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Thursday, October 30, 2014  |   Madison, WI: 46.0° F  
CITIZEN DAVE: Thoughts and ideas about city building from Madison's former mayor
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Citizen Dave: The case against the property tax relief plan
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If there was any doubt at all that I have no interest in running for elected office again, let me remove it now by saying this: I'm against property tax relief.

Well, actually I'm not against the concept, but I don't like the governor's plan, now on the fast track in the legislature, to toss $100 million at the problem. That sounds like a lot of money but next year it would mean that the average property tax payer would save about $13. I don't feel very relieved.

Looked at that way, isn't there a better way to deploy those resources? Here in Madison, because the school district is well below its taxing limit, our share of that $100 million is not required to go to reduce taxes. The money could instead be invested in education.

And that's exactly where I would bet most Madisonians would want it to go. I'm sure the district can propose all kinds of ways to use that money wisely. Obviously, there should be a fully vetted plan. Maybe it's targeting the achievement gap, or reducing class sizes in a few schools, or restoring enrichment programs.

My guess is that whatever investment can be made in improving the education of the kids who will be supporting me in my old age will be a better investment for me than saving a few bucks on my property tax bill. I'd probably just blow it on a round of golf anyway.

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