Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mayor Barrett: Vouchers Hurting Milwaukee Taxpayers

I just spoke with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on the phone. According to a letter from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau that Mayor Barrett received yesterday, the voucher program is adversely affecting Milwaukee taxpayers.

The Fiscal Bureau letter states that if the voucher program ended and all of the voucher students came flooding back into MPS schools, Milwaukee property taxes would actually decrease. This means that, contrary to what some conservatives have been arguing, money is not simply being diverted equally from MPS to the voucher schools. As it currently exists, the voucher program is costing Milwaukee taxpayers more by forcing them to pay for 45% of the voucher program to go along with the property taxes that already go to pay for MPS schools.

This does not mean that Mayor Barrett thinks the voucher program should end. In fact, Mayor Barrett told me that he's in favor of raising, not lifting completely, the enrollment cap on school vouchers. However, he also emphasized that the cap must be raised in conjunction with property tax relief for Milwaukee residents. The Democrats are proposing this very type of property tax relief for Milwaukee residents in the "Hold Harmless" provision of their Milwaukee Education Package.

Mayor Barrett is sending me a copy of the letter he received from the Fiscal Bureau. I'll post more on the details of its contents when I receive that copy.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: I just posted a link to the LFB letter to Barrett. You can see it here.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you should call William Andrekopoulos and ask him if he thinks it would be good for MPS fiscally. I think I know the answer.

Yes. Milwaukee taxpayers pay a bit more for vouchers students. The blame for that lies with Chvala and Norquist who put that formula forward many years ago.

It also rests with Gwen Moore who defeated a measure to change the city's portion to 35%.

It probably should be fixed but definately not the way Jim Doyle is proposing.

January 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you get a copy of the LFB analysis, could you post it or a link, please?

January 25, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Comment #1: A bit more for voucher students? Yeah, about $1000 more per student. To an already relatively property-poor area, that's a lot, especially when it's clear the enrollment cap is going to be raised.

I think the Barrett proposal I talk about in a post this morning is more than fair.

Comment #2: I'll do my best to put up the LFB letter when I get it. If nothing else, I'll transcribe it. I want to avoid as much as possible posting large image files since it slows down the load time tremendously (just look at Jessica McBride's blog).

January 25, 2006  

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