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La Crosse may be living beyond its means. The latest annual report on municipal taxes and spending by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance once again paints a picture of a city that has high levels of taxes and spending even though its citizens can ill afford it. The report shows that La Crosse has the second highest tax rate in the state among 24 cities of populations from 30 to 150 thousand. La Crosse also is tops for per capita operations spending. And has the fourth-highest debt per capita. At the same time, the per capita income is one of the lowest among those same cities. At 39 thousand dollars, coming in just above Racine, Sheboygan, West Allis and Beloit.
Veto overrides became the central focus of the city council this week in La Crosse. The council turned over ten vetoes by the mayor in a Thursday night meeting. Nine were for new hires approved by the city council last month. But probably the most notable was overturning the mayor's veto of a marijuana possession ticket writing ordinance. The ordinance gives police the ability to write tickets for first time marijuana possession. Police chief Ed Kondracki had strongly opposed the measure, saying it sends a pro-drug use message. Kondracki also has said that his officers will likely not use the ordinance but continue to charge possession as a crime.
State officials will hold meetings this month to get the public's input and conerns about a proposed power line project in western Wisconsin. The CapX2020 project has plans to build new energy transmission lines from South Dakota to Wisconsin, including a line from Rochester, Minnesota to La Crosse.
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin and Wisconsin DNR will hold public meetings today and July 20th to allow residents of La Crosse, Buffalo and Trempealeau counties to share concerns about the project, or to talk about how their property will be impacted.
Six Wisconsin Democrats, including La Crosse state rep, Jennifer Shilling, will advance to take on incumbent Republican state senators targeted for recall after they supported Gov. Scott Walker's divisive proposal taking away union rights from public workers.
Jennifer Shilling may have picked a bad time to visit residents at one senior high-rise in La Crosse.
The city clerk's office got a complaint about Representative Shilling, a candidate in today's Senate recall primary, stopping at Sauber Manor, which is the polling place for La Crosse's 3rd District on the north side. Clerk Teri Lehrke says the chief election inspector found that Shilling was NOT in the room where voting is taking place, so there was no apparent breach of election rules. However, Lehrke tells us that candidates should avoid being at polling places on election day, unless the candidate is actually voting.