Both political parties put the lie to believing in local control.
READERS SHOULD TAKE a good long look at columnist Steven Walters' piece adjacent to this commentary, and give the matter some thought.
For the record, we do not like any tax and that certainly includes so-called wheel taxes such as Beloit charges vehicle owners. It's not an exaggeration to say everything Americans do - work, live in a house, drive, shop, eat out, etc. - triggers an intrusion from the long arm of the taxman.
Put it all together and it's clear government - local, state, national - has an insatiable appetite for taking your money out of your pocket to be spent by government functionaries. It's too easy - just demand dollars, then reach out and take them under penalty of law. There's not enough incentive for efficiencies and cost-cutting when taxing bodies can always take what they want.
HAVING SAID THAT, it's expensive to provide the services citizens need and demand. And we are uncomfortable with what has become a pattern among today's majority elected officials in Madison.
One of the foundations of Republican principle has been deference for local decisions, a belief that government closest to the people will be more responsive and better equipped to make decisions to meet local needs. That idea now can be declared null and void as a governing principle among the Republican majority in Madison, which session after session has adopted policies in which state authorities trample local control for municipalities and schools.
The debate over wheel taxes - at present, seldom levied in Wisconsin - is a good illustration. Beloit, for example, has had a wheel tax for many years to raise dollars to meet rising transportation and road costs. Think of it as a user fee for drivers. User fees are the fairest taxes going.
The notion that local elected officials should not be able to make local decisions to meet local needs is proof that liberal Democrats are not the only politicians who want to impose their will on people. This is Big Government, Republican-style.
WHEN DEMOCRATS ran Madison they came up with long lists of impositions to place on local governments. Now, with Republicans running Madison, not much has changed.
Makes you wonder: How long will it be until some civic-minded Big Government legislator introduces a bill to abolish local councils and school boards so all decisions can be made in Madison?
Why not? Those legislators seem mighty certain they have all the answers.