So remember how the state of Wisconsin proposed to help fund a Milwaukee Bucks arena by having the state go after $4 million a year in uncollected Milwaukee County tax debts, then it turned out this mostly meant shaking down poor people for money, then some senate Democrats complained that this would make them look bad, so the senate decided to leave it up to the county where to come up with the money? Well, now the arena bill has moved to the assembly, where at least one member thinks that garnishing the wages of the poor isn’t such a bad idea after all:
Republican Joe Sanfelippo (R-West Allis) says the remaining options are no better.
“It ties their hands and you’re left with two options: you either cut services or you raise property taxes countywide,” said Sanfelippo.
Sanfelippo says he will ask his party’s leaders to put the debt collection plan back into the bill.
“What we’re talking about primarily are people who willfully, knowingly, and purposefully just won’t pay their bills because they know they can get away with it,” said Sanfelippo.
Sanfelippo isn’t wrong that if you demand $4 million in county money for the Bucks, then the county needs to come up with $4 million somehow — though it’s worth noting that cracking down on debt collection would still be one option. (Not necessarily an option that would work, mind you, but an option.) And putting the debt collection plan back in the bill would likely cost Democratic votes, if not in the assembly then back in the senate, which would still need to sign off on a revised bill. So it’s probably a fair bet that the final plan will remain “punt it to the county with a $4 million a year invoice, let them figure it out,” but we’ll know more once the assembly votes next Tuesday.