Monday, November 10, 2008

Chris Lufter steps down as WTL President

Christine Lufter has stepped down as president of the Waukesha Taxpayers League after more than ten years of serving the community. Her successor has not yet been named.

Former New Berlin School Board member Matt Weiss famously remarked, “Nobody ever thanks you for not spending money.” Let me take a moment to thank someone who did fight spending money.

The Waukesha community owes Lufter more than it can ever repay. She literally fought millions of dollars in taxes and spending increases during her time as WTL President. Among her accomplishments, she successfully fought the 2005 Waukesha school district referendums and led the effort to reduce the size of the county board in 2006. Her education efforts with the public are largely responsible for preventing the school district from seeking another referendum.

Lufter had a unique intuitive grasp of how government worked and made decisions. She understood the school budget and the contract with the teachers better than many members of the board. She could understand complex budget questions and explain them to the public.

Under Lufter the Waukesha Taxpayer League reached out to other organizations to form coalitions, like most recently with the Waukesha Environmental Action League during the Frame Park baseball stadium debate. Lufter also had a working dialogue with some members of the school board and the district administration, as well as leaders in other local governing bodies as well.

Unfortunately, the flip side was that as the public face of the Taxpayers League she was also the lightning rod. The attacks on her were often petty, personal and even vicious.

I would often tease her that she was, “the moderate of the group.” However, she was and continues to be my friend, and I wish her nothing but the best in her retirement as president of the WTL.