A fellow by the name of "Basford" ran shrieking into this hallowed sanctuary of intellectual endeavor with improbable tales of "progressives' taking pity on the taxpayer. Needless to say, the guests were first alarmed by the cacophony but soon gathered in an awed semi-circle to witness the spectacle.
The behavioral pathologist in me took out his clipboard and ascribed Basford's ill-mannered cry for help as evidence that the development of an informed electorate produces gastric distress among the collectivist herd with which he associates. In Basford's case, this acid reflux is expelled in something resembling speech but without the requisite sentience, much like a parrot's squawkings.
Basford's desperate wail, "Progs befriend the taxpayer," scans like Elton John cruising a biker rally in sequins and pink boa feathers: well within his right of free speech and association but certain to draw stares of incredulity, if not remonstrations of disapproval.
Basford, on a previous post, comments:
What you also can't refute is that while all this happens, the county property tax rate goes down. Budget-busting neo-con Republicans and their friends running for Dane County Board may not care, but the people paying property taxes do. And if they're like me, they're grateful the county board leadership is looking out for the bottom line and should vote accordingly on April 1.
Taxes and spending? You are playing in my sandbox now, Basford. The only question is, do I toy with him like a cat's paw or am I merciful? We shall see, my pretty. We shall see.
Basford hallelujahs a reduction in the "tax rate." Let's hope this misdirection was merely carelessness and not calculation.
Yes, the tax rate declined 6 cents from $2.44 last year to $2.38 this year, or 2½ percent. The economically literate know that the tax rate is one-half of the property tax equation; the other half is assessed values. Those went up $3.7 million. That's not counting the additional $1.6 million in sales taxes paid. In any event, the operating budget went up 4.75 percent.
Thanks to Dane County's commercial and residential growth, something the Progs fight on a daily basis, the actual tax hike was small. I will acknowledge, and I have said this on WHA's Weekend in Review program, that The Kathleen got religion on taxes. Don't be raisin' them. This has been a perpetual disappointment to Progressive Dane, which calls for a local income tax. But what The Kathleen does not get is that you don't take the savings out of the basics in order to fund the frills. More on that, anon.
Did someone say sales taxes?
Speaking of sales taxes, the Progressive majority did the groundwork to raise Dane County's sales tax take by $46 million a year, potentially the biggest tax increase ever.
The board voted on August 16, 2007, for a $46 million Regional Transportation Authority for a train that will run from Middleton to Sun Prairie, all funded with an increase in the sales tax -- from 5.5% to 6.0%. No county in Wisconsin would have a higher sales tax.
All 22 members of the Progressive majority voted for it. The roll call, Ruben, s'il vous plates. Ruben? RUBEN! [Grumble.] Bill Buckley had David Brooks and I've got Ruben Mamoulian. Oh, very well, I'll do it myself:
AYES -- 22: Bayrd, Brown, de Felice, DeSmidt, Erickson, Hendrick, Hulsey, Kumar, Matano, Miles, Opitz, Pertzborn, Richmond, Rusk, Stoebig, Stubbs, Vedder, Veldran, Vogel, Wheeler, Worzala, and McDonell.
(Of the 15 conservative/moderates, 13 voted against it with the other two being absent.)
Many of those same Prog luminaries backed a wheel tax in 2003 -- Hulsey, in particular, was a prime mover. The Kathleen said she would sign it into law if a majority of the Board supported it.
Now, for our reward:
On the seventh day, they rested. And gave themselves a pay hike. On November 5, 2007, under the stress of supporting The Kathleen's agenda without demur, 14 of the 22 "progressives" voted to increase their county board salary to $8,200 from $7,000 for their part-time jobs, providing the muscle for that measure to pass 19-13 (5 absent). Namely:
Bayrd, DeSmidt, Hendrick, Hulsey, Kostelic, Kumar, Matano, Rusk, Stoebig, Stubbs, Vedder, Wheeler, Worzala, and McDonell.
The basic San Andreas fault line here is the notion of treating public safety -- surely an essential -- as an "extra-curricular," something that can be cut or maintenance-deferred. "Extra-curricular" is what the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance calls parks and recreation. Under the "Progressive" County Board, the sheriff's budget gets cut -- the sheriff's 2008 budget is $1,262,846 less than actually spent in 2007.
Now, Basford, if you don't mind, I'd like to finish my meal. Pass the red caviar and crème frache on toasted baguette and signal the string band to play.
Bodacious Quotes of the Day
The divine Peggy Noonan in the March 8-9 Wall Street Journal:
What the Democrats lost this week was the chance to paint the '08 campaign as a brilliant Napoleonic twinning of strategy and tactics that left history awed. What they have instead is a ticket to Verdun. Trench warfare.
She quotes Christopher Hitchens, so remarkable except for his atheism:
There's something horrible and undefeatable about people who have no life except the worship of power ... people who don't want the meeting to end, the people who just are unstoppable, who only have one focus, no humanity, no character, nothing but the worship of money and power.
Guess which Democrat Hitchens was limning. You got it! The Kathleen's candidate!
Is there any question of the fur ball Hillary is causing? Which means that a Clinton/Obama, Obama/Clinton ticket is pure fantasy.
Denver 2008 may resemble Chicago 1968, except that the mayhem will be inside the hall. The whole world is watching! The whole world is watching!