Monday, November 03, 2008

Kramer vs. Jones, the correction website

State Representative Bill Kramer, in response to Ruth Page Jones' last-minute campaign mailers, has put up a special page on his website correcting the falsehoods in Jones' mailed hit pieces. I think the hardest-hitting attack she has used is the $400,000 the Waukesha School District had to raise taxes last year because of the state budget battle delay. Kramer goes into a lengthy explanation in response:

Her assertion:
"For example, my opponent stood by and did nothing while the last state budget raised Waukesha school taxes by $400,000 to provide a $2 million rebate to Brookfield taxpayers."
It's not that I did nothing; the compromise budget was a bad deal. I voted against it. It borrowed too much, spent too much, relied on transfers and gimmicks - including the theft of money from the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund - and relied on revenue projections that didn't consider the current economic downtown. By September, most of us knew that those projections were not going to hold up. The budget passed in October.

When we passed the GOP budget in July, the numbers were more reliable. We didn't rely so heavily on the levy credit, whereas the final compromise that passed included all the profligacy of the Senate Democrats necessitated that more dollars be routed into the levy credit versus the equalization aid calculations.

Again, I voted against that budget, in part, because the way Waukesha schools were treated under the compromise.

With regards to Ms. Jones' demagoguery on school funding, I find it ironic that she would point to Brookfield that receives 15% in equalization aid while Waukesha gets 49% (and that somehow Brookfield's tax relief is unfair), and Milwaukee gets 85% of its budget funded by state taxpayers (which, according to Ms. Jones must be simultaneously unfair to Milwaukee).

The funding formula that she claims is broken ostensibly works like Barack Obama's tax plan - it is redistributive in nature and is grounded in a "from each, to each" mechanism. It meets the constitutional mandate for equalized spending across school districts.

The point being, that any change to the formula will hurt Waukesha and its neighbors to the benefit of Milwaukee. Milwaukee and property-poor rural districts have enough legislators, they don't need her complicity.

I would have just said that if Jones was really concerned about how much the Waukesha School District had to spend because of the state budget delay, she should re-direct her fire to state Democrats that wanted to raise taxes, including the state senate that wanted to double taxes for "Healthy Wisconsin."