How much would you pay to keep Wisconsin’s schools intact?  Would $18 be too much to ask Wisconsin homeowners?  As a Wisconsin homeowner myself, I’d gladly pay more.

This is a reprint / repost of a piece from Jake’s Economic TA Funhouse by frequent Blogging Blue commentator JAKE FORMERLY OF THE LP.  Posted with his permission.

[UPDATE]:Chris Liebenthal over at Cognitive Dissonance elaborates on Jake’s original post and finds more errors in the GOP math.  Who’s surprised? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

According to the numbers released today, that’s the question you have to ask yourself. Because while the headline number of Wisconsin property tax levies going down $47 million statewide might sound big for the Sykes-suckers, but it’s a drop in the bucket for the average Wisconsinite. And not just because the drop is all of 1.01% of total school levies.

If you look at 2010 Census figures, you’ll see that we have just under 5.7 million people lucky enough to live in Wisconsin. So that $47 million in property taxes is all of $8.28 person. WOO-HOO!! But, to be fair, a lot of those people are kids who don’t exactly pay property taxes or rent, so let’s also use the 2.625 million state housing units and see what the average place got for a tax break.

$17.93. That’s the reduction for each household. Not even $18. Keep that thought

But wait, there’s more! Check out your individual school district here, then go to the end of the report and note the statewide numbers, which not only show the total levy, but the tax rate. Then compare the mill rate with 2011, and a hidden point comes up.

School mill rates 2011 vs. 2012
2010-2011- 9.76 overall, 9.80 K-12
2011-2012- 9.84 overall, 9.88 K-12

That’s right, school property tax rates went up this year. So if your property’s value stayed the same in Wisconsin, it’s likely your school property taxes will go up, regardless of how the Sykes/Belling/Walker team try to spin it. And if they don’t go up, it’s probably because your home’s value went DOWN, and not by a little. But hey, who cares if you’re underwater on your house when you can save $1.50 a month in (deductible) property taxes, right?

And now let’s talk about the damage your community is taking on for the sake of that $1.50 a month. This handy-dandy interactive map will give a good idea what your district had to do because of Walker’s moves. You’ve taken thousands of dollars away from the take-home pay of many of your community members, denigrated the education profession, raised class sizes in the classrooms of our youngest students, and caused numerous experienced teachers to leave the profession. and in the process have taken away one of Wisconsin great advantages over other states – it’s top-quality education.

And what happens in the long-term if this continues and Wisconsin gains a reputation as a place of Idiocracy with a low value for education? Why don’t you ask the Confederacy, where home of 7 of the 12 states with the highest unemployment rates (page 18), including 5 over 10%. And these places also rank highest in poverty and per capita income (what a coincidence!). Low-wage and anti-union policies haven’t come close to saving that area from staying behind, and it’s because of the anti-education mentality and low-skill workforce. This is where we’re heading if we continue to denigrate education to save a few bucks, and it’s not the state that I care for and have chosen to live in.

So ask yourself, what kind of person would destroy this state’s high quality of life and respect for education for….getting an extra bite from the Dollar Menu each month? Apparently someone that could use some of that $18 saved to go and buy a mirror, because the type of pathetic low-life that finds the huge costs to be an acceptable outcome needs to take a long, hard look at themselves. Kinda like this guy who’s been arrested. (He even looks a bit like Scott Walker).

They need to remember the wisdom of Marge Gunderson. There are indeed more things to life than a little money.


3 Responses to Would you devastate Wisconsin schools to save $18? [UPDATED]

  1. morninmist says:

    Thanks for your work. I will pass this around as much as I possibly can.

  2. Mr B says:

    I’d pay $180 annual increase if it means the Union chokehold on our schools comes to an end. Time will tell if Walkers effort are working, but Union control of schools certainly is not. Steve Jobs warned Barack Obama he’d be a one term president if he didn’t take on Unions and drive them out of the broken school systems.

    So, save $18 AND get Unions out of schools? Twofer!

  3. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    Mr. B apparently thinks Wisconsin’s consistent top 5 status in test scores and Number 1 ranking in high school graduation rates is a “negative” that’s “choking schools”. Hey Mr. B, PRIVATIZATION DOES NOT HELP OVERALL SCHOOL PERFORMANCE (look at the Milwaukee voucher study) and public schools keep K-12 education accountable to the taxpayers and the state, instead of self-interested PTA moms.

    It’s no coincidence that the non-unionized education states in the South also have the lowest-performing schools, and the highest levels of poverty. But the fact that you’re naive enough to think Wisconsin has “failing” schools is probably why you’re stupid enough to value money and factless ideology over successful performance.

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