Memo to Kevin Kesterson
October 25, 2004

To: Kevin Kesterson, President, Dane County Board of Supervisors Members, Dane County Board of Supervisors

From: Carol Kiemel, President, The League of Women Voters of Dane County, Inc.

Date: October 25, 2004

RE: The Dane County 2005 Budget

The League of Women Voters of Dane County supports the County Executive's proposed budget items for purchasing parks and open space and for maintenance of them. We would also support a larger expenditure if such were proposed because we recognize how valuable parks and open space are for both human activities and environmental protection. We are concerned about personnel and equipment cuts and only hope that the improved efficiencies and communications that will result from merging the departments of Parks, Land Conservation, and Lakes and Watershed. will make it possible for them to sustain the effectiveness that the citizens of Dane County expect.

We remind you once again of the 76% support in 1999 for the Parks Purchase referendum and note that the Parks and Open Space Plan for 2001 to 2005 still shows many desirable parcels that remain to be acquired. Land prices rise every day as our population grows.

Furthermore, as you are hearing, the League is here supporting increases in County expenditures for human services. How would we propose paying for larger expenditures? We are opposed to the notion that increased taxes are damaging to the economy. We believe that revenues can and should be increased; that, in order to increase the amount of revenue shared with the counties and municipalities, the present 6.75% rate for the top bracket of the income tax could be raised to something nearer the 11.4% of the 1980's.

The State, also, has other means of raising revenues that we would support as a way to help counties and municipalities. However, recognizing the futility of doing so at this time, and, in spite of its considerable regressivity, we will support a flat property tax addition in Dane County. Of course, we will continue to work for increases in State revenues as the best way to help the counties provide the services that underlie our quality of life.