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Drinking Water in Madison Tainted PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by John N. Powers, Wittenberg   
Thursday, 01 September 2016 10:52

clean-drinking-waterWe have problems with our drinking water around the State and muddled thinking with our legislators in Madison. What can be done?


WITTENBERG, WI - You have seen the newspaper articles about Wisconsin’s water problems. How in 2009 high level of viruses were found in city water around the state and our legislators required testing and treatment of those water supplies. In 2011 legislators repealed that requirement.

In 2010 regulations were designed to reduce phosphorus in our waters. In 2011 legislators began fighting those regulations and eventually allowed compliance to be pushed back twenty years.

In 2014 molybdenum was found in twenty percent of private wells tested in the south east part of the state. The closer the wells were to recycled coal ash sites the higher the concentration. The DNR said the evidence was not strong enough to make any link.

Unsafe nitrate levels have been found in the drinking water of 94,000 homes in Wisconsin. Legislators created a compensation fund for those contaminated wells-but only if the well supplied drinking water for cattle, not children. The EPA says two thirds of the municipal and wastewater treatment plants and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in Wisconsin operate with expired discharge permits. One third of the wells in Kewaunee County have tested unsafe for drinking water. And while all this has been happening our DNR has issued citations in only four percent of the water pollution cases considered serious enough to warrant such citations. These problems have been making headlines in our newspapers on a regular basis.

What is not being discussed is the problem with contaminated drinking water in Madison, especially in the capitol building. That contamination seems to have started about the time our legislators repealed the requirement for testing and treatment of city water supplies. First it was decided our teachers were responsible for all of the state’s economic woes and had to be punished. Then hundreds of millions were cut from state aid to public schools and the university system. At the same a tax credit was created that reduced business owners state income tax to zero, a credit that required no job creation and will reduce state income by about $2 billion over the next ten years. Another law as passed that prohibited local school districts from making up their losses by raising their property taxes. Finally, the school voucher program was expanded and the decision made to completely remove the cap on the program in ten years. It was also decided to give more tax dollars per pupil to private schools than to public schools and to give parents of those private school students a $10,000 tax credit.

No logical thinking person would deliberately harm one of the nation’s finest public school systems this way on purpose. No one elected to represent the people of this state would deliberately turn against them this way. Wisconsin’s most important resource is her children and the future they represent. No one would deliberately take steps to harm that future. There can only be one explanation for the decisions coming from the capitol building that are destroying our schools. The drinking water is contaminated.

What can be done? Our attorney general and our Department of Natural Resources say they have no authority to protect our state’s water. No help there. After hours of research I have found an old remedy that was first used in 1845. Folk wisdom says not only can this remedy solve water contamination problems but many others as well. The steps involved are almost like an exorcism. On the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November people around the state must gather together in specific locations during specific hours of the day and mark pieces of paper with an X. If enough of those people do this correctly the water in Madison will be clean once again.

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John N. Powers has his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from UW-Stevens Point and 31 years teaching experience in Shawano county schools. He is a Candidate for Wisconsin's 2nd Senate seat. You can find out more about John Powers for State Senate on FaceBook or at www.voterpowers.com

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 September 2016 11:25
 
Veteran’s Nursing Homes Should Not Be Shortchanged PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by State Senate Democrats   
Monday, 29 August 2016 19:25

veteranflagNo veteran should feel under-served at King or anywhere else in Wisconsin. We need to be concerned about the banking and raiding of surplus nursing home funds during the budget debate.


MADISON - Senator Jon Erpenbach says it is alarming to read how the Republican policies that have allowed, even encouraged, the building of surplus funds at the King Veterans Home near Waupaca have affected resident care. But, he goes on to say Democrats have been raising alarms.

jon-erpenbach“Senate Democrats have been concerned about the banking and raiding of surplus nursing home funds and moved to require Legislative approval of those transfers during the 2015-2017 budget debate. We also moved for a GPR allocation to the Veterans Fund rather than raiding the nursing home surplus that should be used first for resident care. DVA has moved $12 million just this summer and has said they plan to move another $18.6 million in the next two years,” said Erpenbach. “At the same time Senator Lassa has been leading our caucus, asking for an audit of the King facility in October of 2015 because of concerns brought to her office.”

In March of 2015 Joint Committee on Finance Democrats wrote Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Scocos concerned for the long term stability of the Veterans Fund and specifically addressed excess funds from nursing homes, “These revenues are derived from an exemption from the Nursing Home Bed tax, the Federal “per diem” paid to facilities that care for Veterans, the higher “state rate” for reimbursement for Medicaid and private pay from Veterans and their families. If your department is taking all of this money from patient care funds is our patient care truly meeting the needs of the veterans we serve?”

“No veteran should feel underserved at King or anywhere else in Wisconsin. To read that facilities could be suffering, food quality has declined and that residents are not having the same opportunities they used to is alarming and should prompt a Legislative Audit in the least. I hope that Republicans finally see that Legislative oversight is needed. From here, it looks like decisions have been made to cut costs that are sacrificing resident care and comfort, perhaps just to bank money for other uses,” said Erpenbach.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 August 2016 11:28
 
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign "Tasty items!" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Friday, 26 August 2016 11:33

brad-schimelMADISON - Hey, we got lots of good stuff for you this week!

The most appalling was Attorney General Brad Schimel mimicking George Wallace and Lester Maddox:

Schimel echoes “states' rights” in filing on Wisconsin voting case

The most ludicrous was former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser suddenly finding religion on campaign finance:

Prosser the hypocrite on $$ in court campaigns

Here’s a snapshot of some of the key problems arising from the disastrous campaign finance law that passed last December:

New campaign finance law enshrines electoral secrecy

For the most current installment in the WEDC pay-to-play saga, check this one out:

Latest $22 million in WEDC funds goes to big Walker donor

While we’re on the subject of business as usual in Wisconsin, here’s how the vegetable growers tried to get their way on high-capacity wells:

Big ag poured $$ on controversial water bill

And here’s a cute little fact we unearthed: Those women for Trump here in Wisconsin? They haven’t given him a dime yet.

Wisconsin Women for Trump haven't contributed to Trump's campaign

We had fun researching and writing these tasty items for you this week, so if you appreciate them, please send us a tax-deductible gift today by clicking here.

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Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, 203 South Paterson Street, Suite 100, Madison, WI 53703-3689
608-255-4260  www.wisdc.org
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Wisconsin Should Lead On Student Loan Debt Relief PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator Dist 32 (B)   
Wednesday, 24 August 2016 18:28

jennifer-shillingLA CROSSE, WI - Wisconsin’s universities and technical colleges are the economic engines of our state. From workforce development and biotech research to improving farm production and assisting entrepreneurs, we’ve always benefited from strong schools.

But now, after years of Republican budget cuts, businesses are losing out on valuable opportunities, our middle class is shrinking and students are graduating with record amounts of debt. In fact, Wisconsin is home to nearly 1 million student loan borrowers who owe a combined $19 billion in debt.

The student loan debt crisis is causing an economic ripple affect across our state. As a result of high student loan payments, many in our state can’t afford to buy a new car, purchase their first home, open a business or simply start a family.

dave-hansenDemocrats, led by Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine), have made it a priority to ease this burden. Working with students and families, we’ve introduced the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Bill. The proposal would allow individuals to refinance student loans at lower interest rates and provide targeted relief to working families who are struggling to make ends meet. It’s a commonsense and effective solution to lower student loan debt and make college more affordable.

Unsurprisingly, Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans have sided with big Wall Street banks to block this bill from passing. As a result, graduates continue to pay high interest rates on increasingly burdensome monthly payments and our economy continues to suffer.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2016 18:51
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