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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sen. Duey Stroebel Is Right. Taxpayers Paying More And Getting Less Is Conservative

There is an interesting if not amusing "debate through the media" about the state's transportation funding taking place between long-time conservative George Mitchell and Sen. Duey Stroebel.

Mitchell begins ...

Urban Milwaukee Excerpt:
A group of Senate Republicans, including state Sen Duey Stroebel, believe this unprecedented borrowing embodies a “conservative” approach to financing highway construction. After approving new highway debt of almost $3 billion since taking control of state government, they want to add $700 million more in 2017-19.

Stroebel responds to Mitchell by attempting to paint himself as a victim of Mitchell's "vitriol," and then proceeds to lay out his fiscal conservatism. Uh huh.

Right Wisconsin Excerpt:
Consider the five cent gas tax floated as a long term solution that increases revenue by $150 million per year. After twenty years, the taxpayers would have paid $3 billion more in taxes. The tax continues in perpetuity. Our kids and grandkids are saddled with high taxes.

To get a better handle on where he draws his anti-tax simpleton nonsense from, like Scott Walker, Stroebel is pledged to Grover Norquist.

But sure, why stop at twenty years? If you're looking for that "perpetuity" effect, why not fear monger with 100 years and $15 billion? LOL. But okay, collect $150M PER YEAR with a new gas tax for twenty years and we end up with $3 billion worth ...of road maintenance and highway expansions. I get it.

Right Wisconsin Excerpt:
Consider $150 million in bonding. After twenty years the bonds are finished at a total cost of approximately $240 million. Our kids and grandkids do not continue to pay the debt servicing.

Whoa ...whoa!! This is hysterical to the point of logical treason.

First of all, Stroebel is comparing apples and oranges, but they are his words. So let's play along with him.

Is it unreasonable to ask for $3B in additional road funding over the next 20 years? According to Mitchell's column, Wisconsin republicans approved nearly $3B in new highway debt in just six years. So no, it's not unreasonable.

Is Stroebel implying that $3B worth of transportation can be paid with $240 million? Well, not quite's actually much, much worse than that.

As per Stroebel's math, a single $150M twenty year bond at 3% will cost Wisconsin taxpayers $4.5M per year in debt service or $90 million in interest before it's finally paid off in 20 years. But we're still short $2.85 billion in additional road funding for the next 19 years. To put that number into perspective, the I39/90 expansion alone is expected to cost $1.5B and that's climbing higher as I write.

So we must assume Stroebel would rather buy a $150M twenty year bond ...each year for the next twenty years to equal the $3B target a 5¢ tax on a gallon of gas would raise over twenty years, given the choice. BUT, instead of paying $3B for $3B worth of transportation with a higher gas tax after 20 years - Wisconsin taxpayers will end up shelling out, in one shell game or another, $4.8B for $3B worth of transportation funding using Stroebels' borrow approach. The bottom line: State taxpayers will pay $1.8B more unnecessarily ...and get less. AND ...the last bond won't be retired until year 40 from the time the first bond was purchased.

So, it will be like borrowing and making debt payments into perpetuity just like the debt trajectory President Reagan put the nation on beginning in 1981.

Come to think of it ...THAT is the conservative way.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Paul Ryan Brushes Off Out-Of-District Constituents, Unless They're The Moneyed Kind

In case you missed it, State Rep. Mark Spreitzer (Beloit) sent Rep. Paul Ryan a letter asking the House Speaker to protect programs for rural Wisconsin communities. Spreitzer then shared Ryan's response on Twitter...

Spreitzer nailed it in seven words. "His response is unacceptable. Wisconsinites deserve better."

Yes indeed.

But Ryan's lame response toward out-of-district constituents doesn't jibe well with the Citizens United money equals speech argument. I mean, would Ryan send all correspondence including donations from Diane Hendricks to Rep. Mark Pocan? After all, Pocan is her congressman.

According to this latest story, Ryan set a GOP record fundraising $32.7 million during an off-year and I'm certain the vast majority of the money came from out-of-district constituents who cannot vote to re-elect candidate congressman Ryan. Now, if out-of-district money equals out-of-district speech on the issues as Spreitzer's request did, why doesn't Ryan refer those donations to the congressperson elected to represent those constituents? You know, as a courtesy...

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Janesville Manager Complains City Fees Aren't High Enough

One of the things I hear regularly from Janesville residents is city fees are too low.

OK, we're passed that piece of sarcasm.

But according to an article from the Janesville Gazette, City Manager Mark Freitag wants to institute an annual fee booster/checker mechanism that would flag any municipal fees that may be falling below the amounts charged in peer cities.

JG Excerpt:
The suggested fee increases aren't a response to an expected budget shortfall but the result of a comprehensive look at what the city charges for various programs and services and how they relate to peer communities and inflation, said Max Gagin, assistant to the city manager.

“The recommendations would certainly help our budget in 2018, but it's not necessarily a driving factor to closing a budget deficit,” he said.

It's a practice the city will repeat each summer, he said.

Obviously, the manager's scheme to confiscate more isn't about meeting budget demands, department balances or managing costs and efficiencies. Yet they call their proposal a "comprehensive" look.

So, instead of promoting efficient city services and amenities that are more affordable than in other cities and how that makes Janesville an attractive place to live, the administration thinks Janesville residents are getting off cheap.

But why shouldn't they feel that way? After all, Freitag mismanaged the city into a runaway deficit last year and then later balanced, with the council's approval, the $1M shortfall with $2.3M in 80 fee increases. They all got rave reviews and raises for that one.

On top of that, the city council gave away all of the growth in tax revenue expected from downtown property values for the next 27 years to Forward Janesville's ARISE gimmick ...and few blinked outside of this blog.

Keep in mind that the Janesville city council practically adopted Forward Janesville's "without higher local tax obligations, the Janesville economy could death spiral" mantra.

So, I can't blame the city manager or council for thinking inside the box.

It was all so predictable.


RNR - Top Local Story: The Kleptocracy Is Strong

Friday, July 07, 2017

After Six Years Of Red State Reforms, Gov. Walker Begging For a Federal Bailout

On President Obama:
“What I think we’ve seen increasingly is more of a political agenda, and one in which he measures success by how many people are ultimately dependent on the government. We should measure success by just the opposite, by how many people are no longer dependent on the government.”
- Gov. Scott Walker (Aug, 2013)

Good Times!

According to this report, Gov. Scott Walker will be asking for less federal assistance ...oops, I'm very sorry ...I meant to write Walker will be asking for MORE financial help from Big Government. Much more.

WKOW Excerpt:
"Interstate 94 North/South, the Zoo Interchange and Interstate 94 East/West are high profile projects in southeastern Wisconsin. We propose contingency bonding that would be linked to additional federal funding for mega projects. Wisconsin is well positioned to qualify for additional federal funding to help support mega projects," wrote Gov. Walker.

Gov. Walker suggests appealing to the federal government for $341 million in highway funds, roughly ten times more than the state receives in a normal year.

Ten. Times. More.

Keep in mind Walker is not making this request immediately after a term or two of democratic leadership in state government where he would have a political scapegoat to target for blame. No, his "concession" request comes after six years of single party ruled tax cut growth red state engineering led by Scott Walker himself.

While the MSM continues to call six years of single-party "reforms" that ultimately led to widespread shortfalls in revenue a "budget impasse," Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling did not mince words when she described Walker's request for more federal assistance exactly what it is. "Begging for a federal bailout."