Where Did All that Money Go? Business Tax Credit Costs Pile Up

Kathleen Vinehout
Where Did All that Money Go? Business Tax Credit Costs Pile Up
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“Where did all that money go?” Dennis asked me during a recent visit to the Jackson County Fair.
Dennis is one of many constituents who ask where the money for schools and roads is as our state recovers from the recession. Economic recovery means more money and more money should equal more resources for the public. Instead, state funds are very tight. For example, state aid to local public schools is less now than in 2006.
One reason is that the state is not collecting tax money from some large, and in several cases, very profitable companies. Recently I received a memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau detailing the awards given out for one large tax credit known as the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit. This credit – originally conceived to help rural communities – has morphed into large credits for single companies.
The memo contained a list of the total awards made and the companies that received them:
Amazon.com                                      $10.3 million
Bucyrus International, Inc.                     $20.0 million
Direct Supply                                   $22.5 million
Dollar General Corporation                      $ 5.5 million
Exact Sciences Corporation                      $ 9.0 million
Fincantieri Marine Group, LLC                   $28.0 million
InSinkErator                                    $15.5 million
Kestrel Aircraft Company, Inc.                  $18.0 million
Kohl’s Corporation                              $62.5 million
Mercury Marine                                  $65.0 million
MKE Electric Tool Corporation                   $18.0 million
Northstar Med. Radioisotopes, LLC               $14.0 million
Oshkosh Corporation                             $47.0 million
Plexus Corporation                              $15.0 million
Quad/Graphics, Inc.                             $61.7 million
Trane US Incorporated                           $ 5.5 million
Uline, Incorporated                             $18.6 million
W Solar Group, Incorporated                     $28.0 million
Weather Shield Mfg, Incorporated                $ 8.0 million
TOTAL (through Aug. 1, 2016)                $472.1 million

Have an Opinion about Your Internet Connection? Let Your Voice be Heard!

Kathleen Vinehout
Editor's Note - I am one of the people in the state who is blessed with a great Internet connection by virtue of belonging to a phone co-op that has invested in infrastructure. My rural farm house has fiber connection for phone, tv, and internet. Most are not so blessed. Let your voice be heard, and fill us in in the comment section about your own internet experience.
Have an Opinion about Your Internet Connection? Let Your Voice be Heard!
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
Do you have a great Internet connection? Less than what you’d prefer? Makes it impossible for you to do your work or your children’s homework? No service at all?
Make your opinion known!
The state is taking a survey of how Wisconsinites connect to the Internet. The survey is free – and ironically – available online. Those without Internet – or such a slow connection they cannot fill out a survey – can let their voice be heard by calling the following toll-free phone number - (877) 360-2973.
Home connections and businesses are measured in separate surveys. You can reach the residential survey here: https://www.research.net/r/WI_PSC_broadband_survey
Businesses can voice their opinion here: https://www.research.net/r/WI_PSC_business_broadband_survey

It's voting time --- go do it

Ballot Box

Once again it's time to vote in Wisconsin. I know a lot of you are feeling disappointed and not in control of the political process. I understand, ths is part of the reason you've not been seeing a lot of posting here recently, at least from me. Some of the twists and turns of the political sphere of late make it difficult to have anything to say. A country where even a minority of people embraces Donald Trump as a potential leader is frightening.

But - all the more reason to go out and vote tomorrow. Here in Wisconsin we have some actual choices to make in a lot of districts, and some genuine progressive candidates are involved in those primaries.  Here in the 3rd CD we have Myron Buchholz running against Ron Kind. Now I have to admit that I like Ron Kind.   I also like Myron. And I think they are both genuinely good people who have their heart in the right place. But Ron Kind has always been a middle-of-the-roader and one of the "new wave" of Democrats who are trying to both be friends of the corporate world and the working class.  We seem to have reached a point where you cannot do both. Kind's position on trade deals is, I believe, not supportable, and I will be voting for Myron Buchholz tomorrow.  I encourage you to vote your own conscience - but more than that, I encourage you to vote. If we are going to see any meaningful change in Wisconsin, you need to exercise those voting muscles at every opportunity. Make us proud here at Uppitywis. Let's see an astounding turnout that will scare the bejeezus out of the powers that be. Be like the guy in the picture - go to the polls and smile.

Trump campaign also disturbs George Harrison estate

George Harrison

God knows it's hard to be amused by anything at the moment, so I am choosing to be amused by the current flap of the George Harrison estate being incensed that the RNC used Harrison's "Here Comes The Sun" as intro music for Ivanka Trump's speech. The Harrison estate joins a list of living musical artists who do not want to be associated, but in a more Beatle-esque way.

The unauthorized use of #HereComestheSun at the #RNCinCLE is offensive & against the wishes of the George Harrison estate.

More interestingly they followed up with

If it had been Beware of Darkness, then we MAY have approved it!

Seems in fitting with George's tongue in cheek sense of humor. And the song is appropriate, especially the "beware of greedy leaders" line. So I will leave you with his (and Leon Rusell's) performance from The Concert for Bangladesh.

George Harrison: Beware Of Darkness

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

No, that's not a quote from Melania Trump's speech.  I wrote it myself with a little help.  Though it does have a familiar ring to it. Not to beat a dead horse.

Actually the flap over the speech brings to mind two things. For one, I think it's typical that the big flap from the Republican Convention seems to revolve around these little score-keeping gotcha moments, rather than the big story of the convention. Republicans have gone completely off the rails and are now running completely on a platform of fear, anger, jingoism, and lies. The Trumpization of the GOP appears to be complete, as even Republicans that we thought had better sense are falling in line behind this disaster of a candidate, and repeating his message in lock-step. Some of the worst offenders in all of this are from our own state.  I'm looking at you, Gov. Walker, Reince Priebus, Sean Duffy, Ron Johnson and parrticularly Paul (I Can't Even Remember What I Believe Any More) Ryan. 

UWEC and Local Business: A Flourishing Relationship Worthy of Investment

Kathleen Vinehout

UWEC and Local Business: A Flourishing Relationship Worthy of Investment


Senator Kathleen Vinehout

“One hundred years ago the Chamber rented a rail car to go down to Madison,” President Bob McCoy of the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce told the gathering of business leaders. A century ago, Chamber members traveled to Madison to advocate for a new UW campus in Eau Claire.

Government Accountability Died the End of June

Kathleen Vinehout
Government Accountability Died the End of June
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
Government Accountability passed in a quiet death the last day of June.
There was no fanfare, no long speeches – just hard working employees packing up personal items.
I imagined the nonpartisan judges of the Government Accountability Board (GAB) breathed a deep sigh as they left their service on the GAB and ended the rough and tumble ordeal as broad members.
All the fanfare, public speeches and hyper-partisan rhetoric happened last winter in what GAB board member, Judge Thomas Barland, called a “public lynching”.
Judge Barland is a former Circuit Court Judge for Eau Claire and Trempealeau counties. As a GAB board member, he oversaw government accountability in Wisconsin. Earlier this year he retired from the GAB.
For over thirty years, he served as a nonpartisan judge. Ironically, given the partisan focus of destroying the GAB, Judge Barland served as a Republican State Representative from 1961 to 1967.
Following an interview with Judge Barland, Chippewa Valley Herald Associate Editor David Gordon wrote, Barland said his ‘public lynching’ comment referred both to the recurrent attacks on the GAB by members of the Republican majority in the Legislature, and to the actual destruction of the Board.”


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