Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Taxpayer rape alert! Kehl and Antaramian "open" to local public transit sales tax.

As if we didn't pay enough taxes and fees in southeastern Wisconsin, it comes as an additional affront to see Kenosha's mayor and county executive "open" to the notion of a local sales tax for public transit, including the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee rail link.

This is a silly idea made even sillier due to the demographics which the pols seem to ignore.

We already have one of the highest fuel taxes in the nation and folks like Bill McReynolds, the Racine County Executive, appropriately argue that mass transit funding should be assisted by those taxes.

We already have a one-half per cent county sales tax in Kenosha County. Milwaukee, too (plus the Miller Park tax which was also forced on Racine County taxpayers).

We already have Amtrak train service to Milwaukee with new stations in Sturtevant and at Mitchell Field. True, there's no Amtrak stop in Kenosha, but we were promised an Amtrak station when Dairyland Greyhound Park opened. That promise was never kept. It's time to enforce that promise, especially since the mayor and county executive are so gung ho to have Dairyland turn into an Indian gaming casino.

(Of course, old train fans like me will tell you that we wouldn't need to talk about the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee rail link had the late Congressman Les Aspin had his way and Amtrak trains would have been routed on the Chicago and North Western tracks north to Milwaukee instead of on the Milwaukee Road line. The North Western then tore out the second set of tracks north of Kenosha, another dumb move.)

What's really happening, folks, is that the Milwaukee politicians are sucking up to their buddies to pay their bills. We can't let that happen.

Besides that, Mayor Antaramian and County Executive Kehl obviouslyhaven't read boring stuff like commuter demographics.

If they did, they'd find that 30% of Kenosha County's workforce -- and more than two-thirds of Kenosha County's commuters -- work in Illinois. In fact, more Kenosha County residents work in Cook County, Illinois than in Milwaukee County!

Kenosha County taxpayers are taxed enough. Plus, if we should be joining any type of regional transit authority, it ought to be the one where most of our people work.

Here's a novel idea: instead of raising taxes and fees, how about working to grow the economy?

No comments: