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Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Unelected tax and spenders need to be accountable

Taxes


A blistering article about the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was stunning. However, it was not surprising. The newspaper reports:

Milwaukee Area Technical College is heading for a financial crisis, according to a new report released by a nonpartisan government watchdog group. Part of the crisis is tied to the economic downturn, which is squeezing the college's finances while increasing demand for its services, according to the report by the Public Policy Forum. MATC is largely dependent on property tax revenues, which make up about 60% of its operating funds, at a time when a lagging real estate market is hitting property values. At the same time, fringe benefits and salary increases have spiraled to a level that arguably puts MATC at the top of the nation among peer institutions.”

The Journal Sentinel 
also reports, “MATC already sets its property tax rate at the maximum amount allowed, and other revenue options are limited.”

The MATC Board is in the process of formulating next year’s budget that assuredly will include a property tax increase with the question being, the amount increase.

MATC is one of the state’s 16 technical colleges. C
onsider the total tax levies for the schools. According to the non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, the technical college tax levies have increased from $251 million during 1992-'93 to $622 million during 2005-'06. That’s an increase of almost 150 percent compared to a 75 percent increase in overall levies during the same time period. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau reports property tax levies for the technical colleges increased to $680.6 million during 2007-08.

Technical college property tax hikes are considered by, voted on, and approved by unelected technical college boards that are free to raise tax levies leaving powerless taxpayers without recourse. The process is the perfect example of taxation without representation.

I support making unelected technical college boards with taxing authority elected bodies that are accountable to voting taxpayers. I also support extrapolating that concept to other unelected boards in the state.

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