Sunday, June 30, 2013

When you hear Republicans say they're "Protecting Taxpayers," hide your wallet and run. Has Rep. John Nygren got a deal for Bill Board companies.

Finally, a fair and uniform law protecting billboard companies at taxpayer expense. Thank you Rep. John Nygren.

This amazing twist of logic, not to mention common sense and budgeting, is another example of Republican mismanagement. “Treating everyone fair” is an overused and mindless reason to pass regulation that’ll only cost taxpayers more in the long run.
Green Bay Gazette: Several area communities think the state is trying to steal their
The Three Stooges....?
authority over billboard placement.

A provision in the state budget that would change state law concerning billboards affected by state highway projects. The new law would allow sign companies losing signs to highway expansion to put up replacement billboards anywhere within a community, regardless of local ordinances, or otherwise require the community to compensate the sign company for its loss.
You read that right, community taxpayers will now have to shell out cash so a billboard company doesn't plop a sign any damn place in town it wants. It’s an “or else” deal for taxpayers.

Who would come up with something this ridiculous? Rep. John Nygren:
Under current law, if a nonconforming sign needs to come down because of highway expansion, its replacement, as new construction, would lose its exemption to local ordinance unless it went up on the same property as the billboard it is replacing. The new law would protect the exemption regardless of the location within the same community. The new billboard also would be exempt from size and height limitations imposed by ordinance and in fact must be the same size and same height or higher than the one it replaces, under the proposed law change.

“They can pull a sign off 29 because of a DOT project and stick it on 41 … or they could stick one on Cardinal and Dousman, unless we pull out our checkbook and pay,” said Paul Evert, administrator for the village of Howard, which has not permitted new billboards since 1989. “If we want to have a say, you’re telling us we have to pay.” Evert said that, a few years ago, the state once paid a sign company $70,000 for the loss of a billboard. “Even requiring the location to at least be on the same highway would have been helpful,” Evert said. “It can go anywhere.”
Taxpaying voters need to read the following and decide, is this the kind of thinking they want from their state legislator? And isn't it funny how when Republicans “clarify” something, taxpayers are on the short end of the deal, and on the hook?
Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, defended the proposed change. It was “intended to clarify that the DOT should choose the most cost-effective alternative between relocating or removing a sign,” Nygren said in a written statement. “My underlying goal is to protect the taxpayers and to ensure the DOT is following the law by treating employers, in this case a billboard company, in a fair and uniform manner.”
Protecting taxpayers by making them pay up or else is a good thing? “Protecting taxpayers” is the latest meaningless talking point con only a sucker would believe.

But that wasn't the only handout to bill board companies that taxpayers are going to feel:
jsonline: The budget bill changes the way billboards are classified for tax purposes. Milwaukee currently assesses billboards as real property parcels and includes the value of the permit, which allows billboard companies to operate them legally.

The net effect of the change in the budget bill is that billboards would be classified as personal property. That means, according to Barrett, that assessments of billboards in Milwaukee alone will drop from $76 million to $6.6 million.

"We share your goal to lower the tax burden throughout the state, but this provision will only reduce the tax burden for companies that are primarily based out-of-state while raising property taxes for Milwaukee-based businesses and homeowners," Barrett said.

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