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The Tomahawk Leader is a state and national prize-winning weekly newspaper serving the scenic Northwoods area in and around Tomahawk, WI.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2002 10:55 pm 
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Tie to Tomahawk: The Tomahawk Leader
We're already seeing the wide-reaching impact of Gov. Scott McCallum's proposal to eliminate shared revenues to local governments - and the budget repair bill isn't even through the Legislature yet.<p>The Tomahawk City Council has a contingency plan in the works to reduce its budget to make up for the lost revenues. In Merrill, 11 teachers are working under the ominous axe after receiving notice that their jobs are on the line if proposed state budget cuts come to fruition. The Merrill School District still has about $1 million to cut, even with the teacher lay-offs, to stay afloat.
The City of Merrill, Lincoln County and virtually every other municipality in the state has similar hard choices to make.<p>McCallum says he wants to facilitate a fundamental change in the structure of Wisconsin government. He is hoping to see the number of government entities reduced through consolidation. That's a fine goal, but not likely to work under friendly circumstances. We just don't see townships giving up their local governments without a fight. But, this is a fight in which the small municipalities are outgunned by the state.<p>With the proposed budget cuts laid out in the City of Tomahawk, we can better understand the impact of McCallum's budget repair plan. Tomahawk would lose its summer recreation program, lifeguards at SARA Park and additional park maintenance in the summers. We'll have to live with bumpier roads and the police department won't have the latest equipment. <p>Yes, we will survive. But the cuts targeted so far only cover this year. By 2004, the cuts would have to go about a half-million dollars deeper. That's going to force the city to not only change the way it does business, but we're going to lose more services, no doubt about it.<p>The state can't just pull the rug out from under local governments without offering some kind of new program to replace the shared revenue system. If McCallum really wants to reduce local government in Wisconsin, he should present an organized process for doing so. This survival of the fittest approach to weeding out government entities isn't the answer.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2002 11:51 pm 
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But we must all remember... If we lose the shared revenue, which will mean the loss of many services, it will not be the Governers fault,it will be the fault of the local governments(so he says). Yeah right!!!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2002 12:31 am 
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For a guy allegedly running for the office of governor, he sure seems intent on alienating a great number of people. First the proposal to cut shared revenues while sparing that of those he thinks can give him the most political support. Then he pokes a stick in the eye of moralists by swearing in public, then reaffirms the spite of those opposed to the Arrowhead-Weston line by say, "It must be built." What next, criticizing Star Trek fans?<p>With crime down in the last ten years, why has the Wisconsin prison system grown by 655% in the last 15 years? The department of Work Force Development by 400%? Meanwhile our population has remained roughly stable for the period in Wisconsin with us now losing a Congressional District. The numbers show an unnecessary growth of bureacracy at the bequest of certain corporate influences at the expense of the taxpayers.<p>Whoops. I almost went off on a tirade there.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2002 2:01 pm 
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Oh, I see on the news he is "joking" about his
name-calling episode! I wonder what he will do next? Couldn't believe how many times the news people played it over and over! The joke was on him!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2002 1:47 pm 
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I am truly an outsider on this issue because I do not live in Wisconsin. But I did live in Wisconsin for fifteen years, and I visit the Tomahawk area for extended periods of time each year. Frankly, I am confused by what I read about what is going on. I see stories that my wife's hometown, Beloit, Wisconsin, may cease to exist as a municipality and that other cities and towns in Wisconsin will lose vital services because they cannot make up with property taxes what they lose in shared revenue. I recall vividly efforts in the other direction by prominent Republicans -- Sensenbrenner, Thompson, Petri, etc. -- to provide property tax relief (always an easy sell for a politician) by having the state (which collects a hefty income tax from all Wisconsin residents) to pick up some vital services. REVENUE SHARING was a major thrust. So how is what the current Republican governor truly a "reform." It appears to be an effort to turn back the clock. Will Wisconsin towns, villages, and municipalities be allowed to impose sales taxes to make up for lost state revenue? Will they impose wage taxes as some towns and cities in the U.S. do? Services --and show me a politician who is against providing services -- must be paid for from some funds. The issue was (and presumably still is) how to provide for those services in the equitable way possible. Your governor does not so far as I can tell understand or agree with that very basic issue.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2002 10:37 pm 
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The latest news is that all legislators have caved in to looting the Tobacco money and because the state is looting one-time sources our credit rating as a state has dropped. Rumors are floating that an era of "user fees", wheel taxes, etc. will prevent "raising taxes."


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