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home : opinions : letters to the editor
May 19, 2019

5/11/2019 7:30:00 AM
The elephant in the room

To the Editor:

As state legislators dive into the upcoming budget and the Joint Finance Committee ends their listening sessions across the state, there's one demographic that is the elephant in the room. I'm referring to the demographic of retired seniors, and others, living on fixed incomes. This demographic will do nothing but increase in the upcoming years. Currently we are being ignored at the local and state level. The antiquated funding statutes of the Wisconsin Tech College System are still in place even though it is a public higher education system and completely an individual choice to attend. The antiquated funding statutes were created before the Viet Nam War was over. Technology was in its infancy and the internet didn't exist, nor the modern methods of class delivery that exist today. At the local level it is taxation without representation as these 16 tech district boards across the state are appointed, not elected. These tech district boards have the ability to borrow millions of dollars with no state oversight, nor are they accounted for at the state level. The K-12 System has experienced a level of school district referenda that has been unequaled. $1.4 billion dollars of passed referenda in the November 2018 election and three quarters of a billion dollars in the April 2019 election. The creation of a Blue Ribbon Commission on Education was to address the funding and other issues with the K-12 system. The BRC's report didn't address the tidal wave of school district referenda. Our elected officials seem to think raising property taxes is the answer. Thus, the elephant in the room continues. The plight of retired seniors and others living on fixed incomes continues and the elephant is getting larger every year.

Terry Nichols


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