On public spending
The promise of cutting taxes has become a popular way for politicians to gain attention and secure votes. As we consider taxes on income, property, everyday purchases, gasoline, and so much more, each person and household contributes a lot to maintain government services. When our personal budgets are tight, the promise of tax relief is appealing.
The voices for tax cuts, however, are not telling the whole story. They are forgetting to mention that when people work together and pool their resources, they can do what a single person can’t accomplish. Think local. How many individuals could afford to maintain the roads, the city swimming pool, the library, the fire department, the parks, or the hundreds of services that public money supports? No individual can. Cuts in taxes translate into cuts in services.
The most recent round of state tax cuts amounted to a $3-a-week saving for my family. That’s a whopping $150 for the year. On the heels of my tax-saving bonanza, the state announced that it now has a multi-million-dollar deficit. That state deficit will have to be managed by cutting revenues to local governments. Your county, your town, your city, and your school district will have less money to work with to provide the services that you depend on.
On April 7, the community has another tax-related question to answer. Platteville Public Schools is asking voters to support a referendum to provide the money needed to keep our school buildings current. The money will be used to address four important areas: student safety, increased graduation requirements in math and science, bringing the first through fourth grades together to improve education and manage costs, and addressing some maintenance items needed to make sure that the buildings are in good shape and will last into the future.
The reports in the newspaper show that our students are doing well on state tests, and the district ranks near the top statewide. Why spend money now? There are three parts to the answer. First, just as you upgrade your car or remodel your house, you have to take out a loan. The district is at a point where one loan is ending. The referendum request is designed to update district facilities for the next twenty years and will have a zero increase on your property tax levy. Second, most of the upgrades are from circumstances over which the district has no control. The issues of school security and student safety are national problems. Entrances at each school building will be rebuilt for safety. Also, the state increased the graduation requirements in math and science. The high school and middle school facilities will be improved to meet the higher expectations. Finally, our schools are a community investment. Aging facilities require more in terms of upkeep, but a failure to invest will cost more to repair and replace down the road. The improvements are needed, and Platteville Public Schools needs your support to pass the referendum.
The promise of lower taxes may be appealing. But in reality, the savings for each taxpayer are small. Individual amounts added together can become large amounts that will make a difference for the whole community. Voting Yes for the school referendum will support positive public spending.
Don’t cut UW System
As a current undergraduate at UW–Madison, it is important for me to express my concerns about the proposed state budget cuts and the negative effects it will have on students. I chose to study at UW–Madison because I wanted to receive a respectable degree while also supporting my home state. Both of my parents earned degrees from this university, so I also wanted to continue the family tradition of being a Wisconsin Badger. UW–Madison holds a national reputation for excellence, and I feel very lucky to be able to attend this university with the help of financial aid and Wisconsin’s in-state tuition.
However, with Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget cuts within the UW System it will become much harder for Wisconsin residents to access an education at the university. In addition to less financial support from the state, UW will be experiencing budget cuts within faculty staffing and academic departments, including important academic resources like libraries. The budget cut within the library will affect me on a personal level, as a student who both relies on library materials for classes and works at a campus library. Like me, many students rely on jobs within the university, and this proposed cut puts students at risk of losing the jobs they need to afford textbooks, rent, groceries, and various other expenses. This proposed cut also threatens many programs created to keep students safe, including those involving student diversity and sexual violence on campus.
Our university cannot afford to lose these various resources. As a fellow Platteville community member and involved UW–Madison student, I am asking you to please contact our state senators and representatives and ask them to acknowledge the consequences of the proposed cuts. Your voice will make a difference.
She supports Bradley
On April 7, Wisconsin voters have the opportunity to decide who will fill one of the seats on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court. Many times we may feel these elections are not important to us personally and therefore don’t take the time to learn about the candidates or to vote. I encourage everyone to make voting on April 7 a priority this year.
Incumbent candidate Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, a native of Richland Center, is seeking a third term on the court. She has stated her campaign will not accept contributions from political parties or from attorneys and litigants with pending cases. While some describe her as a liberal she prefers to use the words, “tough, fair and independent.”
On the issue of judges recusing themselves from cases in which they may have a conflict of interest, Justice Bradley has shown she feels it is important for justices to remove themselves from those cases. This may be very important in upcoming cases before the court involving alleged illegal coordination between the campaign of Gov. Scott Walker and outside groups including Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and Club for Growth.
Her opponent, Rock County Circuit Judge James Daley, has stated recently that he accepted almost $7,000 in inkind contributions from the state Republican Party. Additionally, WMC has indicated it will back Judge James Daley. In the past that backing included an $8.3 million for “issue ads” helping elect conservative justices Annette Ziegler, Michael Gableman, David Prosser and Patience Roggensack.
Now, more than ever, here in Wisconsin we need to preserve some measure of checks and balances within our government. The campaign that’s been mounted against Justice Bradley is clearly designed to bring about a court that will uphold any and all conservative legislation coming from our current legislature.
Don’t ban breeds
For the Platteville council to consider a breed-specific ban on pit bull terriers or mixes is wrong. Targeting types or breeds of dogs won’t stop dog bites or protect people and their pets.
Breed-specific legislation punishes responsible dog owners without holding owners of truly dangerous dogs accountable.
Dogs that would appear to be pits have undergone genetic testing and often come back with no terrier genes in them at all. So how would the dog’s breed be determined, and by whom?
What would happen to the family pets already in the city now? What if the dog in question is a service animal? Then, what breed next? Any dog can bite and attack other animals (pets) and people when they are not properly trained and handled.
An Internet search of “why breed specific bans don’t work” will bring up page after page of sites that will explain why this ordinance being considered won’t work and is a bad idea.
Having an ordinance that would address the mistreatment of animals, including not sheltering them from inclement weather, “inappropriate size” cages, and not providing “daily contact to provide care and companionship as needed” is a great idea that is unfortunately needed in some instances. I hope that the council removes the BSL language from the ordinance completely.
The four candidates running for Town of Platteville Board have organized to send you this email about the upcoming election. We’ve been brought together by our collective desire to create change in the Town of Platteville Board. We believe in small government and the direct democracy it offers. We’re proud of our community and focused on what counts — the people.
• Jeni Ginter-Lyght is running for town clerk. She has lived in the town for 10 years. She has seven years experience working in small government. She currently manages all human resource functions for McCullough Creative of Dubuque. She works directly with the company’s president and management team on a wide range of issues. This is a part-time position that will complement Town Clerk functions. Jeni is committed to transparent and effective town business.
• Tom Weigel is running for town chair. Tom is a lifelong town resident. He started farming in 1980 when he was 15 years old. He now owns his family’s fourth-generation farm. Tom previously served the town for 14 years. Tom believes the town should work with the people and for the people.
• Roxanne Lyght is running for town supervisor. She has lived in the community for almost 60 years. She has experience serving on the town’s Plan Commission. Roxanne and her husband started their business, LyghtHouse, LLC, in 1980. That business continues to operate and employs a staff of 15 people. Roxanne has a wealth of business and community knowledge to bring to the Town Board.
• Gary Pothour is running for town supervisor. Gary has lived in the community for more than 30 years. He served on the Platteville Common Council. Gary retired from broadcasting sales after 30 years. He has a passion for local government and is actively involved in his community.
The Platteville Journal will print most letters to the editor, regardless of the opinion presented. The Journal reserves the right to edit material that is libelous or otherwise offensive to community standards and to shorten letters the Journal feels are excessively long. All letters must be signed and the signature must appear on the printed letter, along with a contact number or email for verification. Some submitted letters may not be published due to space constraints. “Thank you” letters will not be printed. All letters and columns represent the views of the writers and not necessarily the views of The Platteville Journal.