Menomonie Community Conversations - Money in Politics, Corruption, and Solutions

Date: 

Saturday, May 14, 2016 - 1:00pm
On Saturday, May 14, 2016, Michel Brandt of Menomonie will be the guest speaker at “Community Conversations”.  The presentation will be “Money in Politics, Corruption, and Solutions”.  

Citizen Action - Yet Another Walker Outsourcing Scandal

For Immediate Release--April 29, 2016

Yet Another Walker Outsourcing Scandal

Statewide: Thursday it was revealed that yet another multinational corporation receiving public dollars for job creation actually sent more jobs overseas than it created in Wisconsin. This is only the latest example of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), Governor Walker’s semi-privatized jobs agency, paying companies to create jobs which in turn outsource more jobs.

According to a report by Greg Neumann of WKOW TV in Madison, W.W. Grainger company outsourced jobs from Janesville to Panama. The corporation created no jobs in Wisconsin, despite receiving WEDC tax credits.

Robert McChesney interview with John Quinlan

John Quinlan has been running a series of interviews on his site Forward Forum - this is his most recent interview, with Robert McChesney.  You may know him from various media-related books and forums - most recently he has written a book with Wisconsin's own John Nichols called  People Get Ready and John interviews him here.

Will Broadband Show Up in Rural Neighborhoods?

Kathleen Vinehout
Will Broadband Show Up in Rural Neighborhoods?
by
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“I don’t want to promise you fiber where fiber is not going to come,” Kent Disch, AT&T Wisconsin External Affairs Director, told Ellsworth community leaders.
 
Pierce County business leaders and elected officials gathered with telecommunication company representatives and local cooperatives to push for resolution to Internet problems.
 
Business leaders asked companies why they would not or could not bring services to businesses that were more than willing to pay. A concrete company owner noted his company is growing but lack of good broadband “is a bottleneck.”  Broadband is needed to prosper.
 
One after another, the business leaders, county board members, and a former mayor shared community problems. People could not join mandatory webinars or attend virtual conference meetings. Locals frequently experienced dropped Internet connections. The Internet would not work at certain times of the day.

Referenda Sustain Schools During Time of Decreasing State Support

Kathleen Vinehout
Referenda Sustain Schools During Time of Decreasing State Support
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“School districts these days more or less live and die by these referendums in terms of their ability to sustain programs and staff,” Dan Rossmiller of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) recently said as reported by the Isthmus.
 
So far in 2016, voters approved more than three-quarters of the 85 ballot referenda to raise property taxes to send more local dollars to schools. The nearly 77% pass rate is much higher than a few years ago.
 
People are voting to raise property taxes to keep their schools alive.
 
Recently I met with officials from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to understand school funding trends.  I learned there was a big shift in the success of referenda. Prior to 2011 (and the deep school cuts that year) about half of school referenda passed. In the past five years about two-thirds passed.
 
Historically, communities voted to raise school property taxes to build buildings. Prior to 2011, nearly two-thirds of referenda votes were for the purpose of raising debt for building projects.

How the maker of TurboTax fought free, simple tax filing - Propublica

How the Maker of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing

by Liz Day ProPublica, March 26, 2013, 5 a.m.

Update, April 14, 2016: In 2013, we detailed how Intuit has lobbied against allowing the government to estimate your taxes for you. So this week, we called Intuit and asked if they still oppose free, government-prepared returns. The answer: Yes. "Our legislative, our policy position on that hasn't changed," said spokeswoman Julie Miller. She called Intuit "a staunch opponent to government prepared tax returns." Meanwhile, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren proposed a bill yesterday to allow free government-prepped returns. Her office also released a report on the tax industry's opposition to simpler filing solutions. It cited the article below as well as another story we did on how a rabbi, civil rights activist, and others were misled into supporting Intuit's campaign.

Like the County Fair? Love 4H? Big Changes Coming to UW Extension

Kathleen Vinehout
 
Like the County Fair? Love 4H? Big Changes Coming to UW Extension
by
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“We can’t do more with less,” UW Extension Regional Director Julie Keown-Bomar told people gathered at a recent Menomonie meeting. “We have to do less with less. We cannot be the same cooperative extension service that we used to be.”
 
The news hit hard. Downcast eyes, people with hands over their mouth, and long pauses after Julie asked the group for questions.
 
Julie explained how budget cuts forced UW Extension administrators to rethink their commitment to 100-years of county-based services. Wisconsin has a valuable partnership between the UW System and local counties.

Spending the Weekend Watching Game Film

Kathleen Vinehout
Spending the Weekend Watching Game Film
by
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
When the game is over the coaches go into the film room to see where the breakdown was in play execution. The best game plan in the world is not any good if the team does not execute it.
 
The “game film” for the State of Wisconsin was recently released. This is a good place to start for anyone evaluating the state’s performance.
 
Every year the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) conducts a review of state agencies. Known as the Single Audit, auditors examine Wisconsin’s financial accounting of federal dollars.
 
State computer systems are a bit like the football team’s offensive line. These systems do the grunt work so the star players can score.

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