On Tuesday, voters in the Howard-Suamico School District rejected a referendum that would have given the school board an additional $4-MILLION a year over the state-mandated revenue cap FOREVER to cover recurring costs. As a graduate of Bay Port High School I kept an interested eye on those results this week. I have a couple of former classmates who are now teachers at the high school and they took to social media to express their disappointment in the 70% NO vote.
"I thought our community valued education--but apparently I was naive" was "liked" by a number of other teachers--many of whom lashed out against voters on their own pages in the wake of the loss. I guess that Howard-Suamico residents (my parents included) failed to "value education" in approving construction of what I like to call The Taj Mahal of Wisconsin High Schools. When I tell people that I went to Bay Port they "ooh and ah"--but I quickly add that it was the "Old Bay Port"--not the one with the Performing Arts Center, the five-court Fieldhouse, the sprawling campus, the Fieldturf football field and the Solarium.
Those voters apparently didn't "value education" when they approved another $13.4-MILLION referendum in 2014 for building upgrades, security improvements and restoration of a pool. Because they wouldn't approve an open-ended, unlimited cost measure, those folks "no longer cared about kids".
Meanwhile in Milwaukee County, voters rejected a $60 a vehicle wheel tax in a referendum on Tuesday. (Oshkosh Mayor Steve Cummings may want to note that Milwaukee County called it what it really is a wheel tax--not an "additional vehicle registration fee") That wheel tax was not earmarked for additional road repairs or to increase street maintenance programs. Instead, all of that money would have gone to Milwaukee County Transit.
After Tuesday's loss, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said "Now we will have to look at fare increases". Excuse me, but shouldn't that have been the FIRST place you looked for additional revenue? It seems to me that those using the service would be the first to help cover costs. But that is not how "progressives" think. They want the low-cost buses and streetcars along with "free" bike lanes on every street--all of which use public resources--but don't generate anywhere near the revenue to cover their costs. Those who DON'T use those things are the ones they think should pay for them--almost as a "punishment" for continuing to drive cars. The Milwaukee County proposal wasn't so much a wheel tax as it was a "you don't ride the bus fee". Consider how much fares would have to be if everyone decided they were going to take the bus, the streetcar or their bikes everywhere they went from now on--and there wasn't all of that revenue from drivers pouring into the system.
While some think there is never enough in taxes--in at least a couple of places this week, some voters decided they have had enough.