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Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher November 18, 2011

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.

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