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Madison drivers get the shaft

Wisconsin | Oct. 31, 2019

MADISON — You get what you vote for, and Madison residents once again are getting hit with a significant tax increase. 

The City Council this week passed a $40 wheel tax, the highest local vehicle registration fee in the state. 

Hugely unpopular, the tax will hit hardest Madison’s working poor, a constituency liberal politicians like to invoke when they’re raising taxes and growing government. 

It should come as no surprise. Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway is a tax-and-spend liberal who campaigned on being a tax-and-spend liberal. 

The first-term mayor claimed she had no other choice. Madison’s budget faced an $11 million shortfall, and it was either tax the tar out of motorists or cut expenses and layoff government workers. That latter option was unthinkable to Rhodes-Conway and the irresponsible council. 

Madison employs north of 3,000 people. The mayor couldn’t find “non-essential” somewhere in that workforce? 

Some council members feared the ask was too much. But amendments to cut the wheel tax in half, even by $5, were voted down.

The mayor went into full begging mode. “I need your support on this,” she told the council. “The city needs your support on this.”

Madison motorists can be forgiven for failing to be as gung-ho in their support. 

Rhodes-Conway apologized for putting the council in a tough spot, blaming the budget communications problems on her inexperience. Will get ‘em next time, seemed to be the mayor’s sentiment. 

She acknowledged that constituents aren’t happy about the wheel tax, but at least “they feel like they’re heard.” 

That’s a liberal consolation prize if there ever was one. 

“I don’t want this $40 wheel tax.” 

“I know. I hear you. You have been heard. Now I’m going to tax the s%#t out of you.” 

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