I swear I was happier not reading the news and such. Each day I hear a new tidbit that Gov. Doyle is sticking into the budget bill. Many of these things should be presented separately as bills that can be presented and debated on the legislature floor but alas they are buried in the budget.
Yesterday a serious budget accounting provision was added to the budget. A provision that allows judges to expunge criminal records up to age 25 instead of the current 21. Every budget should have that kind of provision. Another equally important budget item...a proposal to require officers in the 11 more "diverse" counties of WI to record racial information "in an effort to document the potential of racial profiling" There are many other law enforcement items stuck in the budget as well such as allowing stops for no seatbelt based on sight. Currently that can only be ticketed if it is noticed for a different stop reason. Another might FINALLY eliminate the front license plate. All well and good I suppose...but why the hell are they in the BUDGET. When I bring up quicken and go to the budget functionality there is no way I can insert these kinds of items.
The most heinous of activities though are all about the money...some items below.
"Prevailing Wage" Currently those who bid on State contracts must agree to pay their workers "prevailing wage". That is a nice way of saying Union wages. So by default the often knocks a lot of non-union contractors out of the bidding. However this new insertion says that any project that receives any kind of state funding or grant will have to pay prevailing wage. So a tax concession, funding for an intersection upgrade (like making a left turn lane to pull into your condo complex or mall), Urban development incentives. I'd say thats a nice tip o' the hat to the extortionist unions who got him elected.
Another nice tidbit was a reassigning of the $10 per Drivers license add on fee for the Secure ID mandate from the Feds back into the budget. I guess they needed it for something else...hmmm Want to guess they'll add another fee soon for the secure ID project because there isn't enough money to meet the mandate?
Today I saw this item in the budget. "Banks and financial institutions would get a list of delinquent Wisconsin taxpayers, and would have to check whether those customers have account balances that tax collectors could go after, under a change added to the state budget Thursday."
"Gov. Jim Doyle and the state Revenue Department asked for new authority to require financial institutions to compare a list of delinquent taxpayers with the names of their customers and amounts in their accounts. The change is expected to bring in an additional $18 million over the next two years."
"State government scours bank balances for those who owe child support. The change recommended Thursday would extend that system to efforts to catch income, sales, corporate and other tax delinquents.
The Revenue Department would provide lists of tax delinquents and their Social Security numbers or federal employer numbers to about 600 financial institutions.
Financial institutions would check the names and ID numbers against lists of customers and accounts, and tell the Revenue Department of accounts that match with balances.
Tax-collection agents would then attempt to go after assets in those accounts by filing levies against them. Up to 15,000 new tax-levy actions might be filed each year."
This is a great example of my "Give a Moose a Muffin" Theory of Government. If you know the childrens series of books that start out like this you know that if you give someone a little, they will just want more. Will the government be providing this service for consumer debt collectors....ohh no its just for the government. I'm waiting to when they say...well we noticed you had $27 in your paypal account so we just took it because you owe us some money. Hello big brother may I have another?
In other tax news living in Milwauke just got a little better. Milwaukee Public Schools just got 100 million in stimulus money. Now two days after that announcement we get:
"Even though a proposed Milwaukee Public Schools budget released Thursday calls for no increase in overall core spending next year, the property tax levy increase might still reach double digits - a year after a 14.6% jump."
Also doyles budget has a $90 increase in property tax for a median valued home. That probably is part of that tax cut for 95% of America kicking in....oh thats right..66% of my income tax credits disappear this year.
Wow...I sure am feeling that stimulus already...right in theTuckus (There Karen are you happy? I watched my language)