Thursday, July 30, 2009

For Democrats the policy is not honesty

Publication:Waukesha Freeman (Conley); Date:Jul 30, 2009; Section:Opinion; Page Number:8A

Dems’ tax claims dishonest
Taxes supposedly not going up, yet we pay more

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)

Can we find an honest man? I like politicians, but I’m not sure I would want my daughter to ever date one. It’s too bad when politicians go out of their way to confirm our low opinions of them.

On the television program “Up Front with Mike Gousha” that aired last Sunday, Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate claimed that 99 percent of Wisconsin’s taxpayers would not see a tax increase as a result of the state budget.

Neither host Mike Gousha nor Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus corrected Tate’s statement.

We might forgive Priebus for not flat-out calling Tate a liar. After all, he has a message to sell that Governor Doyle is extremely vulnerable to a challenge by either former congressman Mark Neumann or Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. Doyle’s approval rating, according to Priebus, is in the “low 30s” and Tate’s defense of the state budget was with that in mind.

Tate messed up his talking points. The correct line is, “Assembly Democrats approved a plan that protects 99 percent of Wisconsinites from an income tax increase, holds the line on property taxes, and contains no across-theboard sales tax or payroll tax hike.”

That is from an op-ed piece in the Capital Times written by Assembly Majority Leader Thomas Nelson. The Democrat from Kaukauna also wrote, “we spared our working and middle-class families from burdensome tax increases.”

Nelson neglects to define for his readers what “holds the line on property taxes” really means. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis of the budget says property taxes on the median home in Wisconsin will go up $93 this year and $123 next year. As I pointed out in this column two weeks ago, Waukesha residents are possibly looking at a 13 percent increase in just their school property tax.

This is on top of all of the other taxes and fees raised in the state budget, including the capital gains tax increase, the phone tax increase, the hospital bed tax increase, and the nursing home bed tax increase.

Let us be blunt: Nelson is not telling the truth when he claims Democrats “spared our working and middle-class families from burdensome tax increases.”

Tate has a history of not being honest. During the campaign on amending the state constitution to ban gay marriage, Tate’s Fair Wisconsin Committee made deceptive phone calls to voters that were condemned by both sides.

Nelson recently made the news by not answering questions first posed by Jerry Bader of WTAQ on how a special favor for the Oneida tribe made it into the state budget. The tribe can now avoid local authorities and go directly to the state for their liquor license.

This is the leadership of the Democratic Party in Wisconsin as we head into next year’s elections. If this is the kind of conduct they are going to continue to engage in, the imperative to remove them from power no longer remains an economic issue. It becomes a moral issue.

* * *

If you’ll indulge me, I have a couple of updates on items discussed in previous columns.

Last week, I wrote about the enrollment cap placed by Governor Doyle and Democrats in the Legislature on the state’s virtual schools. As the column went to print, news came from the Department of Public Instruction that any students remaining on the waiting list made it into a virtual school for the upcoming academic year.

Normally this would be very good news except when you consider we have no way of knowing how many parents could not wait until the end of July to find out where their child is attending school this fall.

Worse, many parents were confronted with having one child enrolled in a virtual school but another child stuck on the waiting list. They were confronted with the choice: risk splitting the kids up or pull the child that made it.

Speaking of up in the air, Brett Favre decided Tuesday not to play for the Minnesota Vikings, even after I urged Packer fans to accept his playing for another team.

OK, but does Deanna know yet?