Madison’s Proposed Recycling Tax Must Be Rejected By Alders

As Barney Fife would say ‘We need to nip it. Nip it in the bud’.

From the early reaction to a truly up-side-down proposal for Madison to harvest more from taxpayers via a newly proposed recycling tax, it would seem that nipping is in the air as spring begins.

Some have labeled the idea as regressive taxation but one city resident I heard from simply nailed it best by calling the “Resource Recovery Special Charge” as being Orwellian-named. Last week this matter was introduced at the council meeting.

There is no doubt that the ordinance title gives no clue about the actual change being sought.  What is being asked of taxpayers, however, who reside in residential properties is an additional fee to get curbside recycling services. The intent is that Madison will set a fee that will reimburse the local government for the costs of recycling.  The anticipated total recovery is $3M for 2023 ($1.5M for 2022).

The rationale from the city government is that “Over time, the City’s costs to operate its recycling program, including the costs of collecting, sorting and recycling waste, have increased.  It is reasonable that all or a portion of the costs incurred to provide this service be recovered from those using the service, rather than all taxpayers in the City.”

This new proposed fee is a very bad idea. Even at a time when the city might be searching for more revenue.  At first glance, it seems to me people will opt to place their recyclable material into the trash and that will undercut the environmental goals that our city government strives to implement.  

The mayor and alders should not need to be told that the basics of city government, be it trash, fire, police, and street maintenance, are considered to be covered by our tax payments. No add-on fees for the basics!  Before we build public markets and do things that are perhaps nice to have, we need to make sure that the basics of city living are financed and ready to operate.

So, what’s next?  Charging for trash pick-up?  After all, not everyone gets trash pick-up (e.g., commercial properties, apartment buildings).  Once upon a time, these charges for the public good were paid for by tax dollars.

If the mayor needs to have more cash she needs to do like everyone else during the pandemic.  Cut here and there and come up with the funds.  But do not seek it from the city residents who already are knowing they have paid for the city services with their property taxes. 

As city residents are being made aware of this issue it becomes more clear as to why the mayor and alders wanted to hide this nugget from the public.  If it is such a swinging idea why has no one pushing for it contacted the local reporters to write up an article? Let the whole city know what a brilliant idea has been hatched. Why hide from the wild adulation which would surely follow!


My readers have reached out and they sound much akin to this email I received at Caffeinated Politics.

Yes, no doubt the costs have increased, BUT SO HAVE PROPERTY TAXES THAT PAY FOR THOSE COSTS.  Will fees for collecting your trash, leaves, and brush be next?  Or, to use the library?  Or, to send your child to school?

So what do you do about this truly bad idea?

I ask that you please contact the Mayor, 266-4611, and your alderperson, 266-4071, and oppose their preposterous recycling tax. And, alert your friends and family in Madison. 

The Mayor’s email is — or use this form to contact the Mayor: Contact the Mayor | Mayor’s Office, City of Madison, Wisconsin 

You can use this website to contact your Alderperson Contact – Common Council – City of Madison, Wisconsin  Or, if you want to look up who your Alder is and send a direct email address, use this link:  Find Alder by Address – Common Council – City of Madison, Wisconsin

If Barney Fife’s idea of nipping does not work to remove this proposal we might ponder what Lyndon Baines Johnson would recommend as a political tool. He was a rancher…..

And so it goes.

2 thoughts on “Madison’s Proposed Recycling Tax Must Be Rejected By Alders

  1. Solly

    Good government-Think Tank Satya doesn’t like to do things in the sunshine. That’s why she plopped the wheel tax on the table a few weeks before the budget a couple of years ago. Apparently, the need to money grub overran that strategy this time. There must have been an obscure reference to authorizing this in last year’s budget as they are counting on 2022 revenues. When the wheel tax was under consideration, I pointed out that just like the forestry tax, it’s a shell game. You collect millions to fund the forestry dept., then use that money that previously funded to piss away on other projects. In the back of the room at the wheel tax hearing was former alders, including Robbie Weber, DeMarb from the SE side and super-ass Mark Clear. When he proposed the forestry tax, under the guise that it would fund the emerald ash-borer crisis, it was half a million. Then a million, Then two million. It is now $72 a year, whether you own a McMansion or a small bungalow. The former alders were all chortling after the wheel tax passed. No difficult work examining spending or setting priorities, mo’ money mo’ money. Clear admitted it was a gimmick to get past levy limits. My assessments are going up 20k per year. I can’t wait to get this year’s assessment, after the irrational exuberance of the housing sales in my area. That’s all extra money for the local gubments, which like the tiger, won’t be satisfied until they eat the taxpayer.

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