Time to Return to a State Department of Commerce

Kathleen Vinehout
May 13, 2015
Time to Return to a State Department of Commerce
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“When do we return the economic development initiative and the checkbook to the control of a state agency” John Dunn of Mauston asked in a letter to Legislators. “The WEDC has again failed to follow state law and its own policies in awarding taxpayer-funded incentives to state companies. We need accountability to taxpayers.”
Not following the law, and not acting in a transparent and accountable way is a frequent criticism of the state’s economic development operations.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), created in 2011 as an independent authority, fell under criticism again with the recent release of another audit showing that WEDC failed to follow state laws and its own policies when awarding grants, loans and tax credits to businesses and failed to independently verify whether or not promised jobs were actually created.

Ed Garvey Endorses Jeff Smith for DPW Chaire

For Immediate Release                                                                Contact Jeff Smith
May 8th, 2015                                                                             

Delusional former Marquette undergrad takes five day non-credit study abroad Course.

Scott Walker, a former Marquette University undergraduate student has announced that he has enrolled in a five day non-credit study abroad course offered by “Our American Revival”. He will be attending on a “full ride” scholarship provided by “Our American Revival”.

The delusional undergraduate imagines himself as a member of some unknown royal family as he continues to use the “royal we” as he describes his non-credit study abroad experience.

Sao Lue Vang's attacker gets 10 days jail time

Vang Protest

A contentious court case in Northwestern Wisconsin ended today with the sentencing of Kevin Elberg. Elberg beat Sao Lue Vang last year after he accidentally trespassed on Elberg's land while squirrel hunting. Many in this part of the state saw this as a test of whether a Hmong immigrant who served in support of the US military could receive justice after being beaten by a much younger and stronger man who appeared to have been drinking at the time.  A 10 day sentence with 2 years of probation and some community service hardly seems just.

The previous sentencing hearing for Elberg was cancelled due to an inability to reach a successful plea bargain. Muliple protests in Durand over the last several months were held in concern that the case would be plea-bargained down to a misdemeanor, which it was. Sao Lue Vang received multiple injuries in the beating, including a lacerated liver and many internal injuries.

RIP UW Independent Authority


John Nygren says the UW independent authority proposal supported by the governor and the regents of the University is dead in the water. This proposal was part of a package that included a huge cut in money to the University system, but with the independent authority as a way for the University to get back some of the money.

Now what remains to be seen is if the legislature still makes draconian cuts to the budget while taking the authority away.  This is another of those recent rebellions against Walker's plans and I'm certain we will be seeing more of it. Normally I would congratulate changes against Walker's budget proposals, but it sounds likely that this will set up a lose-lose situation for the University system.

I used to believe that the big print giveth and the small print taketh away.  In the Walker administration it's beginning to look like the small and big print are both taking.

Citizen Input Provides Important Details of Conservation Budget Cuts

Kathleen Vinehout
May 6, 2015
Citizen Input Provides Important Details of Conservation Budget Cuts
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“Why is it I keep hearing more about what’s in the governor’s budget?” the woman asked me. “Don’t you see it all at once and then decide what to do?”
It can be difficult for legislators to know the full effect of cuts without the critical input of citizens.
For example, news of cuts to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) made its way to western Wisconsin. Constituents communicated back to me the effect of these cuts. Through emails, phone calls and office visits I was able to piece together the real effect of a few lines of DNR budget cuts.

Frac Sand Conference


Want to take home some new strategies? learn about silica and its dangers? Dr. Crispin Pierce will be presenting some of his latest findings on the silica issues found in WI. Others listed in the attachments will spend time sharing new directions. Save the Hills Alliance , Inc. is funding a portion of the expenses.


Saturday, May 9, 2015 -
8:30am to 3:30pm



In the past there were several different services in the state providing a web widget holding the latest posts from different blogs around the state.  All  of these have stopped publishing for one reason or another. We're diving into the void left there and publishing our own progressive blog widget called Cheddarwire.

Anyone is welcome to take this web widget and put it on their own blog. It updates automatically throughout the day, bringing you the best progressive blog links. You can install this on your own web site by going to the Cheddarwire page on this site, and copy and pasting the code at the bottom of the page into your own site.  You will need to do this (depending on what software you are using) in such a way that it will not be stripped out of the site - it's a simple javascript widget that does an iframe embed on your site.

We may publish some other widgets in the future, including a progressive calendar list you can also put on your own site.

Please let me know if you use this and let us know how it works out for you --

A Business Owes Nothing in Taxes & Gets a State Check?

Kathleen Vinehout
April 29, 2015
A Business Owes Nothing in Taxes & Gets a State Check?
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“Why doesn’t the press cover what’s happening with refundable tax credits?” I asked the journalist. We were chatting about what I found in the state budget.
“Because the press doesn’t understand them,” she told me.
“Doesn’t understand them?” I thought. “There has to be an easy way to describe what’s happening...”
Imagine if you had no state tax taken out of your paycheck. You filed your tax return but you owed nothing. Now imagine the state sent you a refund check. Wow!
This is like a refundable tax credit. A company owes little to nothing in taxes but gets a check back from the state - cash from the taxpayers of Wisconsin.

Guest Post - Jonathan Rosenblum on Rana Plaza and the local-global march against sweatshops

Rana Plaza

Rana Plaza and the Local-Global March Against Sweatshops

By Jonathan Rosenblum

Today is “Rana Plaza Day.” That's not a good thing. More than a thousand apparel factory workers died two years ago as they sweated literally to keep the sweat off your backs. The building collapsed on top of them, just after a dramatic street side negotiation in which managers forced the workers back into a tectonic building.

All this is pretty far from Madison, WI--in fact, 7261.1 miles from central Madison to the Savar industrial section of Dhaka Bangladesh on Mapquest. You can’t take a bus. You can get a one-stop from O’Hare on Qatar Air.


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