June 20, 2003
A ha' penny
Kudos to Frank Boyle and Marlin Schneider, two Democrats bold enough to say that senior citizens, UW students, and schoolchildren of all ages are as important as Bud Selig and his Milwaukee Brewers. About the only original idea raised in the budget scrum was the one to raise the sales tax by one-half cent. That would raise $800 million in two years and return the $250 million taken from the UW and keep other educational funding in place.
Only five Democrats and no Republicans joined them Why? Remember the last all-night session of the Legislature? That night, Bud Selig, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Tommy Thompson forced through a sales tax for five counties, not to help kids and seniors, but to build a palace for Selig. It was the disgrace that led to the recall of Sen. George Petak.
So, why not raise taxes? Where is the leadership? Does Jim Doyle really believe that his performance as governor will be so disappointing that half a penny would defeat him in the next election?
The problem for those of us watching the budget fight is that we didn't have "a dog in that fight." There was no "Democratic" alternative to the nasty Panzer/Welch proposal. We couldn't root for the Doyle budget because it is almost as bad as theirs. So, along come two experienced Democrats who said, rather quietly, "Why not do the responsible thing?"
Sad times in the Badger state. Raise "taxes" on the sons and daughters of working families and call it tuition. Raise taxes on all of us to help big business with more loopholes and call it "good policy." But raise half a penny for education? No can do. Sad.
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