Mayor Paul Soglin expressed his hopes and concerns Thursday regarding how results of the state and federal elections will affect the political climate in Madison.
Soglin said his biggest concern for the city is the unequal distribution of revenue throughout the state. He said now both houses in the state legislature are under Republican control, Gov. Scott Walker will have primary control over the legislature.
According to Soglin, it is not likely the city would benefit from Republican control of the legislature. Soglin said his “hope lies in the hands of the governor with his new budget.”
Mike Mikalsen, spokesperson for Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, said since Republicans control the legislature, they will continue their reforms and maintain a balanced budget. He said Republicans will push to raise taxes, while Democrats will push for higher spending.
“Madison’s problem is it spends too much,” Mikalsen said. “Madison provides more services to people who don’t pay taxes and people who don’t improve the community, so there is a constant and growing demand for money.”
According to Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, Madison is receiving much less revenue in state aid for various programs compared to other municipalities, such as the City of Milwaukee. He said Milwaukee receives close to $180 million in state aid compared to Madison, which receives close to $60 million.
Taxpayers in Madison are putting more money into the system than they are receiving back from state aid, Resnick said.
“We see the amount of money dwindle each year under Republican leadership,” Resnick said.
He said he would like to see the Democratic and Republican parties in Wisconsin come to a solution so the City of Madison can receive more revenue from state aid.
Mikalsen said Nass and other Republicans will not support Soglin’s plan to take money from other counties and redistribute it back to Madison. He said Madison is a place that spends significantly lower on government.
Soglin said he would like to see a reform in Wisconsin Tax Increment Financing laws, which uses public revenue to aid in economic development. He said it is important for public revenue to be used for police and fire stations, which is something the current legislation prohibits.
Mikalsen also said Nass agrees with Soglin’s decision to no longer contribute $2 million to the Overture Center for the Arts, saying the money would be better fit for the police and fire departments. He said the city is not serious about safety because they want to allocate so many funds to the Overture Center.
Soglin said his hopes for the city also lie on a national level with the president’s re-election.
“We are hoping a good portion of the president’s legislative agenda can be adopted in the next year,” Soglin said.
According to Mikalsen, with the re-election of the president, businesses have said they will have to cut employment costs and will not be able to create many jobs.
Soglin said he is hoping to see the federal government create more employment opportunities under Obama, and added he would like to see the DREAM act passed, which would allow young people brought to the United States as children to obtain citizenship in order to attend college or work.