Hoping the government will rely less on the property tax.
Despite tough decisions being made to fix the $5.7 billion budget deficit, Mark O'Connell, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Counties Association , says leaders need to resist the temptation to balance the budget on the backs of property tax payers.
"There's no question, in the future government will have to rely less on the property tax as we have 78-million people accross the country retiring — baby boomers, my generation. And the younger generation … not enough of them making enough money to support my generation who is retiring."
O'Connell stresses, the property tax is not a sustainable funding source. He explains, government officials have an obligation to be more visionary, be prepared for the demographic changes, and modify government systems to accommodate needs.
"We are continuing to measure a person's wealth by how much property they've acquired in their lifetime and yet when one is retired you don't have the underlying revenue stream called 'your income or wages' to support that acquisition of property and it has to change. It absolutely has to. The numbers just do not add up."
O'Connell says ideas are not enough. It's time for action. But it must be well-thought out because we cannot fix today's problem and ignore a potentially larger problem tomorrow. O'Connell also stresses the importance of higher education, which promotes a higher per capita income of the state. That means more money in our pockets and the economy will move forward.