The Case Against The Jefferson County Tax Referendum

This is in response to the Daily Union story regarding the grass-roots effort to vote “YES” on the county referendum to increase property taxes 16.56 percent to “save” Countryside Nursing home.  The county is already increasing property taxes over 8.5% even without passing the referendum.  I don’t think many people in Jefferson County have seen a wage increase of over 8.5% let alone 16.56%.

Let me start with the premise that Countryside will “leave” if county residents vote “NO”.  This is nothing more than real FEAR perpetuated by the very same people who claim that people should not cast a vote of “NO” out of fear.  While Jefferson County may not run the nursing facility anymore, this does not prevent them from selling it to a company that will continue to operate it as a nursing facility.

Then, there is the argument that the quality of care will be reduced.  Again this is more of the same i.e. FEAR.  Nursing facilities have to follow state and federal regulations.  If there are violations, they can and should be cited.

The truth is that this is NOT a mandated service, nor is it a role of government.  Half of the counties in Wisconsin have already figured this out, and therefore do not run nursing homes.  How much more can the overburdened taxpayer afford?

If Countryside were sold, the county would receive the money from the sale to reduce the tax levy.  The county would not have to pay for the facility & upkeep or the 115 full-time / 62 part-time employees that work there.  Furthermore, a private facility would generate tax revenue for the county/city.

I suspect that much of this grass-roots effort is mostly from the employees themselves.  Think about it…there is a combined total of 177 employees working there.  If a private group took over, there would be streamlining of excesses, which could include non-mandated employees.  Private business has to worry about the bottom line unlike government, which can just increase taxes.

The tax increase of 8.56% alone is already OUTRAGEOUS, not even mentioning the additional tax increase on top of that.  School districts are increasing their tax levies to offset the reduction in State Aid enacted by this latest budget passed by the state Democrats.  I have already heard from people about the increases in their auto insurance premiums, again thanks to this state budget.  WE CANNOT AFFORD MORE TAXES…I encourage all of you to vote “NO” on the referendum.

Along the same lines, when the county is increasing taxes, why are they spending close to $1.2 million on the county parks? (Note: The actual levy is about $730,000 so far.)  Why the spending?  Why not have more county jail Huber inmates cut the grass to reduce cost?  Why not have community / public service groups who use the parks, bike/snowmobile trails donate some of their time to take care of what they utilize?  And if no one volunteers, then maybe the parks could return to a more natural state.

There has to be a change in the paradigm.  No longer can it be “That’s the way we have always done it.”  Instead we must think outside the box.  As Ronald Reagan said, “Government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem.”

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