Tax increasers take control of West Bend

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a taste, but go buy the meal!

After years of fiscal restraint and conservative management of the budget, the tax increasers have regained control of the West Bend Common Council. Property owners in the city of West Bend will see their first tax increase in almost a decade. Why? Because they could.

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Facing a $151,100 increase in projected expenses next year, the 2020 operating budget that was just approved by the Common Council would raise taxes to meet those expenses and put the forecasted 2019 surplus into the already well-funded reserve fund.

In short, the Common Council chose to raise taxes when they did not have to. There is more than enough tax revenue to fund the city budget, but they are going to raise taxes anyway.

Council members Andrew Chevalier, Chris Jenkins, and Rich Kasten (who is running for mayor of West Bend) voted to not raise taxes. The city of West Bend needs more council members like these.

The Common Council members who voted to raise taxes were John Butschlick, Mark Allen, Steve Hoogester (who is also serving as the interim mayor), Justice Madl, and Roger Kist. These are the men who chose to raise taxes when it was not necessary or justifiable. Butschlick’s and Madl’s seats will both be on the ballot in April. If they choose to run for re-election, the voters should remember who voted to raise their taxes.

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