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.
 

President Obama to visit La Crosse

President Barack Obama is scheduled to come to La Crosse on Thursday, his first visit since being elected president and the city's first presidential appearance in more than a decade. 

The White House confirmed the visit Saturday night, saying only “the president will travel to the La Crosse, Wisconsin, area for an event on the economy.”

Date: 

Thursday, July 2, 2015 (All day)

Madison - Bernie Sanders Town Meeting

Please join Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and local leaders for a rally in Madison to discuss how we:

  • Get big money out of politics
  • Deal with obscene wealth and income inequality
  • Combat climate change
  • Make college education affordable

Make sure to arrive early for this first-come, first-serve event. RSVPing is critical to let us know you're coming, but does not produce a ticket.

RSVP at https://go.berniesanders.com/page/event/detail/townmeetings/wrtj?source=...

Date: 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015 - 7:00pm

Gableman hopes to reel Rindfleisch (and Scott Walker’s secrets) back to Wisconsin

I think this is an interesting analysis by Blue Cheddar on why there's this sudden interest in re-visiting the Kelly Rindfleisch verdict --

We have some John Doe II news to talk about.

I’m not absolutely positive what’s up – but I have some strong suspicions, which I will go into. Whatever’s going down, the timing of this could not be more threatening to Scott Walker’s impending presidential campaign.

First you need to know that the Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to appeal the conviction of former Walker aide Kelly Rindfleisch.

She and her attorney then applied to get the appeal through the U.S. Supreme Court a couple of weeks ago with the argument that the warrants used to seize her email messages were unconstitutionally broad (importantly: the “broad” seizure led John Doe prosecutors to suspect that Eric O’Keefe, Scott Walker and at least 12 conservative groups engaged in a criminal scheme to circumvent Wisconsin campaign finance laws).

And now Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce‘s own Justice Gableman is asking his fellow WI State Supreme Ct. justices to reconsider the matter andhear Ms. Rindfleisch out.

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.

Representative Lisa Subeck’s Statement on Signing of SB 35

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: June 24, 2015

CONTACT: Zach Madden, 608-266-7521(office) 920-627-5773 (cell)

 

Representative Lisa Subeck’s Statement on Signing of SB 35

Governor Walker signs Republican repeal of lifesaving “cooling off” period for handgun purchases

MADISON – Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) released the following statement in response to today’s signing of SB 35 by Governor Scott Walker. This legislation repeals Wisconsin’s 48 hour waiting period for handgun purchases.

NY Times on the internal struggle of the WI GOP

As the Wisconsin fiscal year draws to a close, the JFC continues to not meet, and the budget gets no closer to being built. This is largely due to a lot of dissension in the Republican ranks over the economic future of the state. It amounts to the Republicans choosing between "pretty damn bad" and "complete debacle". There are some interesting revelations in yesterday's New York Times article about this, including that the abortion bill wending its way through our state was in fact suggested by our Governor, including the complete lack of exception for rape and incest.   I thought one of the most interesting quotes was this:

“The university doesn’t deserve this cut,” said Senator Luther Olsen, a Republican, as lawmakers voted last month to restore $50 million of the governor’s cuts. “We are fools if we go around bashing one of the best things in the state of Wisconsin.”

I thought "bashing the best things in the state of Wisconsin" was the current legislative agenda.

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.

State Journal lays off veteran reporters

Wisconsin State JournalAs has become a disturbing trend in journalism, the Wisconsin State Journal yesterday laid off a number of veteran reporters, including long-time Madison reporter Doug Moe.  Why lay off the most experienced journalists? It's simple.  They have seniority. They make more.  It's that draconian. And with the trend our sources for reliable and thoughtful news coverage are drying up all around the country. Thanks to the Isthmus for letting us all know.

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