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Barnes says he was too busy campaigning to pay property taxes

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — It’s a problem common to the average American: You get so busy campaigning for political office you forget to pay your property taxes.

Such are the real struggles of Wisconsin’s grossly out-of-touch lieutenant governor Mandela Barnes.

At a campaign stop last weekend in Milwaukee, Gov. Tony Evers’ part-time second-in-command and full-time Democrat candidate for U.S Senate brushed off being delinquent on his property taxes, but “who among us?”

Barnes blamed the distractions of campaigning for lieutenant governor in 2018 for his late payments on his Milwaukee condo property.

“And, you know, with property taxes, I was late paying them, you know? I was late paying them. Again, who among us?” Barnes said during the candidate meet-and-greet.

Here’s the video.

In 2019, Barnes stormed out of an interview with Fox6 News when questioned about his two delinquent tax bills at the time. With interest and penalties, Barnes owed $2,225.43, money the tax-and-spend local government desperately needed to pay for an array of liberal initiatives that the Democrat has long supported.

During the 2019 interview, Barnes indignantly waved off the Fox 6 reporter, saying, “This is Juneteenth, they want to talk about property taxes.”

He said he didn’t know how his late property tax payments became a story.

“Most people I know have a balance and the check is in the mail,” he said at the time. “That was blown way out of proportion.”

Most people who run behind on their property tax payments don’t cite running for lieutenant governor as an excuse.

The lieutenant governor who hopes to be the Democratic Party’s challenger to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh) in November, paid no income tax in 2018 and was on BadgerCare Plus — Wisconsin’s Medicaid program — while his only job apparently was campaigning. He reportedly lived off personal savings. His campaign picked up $15,000 in meals, travel and other campaign-related expenses during his run for lieutenant governor.

He also had the good fortune of getting a bundle of cash from a family estate sale. Of course, he could have used some of that money to buy into a health care plan on the individual market while he spent the year campaigning. Instead Barnes sunk his cash into two condos — the one in Milwaukee for $107,000 in 2017 and the other in Madison for $122,000 about a month after he began his tenure as lieutenant governor. He paid cash for the Madison property and dropped $30,000 on a down payment for the Milwaukee condo.

And taxpayer assistance.

Barnes has a history of taking advantage of the system — and taxpayers. While he was raking in $80,000 a year as Lieutenant governor and buying another condo property, he failed to pay a fine for several outstanding parking tickets. The scofflaw then couldn’t renew his vehicle registration. He reportedly sold the car and then had taxpayers pick up the tab to have the State Patrol’s Dignitary Protection Unit chauffeur him around the state and beyond.

“In just the first two months of 2019, the state patrol has racked up nearly 898 hours shuffling Barnes back and forth to official, personal and political events at a cost to the taxpayers of $36,622,” Wispolitics reported. “This puts the state on pace to spend nearly $220,000 this year alone on Barnes’ detail. That’s more than 50x what was spent in 2018 to cover Kleefisch, who received just 95.5 hours of coverage throughout the entire year at a cost of $4,370. Unlike Kleefisch, Lt. Governor Barnes is using state patrol to drive him to personal events such as church and going ice fishing.”

At last weekend’s campaign event, Barnes said he paid off his late property tax bill.

“But you know, if you don’t pay your property taxes, your house gets foreclosed. I am happy to report I am living in the same place,” he said.

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5 thoughts on “Barnes says he was too busy campaigning to pay property taxes

  • I have been late on my property taxes a couple of times. Once because of miscommunication between my wife and I and once because the bill got hidden behind a flyer on our bulletin board and forgotten about til after the deadline. Neither of those instances make me a tax cheat, corrupt or even someone who doesn’t want to pay their taxes. I don’t see anything different in this non-story. He’s not committing tax fraud. He’s not refusing to pay his taxes. It doesn’t say he has a pattern of being late on his taxes. The only relevant statement in this was from the commenter that said it makes one question whether he is competent to manage the state if he can’t manage his own affairs.
    Also, in regards to “he was raking in $80,000 a year as Lieutenant governor ” as if that’s a wealthy salary.
    $80 grand a year is squarely in the middle class and is just below the median income for Wisconsin residents. I guess the majority of Wisconsin residents are raking it in and more people than not have a greater income then Barnes.

  • Michael Gableman cost Wisconsin taxpayers $896,500 for absolutely nothing. Gov. Scott Walker sharply increased the amount the state is payed to protect him and his family, boosting the budget for his security detail by 239% in his term. Records show taxpayers spent more than $2.23 million in 2013 for the 10 state troopers who protect Walker and his family, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and dignitaries from other states and countries who visit Wisconsin. That was up from $657,457 paid out by Gov. Jim Doyle on security during his last year in office in 2010.

  • If he is unable to both run for Governor and manage his personal affairs, then it becomes obvious that he in incapable of running the office of Governor! The Office requires an individual who is competent in managing many tasks at the same time and Barnes failure to manage the simple task of paying his property taxes is proof positive he is unqualified to be Governor.

  • I guess Mr. Barnes is so sure he can never be shaken from his abode, piddly things like taxes that the common folk worry about are not on his/her/they radar. Must be so nice to occupy his Aerie so high up there, he can look down on the masses and perhaps feel a bit sorry for them saying – there but for the grace of my commie friends go I.

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