Thursday, December 27, 2007

Good new taxes for Milwaukee, Milwaukee County

The city and the county need new revenue. That's pretty obvious. The city needs additional tax revenue to support all those additional police who don't seem to be making much of a dent in crime) partly because even if they arrest a thousand more bad guys, there is finite room in the county jail and House of Correction for those same bad guys and when a thousand come in, a thousand go out). The county needs more money for parks, safety and just about everything else.

To settle the matter right away, and because leaving the decision to elected heads of local government means there will be no decision (think $91 million in transit money), here is how the tax revenue would be distributed: 33% to the county, 66% to the municipality where the taxed purchase is made.

The taxes:
  • 5 cents per bottle for bottled water. Chicago just adopted this tax, and it is expected to raise $21 million for the city. If people can afford to spend money on water that comes in bottles that then end up as litter or as landfill contents, they can afford the extra nickel. Note to bottled water drinkers: the caps to the damned bottles do indeed count as litter when you throw them in the street, or on the parks. There seems to be two or three caps disposed of this way for every bottle littered.
  • A 1 cent tax on bags designed for "to go" food from fast food restaurants. This is nicknamed the "McDonald's tax" in honor of the predominant fast food litter variety in Milwaukee, and for the red and white garbage that has accumulated on S. 43rd St. since a McDonald's opened up a few years back south of Miller Park. This tax could help fund litter clean-up crews (and even garbage cans for the parks!) and special patrols that would levy heavy, heavy fines on the morons who don't like the fast food detritus in theirs car, so open the doors and put it on the streets.
  • A 1 cent tax on plastic shopping bags. What we really need is some elected officials courageous enough to ban the darned things, but while we are waiting for hell to freeze over, let's tax 'em to support the clean-up crews mentioned above and the parks.


blurondo said...

It's time that we also charge tax exempt property for all the expensive services that they receive. Churches, charitable organizations, schools etc., etc. are the recipients of street lights, side walks, police and fire services, snow plowing and street sweeping and much much more.
It's long past the time that the property tax payer can afford to support all of this alone.

De Los Santos said...

Wow - this is great. I did not know these taxes went into effect.

I would like to add though, that the city could SAVE a heck of a lot of money by doing two things:

1) Hire more desk-job people for the Police which would prevent the need for overtime - there was an article recently that said that overtime pay for cops could have been prevented by hiring like 20 people at half the cost.

2) Make MPS bid-out their health care. We spend an astonishing $30K per year per teacher on health benefits. That's totally insane and is pure corruption on the part of the teacher's union. Bid it out and it would cost $10K for the same benefits.