June 25, 2009

Mason urges Gateway board to increase its levy

Just prior to today's 3 p.m. meeting of the Gateway Technical College Board, Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, issued a statement calling on the board to raise the college's tax levy.

Yes, you read this right.

Citing high unemployment figures within the district, and the need to provide training for workers, Mason called upon the board to restore the 5.5% levy request the board appears ready to cut to 4.5%. The difference, he said, would amount to a tax increase of $1.20 on a home assessed at $100,000, while allowing hundreds more students to receive instruction.

This is the "the time for us to do everything possible to connect workers to job skills training and educational advancement," Mason said, noting that Gateway's summer enrollment is up 64% and unemployment is 10% within Racine County and 16% in the city of Racine.

His full statement is below:
I regret that state budget deliberations will keep me in the Capitol today and that I am unable to participate in person in the public hearing and discussion at Gateway. I appreciate all of those who have taken the time to attend this important Board meeting and commend the Board and members of the Gateway staff and administration for their leadership and dedication to the Racine area’s workforce during these challenging economic times.

As part of the state budget deliberations, we fought hard to maintain funding for the Wisconsin technical college system. Facing an unprecedented budget shortfall and an historic economic crisis, we recognized that the best investment we could make as a state is in our workforce. Ensuring that our technical colleges have the resources they need to train our community’s workers is the surest path to economic recovery and prosperity for Wisconsin. I am pleased that the state budget includes the first increase in general state aid for the technical colleges since 2001. Numerous organizations, including the District Boards Association, WEAC, AFT-WI, the GTC Administration and the WTCS State office, worked diligently and persistently to maintain and slightly increase funding for these vital institutions.

However, our efforts at the state level to maintain and provide a modest increase in technical college system funding were not intended to give those at the local level a pass on their own obligations to meet the needs of unemployed workers seeking training and opportunity. As Racine County’s unemployment rate holds steady at over 10% and the City of Racine experiences one of the highest unemployment rates in the state at 16%, it is the time for us to do everything possible to connect workers to job skills training and educational advancement.

As you know, Gateway is experiencing dramatically increased enrollment. Summer enrollment is already 64 percent ahead of last year’s. To fully serve the workers of Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties who are out of work and seeking critically-needed skills and training, we must do all we can to open Gateway’s doors to these workers. A small increase in the levy will open Gateway’s doors to hundreds of local workers who will otherwise find waiting lists, overcapacity courses, or a lack of course offerings.

I appreciate and respect the thoughtfulness with which the Gateway Board has demonstrated in determining its tax levy request. While I understand the stated rationale behind the advancement of a 4.5% levy request, I am disappointed that the Board has backed away from its original request of a 5.5% levy request. Increasing the levy by an additional 1%, from 4.5 to 5.5%, would increase the tax on a $100,000 home by just $1.20 per year – a mere 10 cents per month. For the cost of a large cup of coffee at the corner market, Gateway would be able to enroll hundreds more students this year.

The workers in our community have been hard hit by the economic crisis. With this vote to establish Gateway’s levy rate, we have an opportunity to provide a targeted, vitally important investment in these workers and in their – and our – futures. I urge you to reconsider your levy request and take action to support your original request of 5.5%.

Thank you for all that you do to support and train the Racine-area’s workers.


  1. Good by Cory Mason!

  2. Cory - is Racine's "brother can you spare a dime" representative.

  3. The man is a complete idiot. Must a product of our fine school system - Economics apparently is not his strong point.

  4. Busing for pregnant students, lowering the voting age to 17, and now this. This man should never be allowed in office again.

  5. It is well known that he doesn't really live here so he wouldn't understand the impact of his request to Gateway. This is the representation you get when your "representative" lives in Dane County. Remember, this tax increase he proposes wouldn't affect his property in Dane County.

    Any Racine County residents planning on running for this seat in 2010?

  6. I would love to run, but no college degree, got a whole cemetary of skeltons in my closet, swear too much, I tell it like it is very colorfully and without apology and well I only wear jeans, guess I'm out huh? Too bad being bleeped at the capital could be fun!

  7. Well he must be thinking that he has the job for life and never has to run again.
    With the White House and Congress in Democratic hands, there is no futher need of having elections - it's just a waste of money. They know better than us what we "need".
    We don't have to worry about that stuff anymore, now we simply have to work to pay our taxes.

  8. First Cory wants us to have a wheel tax and now he wants this? Is there any tax he does not want to raise or create?

  9. This is rediculous. How long are we going to let Gateways non elected board raise our taxes. This is a bad joke. Someone needs to look into what is going on there. High tech everything, state of the art facilities. The relationships with CATI and such. Someone is putting it to the tax payers. Cory needs to go yesturday.

  10. Hey Maybe Cory can move into Plache's apartment. Just a suggestion.

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  12. Anon 10:11

    See if you can post without the profanities...