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Blue Jean Nation 'The taproot of our many problems' PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Wednesday, 16 August 2017 06:56

trump-walkerWe have a poisoned political culture that glorifies greed, dooming us to a government that works for a wealthy and well-connected few at everyone else’s expense.


ALTOONA, WI - Wisconsin is up to its eyeballs in problems. Our state has lost its way. It is becoming a shadow of its former self. Same goes for the country as a whole.

The problems vary from place to place. Go to Trempealeau County and you see hills and bluffs disappearing and hear fears expressed over the effects of breathing the fine dust that hangs in the air or drinking water that has turned an amber color. In the Central Sands region you see lakes and streams drying up because a few are being allowed to drill high-capacity wells and hog all the water. In Kewaunee County you are told about massive industrial feedlots and how a third of private wells have been poisoned and you see someone turn on a water tap and what comes out of the faucet is brown and smells like cow manure. A few counties away parents are frightened about what old lead pipes in their community’s water system might be doing to their children.

Real peopleSomewhere else you run into young Millennials buried under a mountain of student debt. One owes $30,000. Another $80,000. A third carries over $100,000 in debt. All of them wonder how they are going to dig out of the hole they are in. All of them wonder when — or if — they will ever be able to buy a car or make a down payment on a house. Another place you meet a farmer who now is expected to file payroll taxes online but has no Internet access out on the farm.

At the next stop everyone is talking about the criminal justice system and racial profiling and mass incarceration. And how impossible it is to make ends meet earning the minimum wage. Then you meet some former factory workers who used to make $25 an hour working on an assembly line but could only find work paying $11 or $12 an hour after the plant closed. Their standard of living has been cut in half. They find little comfort in the news that the state’s unemployment rate is coming down some. They can find a job. What’s next to impossible to find is work that keeps them in the middle class.

Down the road a piece are town officials agonizing over a decision to tear up paved roads and go back to gravel because they can’t afford to maintain the pavement and keep filling all the potholes. Next you arrive in a community where the townspeople are resigned to their local school closing. They know how that school is a hub of local activity, and they know losing it will be a death sentence for their town.

The problems vary widely from place to place. But they all grow from the same taproot, a poisoned political culture that glorifies greed, dooming us to a government that works for a wealthy and well-connected few at everyone else’s expense and an economy that benefits a privileged few and leaves so many behind. The issue is inequality, both political and economic. The problem is privilege, both political and economic.

Solving the many problems plaguing Wisconsin and America depends on remedying the one behind them all.

— Mike McCabe

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 August 2017 07:46
 
Looking at the FOXCONN Deal with a Wisconsin Perspective PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District   
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 16:29

Walker-gouThere is real desperation here, because our job growth has trailed the National average 22 straight quarters, but that doesn’t mean we need to give away the farm. We can do better.


MADISON - Every single elected official is interested and willing to help businesses build and create family supporting jobs here in Wisconsin. That’s because our job growth has trailed the National average 22 straight quarters, every single quarter since Governor Walker created the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). There is real desperation, because there is real need. But that doesn’t mean we need to give away the farm (literally) for the big fish that falls into our lap. We can work hard and build the businesses we have with investments in education and training, infrastructure, and our assets as a state like the environment.

erpenbachWe all love Wisconsin because it is such a beautiful area to live, raise a family, and retire. Every corner of our state has pristine natural areas we all use for recreation, hunting and other leisure activities. Sacrificing those natural areas as a part of the FOXCONN deal is foolish. Directly putting our water, air and environment at risk is bad public policy. The “give away our environment” attitude with this deal also opens the door to exempt future economic development deals from environmental approval rules and is simply unacceptable. We have dozens of examples of Wisconsin businesses that have grown and flourished without dumping waste and diverting streams and sacrificing Great Lakes waters.

Next we need to examine the deal. Is it really the best we could get for our taxpayer investment or does it reflect the political desperation some leaders feel because of their own failures? Any taxpayer funded investment should demonstrate the best return on investment we can get, build family supporting jobs to replace the union living wage manufacturing jobs we have lost, and have real recovery claw backs if the business packs up and moves or if they automate and eliminate jobs in the process. Governor Walker and WEDC do not have an awesome track record with recovery when companies outsource jobs and the potential replacement of supported jobs with automation is a brave new world for all of us.

The deal does have benchmarks before funds are released which is good, but lacks claw backs if jobs are outsourced or automated – the new Assembly version is just the same. Claw backs require businesses to pay back taxpayer costs if the business fails to keep the contract. Wisconsin needs to be able to at least try to take on FOXCONN if they damage our environment and our economy. FOXCONN is not a Wisconsin company building their future here. They are a Taiwanese company looking to avoid President Trump’s tariff threats and we are just the state with the best deal for them.

We cannot let the relentless pursuit of jobs take away what makes Wisconsin our home. We can do better.

****

If you would like more information on FOXCONN and special session Senate Bill 1 contact my office at 608-266-6670 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 August 2017 16:50
 
Charlottesville PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Martha Laning   
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 08:05

Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Martha Laning speaks out on hate, Nazis, and Charlottesville.


MADISON - There is only one side.

The deadly violence that shattered the peace of Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend marks a dark time in our country.

These acts of hate—carried out by white supremacists and neo-Nazis—show a blatant and heartbreaking prejudice, on display for the world to see.

President Trump refused to denounce these groups for days, while Democrats and Republicans united to send a crystal-clear message: there is no place in America for white supremacists, neo-Nazis, bigotry or the KKK.

But there is more for us to do. In these trying times, we must also reject policies that enable systemic repression. We must fight to protect voting rights. We must fight to protect unions. We must fight to protect quality housing and education.

We will not allow hate to prevail, or toxic acts of fanatical violence—or systemic injustice—to hold back America’s promise of equality, liberty, and justice for all.

Thank you for standing with us at this decisive moment.

Martha Laning
Chair, The Democratic Party of Wisconsin

 
Wis Democracy Campaign "Did Foxconn Skirt Lobby Law?" PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Monday, 14 August 2017 02:32

FOXCONNMADISON - We just posted a piece that explores whether Foxconn failed to register as a lobbyist in a timely fashion, which I thought might interest you:

Did Foxconn violate state lobby law?

The Foxconn bill, by the way, also includes some corporate welfare to a Milwaukee company whose executives gave Gov. Walker $7,500 over the last several years:

Foxconn corporate welfare bill includes $10M giveaway for Fiserv

Speaking of Walker, this week he signed a bill that could jeopardize our health and safety. It’s called the REINS law, and you should check out the praise that a major Koch Brothers group lavished on Walker for signing it:

Walker approves WMC, Koch-backed anti-regulation bill

In the interest of transparency, several Democratic lawmakers are asking Attorney General Brad Schimel to let us all know how much his office has been spending on pet lawsuits of the conservative movement nationally:

Dem lawmakers want DOJ to disclose civil case costs

And also in the interest of transparency, we brought to light some of the biggest donors – Republican and Democratic alike – to so-called 527 groups in the last six months. See who is throwing the most money around:

Wisconsin contributors gave $2M+ to electioneering groups

I hope your summer is going well, despite the nuclear cloud!*

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 
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