May 2, 2009

KRM compromise not winning Lehman any friends

A Recall Lehman 2009 blog appeared on the scene today. Its first post, And so it begins..., came at 12:29 p.m., so if you click to see it, you'll definitely be among the first to do so.

We first heard of it from an anonymous commenter to our post on an entirely different subject. But that's how fast this Internets thing is... Of course, as we should know better than most, anyone can start a blog, so take it, at least for now, with a grain of salt. At this writing, I have no clue who is behind it.

In any case, it has been clear that State Sen. John Lehman will take heat for his opposition to use of a sales tax to fund a Regional Transportation Agency -- something that has been endorsed by city and business leaders. And now Lehman is being credited (or blamed, depending on which side the speaker is on) for the middle-of-the-night compromise he convinced the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee to accept at about 2:40 a.m. Thursday night/Friday morning. That compromise separates Racine County from any sales tax-supported RTA and instead imposes a $16 rental car tax on Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee Counties to fund the KRM commuter rail project.

No doubt, it's just a coincidence that former State Sen. George Petak's vote in favor of the odious Miller Park Stadium Tax also came in the middle of the night (5.a.m, on Oct. 6, 1995) after another all-night session... That vote, which led to Petak's recall, weighs heavily on every sales tax proponent. Lehman knows this better than anyone: hell, he sits in what once was Petak's seat.

In any case, as soon as news of the KRM compromise came out Friday morning, the you-know-what hit the fan.

The proposal still has to go through both houses of the Legislature, a not-at-all sure thing even Lehman concedes. At today's Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast he took time from serving sausages to tell me even Senate approval is dicey; there's a two-vote Democratic margin, but at least one of those votes is already opposed. And some Milwaukee legislators think the rental car fee -- which would produce most of its revenue from cars rented at Mitchell Airport -- merely takes money from Milwaukee County to give to us. (Ha! There's a switch!)

Furthermore, even if that opposition is overcome and lawmakers ultimately pass the thing, and the governor is convinced to sign it into law -- another tough battle -- somebody still has to convince the skeptical Feds that a rental car tax is a stable funding source for what is certain to be a very expensive ongoing rail project.

Beyond all that, we have the issue of local BUS service. Mayor Tom Friedel, among others, had hoped a sales-tax-supported RTA would allow Racine to expand bus service farther out into the county --say to I-94 and into other area communities where jobs and/or workers are. At the same time, it would have taken the BUS off the local property tax, but substituting a sales tax. And remember, sales tax proponents always figure that at least some of the revenue comes from non-residents.

Well, a better BUS is a dead issue under Lehman's plan. When asked about that this morning, he suggested that the County should participate in such an expansion. He was serious, but I chuckled, and then so did he: County participation is not likely under a.) Republican County Executive Bill McReynods; b.) Current economic conditions.

At this morning's 1st Congressional District Democrats' annual meeting there was an uncomfortable moment when outgoing Chair Ray Rivera asked whether there were any questions from the floor. The first "question" was more of an article of war. Brent Nance of Racine, 2nd Vice Chair, said to sotto voce agreement, "Lehman's name is not so good in this room."

The only support expressed for Lehman came a little later from fellow JFC member Cory Mason, who said the rental car tax, KRM rather than RTA plan "was a compromise that we really think will work. Getting everyone there was tough," taking more than 10 hours.

Mason said "a lot of people tried to get us to throw in the towel. John Lehman was there all day getting it done. We now have the opportunity to make KRM happen. It will be tough to convince Washington, but we can make a good case. We cleared a really important hurdle and got a funding source for commuter rail."

That remains to be seen. And at what price?

42 comments:

  1. Pete -

    Did you actually say that Lehman laughed when asked about saving the bus?

    I about blew a gasket. This man has no shame! He's laughing while we are in a crisis here!

    Losing the bus system and KRM in one fail swoop isn't funny.

    Then again, neither is losing your job, John. Recall.

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  2. Anon 5:24: Well, we both chuckled, at least, at the idea of the County supporting the BUS. Or maybe it was at the idea of Bill McReynolds supporting it...

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  3. Thanks for the clarification Pete. So basically, Lehman killed KRM and the BUS system in Racine and thinks it is a joke.

    I wonder if he laughed after passing the rental car tax proposal. I bet he thought that was pretty darn funny too.

    What's next? Since getting the county involved for the bus won't work, how about proposing a tax on....hmmm..... Tough one, but let's use The Lehman technique for evaluating a funding source:

    Criteria 1: It must be utterly ridiculous and have no chance to succeed.

    Criteria 2: It has to be something that conservatives will love

    Criteria 3: It must disqualify us from receiving federal assistance. Who wants that?

    Criteria 4: Must be able to strong arm all of the fake Democrats into supporting it. Nothing like hugging a turd and calling it your own.

    Hmmm.....well I guess we could tax feces. Sounds like the perfect solution.

    Every time you take a dump we tax someone in China $16 to pay for the bus. They send us crap products, now we can charge them for our crap! Conservatives will eat this up, and it satisfies the rules of the Lehman Technique for funding projects. We have a sustainable, never ending funding source in feces - especially from John Lehman. He's full of crap.

    Man.....I could totally be a WI Senator!

    Recall Lehman

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  4. Lehman had an opportunity to help create an RTA which would remove the BUS system from city property owners and he FUMBLED!

    I live in the city, I'm furious!

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  5. I love this! Watching the Dems kill themselves!! Yes!!!
    This is great entertainment!

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  6. Mason: "It will be tough to convince Washington, but we can make a good case."

    You have to be joking. The feds said it would be ok if they used sales tax or gas tax. There would have been no need at all to convince Washington, because they would already be good.

    So, what Mason is saying is that her purposely voted for a plan forced upon him by Lehman that he in fact new would be a tough sell. In other words, he knowingly put the fate of KRM on a rental car tax that he new could very well favor instead of supporting the sales tax which would have been a slam dunk.

    This just keeps getting worse.

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  7. "Getting everyone there was tough," taking more than 10 hours.

    Mason just answered the question about how long does it take to screw an entire city

    he voted for this thing too and should be recalled with lehman

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  8. colt

    Lehman and Mason are no Democrats.

    Not for much longer anyway.

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  9. Pete, I disagree with the statement about the govenor needing to be convinced. He was really positive about KRM and the RTA when he was here recently. I got the impression that he would have signed it with no problem. But that was with the sales tax.

    Now, it is all up in the air and the federal money might be gone too. It's a whole new ballgame.

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  10. Since when is anything related to airline travel stable? We're counting on rental car fees from Gen Mitchell? Really?

    Maybe I'm missing something but who is going to support that?

    This is terrible news. I hope something can be done. Why did Sen Lehman do this?

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  11. 7:08

    Hate to say this but the Dems will never do a recall nor will their sheeple go for it. They are good Dems just like Mason they do what they are told

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  12. I'm a Democrat, I've campaigned for Lehman and Mason, I've already looked into the recall procedures. There's always another candidate around the corner and if these two aren't going to represent the people and what's best for the community, we'll find someone who will!

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  13. The plan was flawed. Why don't Dems get it? We are already taxed to the gills. Something has got to give. Stop whining over failed projects. Maybe the dems will figure it out when they are the only ones left in Wisconsin to pay the bills. Figure out how to make it work with the money you have now. No new taxes.

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  14. I've known and supported John Lehman for over 10 years. I now have to reconsider those years of support. He is not the person I thought he was. I would not vote for him again. I don't use these words lightly either, I am just so upset with him I can't seem to express myself more intelligently right now.

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  15. 9:25

    The sales tax was new, but it also took the bus off of the property taxes. You say taxed to death but you would actually get rid of one tax. Depending on how much money you spent in a year with the sales tax, you actually might come out ahead in that deal.

    Plus, I don't know about you but I like the idea of tourists, business visitors, etc paying part of our bills with the sales tax.

    Here is an example just to illustrate it a little bit. Let's use a number that is really low for revenue from out of town visitors in a year. Call it $25million for the sake of argument.

    With a 0.25% Sales tax increase, these visitors are nowing contributing about $63,000 to our transit system. Thanks for the donation! This money is off of the backs of the property owners. I don't see how this is a losing scenario for Racine.

    So, consider this example. If I'm way off here, please jump in.

    The bus system accounts for about $100 in property tax. I don't know the exact figures but I don't think it is that far off.

    OK, so that tax would be gone. So far you're up $100. Now let's deal with the sales tax increase.

    Assume you have $30,000 per year that you spend on items that are eligible for the sales tax. This is a pretty substantial number when you think about it. Keep in mind that groceries and some other things don't get hit with sales tax so $30,000 is a pretty significant number.

    Anyway, take that $30,000 and multiply it by the 0.25% sales tax increase. The number comes out to$75.

    So here's what you get: $100 savings in property tax minus the $75 in increased sales tax and you're ahead $25.

    So not only did you gain a few bucks, but now you have access to transit and KRM.

    Judge for yourself but my example was pretty generous on the spending side ($30k). For many property owners, that $25 in savings will actually be a little higher.

    Lehman let us all down. I can't even tell you how disappointed a lot of people out there are right now. He put this plan out there that is reliant on a rental car tax and gets us no property tax relief.

    There's just nothing else to say. The man needs to face a recall. It hurts to say it, but you can't get away with what he just did. I personally wish the man well, but this failure can't go unanswered. There's too much on the line in Racine and we can't afford Lehman's half in/half out approach to this.

    Recall Lehman. Sorry people, it just has to be done. Sad time for Racine.

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  16. Not only that but he tossed away federal funds to help with this project! This money isn't going to be around forever and it is unlikely that KRM will proceed without it.

    The time to act on this was now and Lehman and Mason just pissed away the opportunity because they were worried about themselves.

    Does it get much lower than that? Well, yes it does actually. They made it worse by trying to pass off this rental tax as an alternative when it isn't. Maybe they thought nobody would notice or care or something. I don't know. What I do know is that it is time for both of these guys to get fired.

    I'm sure we could come up with another Democrat that would actually respond to the people that put them in office. I'd rather take my chances on that than give another vote to Lehman or Mason ever again.

    Are there any good Dems out there that would be willing to take the seat and try to save KRM? Ideas anyone?

    We're looking for a leader! The Democratic party better start scouting out replacements on the ballot.

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  17. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I would sign a recall petition against John Lehman. He is a disgrace to his position.

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  18. A recall might actually help the Democrats out in the long run. After this fiasco with KRM I don't think anyone is going to vote for Lehman or Mason.

    At least if you do a recall now, you can put in incumbant Democrats that would have a chance at winning in the next election.

    If we don't recall Lehman and Mason then we've just handed over two seats to the Republicans. With the way Lehman and Mason have acted, I guess it wouldn't be much different but still.

    Loyal Democrats can't take that chance. We must recall Lehman and Mason immediately to have a prayer of keeping those seats.

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  19. Anon 10:53

    Good point. I didn't really think of it that way. Wasn't there a KRM rally last week? There were a lot of business and other places that wanted KRM. Let's get something going with all of them! Save KRM! I'm actually saying it. Recall Lehman! How do we start? Has anyone contacted that blog?

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  20. By the way anonymous 5:24 pm, the phrase is, "In one fell swoop", not "fail swoop". Other than that, I agree with everything you say! Lehman NEEDS to be recalled!!!!!!

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  21. Actually I like fail better. It's more fitting. Good one Anon 5:24

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  22. Did anyone read Lehman's commentary in the Sunday April 26, 2009 Journal Times?

    He says that putting the transit costs onto a sales tax would NOT decrease the property tax.

    Does anyone else find it odd that Milwaukee County will be allowed (need) a 1% sales tax increase for public transit that doesn't include the KRM. Sounds like Lehman was right that the originally proposed sale tax from Racine and Kenosha would be used mainly to support the Milwaukee County bus system.

    Read the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau document on transportation here.

    Starting on page 15:

    48. An estimate of the impact of the Southeast RTA proposal on the sales and use taxes
    paid by households in the RTA would first have to determine the amount of sales and use taxes that
    would be paid by consumers who are residents of the region. A recent Department of Revenue
    study, Wisconsin Tax Incidence Study, (December, 2004), estimates that 67% percent of the sales
    and use taxes paid in the state are paid by consumers and 33% are paid by businesses. In addition,
    of the portion of sales and use taxes paid by consumers, the study found that 2% of these taxes (or
    approximately 1.3% of the total sales and use taxes) are paid by out-of-state consumers. However,
    given the fact that proposed RTA includes the major city in the region, various tourist draws, and
    major regional shopping centers, this estimate assumes that nonresidents of the proposed RTA
    would account for 5% of the sales and use taxes paid by consumers (or approximately 3.4% of total
    sales and use taxes).

    49. The following table indicates the estimated amount of the proposed sales and use
    taxes allocated to the residents of the Southeast RTA under the assumptions indicated above and an
    estimate of the amount paid per household. Because the table indicates the amount of sales and use
    taxes paid per household, the amount of revenue used to fund DOR's 1.5% administrative fee is
    included in the amount of estimated taxes paid. This table indicates the amount paid per household
    under a sales and use tax rate of 0.25% or the maximum rate of 0.5%. If the sales and use tax
    revenues are used to supplant existing transit expenditures being paid by the property taxpayers in
    the RTA, those taxpayers could experience some reduction in their property taxes, if the taxes aren't
    shifted to support other county or municipal functions.

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  23. Anon 2:40 am must be associated with Lehman somehow, because only someone that thinks we are stupid would actually lay out contradictory points to prove their own.

    You said:

    "He says that putting the transit costs onto a sales tax would NOT decrease the property tax."

    And then quoted a non-partisan study that said:

    "If the sales and use tax
    revenues are used to supplant existing transit expenditures being paid by the property taxpayers in
    the RTA, those taxpayers could experience some reduction in their property taxes, if the taxes aren't
    shifted to support other county or municipal functions."

    This is just more evidence that Lehman and Mason's actions defy all logic and reason.

    I mean, just add what Lehman and Mason did to the fact that they totally ignored the begging of virtually every business in town, the mayor, various community organizations; not to mention editorials by The Journal Times, Milwaukee JS, and The Racine Post all calling for John to do the right thing and pass this as the governor had proposed.

    Thousands of post cards and letters went to these guys and nothing. The endless begging was met by Lehman and Mason with cowardice and self preservation. Lehman was going to do whatever the hell he wanted - voters or supporters be damned. He thought we would all just take it and shut up. Mr. Lehman, you have seriously underestimated your base and the KRM supporters that put you where you are today.

    Well that's ok Lehman and Mason but there comes a time when you have to pay the piper. Either way you have announced the end of your representation of Racine. Whether by recall or by the next general election you are both done.

    Democrats have to do some deep thinking now about preserving the party. Since when is the Democrat party about ruining mass transit and abandoning the BUS system? What happened to the party platform?

    Recall Lehman and Mason now. We voted for leadership and courage and were let down in the moment of truth with KRM at our finger tips. That failure is too large gentlemen. It cannot be ignored, brushed under the rug, or forgiven.

    You gave up on the bus system, put KRM in a position to fail, and tried to pull a fast one over on us with by covering the whole thing up with a laughable rental car tax proposal. All in the name of keeping your jobs.

    There are so many people that would have gone to the mat for you on this and busted their rear ends for your campaigns after doing the difficult but right thing for Racine.

    But you tossed it away like nothing and ignored the groundswell of voices throughout your community that were begging for help. Having representation on the JFC from Racine was heralded as great. It apparently wasn't. If we had a different Democrat in there John, this thing would have went through with the sales tax and federal funding.

    Unfortunately it is true and just as unfortunately we now need another Democrat to take Lehman's place.

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  24. KRM is a useless idea, one that will cost us for ever at a price higher than maintaining the bus line. Heres an idea use Amtrak! Use the empty buses to ferry people to these imaginary jobs that the KRM would serve!

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  25. Anon 8:53 must be a Republican. Once again the idea is to do nothing and prosper. Enjoy unemployment and all the benefits it brings!

    I at least respect your upfront stance on this issue Anon 8:53, unlike Lehman and Mason that tried to make us think they supported KRM and the BUS system.

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  26. KRM such a great idea, wonder why the North Shore, MRK, Interurban, Northwestern aren't still here and making a killing? What's wrong with a user fee? Let the people who use these facilities pay for them. Seems like it works for other things. Atta boy John NO MORE SALES TAXES!

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  27. Anon 9:12

    You have to measure any train not only in terms of ridership but total economic impact.

    But ok. Let me sum up what you are saying:

    I heard the word tax increase and freaked out like a school girl. I failed to read up on topic to realize I would also get a tax decrease in property taxes.

    I hate the bus system. I want it to fail so all of the poor people that I soooo love won't be able to reach employment. In my do nothing plan, I believe this will reduce crime and poverty and make the city more attractive for business by isolating the poor to a walking distance so they leave me the hell alone so help me Jesus.

    I hate jobs and the economic impact of transit. Once again, I will not read up on the subject but am forming my opinion on the phrase tax increase alone.

    I hate having visitors help pay for the cost of the transit system in Racine via sales tax. It's not fair to them. They just wanted to visit and spend money, not help us pay for the transit they are probably using with a sales tax they wouldn't even notice. I want to have this tax burden all to myself. Sharing, as I've learned from the Republicans, simply sucks.

    I hate the environment. The planet will be fine or at least I'll be gone before it matters.

    Don't worry though, Lehman will be looking for your vote really soon. You seem to share the same platform.

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  28. When you raise taxes on sales items people just buy them from somewhere else. Maybe some tourists wouldn't know better, but locals will drive to Kenosha and surrounding communities to save money. Thats a fact.

    The federal plan is for a 110 mph train to link all the large cities- within surrounding states with Chicago. Is KRM the same thing or are we paying for the same project twice?

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  29. "but locals will drive to Kenosha and surrounding communities to save money."

    Someone call mensa we have another winner.

    Yes, I am going to spend $20 in gas to drive to Minnesota to buy a pen so I can save $.01 and feel good about how smart I am. That's a fact! I totally will do it, watch! The people will be flocking to Northern IL (well, too expensive), I mean Milwaukee (hmmm, still too expensive).

    But let's say you were buying cars and yachts everyday. Hey, it could happen. This Republican fantasy land is chalked full of all kinds of stuff that doesn't make any sense.

    So, you would be willing to spend gas money and drive God knows how long to save money in this scenario:

    Car: $20,000
    Additional sales tax: 0.25%
    Additional cost: $50
    Cost of gas: $24

    This is assuming you can find a tax rate within a tank of gas that is 0.25% cheaper than here and that $2 gas is permanently here to stay. I mean, gas never goes up in price. That would be insane!

    So you mean to tell me you are going waste all kinds of time, to search out this mysterious place of tax freeness to save $25? Are you serious?

    Call John Lehman and thank him for his vote right now. Tell him you're the kind of caliber person that will be supporting his next campaign effort. The rest of us are just really dumb.

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  30. This thread is actually really interesting.

    I just want to remind the people who keep saying KRM won't pay for itself that transportation never does.

    We pay for all our roads, they aren't profitable in fact they're very expensive. These projects are all investments.

    My house is worth 30% less than it was a few years ago, and I'm going to still pay for the BUS on my property taxes. Who is going to come from Chicago or Milwaukee and buy my house when they're stuck in Racine?

    We had a chance to INVEST in a future and Lehman blew it.

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  31. NO one was going to ride KRM millions and millions a year every year would be needed to keep KRM running. No company is going to come to Racine becuse we have a Train.
    Companies and Home owners will leave this area with all the fun taxes we get to pay.
    Wait until the QEO is gone
    Wait until the next RUSD Referendum and you know one is coming
    Wait until Cap and Trade
    Tax tax tax

    All out of our pockets.

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  32. Colt. Under what circumstances would you find KRM a success?

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  33. He won't have any. That's the difference between people like us and people like him. Almost on queue the first word Colt posted was NO.

    That pretty much sums it all up. The sad part is that these are the same guys that just won with this KRM thing.

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  34. Hey Colt, say hello to Peter Pan for me in your Republican world known as Never Never Land.

    Let's put the United States into your ideal utopia world and analyze your deepest desires.

    In Republican Never Never Land. No wait, No Not Never Land. In this bizarro world of stupidity the tax rate is really small to cover only essential services. Next to nothing, like 0.25% because that would in fact be next to nothing.

    You and all of your business buddies are pretty happy. The only problem with No Not Never Land is that everyone has a 0.25% tax rate. Uh-oh....that means it would not matter where business would go. Now what would they do? The Republican mind is about to be blown wide open!

    Well, if you had the exact same tax rate as someone else you would actually have to compete to draw them in. You would have to offer something that the other location did not have. Sure there are natural resources, but how would you attract business to your area?

    The answer is that you spend money you morons. Communities have to invest in order to grow just like everything else. I've never met a successful business that decided that the best strategy for itself was to let everything they own become outdated and never be innovative.

    Maybe Colt follows this philosophy in his own life and is blogging to use via his Apple II E or maybe he is sending his posts via Pony Express.

    Business has to invest to remain viable and competitive and so does a community. It isn't that tough of a concept.

    Change or die and you be the judge of which of those we are doing.

    Racine needs to pull a Madonna and reinvent itself. That's the only hope. Sitting back and waiting for a tax cut isn't going to do it.

    We need jobs and we need resources available to attract those jobs.

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  35. Truly a stunning thread...

    Those of you who think taking transit off property tax would help are in a fiary land.

    Property taxes would not go down, the money currently being used for transit would just be spent on something else. They are doing the same thing now with the tax increase on land lines and cell phones by adding first responders. Money currently paying for them will just be spent on something else.

    You libbies take the cake really, Lehman found a funding source, not the tax you like and you go all turncoat on him?

    He got the train through.

    And it will run at a 90% loss as projected.

    We are in a crisis, we are over taxed and democrats attack business at every front in this state and still compain about a lack of jobs?

    Do you not see the disconnect there?

    Trains don't create jobs, businesses do. Maybe you stop attacking them and find ways to lower regulations and taxes. We can't all work for the government.

    Welcome to reality.

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  36. It seems someone here has a one track mind (pun intended). Did you notice in the quote "if the taxes aren't shifted to support other county or municipal functions." I take it there was not a provision in the legislation that would prevent the shifting.

    Some of us are not left or right. We are independents.

    Now here is something I found on the current RTA car rental fee (Linky here).

    7. Are there any exemptions from the Regional Transit Authority fee if my business is primarily engaged in the short-term rental of Type 1 automobiles?

    Yes. The Regional Transit Authority fee does not apply to the rental of Type 1 automobiles without drivers if the vehicle is being used as a replacement during the service or repair of another vehicle. To claim this exemption, the lessee must present a properly completed Certificate of Exemption for Rental Vehicles (Form RV-207) to the lessor for retention as part of the lessor's records.

    Is this exemption still in the new RTA fee proposal?

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  37. One more thing. Here is the link to Lehman's Journal Times commentary.

    The 3rd paragraph from the bottom is the one I was talking about.

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  38. "Racine needs to pull a Madonna and reinvent itself. That's the only hope. Sitting back and waiting for a tax cut isn't going to do it."
    The KRM is not going to do it either nor are the cool art projects that RCEDC likes so much. How about the green jobs and companies that could be found at windpower 09 this week less then 70 Miles from here AND WHY IS RCEDC NOR RAMAC GOING?

    "We need jobs and we need resources available to attract"
    those jobs."
    And A train will not do it try lower taxes try getting out of business way not a Marxist agenda
    not No bid contacts Oh an educated work force helps too.

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  39. I love how simple concepts are so twisted to favor ones point of view.

    People can do the BULK of their shopping a few miles from home and it will not add up to much in terms of money spent on gas.

    There are also internet stores. Shipping is greatly reduced if you shop around. Buy the item on sale online and shipping is discount all the more for you.

    Route 41 has cheap cases of cigarettes. I know people who pick up several cases every time they drive to Illinois. They are not wasting gas because they are driving there anyway. Did Racine see that tax revenue? Did the state of Wisconsin see that tax revenue? No

    We are experiencing a retail sales slump. Stores are closing all around Racine. Only a genius would say lets make stuff more expensive. Great plan.

    Stop trying to shove a half baked plan on us. Then you wouldn't see so much opposition. Go back to your drawing board.

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  40. Anon 2:03

    "I know people who pick up several cases every time they drive to Illinois."

    That's the whole point. I don't know many people that are willing to drive 50 miles to save $5 on a carton of cigarettes. You said it all....they were buying them on their way to somewhere else which is totally besides the point.

    What the other poster was trying to argue is that with a 0.25% sales tax increase, people would be flocking to IL, Green Bay, Minnesota, Alaska, and who knows where else to buy their goods and not buy them in town where they buy them now.

    It would be the 0.25% that just puts them over the top and inspires them to drive to other places to get indentical goods.

    Put it in real dollars and you begin to understand just how stupid this is.

    OK - you spent $50 on a carton of cigarettes. Your increased sales tax (the 0.25%) on that whopping purchase is:

    $0.13

    So, you mean to tell me that person is willing to spend $4 in gas ($2/gallon - 25 miles per gallon) to drive 50 miles to IL in order to save $0.13 in sales tax?

    And your other comment:

    "We are experiencing a retail sales slump. Stores are closing all around Racine. Only a genius would say lets make stuff more expensive. Great plan."

    Yes indeed. Let's apply your same logic in reverse to see if it holds. You've managed to do what no economist ever has - you've figured out how the complex nature of the economy and came up with:

    Taxes are bad, so thus tax reduction is good. Now you claim the 0.25% increase would ruin the economy, so thus a 0.25% increase would save it.

    Let's say we dropped sales tax by 0.25%! I take it from your comment that the retail industry would rebound in a heart beat. That $0.13 savings on that $50 would really drive business! Everything would be great!

    Or not.

    You know what would really help retail stores right now? JOBS!!!!!!!! you morons.

    People will start buying again when they have jobs. KRM can help bring jobs into the city, spur increased tourism and help our economy. Doing nothing on the other hand, or offering a 0.25% tax decrease will do NOTHING. And that's exactly what you will get.

    Let's face it people. When you put that increase in terms of real dollars and real life situations it isn't as big of a deal as you think.

    You do the math.

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  41. Anon 5:49

    Come on there is a very real easy, less expensive solution than KRM. Obama is going to build a High speed rail to Milw, and Madison, he says. If it gets built it'll either follow the Interstate, or more likely replace the AmTrak at Sturtevant. So lets propose an extension of the Metra to STURTEVANT, rather than State St. Over the next decade any population growth will be in Mt. Pleasant and the west side of the City over to Yorkville. Franksville and Western Caledonia will likely get denser as well. To build a train to an area that people will be leaving is silly.
    So Metra connects at Sturtevant for about 10-20 Million and the riders don't have to get off train number one and switch. When Oak Creek decides to build a connector let them pay for it!
    Imagine this You can board the Amtrak and get to the AIRPORT!! KRM doesn't do that. You have a choice of the faster track to Downtown Chicago, or the slower track to the North Burbs! If Obama builds the new system he couldn't avoid this stop!. so then you have rapid access to Chicago, Milwaukee and even Madison, and beyond in the future. Economic development in Sturtevant, Mt. Pleasant and also Racine would Boom.. Especially if we succeed in keeping our tax burden LOWER than our surrounding Counties and municipalities.
    John Lehman may have done us a favor by letting us rethink this thing!

    $300 Million vs. 10-20 Million. seems like a no brainer to me!!

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  42. From the February 27, 2009 RTA minutes link here:

    Mr. Mueller stated that the RTA provisions in the Governor’s proposed budget did not completely
    incorporate the recommendations presented in the RTA report to the Governor and Legislature. He and
    Board members indicated that the budget bill required local government action to join the RTA; did not
    include language requiring sales tax revenues to be spent in the county where they were collected; did not
    provide for an offsetting reduction in property taxes for the sales tax revenues collected; did not include
    the preparation of five-year transit service plans and budgets by local planning groups in each County to
    provide the basis for the local sales tax revenues needed in each county; and, did not provide for a Racine
    County representative on the RTA Board.

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