Today is

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tunesday: The Beatles - Revolution

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sunday, October 16, 2016

City Hall Janesville: Raging Budget Deficit Dumpster Fire ...Poof! All Gone.

Easily one of the top local stories for 2016 starts with Janesville city manager, Mark Freitag, back in January when he announced during his state-of-the-city speech that the city will begin the next annual budget with a $800,000 deficit.

During his speech he emphasized the urgency to fix the projected deficit and asked the public to join him in immediate discussions. It created enough of a stir back then to have council members pointing blame at the state on cuts in shared revenue.

The very next day, Freitag squashed those placing blame on the state for the city's deficit by instead pointing at meager city employee raises negotiated by ...unions! Yes he said, their raises are fueling the next deficit. Well that was mighty Forward Janesville of him.

From that point on and all the way into June, talk about the city's deficit fell off a cliff. Why? Because Forward Janesville and their tools in city hall were pushing for a downtown TIF District expected to quarantine $30 million in future tax revenue (no referendum required) away from city treasury coffers for the next 27 years.

As you can probably guess, any plan to skim a million a year off the top back-dropped by talk of projected budget deficits would break the con. So Forward Janesville's media enabler, the Janesville Gazette, made sure the city's projected budget deficit saw as little public discussion as possible over that time.

As predicted by this blog, the city's budget deficit would eventually re-emerge, but only after the city council approved Forward Janesville's downtown TIF District. By early July, Freitag and the council were floating a plethora of city fee hikes – many by 50% to 100% - to fix the deficit. The deficit itself however was reportedly reaching $950,000.

OK, so here we are. According to the most recent story on the budget deficit, they balanced their $950,000 projected deficit with $1,588,000 (apprx.)

The numbers posted in the budget fix story in the Gazette are:

$350,000 higher projected savings from employee retirements.

$200,000 Dollar General permit and survey fees.

$170,000 from increased pet license, pool admission and building permit fees.

$100,000 from schools paying more for in-house police.

$74,000 savings by ending subsidies for Oakhill Cemetery.

$143,000 from increased ambulance emergency fees.

Sub-total $1,037,000.

Do the math. Add $551,000 from the General Fund for a grand total of $1,588,000.

Pretty simple.

Their budget document however opens up the possibility that the $950,000 deficit has now grown to $1,588,000, since it requires that amount to fix it. Got it?

Or, and this is another possibility: That all the fee hikes and "fixes" combined with the general fund cash out exceeds the earlier $950K deficit in order to give Janesville taxpayers the impression that their economic growth policies are working. It's an old budget trick used by right-wing engineers.

It works like this. You sell property or borrow to raise unicorn dollars, (or use reserve cash from the General fund) to pay for the appearance of lower tax rates, THAT in turn re-enforces the meme that your trickle-down growth strategies are working. Because, to exceed the cash required to balance by $600K allows city hall apparatchiks to say this ...

JG Excerpt:
Even though the city would be collecting more taxes, the tax rate would drop because of the city's growth. The tax base is bigger, so “more people are sharing in the pie,” said Max Gagin, assistant to the city manager.

Bingo! I call bingo!

Yeah ...your TIF Districts and dark store challenges are paying off - that's why they require $1.5M in shifts, fee hikes and a substantial cash out to balance. It's because they grew the pie. LOL!

Now, to be fair, none of this has been approved yet ...but it will be. The point here is the city manager should say what the deficit amount is exactly, and explain why his fix proposal does not match it.


RNR - So Predictable. Soon After Downtown TIF District Approval, Janesville Fees Set To ARISE

RNR - Major City Hall Stories Are Swept Under The Rug

Friday, October 14, 2016

Establishment $100M Koch Puppet Pro-TPP Wall Street Charlatan Beclowns In Madison

Rep. Paul Ryan was in Madison on Friday making a hysterical attempt to distance himself from what he calls a "government for the elites," by drawing himself closer, believe it or not, to a quasi-government authority run by corporate elitists. This stuff is right out of Atlas Shrugged.

I do have to hand it to Ryan for taking his bizarre "elitist" sideshow right into the progressive capital of Wisconsin.

Madison.Com Excerpt:
"When Hillary Clinton says we are ‘stronger together,’ what she means is we are stronger if we are all subject to the state," Ryan said. "What she means is we are stronger if we give up our ties of responsibility to one another and hand all of that over to government. But there is no strength in that. Only hubris. Only the arrogance to assume we are better off if we fall in line and bow down to our betters."

Ryan said "liberal progressivism needs no long introduction in Madison," noting the event was 10 minutes from La Follette High School, named for the early 20th Century governor and senator who championed government policies that restrained the influence of large corporate interests.

Hmmm ...restrain the influence of large corporate interests. God forbid ...we can't have that. *eyeroll*

But if you read between the lines, Ryan IS saying he stands WITH corporate interests and that we should drop our constitutional "by the people, for the people" government, or what he derides as "the state." In other words, IF given the choice between a democratically elected "by the people" authority restraining corporate interests (LaFollette Progressivism) or a hand selected corporate authority restraining "by the people" government, Ryan clearly stands with the latter.

But he also thinks we are stronger if we give up our responsibility to one another (break the "collective," break unions, discourage associations for political purposes, etc.) to stand alone and hand our legislative and judicial branched governmental powers over to corporation. Breaking the Founding Fathers "government" is key to Ryan's philosophy.

In that light or darkness depending on your view, Ryan would like nothing less than the American people to democratically and constitutionally vote to disempower themselves, i.e., break the "collective."

In essence, Ryan returns to his old stale Atlas Shrugged mentality where all rule of law is governed by an individual's ability and drive to profit from the deregulated immoralities of capitalism.

On values, Ryan believes if it's legal, whether legalized by the big money influence of corporate power doesn't matter - it's moral. For instance, Donald Trump not paying federal income taxes for 18 years despite raking in billions is moral because it's legal. "Government" in Ryan's world becomes merely a vessel for corporate power and the wealthy.

Or, consider what "the base" said about Paul Ryan over the last few days to understand why he has to co-opt the rage against him by attempting to re-direct their anger toward Hillary Clinton and Progressivism.

Those are just a few of the kindlier tweets from several thousand posted against Ryan in just the last few days.

Outside of Ryan's disturbing philosophical points he attempted to make in Madison is the undeniable fact his endorsed nominee for president is one of the most condescending, egotistical, paternalistic pricks to ever walk the planet.

But that barely scratches the surface when it comes to Paul Ryan. Include Ryan's long, deep history of subservient ties to the elitist Koch brothers or local billionaire Diane Hendricks, his undying devotion to his party, his penchant to solve all our problems with tax cuts for the rich and deregulation ...well, need I say more?

The bottom line is; Ryan thinks he is being misunderstood by Trump supporters. His sideshow in Madison wasn't aimed at Progressives or Hillary Clinton. It's a diversionary tactic aimed at Trump's supporters who have ravaged him for weeks. He's saying he's just as deeply partisan, divisive and elitist as they are ...despite everything he said and does to pretend he's Jack Kemp.

He simply beclowns himself ...non-stop.


Rolling Stone - The Fury and Failure of Donald Trump (by Matt Taibbi)

Monday, October 10, 2016

So It Begins, Paul Ryan's Next Urban Legend

It's buried somewhere in Paul Ryan's DNA to co-opt people, groups and movements. He did it to conservatives, the Tea Party and the House Freedom Caucus. He did it to Ayn Rand and now he's doing it to Donald Trump. Some people might call that the sign of a good politician. I call it a person who lacks the courage of his convictions.

Chicago Tribune Excerpt:
Another says Ryan has told lawmakers that he won't campaign with Trump. And he is advising GOP candidates “to do what's best for you in your district.”

You know he meant, "do what's best for you to keep your district seat." But which is it? Does he stand with Donald Trump or doesn't he? No one really knows for sure.

So it begins as Ryan lays down the framework to defend himself from future political liabilities expected to come his way when he throws his hat into the presidential ring for 2020. Any reports claiming he supported or is associated with Donald Trump will be dismissed as “an urban legend.”


Politico - House GOP Huddles After Debate

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Local Business Lobby On School Referendum: Raise Taxes To Educate The Workers

In the course of endorsing a pair of Milton School District referendums seeking nearly $100 million from local taxpayers (Pop. 5,546 / 2010 census), Gov. Scott Walker's area tax-jacking booster team Forward Janesville, wrote ...

JG Excerpt:
Forward Janesville also said the money would allow Milton schools to “provide solid footing to educate the workers that area businesses need to grow and prosper.”

Let's not kid ourselves here, the Milton school referendum first and foremost will be lining the pockets of Forward Janesville membership, but it will be up to Milton voters to decide whether they want to pay an extra $525 a year (median home value in 53563 is $168,400) for the next 20 years in property taxes for the proposal. Keep in mind that a huge hit like this if approved, will likely foul local taxpayers for years to come when faced with unforeseen but necessary increases in general fund obligations, operational costs and maintenance.

But after lobbying the state for massive income tax cuts, enterprise tax credits, "portable" tax credits, manufacturing credits and Janesville for a downtown TIF District expected to shift $30 million in tax revenue growth away from local general fund obligations for themselves, AND with a membership growing increasingly hostile when it comes to their own property taxes ...Forward Janesville has never met a local regressive tax hike they didn't like. If that all isn't enough.

But now it's to "educate the workers." Too funny and sad, simultaneously.