Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Taxes matter

cross posted at Kathy Carpenter for Alderwoman

Taxes matter

Not only do taxes matter, but spending matters also.

I visited with a nice gentleman in my district for almost an hour on Monday night.

He had been waiting for a while for someone on the local level of government to come by and talk to him about the taxes.

His concerns were for himself, his wife and many of his friends and neighbors.

This gentleman is partially retired and is living off of social security, his pension and a part time job.

The taxes are just too high in Kenosha and he stated that he can no longer afford to have the taxes raised $100, 200 or 300 a year- which is what has been happening.

Kenosha’s property tax bill went up on average by $138 this past year, per the Kenosha News.

The average Kenosha resident, including senior citizens, pays about $3431.62 per year in property taxes.

Now to some (including our current city council members), what is the big deal, right?

Well, to many of these senior citizens cannot afford a single increase in property tax costs when they are living off a relatively fixed income.

The average person in the city of Kenosha is paying $286 A MONTH in property taxes alone.

Even if you can ignore the cost of food, gas, electricity, water and fees going up, we cannot continue to pass one property tax increase after another year after year.

When I was at the NAACP event, several of the incumbents made the standard excuses of blaming the property tax increase on the school tax levy.

The incumbents are correct in stating that the school tax levy is going up year after year, but they are not telling the entire truth that they themselves continue to add to the property tax increases also.

From the following chart in the Kenosha News, the city council and the mayor are still playing a major roll in property tax increases.

Taxing body: Ave. Home Ave. Home $ Diff. % Diff.

City $1,336.17 $ 1,385.30 $ 49.13 3.7%

KUSD $1,382.74 $1,472.64 $ 89.90 6.5%

Gateway Tech Col. $ 204.74 $ 208.08 $ 3.34 1.6%

County $ 632.50 $ 644.99 $ 12.49 2.0%

State $ 29.10 $ 29.49 $ 0.39 1.3%

Gross Property Tax $3,585.24 $ 3,740.49 $155.26 4.3%

Minus: School Tax Credit $194.95$ 223.27 $ 28.32 14.5%

Minus: Lottery Credit $ 96.79 $ 85.60 $ (11.19) -11.6%

Net Property Tax $3,293.49 $3,431.62 $ 138.13 4.2%

Of the $138 property tax increase this year, the city council raised taxes by $49 on the average property tax owner this past year.

Think about the issues that our senior citizens are faced with year after year. They have a limited amount of money and they need to make that money last for the rest of their lives.

They must also absorb the cost of higher gas prices, higher food prices and higher living costs.

The biggest problem my new friend had with all of this is that he cannot stand the way our government is spending that money.

The wife of my new friend stated that she has heard ENOUGH out of him about the museums. He is so upset that we have to pay for new museums but we cannot get the roads repaired in a timely fashion.

He believes that our current aldermen are spending taxpayer dollars incorrectly.

I could not agree more.

Museums do not take priority over fire and police protection.

The trolley does not take priority over road repair.

It is time for the city council to put the people of Kenosha over the special interest groups squawking for our tax dollars.

My hope is that my new friends in the 5th district will stick around Kenosha long enough to make the needed changes to Kenosha government.

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