Council president criticizes Soglin’s action on budget

City budget will increase taxes on average home by $61
Council president criticizes Soglin’s action on budget
Paul Soglin

The Madison City Council president said Mayor Paul Soglin is offering “just rhetoric” after forwarding the city budget on without his signature.

Soglin announced Wednesday morning that he would not sign the city council’s version of the budget, forgoing a veto he had previously threatened.

“After three years of steady progress in addressing the issues of fiscal responsibility and a commitment to solving the challenges of poverty and equity, the amendments made to the budget represent a step backwards,” Soglin said in a statement.

Soglin said it was clear any veto would be overridden.

Council President Chris Schmidt disagreed with Soglin’s evaluation of the budget changes.

“This budget is forward-thinking and it is balancing the needs of the city,” Schmidt said Wednesday. “One amendment does not make it backward.”

Schmidt criticized Soglin’s full statement on the budget, which called a $100,000 grant to the Madison Sports commission “a mockery of our own commitment to fair distribution of public resources” and said the lack of an additional pay increase for city workers was “not acceptable.”

“It sounds good on paper and makes people think he’s being strong,” Schmidt said. “But it’s just that, it’s rhetoric. There is nothing inappropriate about anything that was done here.”

Schmidt said he’s frustrated with what he said is a pattern of conflict with Soglin and the council over multiple budget cycles.

“It’s lower than all of us,” Schmidt said. “It’s turned this into a political football and it looks like Congress and the president, which is ridiculous.”

The move by the mayor Wednesday will allow property tax bills to go out on time and get to taxpayers by Dec. 15. The final budget will increase taxes on the average Madison home by $61.