Saturday, August 04, 2007

To: Editorial board at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Their question to readers:

Would you be willing to pay a higher sales tax on gasoline to pay for bridge maintenance and replacement?

My reply...

Dear Editorial board,

My answer is no I would not and it’s the phrasing of your question that might draw scrutiny from other like-minded readers. That is, why do you presuppose that the only way to fund such infrastructure improvement is through an increase in the gas tax- or an increase in any tax for that matter? We already pay among the highest sales tax rates at the pump.

During the previous budget cycle, Governor Doyle, like a modern day Cesar Augustus, used his famous “Frankenstein veto” to instantly transfer over $400 million dollars from the highway fund to K-12 education. The magnitude of his audacity surprised pols on both sides of the aisle. Perhaps some of those funds might have remained better invested in infrastructure like that suggested by your query to readers in today’s paper.

In any event - why not ask a follow up question to JS readers?

“In order to fund such bridge work, would you allow the consolidation of school districts where enrollment no longer justifies operating such schools, or through asset sales of state owned property and land used by a paucity of our population, or through cancellation of marginally-necessary pet projects?”

OK, I understand space limitations -- but you get my point.

Respectfully,

John J. Maddente