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Assembly Majority Leader from Kaukauna blames Milwaukee for Republicans' destroying Wisconsin's State Budget and Economy

Jim Steineke

The Assembly Republican Majority Leader, Jim Steineke from Kaukauna (pictured at the left) tweeted that,

“MN doesn’t have a first class city that is a drain on the rest of the state."  

This illustrates again how the Republicans are incapable of understanding anything about economy, demographics, cultural geography and society in general.

The recent article in the American Prospect that compares Minnesota’s “high road” to Wisconsin’s “low road” summarizes the difference in the two state’s major metropolitan areas below.

Why I think Charles Dickens named WEDC

Dickens

One of the most fascinating things about the work of Charles Dickens is the unique and colorfully appropriate names for the characters in his work: Names like Mr. Sloppy, Wopsle, Sweedlepipe, Bumble and Scrooge, were purely the product of Dickens' unique imagination, and the names described the characters.

For example;

Scrooge: a mean, selfish person who put money ahead of people. 

Toodle: the word sounds friendly and kind, and the character is exactly that.

Pumblechook: a puffed up, important-sounding word for a man full of self-importance.

Four (Not so Easy) Ways to Balance the Transportation Budget

Kathleen Vinehout
 
Four (Not so Easy) Ways to Balance the Transportation Budget
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“If it was up to you,” the Chamber of Commerce moderator asked area legislators, “How would you solve the transportation problem?”
 
Budget talks are stalled. Legislators can’t seem to find a way through the labyrinth of interests stalking the Capitol halls. One main sticking point is how to balance the transportation budget.
 
Governor Walker left lawmakers with $1.3 billion in new debt to pay for roads over the next two years. Among many decisions the governor made was to increase spending in the Major Highway Development Program by $100 million or over 13%. He borrowed $109 million to pay for this spending.
 
One decision the governor did not make was to take any of the two-dozen suggestions of his Secretary of Transportation to make possible changes in revenue – new taxes or fees.
 
Of course, borrowing $1.3 billion to pay for spending means someone in the future would have to increase taxes and fees. This is true because, by the end of the budget nearly a quarter of the spending on transportation is on debt service –an unsustainable amount.
 

If you are driving a 2000 Kia Rio with an "I Stand with Walker" bumper sticker, this MJS article is for you.

WEDC Maserati

I have been amazed by the number of ten year old Kia’s, Hyundai’s, and Plymouth Voyagers in parking lots and on the road in Milwaukee’s suburbs with “I Stand with Walker” bumper stickers.  It may be time for these Walkerites to contact WEDC and get an upgrade for their loyalty. 

The first two paragraphs of this article from today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sums up the depth of the corruption of Walker’s administration.  Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse.

 

WEDC backed firm after learning state money was for luxury car debts

By Jason Stein and Patrick Marley of the Journal Sentinel

 

Madison — Officials at Wisconsin's top jobs agency sought federal tax incentives for a failing Milwaukee business for a year after being told that the owner was seeking the money to pay off business debts such as the leases on luxury cars.

State Health Marketplace Needed to Protect Wisconsinites

Kathleen Vinehout
State Health Marketplace Needed to Protect Wisconsinites
by
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“Wisconsin has relied heavily on the exchange to expand health insurance coverage,” wrote President Eric Borgerding of the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA). In a recent letter to Legislators, he warned a looming Supreme Court decision “could strike down premium assistance.”
 
Many Wisconsinites are waiting to hear if they will still be able to afford their health insurance bill.
 
The U.S. Supreme Court will soon rule on the legality of health insurance subsidies for those living in states that did not create a state-based health insurance marketplace.
 
The WHA estimates over 180,000 Wisconsinites receive tax credit assistance from the federal government for health insurance purchased through healthcare.gov, the federal marketplace. That is roughly like the population of Green Bay and Racine losing an average of almost $3,800 a year.

Transportation Spending: It’s time for a comprehensive audit

Kathleen Vinehout
Transportation Spending: It’s time for a comprehensive audit
By
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“Senate leader on budget deal: ‘I don’t know where we are at’” was the headline of a recent Associated Press story on the budget deal. The story went on to report there’s “no agreement yet on how to pay for transportation projects…”
 
While the Senate leader gathered up votes, I gathered up a few studies to understand if all this borrowing was necessary.
 
Here’s what I found:
 
Transportation spending is about $6 billion - 8.5% of our total state budget. About 40% of that comes from the federal government.
 
Last April, the budget committee received good news that low fuel costs meant residents were driving more and gas tax money is up – by about $13 million over 3 years.

Kicking Controls Out the Window - No UW oversight by LAB a Recipe for Corruption

Kathleen Vinehout
June 10, 2015
 
Kicking Controls Out the Window
No UW oversight by LAB a Recipe for Corruption
by
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
 
“Suspend current law…requiring the Legislative Audit Bureau to conduct an annual financial audit of the UW System. Instead, require the UW System to contract with an independent accounting firm,” read the motion introduced by Senator Harsdorf and Representative Schraa.
 
Recent action by a majority of the state’s budget writing committee not only kicked the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) out of the UW System but also approved a process to get rid of state purchasing laws at the UW and waive the state’s bidding process for some UW building projects.

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