This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Get ready, Franklin for your big fat annual school tax increase.

It will come at Wednesday night’s Franklin School Board…….

(Cue the trumpets and tympani)






Orchestrated more carefully than a Vince McMahon pay-per-view championship cage match, the meeting is an utter sham. State law requires this charade, but the intent was never that a joke be made of the process or that the taxpayers be treated like helpless pawns.

Here’s how it works, and I’ve been there to witness how bogus and phony this “annual meeting” has become.

First, we go back several weeks ago when the state officially informed Franklin and all other school districts in Wisconsin how much state aid they’d be receiving this year. In Franklin’s case, the district is receiving an increase of nearly $372,000, or 2.5 %. Many districts got decreases.

Now anyone with a modicum of common sense, using the brains God gave them would correctly surmise that during a recessionary time of unemployment, a big tax increase is wrong on so many levels. At these “annual” farces in recent years, the unanimous whine from the School Board and any other district official with a hand out willing to publically wail and gnash teeth is that the big, bad, evil state of Wisconsin simply isn’t popping for enough aid. So a tax increase is necessary.

In the past, that was so much donkey dung because if you’re expecting less aid, you should spend less, and thus, not tax as much. This year, the lame excuse of blaming Madison is non-existent.

OK. So Franklin knows what’s forthcoming from the state. Does it matter? Are you crazy? It’s been reported the School Board still wants a 3.9 percent property tax levy increase.

How they got tot hat number is anyone’s guess. Generally, ol’ shyster himself, School District Business Manager Jim Milzer emerges from some secluded room claiming to have crunched the numbers to determine that the school tax levy increase should be such and such. This is the same Jim Milzer who dishonestly (and I could use stronger language) a few years ago informed school board members they were voting for a less than 6% increase. I have the e-mail from the then-Board president to prove it. Thinking they were approving a single digit tax increase, the board voted unanimously. Weeks later, I reported on my blog that the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance announced, and it was accurate, that the increase was actually closer to 13%. How did the sly Milzer respond? No mea culpa. Not even an oooopps.

At Wednesday night’s meeting, Milzer, who could send a roomful of insomniacs to sawing logs, will spend what will seem like an eternity explaining Franklin’s woeful finances and why a big tax increase is necessary……..AGAIN!

Let’s see. A 3.9% increase. Tell me. Did you get a 3.9% salary hike this year? Last year? The year before that? Will you spend 3.9% more this year than you did last year?

The last time I checked, and it wasn’t that long ago, the inflation rate is 1.1%. Remember, Franklin is getting a sizeable increase in state aid. So why is a 3.9% increase even under consideration?

Following Milzer’s Sominex speech Wednesday night, like lemmings, the School Board members will nod their heads in agreement. They can’t wait to rob you blind. Their usual script is that the state just hasn’t given enough, we hate to do it we really do, but we have no choice and besides, it’s for the children.

And then the Board President will call for someone among the “electors” (the 20 or 30 people in the audience that make up the education intelligentsia that have been recruited by the school district machine to attend) to make a motion.




Without hesitation, a hand will go up, and the Board President will call on the oh-so willing participant.

“I make a motion that the property tax levy increase for 2010-11be set at……..”

What’s so incredibly transparent and hilarious is that the plant in the audience is reading from a district-supplied index card. The other blind sheep that clearly outnumber the few fiscally responsible taxpayers that bother to attend agree with the, I’m sorry, grey hair picked beforehand to read the all-important motion to jack up taxes.

The motion carries with the reminder from the board that the approved levy could be changed later (It never is).

POOF! In the blink of an eye, a small roomful of school district puppets screw 99.99999999999% of Franklin taxpayers.

(BTW, there is the chance one board member will vote NO Wednesday night, and that’s all well and good. But what will that board member do between now and the finalization of the budget to change the levy? What do any of the board members do throughout the year to spend wisely? I think we know the answer).

So, here we go again, Franklin taxpayers. You pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay. Because the people who make you pay simply don’t care.

Here’s more background on this issue.

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