Abele's Last Resort: Raise Revenue and/or Hell | Wis.Community

Abele's Last Resort: Raise Revenue and/or Hell

When millionaire philanthropist Chris Abele announced his intention to run for Milwaukee County Executive, he said, according to the Journal Sentinel:

"The answer is not to continually cut the critical county services that for years have been neglected, like transit, public safety, mental health services and support for our parks."

Perhaps not to frighten the County's Republican voters, tax increases,, would be a "last resort."

With the County now facing a deficit of $55 million, it would seem to be time to resort to one's last resort and practice some public philanthropy.

But so far Abele has talked only of cuts and lay-offs, sounding more like Walker than is comfortable. To be fair, Abele inherits a dire situation, his options limited by all that's rotten in the State of Wisconsin; there is not a whole lot Abele can do in the way of progressive taxation. An urban county with lots of wealth and lots of poverty ought to be able to help balance things out a bit without state say so.

Yet Abele previously ruled out a County sales tax for both parks and transit, though a referendum to support such a tax was passed by County voters in 2008.

While Madison holds the cards, the least Abele and the County Board can do, short of decamping to Illinois, is try to raise some revenue and certainly raise some hell on behalf of the poor in Milwaukee County. This will require some partisan pugnaciousness.


July 19, 2011 - 9:22am