You Thought the MMAC Was Supposed to Help Businesses? Wrong!

I used to be a member of the MMAC (Metro Milwaukee Association of Commerce). It’s our chamber of commerce, just with a funny name. I quit paying the toll a few years ago because the organization is worthless. By virtue of its name (COMMERCE), its goal is supposed to be helping businesses.

It’s all a farce. Several years ago, I quit because I realized the MMAC’s purpose was to help big businesses. If you’re a small business, shut up and pay your dues. They’re all too happy to collect money from small businesses, but don’t really want to offer any services to the small businesses. They get one overpriced happy hour a month, and that’s it. Now be quiet and renew your membership.

More recently the MMAC is making it clear they don’t care about any business, big or small. Earlier this year, the MMAC supported a new hospital tax. It was a shell game. An opportunity for hospitals to get more federal money. And while this tax was portrayed as the hospitals paying something, you and I know that the consumers were actually going to pay the hospital tax. The net result of all this: consumers and businesses pay more.

So why would the MMAC support new taxes and consumers paying more? You got me. I guess it’s because the hospitals would get more money, to the detriment of all the other overtaxed businesses. Smart.

And now the MMAC is saying Milwaukee County needs more taxes to “support” the bus system. And no referendum for us. To hell with what the taxpayers think. Tim Sheehy, president of MMAC says the county board should go ahead and approve a 0.5% sales tax increase.

Supporting the bus system sounds so benevolent, doesn’t it? It’s for the poor! We need the bus system!

And I don’t disagree that a bus system is a good thing. I just think that we don’t need new taxes and that governments should be cutting their spending. Reduce the frequency of buses and the times they run. Use smaller buses. With a few exceptions, bus ridership is not that high. How often do you see near-empty buses running around? I see it a lot.

If a bus stop has a bus coming every 10 minutes, cut that to every 30 minutes. Do you realize how much money could be saved by doing that? Using 1/3 of the current buses would save a ton of money.

But ohhhhhhh, the hardship! How dare I suggest that poor people have to wait outside a few more minutes for a bus. How dare I suggest that a bus rider might have to get to work 20 minutes early because of a less convenient bus system.

Hello! The Milwaukee County bus system should not be run based on convenience!!! It is a service provided for those who don’t have cars. Their fares don’t even come close to paying for the system. Taxpayers (most who don’t even use the buses) pay to provide the bus service. If there’s a bit of inconvenience to the riders, too bad! They should be thanking taxpayers for the gift of transportation that is being provided for them.

An increased sales tax in Milwaukee County would definitely hurt businesses, but the MMAC clearly doesn’t care. Milwaukee County sales taxes are already the highest in the state, at 5.6%. Do politicians really think this is good for the business climate here? Talk about chasing away more consumers and more businesses.

Stop the madness. No more taxes. Cut spending in order to live within your means. And tell the MMAC to quit supporting things like this which hurt businesses. I realize that no one will quit being a member of the chamber over this. There is way too much political pressure forcing companies to remain members. But it’s not going to stop me from writing about it.

MMAC – You suck.

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