We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community columnist John Eyster.

“NO taxation without representation!” Here we go again…

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John Eyster
Friday, April 20, 2012

“NO taxation without representation!” Here we go again…

“NO taxation without representation!” Here we go again… I assume that readers will readily recognize this slogan of our American Revolution. NOW, are YOU aware that in WI taxes for technical college districts are LEVIED by APPOINTED BOARDS? NOT ELECTED!! I continue to OPPOSE this system! What is YOUR stance?

I assume that you will readily recognize this slogan of our American Revolution. IF you want to remind yourself of details, I recommend the Wikipedia feature article, “No taxation without representation.”

Truth be told, the basic issue of “direct” vs. “virtual” representation is key to my opposition to taxation without representation by the WI technical colleges.

Are YOU aware that the part of PROPERTY TAXES for each of the technical college districts is set by an UNElected Board?! These APPOINTED board members for our own Blackhawk Technical College are appointed by two (2) persons – the President of the Rock County and the Green County Board. That’s it – 2 persons appoint the technical college board which has power to LEVY TAXES. NO ELECTION!

I cry, “No taxation without representation!” Do YOU agree?

My concern came into focus again when I read the informative article, “Tough choices loom for BTC” by Frank Schultz in yesterday’s Gazette (see p. 2A, I am not allowed to give you link.)

The bottom-line of Mr. Schultz's article is that for our Blackhawk Technical College district, taxes to support the operational budget would not change but debt service would increase for an overall 1.9 percent increase in the tax levy to $20.42 million. For more specifics, you should read the full text of Mr. Schultz’s article.

Schultz's article provides valuable information, “Tax projections are calculated on an equalized basis. The actual tax effect on the assessed property values in any individual municipality are not yet known.

“The Blackhawk Technical College Board imposes property taxes on a district that comprises most of Rock and Green counties. The taxes are one of the smaller amounts that make up a property owners’ entire tax bill, which also includes levies from school boards, county boards and municipal government.”

The problem for me is that the authorities which LEVY TAXES identified by Mr. Schultz are ELECTED by WE THE PEOPLE of WI. NO reference to the FACT that the BOARD which LEVIES taxes for the technical college district is NOT elected! “NO TAXATION without representation!” WHY NOT?!

I did write about the quirk in WI state law on March 5, 2010, “NO taxation without representation!” At that time, the Gazette article was reporting on the APPOINTMENT of technical college board members.

I wrote, “I need to be sure that I communicate that this is NOT isolated to our Blackhawk Technical College Board. This is the process for each of the sixteen (16) technical college districts throughout WI. (NOTE: 16! And there are 13 two-year campuses in the UW-College system. WHY do we have BOTH?! There is an ongoing ‘turf’ war ongoing between the technical colleges and the UW-colleges! Remember – origi8nally there were the ‘technical schools,’ but they wanted to be ‘colleges’ for public relations and enrollment reasons. Politically that was ‘popular.’ I believe that WE THE PEOPLE – taxpayers – need to pressure the State of Wisconsin to CONSLIDATE the whole UW-College and Technical College systems! TOOOO much wasted MONEY! Our MONEY!”

I realize that technical college administrators, local district and state system, continue to argue that there is appropriate legitimacy for NOT having ELECTED persons levy taxes for their colleges. As I noted in my WE THE PEOPLE blog post in March 2010, “I have heard the arguments that it is IMPORTANT to have the special representation on the technical college boards. There are ways to provide that kind of management control without giving the POWER TO LEVY TAXES to that kind of board. WHY NOT have a BOARD OF REGENTS for the Technical College System just like for the University of Wisconsin system? In fact, WHY NOT the SAME Board of Regents? Do we need the duplication? Can we AFFORD the duplication? I THINK NOT!”

I continue to believe that there MUST be a system which puts ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES of WE THE PEOPLE to levy any and all taxes in our republic – WISCONSIN. Do YOU agree?

IF SO, I urge that you contact YOUR DIRECTLY ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE in our WI State Assembly and Senate. Inquire as to her/his stance on “NO TAXATION without representation” through the WI State Technical college system. I hope that IF you get a response from your representatives, YOU will share using a comment to the blog post. Let’s find out about our REPRESENTATION!

Here we go…

Mr. E.

Last updated: 10:32 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.

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