                                                                                  be sure of one thing, and that It will cost us
$23 Million Biomass energy producing             that elections are honest want to require
                                                                                                  even more to cheer on the Packers.
plant in a largely residential and small         picture ID’s when voting and no longer allow
business neighborhood. When com-                 election day registrations at the polls. Only                 * * * * *

                                                                      6
                                                  The TAX TIMES - February, 2011
           The good news is that the sta-          top set an example, others will follow.           spending money on public relations and
dium bonds financed by the. .5% Brown                          * * * * *                             lobbying for laws to their advantage.
County sales tax should by fully paid by                    Whether or not it is true, but read                Meanwhile the UW system keeps
August 1, of this year. However, the sales         that Michelle Obama has 22 people on              classifying workers and staff members as
tax will continue until 2015 to set aside suf-     her personal staff, 6 of whom have sala-          they organize unions as authorized by
ficient funding for mandated operations            ries in excess of $100,000.           Hillary     Gov. Doyle in the last state budget.
and maintenance costs for the stadium              Clinton managed with only 3 assistants                          * * * * *
until 2031, as established by provisions of        while Laura Bush and other had only 1 or                   Whether the Obamacare health
the referendum approved Sep. 12, 2000.             none. Another place to set an example.            care law can be repealed remains to be
            * * * * *                                          * * * * *                             seen but Kaiser Health News suggests
            Extensions of unemployment                       Education Week has given Wis-           that Congress may go at it bit by bit.
benefits are difficult to avoid when the econ-     consin’s school system a C-plus grade for                  Particularly objectionable and vul-
omy is down, but somebody has to pay for           it’s system, just slightly below the national     nerable provisions include: Reporting busi-
the cost. When the states unemployment             average of C. They gave our system high           ness payments on 1099 forms, Individual
reserves are exhausted, they in turn borrow it     marks for School Financing and students           mandates, The independent payment ad-
from the Federal government.                       “chance for success” but low marks for            visory board, Health care flexible spending
            Presently Wisconsin owes $1.5          reading and math proficiency in the six           accounts, Class act payroll deductions,
Billion to Washington, plus interest. This debt    criteria areas used to compare the na-            and various new taxes on business.
will fall on employers through higher unem-        tions school systems. The complete re-                     Maybe if they are successful their
ployment contributions, an expense which will      port is available at www.edweek.org.              won’t be much of a health care law left.
in turn paid by consumers.                                                                                        * * * * *
                                                               * * * * *
             * * * * *                                        We all heard Pres. Obama say                    Finally, as if government hasn’t
          You probably read it on the internet,    flatly that “he would sign no bill containing     made life confusing enough, the Dept. of
but there was a story going around that the        earmarks” In his state of the union address.      Energy is proposing that multihead shower
Packers saved U. S. and Texas taxpayers a                     Perhaps a stricter definition of       heads be restricted. The idea is to save
couple million dollars when they beat the Chi-     “earmarks” is in order. While at present it       water. Many of these are produced in Wis-
cago Bears for the NFC championship.               is defined as an appropriation not previ-         consin by Kohler and the Bradley Corp.
          The logic being the President will       ously authorized being added to a piece                    Fact is the doubling of the cost of
watch the Super Bowl from Washington               of legislation, it seems that in the past         water during the past few years has al-
because his Bears aren’t participating, thus       couple of years we have seen vast                 ready caused many of us to save water by
eliminating a trip with Air Force One and all      amounts of money put up for grabs by              not watering our lawns, wash our cars, or
the security along the way.                        whatever Congressman had the most                 even think about installing a swimming pool.
          We acknowledge it is an honor            clout. Examples are High-Speed rail and           As usual, lots if things to wonder about.
for the President to visit around the country      the whole bundle of so called stimulus                                            Jim Frink
and mingle with local officials and citizens.      packages offered without any specific direc-      “Things That Make Us Wonder,” consists of
It is also tremendously expensive to fly a         tion or purpose except to spend money.            taxpayer related thoughts that occur to us from
747 along with security equipment and a                                                              daily news events. We use reliable, published infor-
cadre of body guards and special aids.                          * * * * *                            mation and statistics, Some items are unimportant
          There is also a cost to local com-                  Governor Walker has signed a           and probably not worth commenting about while
munities for police and other necessary            bill blocking class action lawsuits in cases      others could easily be expanded to full length fea-
security measures which in many cases              where plaintiffs could not specifically           ture articles worthy of future study and action to
are not reimbursed to local governments at         prove who harmed them, and limiting               protect our interests as taxpayers. We try to cover
a time when budgets are very tight.                noneconomic damages in medical mal-               a wide variety of subjects in limited space and per-
          Was Green Bay ever reimbursed            practice cases.                                   haps put a different spin on items from what you
for the Presidents short visit in 2009? His                   As a result it is reported that per-   read in the papers or see on TV. We acknowledge
                                                   sonal injury lawyers are rushing to get as        that our perspective on some items in this column
visit to Madison last summer left over a
                                                   many cases filed before the law takes             may be contrary to some of our readers. However,
million dollars in local expense. He used                                                            one of our purposes is to encourage debate, as we
Air Force One for his recent Hawaii Vaca-          effect. That probably accounts for all of
                                                                                                     realize there are two sides to every question. Com-
tion which cost an estimated $1.4 Million.         the law firm ads on TV lately.                    ments or suggestions are welcome for inclusion in
            Visiting Manitowoc was a nice                      * * * * *                             future “TAX TIMES.”
tribute to the city, but we have been read-                 The Bureau of Labor Statistics
ing that Manitowoc City and County are             claims that the nation’s labor unions lost        “Public interest is a term used by
both considering reducing their police             612,000 members in 2010, down to 11.9             every politician to support his ideas.”
forces to save money. No doubt Brown               % of the workforce from 12.3% in 2009.                              . . . W. M. Kiplinger
County and Ashwaubenon had expenses                Only 6.9% of private sector workers in the        “The best way to get a bad law re-
which were not anticipated in their budgets.       country are unionized.                            pealed is to enforce it strictly.”
          More simply put, when it is neces-                Nonetheless unions keep                                       . . . Abraham Lincoln
sary to cut expenses, if the people at the

                                                                         7
   The TAX TIMES                                                                                     PRSRT STD
Brown County Taxpayers Association                                                                  U. S. Postage
P. O. Box 684                                                                                           PAID
Green Bay, WI 54305-0684                                                                            Green Bay, WI
                                                                                                    Permit No. 255
   Address Service Requested.




          Inside This Issue
 Branded.
 Truth in Taxation.
 Can Credit Cards Save Taxpayers Money?
 National Debt Update.
 January Meeting Notes.
 Wisconsin Debt and Segregated Funds.
 Consumer Choice Auto Insurance Act Introduced.
 Thank you, Jo Egelhoff.
 Top 10 Ways Government Kills Jobs in America.
 Things That Make Us Wonder.
                         and more.




                                            The TAX TIMES - February, 2011
BCTA Meeting and Events Schedule – MARK YOUR CALENDARS.
                                                                                  February,
Tuesday     - February 15, 2011. Primary elections. Green Bay Mayor
                Brown County Executive. Local supervisors.
Thursday    - February 17, 2011. BCTA Monthly Meeting. 12:00 Noon.
                Titletown Brewing Co., 2d Floor Meeting Room.
                Discussion of current events. Committee Reports. Speaker.
                                                                                                              2011
Thursday    - March 17, 2011. BCTA Monthly Meeting. 12:00 Noon.
                Titletown Brewing Co., 2d Floor Meeting Room.                     “An editor is someone who separates
                                                                                  the wheat from the chaff and then
Tuesday    - April 5, 2011. Election day for local offices.
                                                                                  prints the chaff.” . . Adlai Stevenson
                         BE SURE TO VOTE!
Thursday    - April 21, 2011. BCTA Monthly Meeting. 12:00 Noon.                   “Opportunity is missed by most peo-
                Titletown Brewing Co., 2d Floor Meeting Room.                     ple because it is dressed in overalls
                                                                                  and looks like work.”
                                                                                                   , , , Thomas A. Edison
   Unless otherwise notified, BCTA monthly meetings are held the Third Thursday
      of each month, 12:00 Noon, at Titletown Brewing Co., 200 Dousman St.
                     Meetings are open to the public.
 BCTA Members, their guests and other interested parties are cordially invited      SUPPORT THE BCTA
           to attend and participate in our open discussions.                         New Members are Always
                                                                                      Welcome. Call 336-6410
            COST: $8.00, Payable at meeting. Includes lunch, tax & tip.               Write us at P. O. Box 684
           Call Tom Sladek – 499-7701 for information or to leave message.              or visit our website
             Candidates for Public Office in upcoming elections are cordially     www.BCTAxpayers.Org
                  Invited to attend our meetings and to be recognized.                         for Details.

                                                                   8

				
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