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Monday, April 19, 2010

Forward Janesville's Interstate Expansion: Where's Paul Ryan?

In the past week, tuned-in Janesville Gazette readers should have noticed the paper's protectionist propaganda surrounding Forward Janesville's pandering for an interstate expansion through Rock County. In this article titled "Rock County leaders plot roadmap to the future," the newspaper used labels like "leaders" and "groups" in place of "business owners" and/or "lobbyists," and made little effort identifying the 100 area "leaders" pushing for the expansion. Coincidentally published on "Tax Day," the article conveniently left out that the interstate expansion could boost taxes or increase the state deficit by a billion dollars.

Other than that, the article was awkwardly informative. Particularly about how two current Janesville businesses, both members of Forward Janesville, will be the first taking advantage of state money intended to entice new business and jobs into the area. Both companies appear to be "restructuring," one is even laying off employees first to take advantage of the program's opportunities to qualify with expected job creation later. The state program is aptly named "Development Opportunity Zone" and was written and promoted by Forward Janesville.

The newspaper also has apparently done an about-face with State Rep. Mike Sheridan. You'll recall it was the Janesville Gazette who ran a near-malicious campaign against the assembly speaker because he seemingly decided to change his position on the interest rate cap for payday loans. The paper attempted to tie his reversal on the legislation to social dates in his personal life he had with a female lobbyist. In the end, Sheridan's final position on the cap actually meshed with the Gazette's - no cap.

But now, that's all old news. What's said at the Gazette, stays at the Gazette. Now that Sheridan seems willing to use his assembly position to the liking of the "old economy" local GOP establishment, their newspaper has taken on a protectionist attitude. Even withholding Sheridan's promotional op-ed on the I39/90 expansion from Web comments or to compare his support to Rep. Paul Ryan's unknown position on the expansion. The Gazette published Sheridan's op-ed in the hardcopy only.

To cap off the week, the Gazette editorialized their full support for the expansion in yesterday's paper.
JG Editorial Excerpt: (April 18, 2010)
The state should however, be able to tap federal dollars to help grease this expansion.
I couldn't have worded it much better myself except, why should the "state" lobby for federal funds? Isn't this Forward Janesville's baby? Which leads me to ask: Where is Paul Ryan?

Afterall, he is Forward Janesville's poster boy politician and it does appear that the entire local GOP establishment is salivating over the expansion. So, why hasn't his name come up as the go-to congressman for federal funds? You can bet Baldwin, Feingold or Kohl don't come near the campaign donor dollars or ballot support Ryan picks up from FJ members. Shouldn't Ryan begin to earn his keep?

Plus, Ryan is a ranking member of the House Budget Committee. With all that power, his political base shouldn't have to beg for an earmark. He should just get this stuff done like Sheridan and go to bat for his district.

So one has to ask. Does Ryan's roadmap to the future include a six lane interstate expansion for his hometown? Step it up Congressman. Where are you?
An interesting Gazette editorial sidenote about the state budget before the crashed economy was common knowledge.

EDITORIAL: Who's really to blame for budget crisis?
(Published Thursday, October 18, 2007)

"They should have known Republicans just won't accept another $1 billion in taxes."

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