Via the Waukesha Taxpayer’s League:

The Wisconsin Way is formed by five different groups-WEAC, Wisconsin Counties Association, the Road Builders, the Realtors and Woods Communications.

Jim Wood (Woods Communication Group-the Realtors Lobbyist) opening statement followed the age old ‘we need to compete in the 21st century, thus we need a 21st century work force. By 2009, Wisconsin Way would like to have an organized agenda to work on through elections and legislative policy.

The Counties Association rep stated that this was about children willing to stay in Wisconsin after school to support the seniors. He believes that taxpayers need to invest in government, from roads to education, to provide a quality of life that we all deserve.

There are many challenges we all face-higher utilities, gas, medical, etc. People are now saying that they have less money at the end of the month this year than last year. This translates into less money being spent. 50% of people believe they are worse off this year than last and 40% believe they will be worse off next year.

Wisconsin ranks 26th in income nationwide. Also, Wisconsin is not growing good paying jobs for the graduates that are leaving the state after graduation.

The elderly population is expected to increase by 18% while the work force grows by 9%.

Many people believe that the property tax is unfair and too high. They also believe that more dollars should be spent on schools, University system, etc. and most believe we can afford to pay more in taxes.

Three fourths love this state but don’t know how much longer they can afford the taxes.

Most are frustrated that Wisconsin is in gridlock and wants to know how we move WisconsinForward.

Through all the meetings three things kept coming up—the property taxes are too high, work force opportunities are lacking and the Government doesn’t work for the greater good.

Speakers: Defining the Problem

  1. We have a great school system. Pressure to keep taxes low has formed a “Going out of business’ plan. Funding formula is about taxes not about kids. (Ruth Page Jones-President of the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools, a group that advocates a 32% increase in school spending)
  2. Too much is loaded into the property tax-schools, municipalities, county, etc. Service not directly related to the property should be paid by the property tax. Property value shouldn’t increase until the owner sells.
  3. Redistribution of income and it seems that tax exemptions last forever. Doyle has finally gotten five businesses to pay taxes. There are too many loopholes. Corporations are not paying their taxes.
  4. Schools are now expected to raise children and the funding hasn’t kept pace. (Paul Bickler-Waukesha Forward)
  5. State legislature didn’t do their jobs. They should be fired. If everyone had the healthcare the state had, we’d all be in great shape. Businesses get tax credit for improvements.
  6. Don’t want the government running healthcare. The state needs vision to identify spending.
  7. The middle class is pinched. It pays all the taxes and qualifies for nothing. There is disparity between districts and in cuts. Taxes are high enough but change the funding formula.
  8. Property value hike this year should be flat thus taxes shouldn’t go up. We need to look beyond Waukesha County to the state level. We need to attract more higher paying jobs to Wisconsin. More funding for the public schools.
  9. Duplication of services needs to be eliminated.
  10. There is no difference between republicans and democrats except who owns them. Doyle is taxing many other things through fees and increases even if property taxes are flat. Gridlock at the state and federal level is a problem.
  11. Reduce spending & improve efficiency. Benefits should be in line with the private sector. Should be looking at total compensation and not just one piece of the pay. Quantity and quality aren’t the same. Lowering the tax structure is what would bring students back to Wisconsin.
  12. 8th highest in property tax, 9th highest in income tax, 38th in sales tax and 39th in corporate taxes. There are other places we could be getting money from.
  13. 72 counties, 1800 municipalities. We need to consolidate. Property taxes are unpopular because it comes through in one lump some unlike the way we pay other taxes.
  14. Whoever isn’t paying their fair share should be.
  15. Aging population will lead to more expensive services. To insure that employment stays in the state is to have great education, the best you can.
  16. Came to Wisconsin because of the education. Ready to leave the state because of Waukesha School District.
  17. Failed referendums should not be allowed to come back for two years. No lack of funding for our schools. (Jim StrandWTL)
  18. She is frustrated (as a teacher) to be considered part of the problem. We spend more on prisons than schools. Can’t compare public and private. Public service is underpaid. Keep WEAC insurance because other companies may underbid for the first year and raise it the second. Too many new hospitals—needs regulation. Drug companies spend more on advertising than they do drugs.
  19. Ditto.
  20. Taxes are up and the schools are falling apart. A teachers college education should be paid for by taxpayers in exchange for teaching five years in an impoverished or inner city district. Cutting programs won’t help the economy.
  21. Use the existing tax dollars more efficiently. We don’t need to raise taxes. Get rid of the two party system.
  22. Haven’t heard much about the property tax. Why do we have so many loopholes in the sales tax?
  23. Taxes, schools, etc. are a means to an end. It boils down to personal responsibility.

Via the Waukesha Taxpayer’s League: Via the Waukesha Taxpayer’s League:

Jim Wood stated that most want to spend more money K12. Seniors are currently 1 in 6 households. It is projected that they will become 1 in 4 with a household income of $35K.


  1. Levies are going up 1-14%. Fund schools differently. Wisconsin’s healthcare is what brings seniors back. We have great water. Expand taxes so they offset the property tax. We need efficiency and the laws need to change. Services and inflation don’t match and we need to get used to government getting more.
  2. CAPCO is a new funding mechanism allowed by the state. Businesses fund venture capitals for tax credits. Would like to see WMC and Insurance Companies involved in Wisconsin Way to bring balances. Businesses should partner with schools.
  3. Shift taxes off of the property tax, increase employment, control spending.
  4. Cost to deliver education, roads etc. needs to be calculated and presented so that people know how much these services cost. Then they will understand why their taxes are raised. (Paul Bickler-Waukesha Forward)
  5. Unfunded mandates.
  6. Elections on Sat. & Sun. Private sector isn’t always efficient.
  7. Real problem is to get past the inequities in the tax code before we can address issues. Doesn’t want to see consolidation of government. The closer a government is to the people the more responsive it is. The county could have spent millions on recruiting businesses that pay well instead of funding a freeway ramp for a retail development.
  8. Everyone needs to work together to improve education.
  9. Business taxes are down and personal taxes are up. Excellence in education and public services is what draws businesses into an area.
  10. Check exemptions for fairness.
  11. (Larry Nelson) Must have local control. Because the city hasn’t had to work under a QEO, they were able to save taxpayers $700,000. We are a great city because we have great schools. We excel in the arts, music, the Decathalon. Going down to one guidance counselor in middle school for 700 kids will lead to future problems. Government needs to go green. City hired Johnson Controls to learn about high efficiency light bulbs. The city will save $2 Million in 10 years. It isn’t a coincidence that enrollment in the Waukesha district went up after the passage of two referendums.
  12. She is reenergized (a teacher) by what she heard tonight beyond the sound bites and sound off section. Tax shift and make healthcare portable.