Today is

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Room Tax "Reform" Looks Like More Dirty Special Interest Payback

Who woulda' thunk that something as mundane as the municipal room tax would have made such a big splash on Janesville's city budget as it did over the past several weeks. It's like I smelled a rat from miles away when I first heard small government "conservatives" on the city council amp up a 17 to 1 return on investment narrative to increase government spending for the quasi-public/private Janesville Convention and Visitors Bureau. The bureau receives all of its funding from the room tax.

But little did I know at the time that under the guise of job creation, republican state legislators introduced a bill (SB301/AB385) in September that would in effect, take away local control governing the room tax and require at least 70% of all submitted municipal room tax revenue be allocated to a dedicated slush fund for business, convention and tourist special interests.

According to a talking points bulletin promoting the room tax "reform" proposal, proponents of the bill were perturbed that room tax revenue paid by overnight guests at lodging properties was being used instead to subsidize local municipal services. Oh the outrage! Well, wait a second. This isn't even a fair comparison, but didn't Gov. Walker take about $25 million of $32 million in federal mortgage settlement money to close a budget shortfall? Ahh, budget priorities.

You have to wonder where all this is headed. Should sales taxes collected at thrift/second hand stores be dedicated to replace lost sales from new goods retailers? Or, how about sales taxes collected on purchases from Menards, McDonalds or Wal-mart? Should that revenue be returned to those private interests so they can buy more advertising to attract more customers to spend money in the community, thereby generating more tax revenue? Room tax supporters call this concept, "perpetual funding." You've got to hand it to them.

So, should state government use its collectivist power to confiscate revenue and then dedicate its use for select private interests while distressed public obligations go underfunded? That I'm stating that in question form is actually disturbing to me. But that's basically what they want to do with the room tax.

Here's another crunch. If their so-called room tax reform is passed, cities the size of Janesville will not only lose control of the revenue, it will lose at least $250,000 annually that will have to be made up with another new tax, tax increase or a major service cut. Judging by the last city budget session, searching for a mere $30K in budget cuts was absolutely butt ugly.

Over the years, neither party has been immune to this behavior, although less noticeable and in much more subtle ways. But under Gov. Scott Walker and our new normal of single-party rule, we have full-blown in-your-face centralized state government authoritarianism leaving no stone unturned in efforts to pay back its supporters by dictating the installation of a hegemonic uniformity to seize the spoils of local capital and control.

We are in deep doo.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Janesville "Priorities" Budget Cuts Police and Fire For Special Interest Bureau

From the "can't make this stuff up" category comes Monday's discussion on the city budget held by our beloved Janesville City Council.

Believe it or not, a commotion developed between several council members and the council president when it was discovered that a secret meeting took place to negotiate a funding agreement with the director of the quasi-public/private Janesville Convention and Visitors Bureau. Accusations of a possible walking quorum and questions about the legality of the meeting went flying before the council devolved into a near total state of confusion.

It was probably a little dangerous of me two weeks ago to re-animate a story told by one of the "conservatives" on the city council, Brian Fitzgerald, when he explained how necessary it is for city government to boost funding to the special interest bureau. You might recall how the lady in the tower spun straw into gold when she said that every tax dollar spent on the bureau returns seventeen dollars. That's all run-of-the-mill politicians need to hear and sure enough, several council members were literally tripping over themselves looking for more taxpayer money to throw at the bureau.

Ironically but not surprising to me, one council member who supported spending more on the bureau than agreed to before, Duwayne Severson, gave a short speech how government employees make only just enough cuts to meet the demands of the council's requests. That is, if you ask them to look for $100K in cuts, that's exactly what they'll do. They won't come back with $200K in cuts because he said, "that's how government works." So, after whipping the administration (government) for doing what they're told, he proposes spending even more. That's how priorities work.

All in all, what ended holding up the city's $42 million budget session for two hours revolved around several council members who would stop at nothing at spending an additional $54,400 on top of the increase previously agreed to for the Convention Bureau.

The final votes on the budget however, struck down the "new" $54,400 increase to the bureau so the budget can balance. In short, the council went full circle to restore funding to pay for downtown snow removal by cutting $30,893 from Police and Fire - a cut originally designed to offset the increase for their sacred convention bureau.


Janesville City Council - Video. Accusations about holding a secret meeting begins at the 1:00:00 mark. Final budget summary and votes begin at the 2:24:00 mark.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bizarre New? Business Model Sighted In Beloit Area

According to a story in the Beloit Daily News, Beloit city manager Larry Arft, claims to have spotted what is either a bizarre new business model for economic development or what appears to be the once-thought extinct animal known as government-get-out-of-the-way "free market enterprise." Possibly.

BDN Excerpt:
City Manager Larry Arft said there has been a “paradigm shift” in Beloit in that more businesses are coming to the city without incentives, wanting to build a location in Beloit.

“While there are a number in here that the city worked very hard to recruit...there are also a lot of the primarily commercial projects that we really did not recruit,” Arft said.

How do they do it? Why do they do it?

Without knowing more details, it's not clear what Arft means by "without incentives." Like Janesville, Beloit is a state tax credit enterprise zone and has so many TIF Districts that it would be difficult, but not impossible, to build new outside of one. Plus, some would think those "incentives" are not incentives at all but just part of the existing framework of regular perks for economic development. In other words, tax credit zones and/or TIF slush funds are not necessarily formalized incentive "packages," they just go with the territory.

But, assuming these private businesses are coming here (Beloit) and setting up shop without engaging in those activities for state or local hand-outs - my hat is then indeed off to them! Bravo! and Welcome! Thank you!

If true, I do however have some concern for their survival as they don't share the same collectivist hand-outs and advantages other businesses and insiders of the area business cartels have leveraged for themselves. Once the tables are tilted, it's pretty hard to compete no matter how honorable or well you play the game.

Again, without knowing the details, it's difficult to elaborate any further on Arft's observation.

Friday, November 22, 2013

For Now, Walker's State Health Care Plan Is Still Obamacare Based

After over a year of Gov. Scott Walker waffling and weaseling around his position on Obamacare, one of the resident trolls of the #Wiunion Twitter tag pointed out that Walker, while on the Larry Kudlow Show, finally committed to “repealing” Obamacare.

National Review Excerpt:
GOV. SCOTT WALKER: Well, I think it was good to put attention on ObamaCare, and I’m glad we’re back on that. But I had said back in August, I thought the federal government was too big, too expansive, too involved in our lives and we needed to narrow its focus. But for what’s left and what’s for necessary, it needs to work. We– we should show that we can make it work and that we’ve got a viable alternative to it.

LARRY KUDLOW: You would repeal ObamaCare all-together.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER: Hands-down–

LARRY KUDLOW: All right.

Well, Walker still says, "it needs to work." I'll get back to that statement in a moment. But first, even Kudlow was unsure where Walker stood previously on Obamacare and seemed surprised to nail down a seemingly straight answer.

You’ll recall that for the past year Walker said he wanted to see Obamacare work, thought repealing it was a mistake and as recent as last week, he asked Sen. Tammy Baldwin to join him in an effort to expand Obamacare to all policy holders. Apparently, something changed.

You see, because Walker has no moral bearing or principles to follow when it comes to the welfare of others, he must follow public opinion.

For instance, he wanted to change the local residency rule when he was MKE county executive, but because he didn't think it would fly with the county board at that time, he didn't push the change until he had a board (the state legislature) who would stand with him. More than anything, Walker is afraid of failure and now, at least for the moment, public opinion is trending against Obamacare. So Walker sees another political opportunity and seizes it by saying that he would repeal Obamacare, "hands-down."

Fortunately, public opinion is not permanent. Political winds can change abruptly at any time.

Walker knows the winds will change and when they do, he'll now have all of his bases’ covered on Obamacare. If it fails, he said that it would, and that if left up to him, he would repeal it. If it succeeds, he can say he always wanted it to work and even suggested expanding it at one time. Because no one in the mainstream media has challenged him on any of this, Walker is sitting in a political sweet spot on Obamacare whichever way it goes. To be honest, it's pretty slick if he can keep the wool pulled over everyone's eyes.

The second item on this is what Walker refers to as his "alternative" to Obamacare. The problem is, his state alternative to Obamacare is wholly built on Obamacare succeeding. Everyone knows this. He counted on a working Obamacare system to absorb the 77,000 people over the poverty level he kicked from the state's Badgercare program so he didn't have to accept the billions in aid like other states did to cover those up to 133% of the poverty level. By banking on Obamacare, the state was able to take on another 90,000 or so at or below the poverty level.

So, despite his statement about repealing Obamacare, I still believe Walker desperately wants Obamacare to work ...but only for now. He just doesn't want to be associated with its success because his fringe base is against it and, it's Obama's program.

Plus, he doesn't want anyone to connect Obamacare's expected success to the state's ability to add 90,000 to Badgercare rolls without accepting billions in Obamacare aid. This in fact was expected to be a huge campaign talking point for Walker. He already had it inked that for the first time in Wisconsin’s history, all adults living in poverty will have access to the same level of health care benefits. Fact is: It cannot happen without Obamacare. That's what frosts Walker, he wanted people to think he built it.

Remember, Walker has no genuine state health care based reform, no "alternative" or prototype of his own for the people of Wisconsin.

Again, Walker's current alternative for the state consists of limiting Badgercare enrollees to the federal income poverty level and kicking those above to Obamacare. It's really not a state health care plan at all. For Walker, its a budget decision and a campaign talking point. More accurately, it's a health care plan for his career.

Walker's "viable" national alternative to Obamacare however is a different story. He said this on Hannity the other day.

Fox News Excerpt:
WALKER: It's a free market solution where you don't have it dependent on not only the federal government, not even the state government. You and I and our family should make decisions ourselves, give everybody the same tax incentive whether you buy it through a health savings account, whether you buy it through your employer or you buy it yourself. Everyone should have the same tax incentive out there because then, as consumers of health care, we'd be involved in it.

If left up to Walker on a national scale, he would dismantle all federal and state-based programs and give everyone a tax credit to buy private health care insurance. Period.

What it is, is Paul Ryan's voucher care idea in a nutshell.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Walker's "Comprehensive" Book Rithmetic Doesn't Match Reality

Gov. Scott Walker: "I think when people see all the research we did for the book, not just my own recollection, but talking to other individuals, they'll see by far this is the most comprehensive overview of what's happened over the last 21/2 years."

Oh, reeeeally?

JS Online Excerpt:
In the Senate recalls, Walker says his side raised $12.5 million only to see “the unions” raise $25 million.

But WDC research director Mike Buelow says Senate recall candidates and all outside groups — not just unions — spent $23.4 million on Republicans and $27.2 million on Democrats.

And again...

GB Gazette Excerpt:
The book also says “Democrats and their union allies … spent more than $8 million” trying to oust Republican Sen. Alberta Darling. But WDC tallied just $4.4 million spent on behalf of Darling’s unsuccessful opponent, Sandy Pasch, compared with $5.5 million spent by Darling and her backers.

Walker’s spokesman deferred comment to the book’s publisher, Sentinel. Its publicist, Jacquelynn Burke, says the Senate numbers are from “interviews with GOP campaign operatives” who estimated spending at the time, not “a comprehensive listing like the one generated by WDC” after the elections.

"NOT a comprehensive listing?"

"GOP campaign operatives?"

THAT explains it. Hah ...hahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaa.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Animation: Walker Wasn't Delivering Books During His First Tour

Just when I thought the people of Wisconsin might be slowly healing from some of the more deeply personal, divisive and bitter wounds Gov. Scott Walker has subjected us to comes the release of his book, "Unintimidated: A Governor's story and a nation's challenge."

According to selected excerpts from the book released by the publisher, Walker has a complete disregard for people who he doesn't agree with and no feelings of responsibility or remorse whatsoever, and indeed seems to take joy plundering groups of constituents all over again for the advancement of his political career. One thing's for certain, I won't be buying the book.

For me however, his book has rekindled a new fighting spirit for truth and justice that began in Madison during the Spring of 2011. With the state now entering its fourth year of relentless deformation by the butchering hands of Walker and the state GOP, the continued fall-out compels me to review some of the key episodes with a new maturity and broadened knowledge base.

In hindsight, the damage is much worse and expansive now with the passage of Act 20 than I originally thought. I'm sure many, many feel the same way.

So in memory of his first tour on the eve of his book release, I've developed this animated GIF (below) and will be posting it once a day with a different daily caption on Twitter for the next week or two. Feel free to make any suggestions.

Caption #1:

Koch, ”The first domino.” Walker, “Yep, this is our moment”

The Real Unintimidated Book - Unintimidated: Wisconsin Sings Truth To Power

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Governor Walker Measures Success By How Many People Are Ultimately Dependent On Government

It's always been that way with "small government" conservatives. That's why they have to repeated remind everyone that they're the small government fiscal conservatives - you wouldn't have to say it even once if you really were.

They're the ones who typically defend giant corpse business models of Wal-Mart or McDonalds whose profits are measured by how many employees and customers are on the welfare rolls for food stamps and government health care. They're also the ones who vote for the constant stream of substantial government subsidies, in the billions of dollars annually, for the insatiable profit mongers of Big Oil, Big Pharma or Big Anything.

Then we have Tea Party darling Gov. Scott Walker, who along with the Wisconsin Republican Party just created a new entitlement with expanded school vouchers that in its infancy, just made 1,000 Wisconsin families who were previously untethered to government, fully dependent on government aid to pay for sending their children to private schools. If THAT new found dependency isn't success in Scott Walker's eyes - what is it?

On Friday, in a public press release responding to a request by Sen. Tammy Baldwin asking the governor to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid in the state, Walker attempted to politically turn the tables by promoting the expansion of Obamacare. Yeah, that's right. Walker, who claims to be vehemently opposed to the ACA, said Baldwin should join him in his call to cover all private health care plans under Obamacare.

JS online Excerpt:
Madison — Gov. Scott Walker asked U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin to join him Friday in his call to allow people to access Obamacare subsidies for health care plans they buy that aren't offered on a federal insurance exchange.

First of all, once Obamacare is fully operational, there will be only two kinds of private health care insurance plans in the national market. Those that are government subsidized on the federal insurance exchange because they meet federal guidelines, and those that aren’t. That's it. The rest are covered under Medicare, Medicaid and state programs. So, if I understand what Walker is saying here, it sounds like he wants EVERYONE to receive government subsidies for their health care plans. This in turn will cause millions more to be ultimately dependent on government than what Obamacare does. I have to assume that is success to Scott Walker.

The problem I see with Walker's call is, is his long history of intellectual dishonesty and constant political play-acting topped off with a dollop of schadenfreude. He's opposed to Obamacare and won't build state exchanges, but the state sends notices to Badgercare recipients telling them they'll have to apply to Obamacare for health insurance assistance. Wouldn't you think if a governor was so opposed to something as to claim it will devastate the state, he would do everything in his state power to keep residents out of harm's way? Not Walker. He'd throw us in a runaway train rolling downhill without brakes if it means he wins something by making the opposition look bad. Again, it's not about doing what's right for the state or country. It's about the political agenda of Scott Walker.

Walker also implies the federal government can't do anything right, yet he is eager to expand a "can't do anything right" federal health care program to subsidize even more, while on his own turf he made access to the state's health care programs more restrictive than ever. It's beyond hypocrisy. This is bordering insanity.

Perhaps I'm speaking too soon, but I kind of think Baldwin missed an opportunity here by not calling Walker's bluff asking him to clarify his idea to expand Obamacare when he adamantly opposes it. What's THAT all about? Or, to ask if he has policy examples for his "subsidize all plans" within his own state health care budgets. Has he done it? You know, build a state prototype and show us the way forward. Not Scott Walker.

In other words, it's put up or shut up time.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Walker's Concern For Casino Communities Losing Jobs Rings Hollow

Just expanding on a story I saw posted at the Democurmudgeon about Gov. Scott Walker's apparent concern for job losses in Wisconsin communities if another casino is added to the state's gaming inventory.

Remember that earlier in the Kenosha casino debacle, John Torinus, "a respected expert in economic development," recommended that Walker tread carefully because building a new casino in Kenosha will not help fulfill his political aspirations to create 250,000 jobs. In what appears to be a concession to that failure, Walker now seems to focus on providing possible restitution for communities that suffer adverse effects from the development. That's odd.

Thing is, Walker's concern about the loss of casino jobs in other parts of the state if another casino is built would have some merit, but only IF he had the same level of concern for Wisconsin communities that had their businesses and jobs shifted away not from free market pressures – but through government action.

Not to stray too far away here, but whether from tax credit zones pushed by local business lobbies, WEDC hand-outs or local governments offering TIF cash and forgivable loans, many Wisconsin businesses are displaced from one Wisconsin community to the next by the strong hand of government, and often with zero net new jobs. On top of that, these government prompted "incentive" packages come without any remedial adjustment to the community that lost jobs. With the end result usually being employees that must now travel greater distances to their new location, while the business owner/political donor pocketing the capital incentives comes out smelling like roses. How's that for the free markets?

But talk about casino communities losing jobs to another casino community through openly competitive growth, and the mighty hand of centralized state government has to intervene once again.

I find Walker’s position to be the exact opposite of what should be. In my view, state government should be working to prevent local communities from using their modest tax treasuries to cannibalize each other's existing businesses. Collective power and the revenue caches it builds are not a free market commodity.

Yet outside of charter agreements, revenue compacts, local zoning and ordinances, government should have no hand in internal decisions regarding the competitive free will of private and independent entities such as casino tribes, labor unions or major league sports. The free markets they’re operating in are their own and should only come to an end if and when they price themselves out of the market. That's how I see it.

Just for the record, I'm not a fan of casinos, but nor the use of government power to effect their existence. But I am a big fan of good government promoting free market solutions. I know. Idealist me.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Janesville Wanting Higher Wages Could Lead To Trouble With Low-Wage Establishment

This could have been a story right out of the 'ol Onion.

The City of Janesville will be offering a pro-rated tax credit per employee to businesses that pay a "living wage" as a formal carrot in TIF District agreements for new job creation. The credits however will be provided only when the TIF District is financially able to support the incentive and will last two years. In other words, the TIF District fund must have surplus cash in order to pay out the credit.

JVL City Policy Excerpt:
Currently, the Living Wage Index for 2 adults and 2 children is an annual salary of $38,700. This annual salary equals roughly $18.50 an hour. Therefore, if a company provides an hourly wage of $18.50 an hour, they would receive a Job Creation Incentive of $3,870 per job at that wage (or 10% of the LWE annual salary). If a company pays less than $18.50 an hour, their LWE would be lower, and thus receive less of an overall incentive; and vice versa if they wages were higher than $18.50.

Who would be against that? Right?

But here's the thing. For more than a decade and particularly when the GM Plant was up and running, the Janesville Gazette repeatedly posted anonymous rants in their newspaper clawing down the wages and benefits of the unionized local workers. Remember first that these workers, often referred to as union "thugs," were private law-abiding citizens, paying taxes, raising families and contributing both sweat equity and money to the community.

But for years, these vicious posters said workers with merely a high school diploma, a GED or less had no business earning $25+/hr wages plus benefits. The newspaper not only fueled and distributed this hateful mentality, but also participated in the constant barrage of wage envy attacks by way of their editorials. These were not opinions. They were a campaign.

In some of their editorials regarding the GM Plant in the final year of 2008, the newspaper said the high wages helped create a culture of entitlement and stagnancy and at one point referred to the local union as the "catalyst" for the bitterness and hard feelings that separated the people. Imagine that. They blamed the victim for the hate and animosity. To this day I'll never understand why some people have to harm somebody else by clawing them down or advance themselves only by way of other's losses, all because of their own shortcomings.

Members of the local business cartels of Forward Janesville and the notorious Rock County 5.0 also showed their hand when they were recorded cackling over the thought that the loss of middle-class paying unionized GM factory jobs will compel the remaining local workforce to accept lower pay. They suggested this "new normal" will work in the "plus column" for the business organization's purposes.

Sure, $18.50 an hour in 2014 is not the same as a $25 an hour union job w/bennies in 2008, but I still have to wonder from where and by whom did the Janesville city administration get the idea that they want to incentivize and encourage higher paying jobs in this disturbing wage envy atmosphere?

Of course since it is a government lobbied concept, and not the private sector, that will be subsidizing the employer, not the employee, for the higher wage standard while targeting specific businesses in surplus TIF Districts - I think I've answered my own question.

It's a special club.


RNR (June - 2008) The Animosity Behind Poor Wages

Monday, November 11, 2013

Janesville Forum: Defending Wisconsin's Air and Water

Defending Wisconsin's Air and Water through Citizen Action ...yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Kimberlee Wright, Executive Director, Midwest Environmental Advocates

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
6 PM-6:30 PM cheese & cracker reception (nonalcoholic potluck)
6:30 PM- 7:45 PM, speaker & discussion

Basics Cooperative
1711 Lodge Drive, Janesville, WI

This is an independent event not affiliated with Basics

Directions: from Madison route 90 until 1st Janesville exit, south on Route 26 past route 14, look for Toys R Us on the right, right on Lodge Drive, on right across from Toys R Us.

The Community Room is to the left when you come in.

Learn more about this event at Rock County Progressives .org

Friday, November 08, 2013

Animation: Fight To Be Free In 2014

I'm open to suggestions for changing the slogan of the end title.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Courage: County Board Says "No" to Mercury Marine

We rarely hear about local government boards or city councils saying "no" to "fear market enterprise," so when I heard that the Fond du Lac county board refused to grant a low-interest government-backed $10 million loan with a $300K forgivable provision to boat engine maker Mercury Marine, I thought of only one word: Courage.

WISN Excerpt:
Mercury's Chief Financial Officer Steve Cramer said he was disappointed, but they will move forward with the expansion at a slower pace.

Without government assistance, there's no rush to expand and generate profits? Sheesh.

Although 17 members of the 25 member board voted yes, the resolution required a super-majority of 3/4 (19) for passage. Fond du Lac County Executive Allen Buechel expressed disappointment with the vote.

FDL Reporter Excerpt:
Buechel said the precedent had been set Oct. 22, when the Board voted 24-0 to loan $6 million to Alliance Laundry Systems of Ripon for assistance with an expansion project.

“They (Alliance) weren’t threatening to leave,” Buechel said, referencing Mercury Marine’s request for $50 million in 2009 to keep them from leaving Fond du Lac.

Here's the thing. Many of these businesses including some in Janesville asking for local government hand-outs are posting profits and have a deep well of investors and stock holders to draw from. At the same time they boast about a culture of collaboration and what great supporters they are of the community they're operating their business in, yet they don't hesitate to leverage their existence by threatening to leave if they don't get what they want. That sticks in people's craws.

But some public officials are finally catching on that true community players don't do that. If all it takes is some free money to win your business or loyalty - you're not worth bargaining for. Sorry.

We might struggle and have to make some sacrifices without your magnificence, but I guarantee we'll be a better people and community from it.

I have no idea what the political make-up of the FDL county board is, but I hope this decision spurs other communities to re-think their economic development policies. In my view, the seven board members who stood up for the taxpayers deserve an ovation and should win a "no-fear market enterprise" public service award.

Read the full story at the FDL Reporter.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Rock County Coroner Resigns

I remember like it was just yesterday when Jenifer Keach was appointed to the county coroner's office by Gov. Jim Doyle. She was appointed to replace former coroner Karen Gilbertson, a Republican, who was removed from office after a scandal broke that she was taking drugs from the scenes of death investigations.

Because Rock County offices are partisan offices, it was like Doyle committed an unforgivable political sin by appointing a democratic replacement. As Keach's first campaign for coroner entered it's election year, local GOP operatives including the Janesville Gazette and a handful of partisan Rock County Board members went on a vicious personal revenge and hate campaign against her.

In what first began with politically motivated complaints to discredit the coroner, the campaign of false accusations grew into a misinformation media circus conspiracy designed to defraud county voters out of their right to elect their own coroner. Despite running for election during the tea party wave of 2010 that saw Republicans win several local legislative offices, Keach rode to victory winning the coroner's office on her own merit. After election results were tallied in the primary, the sour grapes Gazette and hyper-partisan county board members almost went berserk.

In hindsight, their baseless accusations about Keach using the county office on the taxpayer's dime for political campaign work gets even more disturbingly petty when compared to the high-driving secret router political campaign work Scott Walker directed while MKE county executive. Walker eventually stated that co-mingling political campaign schedules and discussions with county staff was not doing anything improper. In fact, he said "it's routine." Suddenly, the Gazette and their tools don't have much to say about that. But they wanted Keach out for far, far less, even if they had to destroy the coroner's office to do it.

Or, how about the time when they primaried Keach with a "fake" candidate in their efforts to push her off the general ballot? Who knew that their cheap shot dirty tactics would portend for an army of fake candidates running primaries against democrats during the recalls? I know the world isn't that small, but it almost seems like everything that's happening in Wisconsin since Scott Walker was elected governor had roots or a practice run right here in little old Rock County. The GOP's fingerprints are all over it.

So now we enter Monday where Jenifer Keach tendered her resignation about one year before her time in office comes officially to an end. Remember, the county board stripped voters of their right to choose their coroner and will be going with a medical examiner appointed by a panel of special people. So it seems, if they can't destroy the person - destroy the office, is their motto.

This I also know. Coroner Keach fought the good fight and won. She did not turn bitter during the struggle that I've blogged extensively about a few years ago and I'm glad she chose to move forward while at the top and on her own terms. Keach said she accepted a job to continue her career in nursing. Her last day on the job will be November 16th.


RNR (Sept. 8, 2010) - Media Circus Monopolizes Politics Around Coroner's Office

RNR (Sept. 22, 2010) - Newspaper Wants To Kill Wisconsin's Primaries!

RNR (Oct. 20, 2010) - Vote "NO" To Keep Your Right To Vote For County Office

RNR (Jan. 28, 2011) - Board OKs Accountability, Control And Efficiency But For Only One County Office

Monday, November 04, 2013

Can Business Ever Save Itself If a 17 to 1 Return Requires Government Funding?

This is unbelievable in my view but nothing surprises me about the Janesville City Council. Here's the story in a nutshell.

According to a recent Janesville Gazette article, the city council is debating whether to give a larger share of the city's room tax to the Janesville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. The bureau by the way, is an independent, nonprofit corporation funded by the city room tax. Yes, one of those. The majority of council members want to give the bureau a 5% increase putting the bureau's share of the room tax revenue at 47.5%. Currently, the bureau gets $272,484 from the city.

One council member, businessman Brian Fitzgerald, wants an even larger increase of 10%. Here's the reasoning he used to make his collectivist case.

JG Excerpt:
Every dollar invested with the bureau creates more than $17 in economic impact for local business, Fitzgerald said, citing visitors bureau statistics.

Nothing we do in City Hall has that kind of return," Fitzgerald said.

Whoa!! Nothing they do in City Hall??? ...NOTHING THEY DO IN BUSINESS has that kind of return unless they're doing something illegal.

That's a return of 1,700%, that's one thousand-seven hundred percent!! for BUSINESS! .....and government has to fund it??

Forget city hall. Shouldn't local businesses be in the business of attracting more customers to increase their business? Isn't that their business?

What has free market capitalism come to when a 1,700 percent return isn't enough for local businesses to invest in?

How much certainty and government aid do you need? Lord have mercy!! On top of that, council members want the city administration to find $31,500 in corresponding cuts to other programs and services (through no fault of their own) to satisfy state imposed (Walker) zero-sum budget requirements. This is nuts.

I'll cut straight to the point. The city should continue to fund the Convention and Visitors Bureau for the next three months to give it time to raise the funds they require and then cut it completely loose from government dependency. The cash-strapped city will then save more than $275,000 annually to help attract returning visitors by providing them with nice local roads and well-maintained public utilities.

That's typically what local government does to promote a city and to provide visitors a welcoming and safe experience.

With a 1,700 percent ROI talking point, the visitors bureau should have an easy time raising the money from members of the wealthy Forward Janesville and Rock County 5.0 business cartels. It's their business. Heck, they'll be fighting over who could donate more. The RC5 brags about having a privately funded million dollar bankroll for economic development. So I ask, what economic development could return a greater impact than $17 for every dollar spent? This is a no-brainer.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Paul Ryan's Career Hinged On Co-Opting Establishment and Tea Party Conservatives

“Look, I am not sitting in my home or in my office thinking about ‘How does this help my personal political career years down the road?’ -- Rep. Paul Ryan

LOL. Why sure you're not.

Journal Review Excerpt:
While support for him has not waned since Mitt Romney named him his running mate, "at the same time, people want to see answers," said Republican state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who lives in Ryan's district. If Ryan plays the negotiations correctly, Vos said the congressman could elevate both his position within the House and on the national political stage.

THAT is what it's all about. "Playing" negotiations correctly and making just the right political calculations to elevate his career.

Ryan ultimately voted against the House plan to end the government shutdown and avoid a default because he had to in order to recapture Tea Party confidence. They were planning a mutiny after his recent Wall Street Journal Op-Ed failed to mention Obamacare even once. Contributors on conservative social media outlets were calling him a closet progressive, a RINO and even worse. His vote in favor of default saved him from a possible primary or third party general election challenger for the moment, but he's not completely out of the woods on that possibility.

But now he must shift yet again to recapture establishment conservatives without re-offending the tea party by striking a "collaborative tone" and suggesting that "if" his attempt is successful, it will restore confidence in Washington. That is the answer the establishment wants to hear. But don't let Sen. Ron Johnson hear about it. Johnson thinks restoring faith in government is the wrong strategy to take.

The same can be said for Gov. Scott Walker. It's not about doing what's right for the country, state or their districts. It's all about popularity and formulating an operating strategy to gain enough political capital to advance their careers. Period.

But every now and then, the clowns tell the truth. From the Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader, Scott Fitzgerald, appearing on Fox in 2011 and admitting that Walker's Act 10 Budget Bill is about defunding labor unions and making it much harder for Democrats to win elections, to the North Carolina GOP County Chairman, Don Yelton, stating that Voter ID will "kick Democrats in the butt" by preventing "lazy blacks" and college kids from voting to Rep. Robin Vos saying if Ryan "plays" the negotiations correctly, it could elevate him on the political stage. It's not about principles or doing the right thing for the country. It's about the political stage.

It's all there in print, in their words and in their actions. You only have to believe it.