DAILY WISCONSIN

State Government

Republican State Budget: No Help For One Million Student Loan Borrowers, But a Special Favor For One Electric Car Enthusiast

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported on the inclusion of the “Kapenga Kickback”: “A last-minute budget provision to make it easier to sell cars made by Tesla is aimed at winning the crucial vote of Sen. Chris Kapenga, who has pushed for the measure in the past and owns a business that sells Tesla parts and salvaged electric vehicles.

Word on the Street

The new Democratic governor, Tony Evers, has put together a two-year budget proposal that virtually every newspaper article declares DOA (dead on arrival) because of opposition in the Republican controlled legislature.  There is even talk that the GOP will try to supplant his budget by amending the old one.

That’s not the word you hear on the street. What may have been true for eight years under GOP’s departed governor Scott Walker is undergoing the crashing sounds of change.  Many in both parties now realize that Evers is not the extreme partisan the GOP tried to paint (in fact, several Democrats don’t find him extreme enough). Several of his proposals have considerable majority clout behind them, given past actions from all sides of the electorate.

Via DOM’S DOMAIN POLITICS: EVERS AND GOP FIGHTING FOR WISCONSIN’S POLITICAL SOUL.

‘Every paragraph revealed another strange twist or failure’

As it turns out, history had already determined that state handouts to attract and keep businesses was a horrible idea, so bad in fact many states amended their Constitutions to prevent those mistakes from ever happening again in the future.

After reading the Cap Times article “Where to now with Foxconn? It won’t leave Wisconsin, but it won’t build what it promised,” where every paragraph revealed another strange twist or failure, I had to look up why Scott Walker and his band of plundering Republicans pirates liked the idea of state corporate handouts so much. Not surprisingly, their actions weren’t based on anything I found in the real world, it was simply pure ideological theory. Look at how much money we’re losing, and how few jobs they’re creating…

Via DemoCurmudgeon: History, Corporate Tax Incentives, and the State Constitutional Gift Clause collide with Scott Walker’s economic theories.

Walker Foxconn Folly

They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

Here’s the counter-argument today, first in a long, must-read piece carried by the Madison Capital Times which, among other things, looks at the risks facing Racine County and the Village of Mount Pleasant where Foxconn bulldozing and local borrowing are well underway:

Based on an examination of Foxconn’s corporate history, Asian business practices and the stark realities of the LCD panel production industry, the likelihood of a flat panel factory in Mount Pleasant seems unlikely any time soon — if ever.

Neither does the prospect of anything close to 13,000 “family supporting” jobs…

For Racine County, the situation is more pressing… The total county cost was recently projected at $911 million, a liability of more than $10,000 per county household…

Via The Political Environment: Grim new reviews for Walker Foxconn folly billed to taxpayers

Dept. of Corrections Sec. Kevin Carr

WisEye Morning Minute: Newsmakers – Dept. of Corrections Sec. Kevin Carr

On March 4, WisconsinEye Senior Producer Steve Walters interviewed the new Wisconsin Department of Corrections Secretary Designee, Kevin A. Carr, on the issue of Wisconsin leading the nation in the incarceration of African-Americans. Sec. Carr was asked if he sees changing that as part of the mission of DOC, policy-makers or elected state officials, and what is the best way to begin to address the issue.

Evers-Vos

The reality is that all legislators, of both parties, will be hearing from schools and local governments in their district, that need to plan their budgets and need finality on how much in state aid they will get. There will be enormous pressure to end a long standoff, including from voters in both parties who are likely to get impatient and demand action.

Via Murphy’s Law: Who Will Win State Budget Battle? » Urban Milwaukee.

Homeless Funding in the Evers Budget

I went through the plan to see what Governor Evers saying he’d fully fund the recommendation of the Interagency Council on Homelessness really means. Here’s what I found. This is no longer a report, its an actual action plan!

Here’s the report of the Interagency Council on Homelessness.

And here’s the recommendations that Evers said he’s fully funding. Methinks they should have asked for more!

Via Homeless Funding in Evers Budget @ Forward Lookout.

Lazy dog’s not learning any new tricks

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos complains that Governor Tony Evers isn’t being bipartisan by vetoing their tax bill.

First rule of bipartisanship….having a bill named essentially the same thing…isn’t being bipartisan. Ya know? Plus you knew your bill would be vetoed when you passed it. It wasn’t going to accomplish the things the governor aims to do. It wasn’t sustainable. It was outside the budget process. It was rushed. It was another attempt to co-opt the governor’s platform. You do know that he is moving you left? I wrote about that!

Via Robin Vos Doesn’t Understand How Bipartisan Works! @ Blogging Blue.

4.3.18

The entire state has only two contests to be concerned about.

Justice candidate Rebecca Dallet

One is electing Rebecca Dallet to the state supreme court.  She is the only acceptable  candidate, demonstrated by the desperation of the ads against her (arguing not that she let anyone go but followed the family and  prosecution’s advice in sentencing).

She is also the first step in restoring balance to the court.

In 2019, Shirley Abrahamson’s seat is up, and though she has not announced if she is running again, her legendary distinction will carry liberal weight.  In 2020, before the next presidential election, it is the unknown justice under the gun – Daniel Kelly, appointed by Walker to fill out David Prosser’s term.  He has never faced the voters at any level, serving mainly as litigator and conservative hired gun on gerrymandering. Dallet will be the start on turning the high court back to normalcy.

The other important vote is No on eliminating the office of state treasurer. This is simply a power grab by the executive against the state’s banker, who should be examining in a watchdog role billions of dollars in common aid to schools and libraries while also serving a key role on the commission for public lands.

Via DOM’S DOMAIN POLITICS: TRUMP NOT ON BALLOT BUT VOTERS CAN SEND MESSAGE APRIL 3.

Left out a few details…

Eliminating the treasurer’s office means oversight of public lands in Wisconsin would also be altered and give more power to the governor’s office.

The State Journal misleadingly propagandizes: About the only thing the treasurer does these days is sit on a board that doles out money to school libraries from trust funds. The constitutional amendment would replace the treasurer with the lieutenant governor as one of three members on the board. So one politician will be swapped for another, which is no big deal, trickster-in-chief Scott Milfred opined.

Via POLITICAL CAPITAL

Lincoln Hills

Gov. Scott Walker has claimed he only recently learned about the problems at Lincoln Hills, but there is a mountain of evidence suggesting otherwise. Back in February 2012, Walker received a letter from Racine County Circuit Judge Richard Kreul about Lincoln Hills, as the Journal Sentinel has reported. The letter included a copy of a memo detailing the beating and sexual assault of a boy and the failure of Lincoln Hills staff to notify law enforcement and child protective services. “The indifference in this sordid tale is absolutely inexcusable,” Kreul wrote.

Via Beyond negligence @ Isthmus.

No Sting 

Packed into brains the size of a sesame seed, bees’ navigational systems enable them to locate and pollinate $55 million worth of Wisconsin crops annually.

But Wisconsin has become a hard place to be a bee.

The state’s honeybee colony die-off rates, among the highest in the nation, last year were around 60 percent. Beekeeper surveys show 15 percent is generally considered to be an acceptable loss rate.

Via Critics: State’s plan to save bees provides little protection from pesticides @ WisconsinWatch.org.

State Officials Hid Truth from Child Victim’s Mother

Madison— When a Racine County youth was sexually assaulted and beaten in a Northwoods prison in 2012, state officials told his mother that something had happened but didn’t share with her the full and troubling picture.

The woman was contacted the next day and in the following days county officials were contacted as well, with officials at the Lincoln Hills School for Boys telling the county that the youth had been moved into a security unit, county records show. Inmates are typically sent there for acting out at the state-run prison 30 miles north of Wausau.

What the mother was not told is that on Jan. 13, 2012, another inmate had forced her son to perform a sex act and then struck him.

The woman instead waited more than two weeks to learn the ugly extent of the incident, in which her son waited for hours to be taken to a hospital and for which the aggressor was eventually convicted. It took repeated questioning from Racine County officials to bring the crime to light….

This case is the second shared with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in which a parent of a Lincoln Hills inmate learned of an attack against their son from someone else and not from the state officials charged with keeping him safe. Milwaukee County officials also learned from a tipster about youths from their county having their arms or wrists broken in November 2014….

Via Mother left in dark about son’s sexual assault, beating at Lincoln Hills @ JSOnline.

From $384 million to $0?

Tomorrow’s [2.3.16] Assembly Ways and Means Committee meeting had an interesting last-minute addition to it, and it involves a huge business tax giveaway that you may have thought was dead.

You may remember me referencing this “economic substance” bill when they tried to jam it through a public hearing last month. At the time, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue estimated that it would cost the state up to $384 million a year, which is certainly not anything that can be done when there’s only $64 million of breathing room in the budget over the next 17 months. The bill seemed to be put underground after that.

Well, it’s BAAAACK!

Via Jake’s Economic TA Funhouse: $384 million tax cut now “clarified” to $0?

Avoiding the Public They Serve

Two former cabinet members under Gov. Scott Walker say they were instructed by former Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch not to conduct important state business by state email or on state telephones. Huebsch said he merely warned fellow cabinet members to be careful because such communications could be made public.

Via Former cabinet members: Top Scott Walker aide ordered them to avoid state email, phones @ WisconsinWatch.org.