The new Dane County government motto: Ubi mea est?*
These are difficult times. The Great Recession is, functionally, in its third year. National unemployment is at 9 percent. Wisconsin state government employees in this government town will receive no pay raise for the next two years. On top of that, they are contributing (for the first time!) 5.8 percent of their pensions and pay 12 percent of their health insurance premiums.
So, what is the Dane County Board's response? Pay raises all around! Break out the sham-pag-nee! A 32 percent hike for chairman Scott McDonell and 3 percent for the other 36 members!
That is what hasn't been reported anywhere else. In order to grease the way for McDonell's pay hike to $37,000 for a part-time job, a proposal is afoot to give the other 36 members a 3 percent pay increase, bringing the annual total for each part-time job to $8,450.
This is the same county board leadership that says it cannot afford to fund programs for the elderly, troubled children and the disabled without imposing a brand new tax -- a $20 annual wheel tax -- on the citizenry. Chairman McDonell, vice chairman John Hendrick, and committee chairman Kyle Richmond are sponsoring the wheel tax. (See Tuesday's blogge, "Just say No to the wheel tax.")
This is the same county board that is cutting law enforcement by half a million dollars. This is the same county board that is raising property taxes by 4 percent. (Compare that to the statewide average increase in school taxes of 0.6 percent.) This is a county board that is cutting 46 staff jobs.
Sadly, Sup. Cynda Solberg is sponsoring the substitute motion that couples the chairman's earlier proposed pay grab by getting the entire board's fingers into the pie. Here the people of Stoughton thought they were electing a conservative!
No one who votes for any of the pay raise and new tax can call themselves a conservative.
The Squire is sounding the klaxon from high atop the Stately Manor. Descend on the county board chambers, Room 201 of City-County Building on M.L. King Jr. Blvd, at 7 p.m. Monday, November 14. Increasing the salary of the county board chairman is #10 and the wheel tax is #11 on the agenda (PDF).
Yes, the pay raises amount to relatively few dollars but the symbolism, people!
(* Translation: "where is mine?")
We are unarmed and defenseless
And proud of it. Another in a series of how liberals think.
The Capital Times and the city of Madison are promoting signage that tells one and all that your castle is defenseless, your fort is without firepower, your perimeter is unguarded. For $5 you can tell the outside world that you are not only out of ammunition you have nothing in your holster. For a wish and a prayer you can hope that intruders turn back, once confronted with this stern admonition.
You may as well post a sign saying "Nothing but us Jeremies within."
For everyone else, the Blaska Policy Research Factory offers the following sign.
The best sign is the one saying "Nothing inside worth dying for."