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HomeBreaking NewsJosh Schoemann: Cutting Taxes to Historic Lows While Funding Priorities

Josh Schoemann: Cutting Taxes to Historic Lows While Funding Priorities

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Josh Schoemann: Cutting taxes to historic lows and funding priorities like County roads starts with small and effective government.

There is no shortage of places to look when we think about government growing beyond its means. Whether it is the federal, state, or sometimes even local governments, we have plenty of examples of government spending more than it can afford and always going back to the taxpayer to ask for more.

Look across Washington County’s border in Milwaukee, where city leaders have tacked on every tax and fee imaginable to fund their out-of-control spending, even after a generational increase in state shared revenue and a new city sales tax.

Not in Washington County. Keeping our government small and effective has allowed Washington County to cut our taxes to historic lows while making historic investments in our highest priorities. By clearly defining taxpayer priorities and funding those accordingly, we have not had to choose between keeping money in taxpayers’ pockets and fully funding priorities like County roads and public safety.

In Washington County, we’ve cut our property tax rates to their lowest levels since WWI. We have cut property tax collections five of the last ten years, saving our taxpayers a million dollars in 2022-2023 alone. In the 2024 budget cycle, we’re on pace to cut another quarter of a million dollars from property tax collections, marking the fifth time we made a reduction in such collections in the last decade.

We were able to cut taxes to historic lows while executing a plan to fund Washington County’s roads until 2050. Our 2050 Transportation Network Sustainability plan is the only plan of its kind in Wisconsin.

Funding our priorities is entirely possible when we actually treat them like priorities and avoid the temptation for government to solve every societal problem. Local government is not funded by sponsorships or money that comes out of nowhere, it is paid for by the people and businesses it is comprised of. Whenever possible, we must return taxpayer dollars back where they came from. That’s what makes Washington County government different – government of, by and for the people, not simply to fund the bureaucracy or institutions.

Thanks to this hard work over the past decade, Washington County is on pace to achieve the lowest county spending per capita in Wisconsin. And we haven’t had to sacrifice the highest priority services Washington County residents come to expect. In addition to funding our roads, we’ve made historic investments in mental health and public safety programs without raising property taxes.

We must hold our federal, state, and local governments accountable to keep them small and effective. We need to refocus their spending priorities on the taxpayer and seek to give money back whenever possible.

In my next term, I will build on these successes and continue Washington County’s example of fiscal conservatism and serving the taxpayer. Washington County has proved that funding our priorities while returning money to the taxpayer is more than possible, I hope you will ensure your local governments follow suit. If they don’t, Washington County welcomes you.

This article was written by Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann.

Josh Schoemann is the Washington County Executive and seventh generation resident of Washington County. He is running for re-election in Spring 2024. Josh, his wife, Jodi,
and sons Cael and Drake, live on a farm in the Town of Trenton.

 

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