Governor Doyle Vetoes Milwaukee County Sales Tax for Transit
When the budget finally made it to his desk, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle used his extensive veto powers in a lot of ways. The most significant of which was arguably the line-item veto of the Milwaukee Transit Authority and the proposed 0.65% sales tax increase for Milwaukee County. Doyle did not veto SERTA, the authority which is to run the KRM commuter rail line, and the $18 rental car tax. This veto puts back on the drawing board Doyle’s proposal for a three-county sales tax to fund the KRM and bus service in Kenosha, Racine, and Milwaukee Counties, while at the same time not delaying the KRM development process.
The move, which many see as a slam of Milwaukee by Doyle, arguably shouldn’t be completely viewed that way. Doyle did propose a three-county sales tax of up to 0.5% for Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha Counties to establish an authority that would operate all of the transit in the area including the KRM. Doyle’s reasoning for the veto was that the MTA didn’t have a regional approach.
So what’s next? Something has to happen as the 2010 MCTS funding crisis is quickly approaching. The word on the street is that Doyle is pushing the legislature for a real regional sales tax for Kenosha, Racine, and Milwaukee Counties to be introduced as its own legislation.
Now is the time for the Milwaukee caucus to actually deliver for their constituents and get this done. We’ve watched Lena Taylor and Pedro Colon settle on the Joint Finance Committee for a compromise that gave Racine and Kenosha a free ride as a way to protect Racine Senator John Lehman, but now is the time for real action, real solutions. Because with the funding crisis looming, and Scott Walker probably willing to cut off his own arm to avoid raising taxes, it’s now or never time.
Unfortunately, what is the Milwaukee caucus doing right now? Pouting. Taylor, Colon, and Grigsby led the charge on the Joint Finance Committee to vote down a small spending allotment of $35,000 to further study the KRM.
Even worse, Milwaukee County Board Chair, Lee Holloway has given a series of statements which sound more like a whining teenager, than someone who is determined to leverage his friends in the legislature to go out and get a real funding solution for a real crisis.
Meanwhile, Holloway said he would work against the KRM line by appointing himself and an ally to the transit authority board.
“We are going to vote against the KRM, right down the line,” Holloway said.
“It’s just terrible,” Holloway said. “I’m very critical of (Doyle). I thought he was a friend of Milwaukee County.”
It’s time for our Milwaukee caucus to bring home a real dedicated funding solution for transit in southeastern Wisconsin.