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

Has Trump found a way to win?

September 18, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Get things done that are popular across party lines and watch the polls rise. THE REPUBLICAN PARTY - that is, the traditional Republican Party - never has been a willing bride for Donald Trump and...

Comments

Read More

Respect, courtesy are non-negotiable

September 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm | No need for expensive investigations, but lessons are there to be learned. THE BELOIT SCHOOL DISTRICT did the right thing earlier this week in dismissing without further investigation a complaint ...

Comments

Read More

Give governors power, and the accountability

September 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Voters expect governors to be in charge, and that's how it ought to work. DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR governor Tony Evers probably will get some mileage out of his proposal to take away a governor's ...

Comments

Read More

Out of bounds at golf course

September 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm | It's time for Beloit to seek professional management. IN RECENT YEARS there have been tense budget discussions in which it appeared the venerable Krueger-Haskell municipal golf course was on the b...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

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

©2017 Beloit Daily News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X