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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast



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When politicians are about to charge you more to live (raise your taxes) don't ever let them tell you there's no place left to cut.

Good government costs money. I believe it was Milwaukee's own former mayor Frank Zeidler who was so fond of saying so. I agree, but how much money seems always to be a matter of contention.

Budget times are tough for governments at all levels. The State is about to have a huge deficit. So many local municipalities and school districts have raised our property taxes significantly, and still there seems there's just never enough to go around.

I'm not arguing for or against higher taxes necessarily. I just believe in getting your money's worth. Sometimes that means paying more. Fine.

Just don't let any politicians in these tight times try to tell you there's just no place left for them to cut.

A couple of stories highlighted this week expose that there's always some money hiding in there somewhere.

Let's start with Aaron Diamant's story on the bus drivers. For years now we've seen annual cuts in the Milwaukee County Transit System. Each of those years, the relative constituencies hurt by this continue calling for people to pay higher taxes in order to support the system. Or... here's another thing we could do... not have 8 bus drivers getting paid nearly 1 million dollars between them. One driver recording an annual salary plus overtime of $107,000.

Okay... how about the City of Milwaukee aldermen getting a "car allowance." Not just an "allowance." How about $337 a month!

That story was exposed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It was actually a story about the fact that Alderman Michael McGee continued to collect his "car allowance" while behind bars... clearly not needing a car. 

To me, the outrage was not that McGee kept collecting, but that any of these guys are getting more than $4,000 a year from the taxpayers so they can get to work. Yeah, yeah, they drive to meetings and go places in their districts. That's the job. They have to get dressed in the morning too before coming in. Should we pay for their clothes? They've got to eat at work, right? Lunch... maybe a food allowance?

Look, I don't begrudge any man or woman making money for working hard, and even some aldermen work hard. You want to make that much and more, fine. Just don't tell the taxpayers there's no place left to cut. They see new places to save money every time they turn on the news.





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