Recently, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi proposed handing out $1000 inflation bonuses to Dane County employees. While we remain grateful to all county employees for the services they help to provide daily, Parisi needs to answer some serious questions about his proposal.

From May of 2020 through June of 2021 Dane County business owners were coerced into limiting the capacity of their businesses. This had a devastating effect on their earning ability and that of their many employees. In fact, the limitations forced upon Dane County for the better part of twelve months contributed heavily to rampant business closures and lay-offs. Despite the Wisconsin Supreme Court issuing rulings that should have put an end to any such restrictions here, Dane County’s perpetual mask mandate continued to be reissued for a further nine months beyond the June 2, 2021, lapse of capacity limits, forcing Dane County businesses to continue to compete with surrounding counties who have had no such restrictions.

Now Parisi wants to give $1000 to county employees – for whom there were no layoffs and no loss of business?  Now he wants Dane County businesses and taxpayers to fund his $3 million+ public giveaway? Just as local businesses and families are trying to overcome the crippling effects of Dane County policies and keep afloat in the face of skyrocketing inflation?

Parisi and other Dane County leaders have done nothing but hamstring the earning power of local business owners and employees for most of the last two years. Meanwhile, they’ve continued to make massive land purchases, plow forward with expansion projects, increase staffing levels, and engage in all manner of other spending. The county is burning through money that their own policies have ensured ordinary citizens have been unable to earn.

County Executive Parisi and the Dane County Board of Supervisors need to understand that everyone is taking a hit right now. We all are feeling the effects of the last two years—and it’s getting quite a bit more painful as the cost of living continues to explode. If there are to be $1000 bonuses for county employees, who were fortunate enough to work and earn unhindered through the last two years, then Parisi and the County Board had better find at least $3 million dollars of spending that they can cut to make those bonuses happen. There is no other responsible or acceptable option.

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