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Scott Walker Is Running Out Of Options

January 20, 2009

According to the All Politics Blog at JSOnline, SEWRPC recently panned one of the remaining transit funding options proposed by Scott Walker.   Walker’s suggestion was to use any increase in sales tax revenue from vehicle sales to fund the transit system.  But due to the declining number of vehicles sold, SEWRPC concluded that this option is simply unfeasible (ed. – not to mention unpredictable).  Their recommendation against using the growth in vehicle salex tax revenue leaves only one remaining option according to Walker: privatization of General Mitchell International Airport.   Leasing the airport would provide a lump sum payout as opposed to the millions in yearly profit the airport currently generates.

But there appears to be a flaw in Walker’s privatization proposal.  In determining that vehicle sales taxes are not a viable option for transit funding, SEWRPC also noted that a 0.5% sales tax increase would not provide enough additional revenue to keep up with future operating expenses of the transit system, thus requiring additional state and federal support once the initial surplus sales tax funding has been spent.   What’s fascinating about this conclusion is that it would also suggest that Walker’s plan for privatizing the airport is unfeasible.  If enacting a sales tax increase that would provide a direct and annual funding source for transit would not allow the system to keep up with rising operating expenses, how would receiving a lump-sum of money — with no promise of additional revenue — do anything beyond kicking the can further down the road?

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