The above Racine Post cartoon satirizes a series of TV ads aired in Wisconsin by the Republican Governors' Association.
Wisconsin's gubernatorial race this year has the interesting quirk of pitting the Mayor of the city of Milwaukee against the County Executive of Milwaukee County. (Former First District Congressman Mark Neumann is also running in the September 14 primary and could conceivably pull an upset over Walker, whom the state party officially endorsed last month, but for the purposes of this cartoon, I'm discounting that possibility.)
Every business closed and job lost in the city of Milwaukee is also a business closed and job lost in Milwaukee County. But the similarity of the two municipal executives' records extends to taxation as well.
It may come as a surprise to anyone who gets their news from Milwaukee television that Milwaukee County taxes have gone up during Walker's administration. Elected to office after the county employee pension scandal that sank the Ament administration, Walker has proposed draconian budget cuts, targeting the poor, the inner city, and county employees, every year. But according to the Shepherd Express cover story, "Fact-Checking Scott Walker":
"Here’s how it works: Walker will introduce an unrealistically stringent budget each autumn. The county board then has no choice but to add spending and tax increases to keep up with inflation and other increased costs of doing business. Walker will veto the changes, and the board will override the veto. Then Walker will use that budget as the base line for his next year's budget.
"And, voila! Walker can say that he hasn’t increased taxes and spending because the board has made the tough decisions.
"So how much have property taxes increased during Walker’s reign? One Wisconsin Now crunched the numbers and found that Walker's proposed budgets from 2003 to 2010 raised property taxes about 17%, while he's increased spending 35%, more than Gov. Jim Doyle did during the same period. What's more, fees on licenses, permits, fines and forfeitures have increased a whopping 129% during Walker's tenure."
So, to quote the RGA ad campaign slogan, Walker is "just like Jim Doyle. But worse."