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Thursday, December 08, 2016

Walker Appointed Transportation Czar Shows Off His Shiny New Empty Suit

According to this recent report by the MKE Journal Sentinel, Gov. Scott Walker's hand appointed transportation czar, Mark Gottlieb, stands with the Norquist-pledged governor's position on Wisconsin's so-called transportation funding crisis.

JS Online Excerpt:
Speaking to the Assembly Transportation Committee, the state's top highway official defended Walker's plan to not raise gas taxes or vehicle fees and to instead close a two-year $1 billion shortfall through borrowing and project delays.

Why certainly he does! To believe himself, he must think that Walker's plan will lead to shiny new roads as smooth as silk and tough as granite. Right? Not quite.

JS Online Excerpt:
But he acknowledged it would lead to more and more bad roads and could delay the completion of all the state's major planned road projects by as much as decades.

"If the funding levels proposed in the department’s budget continue, I have indicated that, yes, system conditions will deteriorate," Gottlieb said of the path laid out by Walker.

But it's a path he defends. Why?

Well, it's all about "timing."

JS Online Excerpt:
"The governor has made a determination that now is not the right time to raise taxes on Wisconsin businesses and families,” the secretary said.

There we have it. Walker is in perpetual re-election mode and constantly trying to convince his billionaire masters of his ideological "conservative" bonafides. Plus, he's got Lord Norquist to answer to if he back pedals on his pledge.

This moment however becomes the perfect window of opportunity for Gottlieb to flack for Scott Walker as a champion of business and families.

It's the least he can do for Walker if he wants to keep his cushy job for the next six years.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Tunesday: Rod Stewart - Reason To Believe

Local Swamp Monster Scolds Janesville Residents For Not Opposing Increased Fees

No kidding.

If you're a regular reader here, you probably are one of a few well-informed Rock County area voters/taxpayers who know where the Janesville Gazette and Forward Janesville stand when it comes to increased local taxes, cash confiscating referendums and treasury-draining TIF District wealth transfer abstracts.

They of course supported every single one of them and in fact have a motto that pertains to their economic policies.

Their motto is this: If Janesville residents refuse to accept increased tax obligations, the local economy could fall into a "death spiral." Their words - not mine.

But as you well know, several business members of the local swamp, Forward Janesville and the Janesville Gazette, lawyered up over the past year to challenge their own property tax assessments and won. Combined, they had several hundred thousand dollars shaved from their annual tax bills. Of course that means everyone else will have to pay more or see a cut in services. The "people" were silent.

Next up came Forward Janesville and their corporate tooled city council approving a downtown TIF District abstract that confiscates around one million in future taxable growth annually for the next 27 years from general fund obligations to pay for Forward Janesville pet projects and their ARISE gimmick. Again, that means everyone else will have to pay more or see a cut in services even further than the foreseeable future. The "people" were silent.

Before that and currently, both the Gazette and Forward Janesville supported and endorsed every local tax hike proposal and referendum, including treasury robbing "incentives" based largely on a false meme that out-of-state businesses will gravitate to Janesville because they desire good schools, roads, parks, police and fire, trails, clean air and water. Anyone who opposed their goofy tax jacking policies and grand theft TIF's were deemed selfish Janesville haters who should move away if they don't like it.

For the most part, city staffers under the direction of the city manager and approved by the city council have given away large chunks of cash sorely needed to pay for future school maintenance, road maintenance, parks, police, fire, trails, clean air and water. For the third time, that means everyone else will have to pay more or see major cuts in services. Instead of marching with pitchforks and torches, the "people" once again were silent.

Keep in mind those observations are from only the past year.

You might be saying that you've heard this all before here at the blog. So why bring it all up now?

Well, the Gazette posted a bizarre editorial whining about Janesville residents "apathy," believe it or not, for failing to show concern for the city's debt or the avalanche of new fee increases about to cascade down on everyone.

Bold-faced hypocrisy at its finest.

JG Editorial Excerpt:
Thumbs down to Janesville residents' apathy. One Janesville resident, Michael Clarke, spoke at the public hearing last week before the Janesville City Council adopted next year's $111 million budget. Thumbs up to Clarke, who expressed concern about the city's debt, but where were other residents? Perhaps, the latest show streaming on Netflix or Thursday Night Football proved too irresistible. Next year's budget includes more than 80 fee increases expected to bring in $2.3 million in new revenue, making more expensive many city services, such as water and sewer, ambulance transport and residential building permits. By failing to attend hearings, residents sent an implicit message to council members that they are OK with these hikes. Of course, many residents will complain next year when they figure out they must dig deeper into their wallets, and we have a message for these future complainers: Why weren't you at last week's budget hearing?

Seriously. What the? What the? They have the balls to write that residents shouldn't complain if they have to dig further into their wallets? After what the Gazette and Forward Janesville supported?

But obviously, since taxpayers were okay with all of the wild corporate welfare "incentives" and Forward Janesville's ARISE gimmick funded by future taxable growth, it's way too late for Janesville taxpayers to complain about debt, shortfalls and higher taxes and fees now.

Plus, some of us believed the local swamp monsters phony baloney about the dreaded death spiral. "Tax us!!" they're saying. We certainly don't want a death spiral like the "experts" said, and we have way too much money anyways for our own good!!! Wheeeeee.

Still others no doubt are waiting for those giant magical windfalls city hall tools promised from the last ten TIF Districts that expired over the course of the last 20 years.

For the rest of us who know the consequences of their failed growth policies and corporate welfare, it's time to pay the piper more. This year, the next year and the next, and the next, and the ...

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Where's Paul Ryan On The Great Lakes Basin Rail Line?

As usual, he is absent.

Well, possibly not. If anything he is working FOR the rail line if you know what I mean.

When two state legislators spoke to a Rock County area crowd opposed to the proposed Great Lakes Basin Transportation rail line, they acknowledged there's not much they can do if the federal Surface Transportation Board grants permission to build.

JG Excerpt:
If the proposed rail were passed, the state Department of Transportation and the Wisconsin Rail Commission would have a say in the construction process but would not be able to stop it, Spreitzer said.

The state legislators are absolutely right. It's a federal deal.

Yet according to the newspaper report filed by the Janesville Gazette, Paul Ryan, who has repeatedly called himself the area's "go to" federal guy and is now Speaker of the House is not mentioned - not even once.

Why is that?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016

Wisconsin Voters Deliver Mandate: Dismantle State's Open Record Laws

Not too long ago twelve Wisconsin legislators, all republicans, voted in committee to gut Wisconsin's good government open record laws. The push back from the media market including ordinary citizens was fast and furious, almost to the intensity of the Act 10 protests in 2011. The committee assignment was quickly scrapped.

A few of those legislators recanted saying it was a mistake to go there in the first place and that they have no plans to revisit the idea in the future. However, most of them either held back a response or played word games about the subject claiming on one hand they support open government, but on the other think their office privacy needs to be protected. They still insist to this day that "reform" is needed.

On Election Tuesday, eight of the twelve legislators were up for re-election in their respective districts and every one of them won easily. Granted, state legislative districts in Wisconsin are deeply gerrymandered, but that still doesn't explain why voters would ignore their earlier attack on open records. Apparently, the majority wants those rules dismantled.

Now, some might say they have polls showing the opposite, that a majority of Wisconsinites want to keep existing records laws intact. But the only poll that counts is on election day. For whatever reason, given what we know about certain legislator's desires to gut open records laws, voters did not connect that issue to the candidates. Could it be that it's just not that important to voters?

To ice that cake even further, Wisconsin democrats who oppose changes to the state's open records laws - as a party - lost more seats on Tuesday!

The message is clear. Voters are telling state legislators they can plant the seed, initiate the process and there will be no repercussions at the polls. So with that, I believe those twelve legislators were given the green light on the state's open record laws where they left off.