Despite his efforts (and vetoes), taxpayers will pay more in the end
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele introduced a 2012 budget that contained no tax increases. For following through on that campaign pledge, we gave him a Promise Kept.
But Abele also made another, broader promise, saying on his campaign website:
"Chris Abele will not raise your taxes.”
Let's see how he did on that one.
After Abele submitted his budget, the County Board added $6.25 million to the property tax levy. Abele responded with a series of vetoes, wiping away the entire increase and keeping the levy at $269 million.
But on Nov. 16, 2011, the County Board overrode most of the vetoes, which resulted in a levy increase of $5.8 million. The bottom line is residents are having their taxes raised.
That means we"re giving Abele a Promise Broken.
It's true that Abele didn't propose and tried to stop the tax increase.
But when Abele promised as a candidate that he wouldn't raise taxes, he knew the County Board would have a say in whether taxes ultimately were raised. And he wasn't able to persuade the board to go along with him.
That is a product of our system of government.
For instance, Gov. Scott Walker has made numerous promises -- which we are tracking on the Walk-O-Meter -- that require approval from the Legislature. He may not get them all, especially if partisan control of a chamber flips in 2012.
We've been consistent on this principle.
Our colleagues at PolitiFact National, for example, gave President Barack Obama a Promise Broken for signing his health care reform legislation minus the public option he had promised as a candidate. In that case, the House but not the Senate went along with the public option.
PolitiFact Wisconsin, "As introduced, package has no property tax increase,” Oct. 4, 2011
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Abele's vetoes erase entire county tax levy increase,” Nov. 15, 2011
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "County Board overrides most of Abele's budget vetoes,” Nov. 16, 2011
Chris Abele campaign website, no tax increase pledge
PolitiFact.com, "It's official: the public option is dead,” March 26, 2010