On Tuesday County Executive Chris Abele sent an email to County Board members expressing concern that putting three more non-binding referendums on the November ballot would cost Milwaukee County taxpayers over $100,000.
The Comptroller’s Office estimates that putting three more referendum questions on the ballot will cost from $75,000 to $120,000 and will require the county to take that money from the continency fund, he said.
That’s on top of the $25,000 to $40,000 that the county will have to spent on the Citizens United referendum, he said.
That means a total of up to $160,000 would be spent to pay for four non-binding referendums.
The board’s Judiciary Committee on June 12 agreed to put three more non-binding items on the ballot. One asks the state to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. A second measure asks voters if they favor the state expanding federal funding to expand BadgerCare. A third asks if state law should be changed to transition from an elected county executive an appointed county executive.
Abele outlined his concerns with the non-binding referendums thusly:
“I am worried that we are spending much needed tax dollars on a question that we already know the outcome,” he said. A resolution would “make as a compelling statement” without costing taxpayers, he said.
After hearing news of Abele’s opposition to placing three more non-binding resolutions whose results can be easily predicted on the fall ballot, Chris Liebenthal of Cognitive Dissidence trotted out his predictable line of attack against Abele, an attack that goes something like this.
“Plutocrat, plutocrat, plutocrat….rich guy, rich guy, rich guy.”
Sure, Liebenthal cites some examples of how money could be found in the County’s budget to pay for the cost of placing the referendums on the November ballot, but he seems to ignore the fact that passage of the referendums by voters will change absolutely nothing in Milwaukee County. No policy or laws will change as a result of the passage of the referendums, and given that the outcomes of the referendums really isn’t in doubt, I have to question the point. It goes without saying that I support the policies behind the referendums that will be on the November ballot, but I simply don’t see why they’re necessary. The County Board of Supervisors could just as easily pass resolutions expressing their support for the policies at the heart of these referendums with the same effect as placing them on the ballot, while saving money in the process.