Alder Mark Clear
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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The legislature's war on cities
From the point of view of a city, the state government is basically a deity. The legislature creates cities, and has virtually limitless power to control what we can do and how.
If today had a movie title, it would be, "The Gods Must Be Angry," because municipal government is taking a beating at the hands of the legislature's Joint Finance Committee, which is reviewing and amending the 2013-2015 state budget. In the course of a few hours, they have:
- Handed out several new property tax exemptions
- Removed our ability to make utilities move their wires when they're in the way of a street project
- Killed our PILOT (Payments In Lieu Of Taxes) program, under which tax-exempt properties help pay for the services they receive, like water and police and fire protection
- Taken away control over placement of cell towers
- Prohibited us from limits on junk food. (That one's apparently just for spite; nobody was planning to do this.)
And that was just their morning session. These changes come on top of other pending proposals to gut our landlord-tenant laws and city employee residency requirements.,
None of these changes will create any jobs. They will not reduce your property taxes. In fact, yours and mine will probably go up, as more properties come off the tax rolls.
The only thing they will do is reduce our city's ability to protect our citizens, care for our lakes and parks, fix our streets, and all the other things that make cities good places to live.
Apparently these are the sacrifices we must make to appease the deities.
Ald. Mark Clear
I welcome your questions and comments about this or any other city issue. Please contact me at email@example.com or 608-695-5709.
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