Barnes is Cheating Taxpayers to Advance His Own Self-Interests
June 14, 2019
[Madison, WI] – Today, it was reported that Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes refused to pay his Milwaukee property taxes so he could instead buy a second condo in Madison. This news comes at the same time Barnes is advocating increasing taxes on Wisconsin families by $1.3 billion. To make matters worse, Barnes is trying to cover up his failure to pay taxes by falsely claiming to be on an installment plan with the city – a claim that was refuted by the City Treasurer’s Office.
News of Lt. Governor Barnes refusing to pay his taxes comes less than a month after it was reported that he has been using the Wisconsin State Patrol as his own personal chauffeur service at a significant cost to taxpayers. According to WisPolitics, the state will pay almost $220,000 this year for state police to drive Barnes around – a nearly 5000% increase from what was spent to cover his Republican predecessor in 2018. Wisconsin families should be appalled that Barnes is cheating taxpayers to advance his own self-interests.
Read the full write-up here or find excerpts below.
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is delinquent on property taxes for Milwaukee condo
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
June 14, 2019
Even as Gov. Tony Evers is proposing to raise taxes in his state budget plan, records show his top deputy isn’t even paying the taxes he already owes.
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is listed as failing to pay at least $2,225 in property taxes, interest and penalties on his Milwaukee condo.
“There is no installment plan, and the taxes are delinquent,” Jesicca Zwaga of the city Treasurer’s Office said Friday.
Barnes disputed the information earlier this week, sending the Journal Sentinel a screenshot of a portion of a 2018 tax bill that he said was proof that he was paying his property taxes in installments.
But Zwaga said the record from Barnes was just the original tax bill that included the monthly amounts he would owe if he opted to pay in installments instead of a lump sum. She said he failed to make the first payment in the agreement by Jan. 31.
“It is delinquent,” Zwaga said.
Barnes countered: “How is there no installment plan if it says installment plan? I’m done with one.”
Yet, while failing to take care of his Milwaukee taxes, records also show that Barnes bought a second condo in Madison for $122,000 in February. He took out a $92,000 mortgage, suggesting he put $30,000 down on the property.
Barnes did not respond to questions seeking to clarify his earlier statements.
“This is the definition of hypocrisy: Barnes wanting Wisconsinites to pay $1.3 billion more in taxes while skipping out on his own tax bill so he can buy himself a second condo,” said Charles Nichols, spokesman for the state Republican Party.
What’s more, Nichols said, Barnes now appears to be fibbing about the details.
“It’s bad enough he’s not paying his taxes, but to now lie and try to cover it up?” Nichols added Friday morning. “He needs to be held accountable.”
Records show Barnes bought his Milwaukee condo in October 2017. City records show that there is a small unpaid tax bill for less than $70 for the 2017 tax year.
Barnes said there was a problem with that debt because the bills were being sent to Arizona where the previous owner of the property moved. He said she owed that sum.
But Zwaga of the city Treasurer’s Office said Barnes would owe this outstanding sum. “Taxes follow the property, not the owner,” she added.
Records show that Barnes has not paid his 2018 tax bill of $2,070. In addition, the unpaid sum has accumulated $155 in interest and penalties, according to Milwaukee documents.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who is battling with the Evers administration over the state budget, said he can’t believe the lieutenant governor has been negligent in paying his personal taxes.
“Everyone makes mistakes like forgetting to pay a parking ticket,” Vos said. “But it’s really inexcusable to not pay your property taxes when you are an elected official.”
Read the full write-up here.