• WisBusiness

Monday, March 28, 2011

An open letter to Wisconsin Realtors

By Tom Krajewski
Dear Wisconsin Realtor:

February home sales in state down. Dane County sales off by nearly 30 percent. One Dane County Realtor reports his firm lost 100 sales in February. Harsh weather? Wisconsin climate? Perhaps. Or perhaps it's Wisconsin's economic climate.

If you just got a notice that your wages are going down 7.7 percent you are not likely to be buying a new house. If you are worried about keeping your job, you are not likely to be buying a house. Admit it. It is time to take a moment and realize where we are and where you are.

Wisconsin is facing a self-made economic catastrophe. We are sending money back to Washington at a record pace. First it was $810 million for high speed rail because it would cost us $600,000 for upkeep. Now we must cough up $60 million to repair a rail line that would have been repaired with federal money.

We will lose $46 million in federal transit aids because of the collective bargaining bill. Federal medicaid and family planning dollars will likely be lost. We rejected $23 million in for broadband access to rural areas. Wind power projects are going away and taking jobs with them as a result of new rules that benefit your profession.

A University of Wisconsin study by economist Steven Deller says the current state budget proposal will cost 21,800 jobs. Governor Walker has threatened to give pink slips to 11,500 more state workers. Those folks won't be buying homes.

Recently a person who does job siting for major corporations said he would not advise any business to look at Wisconsin. Our brand is tarnished. All because we elected a governor who acts as though he never set foot inside of an economics or history classroom.

Certainly our situation show many of us were guilty of dereliction of our duty as citizens. But you were leading the charge. Your association was the leading contributor to his campaign. Two of your PACs gave more money to his campaign than the infamous billionaire Koch brothers. Your PACs gave seven times what the Republican Party gave to his campaign. Individually, you gave hundreds of thousands of dollars more.

You did not mean for this economic disaster to happen. It is not in your interest. But sorry, you must take some responsibility. And your generosity to his campaign puts you in a unique position to help. He will listen to you or he will listen to no one. For the sake of your business and for the sake of Wisconsin you must try.

A governor has a myriad of choices as he fashions his budget. We should be open to new revenues other than cutting the tax credits for the working poor. Is it really wise to be taking $95 million from schools so we can make a partial down payment on a $2.3 billion zoo interchange?

Some wise cuts can be made. But some taxes can also be raised with minor problems. There are hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes that are left uncollected because we do not enforce our tax laws. Ninety percent of the labor force is working. Mostly, through no fault of their own, 10 percent of us are not. Can the 90 percent of those of us who are working not pay a small surtax until the others are employed again?

It won't be easy, you may not succeed, but as a lifelong citizen of this great state, I urge you to try.

-- Krajewski is a retired public affairs consultant, former legislative analyst and former state economic development consultant.


Comments: 9

At April 5, 2011 at 9:27 AM, Blogger Amy said...

www.reprosforwi.org WE are doing all that we can to make the WRA listen to the voices of opposition!

At April 5, 2011 at 9:24 PM, Blogger Lee said...

Tom- You are exactly right-on!

At March 2, 2016 at 3:14 AM, Blogger John Gibson said...

I am wondering whats happening to Wisconsin Realtor. What is the problem Dane County sales facing now? Why the sale is going down? Tom Krajewski are you really a friend of him or you wanna fire him?

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