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Saturday, January 31, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 28.0° F  Overcast
Blaska's Blog
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Blaska's Blog just says No to the wheel tax
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Your über-blogger warned that a new tax could be coming our way, courtesy of the Progressive Dane contingent. It is the Dane County wheel tax.

It is being promoted by the likes of Madame Brenda, squatter Z! Haukeness, F-bomber Tim Bjerke, Dace Zeps, T.J. Mertz, Basford, Ben Manski, "Mad" Andy Heidt, Bill ("no pledge") Keys, and victims rights specialist Brian Solomon.

As I said last week, I don't think it will pass, given that county board members are up for election in five months. But Prog Dane has an out-sized influence on this board and, in politics, don't assume it's dead until it stops moving.

Let's squish this bug real good. Could be a vote as early as next week.

What is left of the conservative caucus* on the Dane County Board is sounding the alarm on the proposed wheel tax. (*Supervisors Bruskewitz, Clausius, Ferrell, Gau, Imhoff, Jensen, Martz, Solberg, Schlicht, Wiganowsky, and Willett.) The money would go toward human services, allowing the county to back off some of the money now spent on transportation. Those 11 conservatives say:

The wheel tax could be $15 to $25 per vehicle [but not bicycles]. It is estimated to raise about $5 million annually. That is the equivalent to raising property taxes an additional 5%. Rushing through a wheel tax on top of a property tax increase of 4% (the County Executive's proposed budget) is unconscionable.

This tax increase package will likely be introduced and voted on next week, yet there has been no meaningful discussion of this issue at any county committee and no discussion of putting this vote to the taxpayers. [This] may be the result of pending state legislation that would require a referendum ... If the Dane County wheel tax passes next week, then voters will have no say in the matter.

The conservatives note that since adopted in 1991, the county's half-cent sales tax has yielded over $685 million.

The wheel tax must be considered in the context of the half-cent sales tax that was instituted in 1991. A memo from then County Executive Rick Phelps stated, "when we passed the sales tax, we promised that we would be anticipating the cost of the jail, stabilizing the property tax rate, and at the same time, supporting the basic services that the county provides in other areas."

Let's also remember that this is a county government that could have but did not take full advantage of Governor Walker's budget tools. Tell the county board "No wheel tax" and "No pay raise for Chairman Scottie McD!"

CCW training useful

I part with many in the gun community and fellow NRA members who hold that the four-hour training required by the attorney general was unreasonable. I understand opponents' point about gun ownership being a right. But there is a gradation, at the very least, between possessing a gun in one's own home and carrying it on the street. The training requirement was not an unreasonable restriction.

Although the legislature's oversight committee struck down the requirement, I think responsible gun owners still will want to take a concealed carry course of instruction. I recommend Madison College's six-hour Concealed Carry and Handgun Fundamentals safety course. Hunter's safety is not a substitute.

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