Dave Reid

What is Supervisor Coggs Thinking?

By - Jul 26th, 2008 06:16 pm
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Ride the Bus

Ride the Bus

At a time when Milwaukee County is cutting transit service and neglecting our parks, Supervisor Elizabeth Coggs is promoting a $3,600 pay raise for Milwaukee County Board members. This raise would be in the form of a $300 per month transportation allowance and although this new benefit would only cost Milwaukee County an additional $68,400 per year, just the mere requesting of these funds is troubling. It’s troubling because it shows a clear disconnect between Supervisor Coggs and the citizens of Milwaukee. While they are struggling to pay their mortgage and fill up their gas tanks it seems inappropriate for an elected official to be asking for a raise, especially a transportation allowance.

It’s not as if Milwaukee County Supervisor’s don’t already have their transportation partially subsidized. They receive free parking at the Milwaukee County Courthouse, which according to SBT and Colliers International is worth about $120 per month, for an unreserved parking spot. Additionally, Supervisors can expense transportation costs for Milwaukee County related activities assuming they keep proper documentation. So not only do taxpayers already subsidize transportation costs, but there is already a mechanism in place to deal with Milwaukee County related expenses. Instead of finding ways for citizens to help subsidize Supervisor Coggs’ transportation costs she should be working to help regular citizens find ways to afford their rising transportation costs.

Currently the Milwaukee County Board is attempting to pass a sales tax referendum to gain support for the creation of a dedicated funding source for parks and mass transit. It is one thing to debate a sales tax to preserve Milwaukee County services that taxpayers count on and enjoy but it is a completely different thing to push for a raise. Because of rising transportation costs regular citizens around the country are flocking to mass transit at levels not seen since World War II. This proposed new benefit both distracts from the efforts and hurts the ability to pass the referendum by becoming an unneeded distraction. If Supervisor Coggs’ transportation costs are becoming too expensive she should do what regular citizens around the country are doing and catch the bus.

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