Give more options for local finance

Print Article

Year after year of squeezing makes municipal budgeting a brutal task.

HERE'S A QUESTION: How would you like to get by on roughly the same amount of money, year after year, even as inflation drives up the cost of everything you need and buy?

By the way, we know some people are forced to do exactly that - not everybody gets automatic pay raises - but it's a tough game you're bound to lose eventually. There are only so many rabbits to pull out of a hat. Most workers in successful businesses can expect modest periodic adjustments at least to acknowledge continually rising costs of living.

But in Wisconsin, municipalities like the City of Beloit have been treading water with state shared revenue for years and years. Beloit's share of state aid returned for operational purposes has hovered around $16 million annually for a generation. To make matters worse municipalities operate under revenue caps that limit the ability to adjust property tax rates to make up for shortfalls. State leaders have talked about reinventing government financial models for years, but nothing meaningful has been done.

The net result makes municipal budgeting - Beloit is working toward a fall vote - an annual challenge of trying to balance strong needs against insufficient funds.

SINCE BELOIT IS one of Wisconsin's poorest cities and biggest beneficiaries of state aid money, complaints ring a little flat.

Even so, that doesn't change the fact it is nearly impossible in the long run to keep delivering the quality services a needy community demands while juggling a fiscal plan annually diminished by inflation.

We've said it for years and we'll repeat it. Madison should add inflationary adjustments to state shared revenue packages. Failing that, Madison should make it less cumbersome for local communities to adjust their own revenue side of the ledger.

We get it. In Madison, there are political benefits for appearing more parsimonious than the next guy. That may work well for personal political ambitions, but it won't work forever on the service-delivery end.

Print Article

Read More Editorials

A time for family, a time for strength

November 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Find the best of America around the dinner table this week and beyond. SOMETIMES, IN THE CONSTANT hustle of day-to-day life and a torrent of confusing and often demoralizing news developments, it'...

Comments

Read More

That would not pass a mom test

November 17, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Political class has raised lying to a national art form. FIRST TIME AROUND, Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a congressional committee considering his appointment he had no contacts with any Ru...

Comments

Read More

Paying hush money to hide misbehavior

November 17, 2017 at 4:00 pm | So now we know: Congress uses your money to protect its own. TWO HUNDRED SIXTY settled cases. Fifteen million dollars in payouts. No disclosures. That's the toll in recent years for sexual harass...

Comments

Read More

A Beloit moment in the spotlight

November 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Positive outside exposure can give a boost to development. FOR THOSE WHO didn't see it, Beloit did a star turn a few days ago produced by the MSNBC cable television channel. It was all about how ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(608) 365-8811
149 State Street
Beloit, WI 53511

©2017 Beloit Daily News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X