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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Gov. Scott Walker Signals New Bombing Operation After November Election

In a recent interview, Gov. Scott Walker, with more boldness than ever but in his usual veiled language, alluded several times to big changes coming in states with republican governors after this year's November election - assuming they win re-election. We would be negligent not to assume he also includes Wisconsin.

Rare Excerpt:
Walker: We have yet to see any one state or jurisdiction where they’ve gone quite as far or quite as ***(INAUDIBLE)*** as we have, but I think a lot of that will change even more after this coming November. What I mean by that is that I think people are interested, but reluctant in response to all the protests and the recall I had.

[ ... ] But I think the bottom line will be after November ...

[ ... ] So, no one’s been quite as comprehensive as we have, but I would imagine after this coming November’s elections ...

Walker mentions the timeframe "after ...November elections" several times and hints of big changes coming without offering any details. Here in Wisconsin we all know what that means.

If history is correct, it means if Walker wins re-election, he will gear up for a new bombing operation to enact big punishing changes, changes he will later call "reforms" that he either refused to discuss earlier or never campaigned on. What about Wisconsin's corporate media? Well, they watch his back.

Just like the last time when Walker revealed soon after winning election that he will "drop the bomb," his words, on the state of Wisconsin in early 2011 to divide and conquer constituencies, Walker knew that voters had no clue of what he was about to do because he never campaigned on it, hence his use of "drop the bomb." But in this interview, he also implies that more governors will attempt the same sneak attack on their unwary states if they win in November.

Walker's words I can only hope will serve as a warning for red state governed populations to find out exactly what issues they are voting on and what punishing surprises or changes are in store. Because if his words ring true, you're in for a big hurt of politically calculated race-to-the-bottom policies that will take years to recover from.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Exposing Walker's Election Year Tax Cut For The Political Stunt That It Is

Retitled from "Laffer Curve Flatlines Walker's Election Year Tax Cut For The Stunt That It Is"

State of the State Excerpt:
“What do you do with a surplus? Give it back to the people who earned it. It’s your money.” -- Gov. Scott Walker

Except, when somebody says they're giving money back to me in those direct terms, I expect a direct refund. Not the next time I make a payment, I get to pay a little less. That's not giving me my money back. That's simply a tax cut.

Sure, a tax cut is a tax cut is a tax cut, so in some regard, who really cares about the dynamics behind it or the future consequences so long as my taxes are less. Yippie! Hooray! To be sure, tax cuts are inanimate objects. Tax cuts don't care whether government is running a deficit or a surplus and unfortunately, neither do many taxpayers.

Well, except for fiscal conservatives. Some time ago they used to care and at least put on a good pretend face about things like increased state spending, deficits, increased borrowing and long-term debt. In fact, the Tea Party in large part was built on wrongly projecting spending, borrowing and debt growth onto Democrats and Liberals for years. But who knew all the spending and debt was really all okay so long as a tax cut was included? That's what the Tea Party seems to be saying on social media about Walker's proposal to return a "surplus" to taxpayers in the form of tax cuts. They think it's earth-shattering balls-out conservatism, when all it is, is an election year political stunt.

Now enter the Laffer Curve. If you're not familiar with the Laffer Curve, here's a brief generalization. The Laffer Curve is an economic theory for tax policy suggesting that, as taxes (rates) are cut from perceived high levels, government will collect MORE revenue than if it did nothing (no changes) with tax rates, because more money in pockets means greater consumer spending and economic activity which in turn will drive higher tax revenues back to the government. In theory.

The Laffer Curve also suggests that tax rates increasing after a certain point would cause people not to work as hard or not at all, thereby reducing tax revenue. As you probably can tell, small government supply-side conservatives tend to use both sides of the curve to argue tax policy against opponents, particularly to justify cutting taxes using Laffer's "increasing revenue" side of the theory for economic growth.

Gov. Walker of course must think our state taxes including income taxes are too high when he hilariously said that no one told him that Wisconsin taxes were too low. Now THAT'S solid evidence! Honest, he really said that.

So let's put this all together.

Walker said the state developed almost a $1 billion "surplus" due to increased revenues and he wants to give it back to the people who earned it through tax cuts.

But according to Laffer's Curve, it is impossible to spend down a surplus with a tax cut because the tax cut will only increase revenue to the government. The tea party really believes in this stuff. Laffer is like the Holy Grail to them.

In fact, prior deficits or surpluses have no relevancy at all to Laffer's theory. Only the starting base point of whether taxes are too high or low matter, and Walker established our current taxes as too high with his off-the-wall, "no one said taxes are too low" remark. So in Laffer truth, people won't be getting their money back. We're simply getting a tax cut.

IF however the state reports (understand that the surplus is a projection report) that the tax cut is indeed reducing the so-called "surplus," that means less revenue is coming in, which in turn means that the extra money in our pockets did not spur greater economic activity, which in turn means the taxes were just about right to begin with, which in turn means Scott Walker's "return the surplus to those who earned it" is nothing more than a costly election year political stunt. On both counts.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

If The WMC Petitioned Workers For The No Time Off Work Week

Dear Valued Employees:

Instead of placing your employer at a competitive disadvantage by petitioning to raise the minimum wage or asking for an undeserved raise, the best way you can earn extra money and restore worth in the eyes of generous employers is by working seven days a week without time off. That day off or two can hurt a worker's self-esteem and production levels. Here's why:

By giving workers time off, they become lazy and ungrateful toward their superiors and paymasters and then take those frustrations out on their spouses, children, grandchildren and friends during those wasteful unproductive hours. This only breaks the family unit down further and often leads to divorce. The Wisconsin proposal allowing for a seven day work week with no time off promotes stronger family values.

In fact, by giving employees one day off during a seven day work week, the callouses on their palms and fingers start to become tender and lose the scale-like armor necessary for controlling machines and working hand tools. This can hurt production and lead to unhappy workers.

With a day or two of rest, hunched over backs and shoulders can lose the ergonomically advantaged leverage trained by years of daily lifting 50 lb. cartons and sacks of goods and produce. This only causes more strain and effort later on.

For many workers, the two day weekend breaks the continuum of lubricated joints and healthy muscles that only rigorous labor and repetitious orders can deliver. Upon returning to their jobs, many workers complain of aches and pains from the rust that sets in during the weekend. This has got to stop. We know that because as business owners and executives, we also engage in the same hard work as our employees and nobody gives us time off and we don't complain.

With a day off, bunions and warts also begin to shrink and as the natural warmth and feeling returns to the fingers after breaking away from hours on end of data entry, we start to lose confidence in ourselves and hope the boss didn't find a new replacement for our job.

As with all non-productive activity, idle minds also begin to aimlessly wander as we sit in a recliner with a cold one watching Monday Night Football. You get the idea. Time off thinking becomes a buzz kill and quite honestly, you're not paid to think.

Bonding activities like taking the kids out on a weekend camping excursion or lazily lounging around holding hands with the spouse only reminds us of the healing pain and torture our bodies go through while it stagnates to recuperate.

We believe wage earning employees and laborers in Wisconsin understand that time off from their jobs destroys their morale and dignity. Besides, nothing gives a full-time worker more joy than to know they're depriving somebody else of acquiring gainful part-time employment they may desperately need to support themselves or their family. The joy of continuous hard work and competition makes us all winners.

But most importantly, we can't let Barack Obama or union bosses steal our freedoms. So please, be a patriot and support the proposal allowing for a seven day work week with no time off.

Pssst. You can ignore that large sign in the human resources department defining at-will employment. We all know refusing requests from the boss to work without time off will be met with mutual respect because workers hold all the leverage - it's strictly voluntary.

Please call or visit Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and tell them what you think of their proposal. Also, you can chat with the two major legislative sponsors of the proposal, Sen. Glen Grothman here or Rep. Mark Born.

Janesville Forum: How Can We Bring Back a Democratic Society?

The Rock Valley-Fellowship of Reconciliation presents ...

How can we bring back a democratic society?

“Citizens United unleashed corporate big money which corrupts our representatives. — Rick Brunton

Rick Brunton, world famous public speaker, will talk about how corporations have evolved into organizations that are corrupting politics and what we can do about it. Rick will look at the political corruption they are engaged in and what the price tag is for that corruption. What can peaceful citizens do about this? Will amending the U.S. Constitution help contain this undemocratic siege?

Brian Standing, host of the Monday morning "8 O'clock Buzz" program on WORT Madison will give a dramatic reading of a fighting Bob La Follette speech delivered on July 4, 1897.

Two outstanding presentations you won't want to miss.

Wednesday - January 22, 2014
6:30 PM

Basics Cooperative Community Room
1711 Lodge Dr., Janesville

Monday, January 20, 2014

Janesville Newspaper Targets Council Member For Its Own Political Agenda

In what appears to be a politically motivated attack, the Janesville Gazette targeted a Janesville city council member, Sam Liebert, for simply holding a different (opposing) view to the city's current form of non-district representative at-large form of elective city government.

FYI, the city of Janesville has a seven member council elected at-large. This means it is possible that all seven council members could be living on the same city block and it so happens that most officials holding public office are residents of the city's east side.

Apparently, during a council session last year, Liebert stated that he heard from many constituents who felt their voices were not being represented on city issues. Liebert concluded that in order to better serve those feeling left out, he would like to see Janesville change over to a district representative form of city government with aldermanic wards.

For that, the Gazette posted a large headlining article last week conjuring up evidence to the contrary, along with some fearmongering and spin on why the current system of at-large representation is what best serves the city. They followed up a week later with an editorial essentially repeating quotes from the story and hammering down on those who might disagree.

It's been awhile since I last wrote about this issue so I'll be clear on my position first. I strongly believe Janesville needs district representative government, a mayor AND an administrative manager in order for the residents to take control of the city's destiny. I do NOT believe Janesville should have a 20 or 30 member city council. Nor do they have to be partisan elective offices. But ideally, I would like to see an eight member aldermanic style of city council with an elected mayor casting the tie-breaking vote when necessary. That system would create a true leader with a singular voice and vision that a majority of residents can identify with, restore accountability to the voters and offer true representation.

The Gazette of course disagrees with that scenario and that's perfectly fine. But they just don't simply disagree. In their article, they cherry picked a few Janesville residents in an attempt to demonize Liebert and those who might agree with him as having potentially partisan or dishonorable motives, including inventing and personalizing a disrespect for current members of the council for added effect.

One Janesville resident said this about the current members of the council ...

JG: "They are honorable and respectable people who wish to serve the entire city and not any one particular issue or any one particular neighborhood." - Burdette Erickson

As if others aren't? As opposed to what? A district representative form of government?

Of most interest however in the Gazette's article and editorial are the pieces of evidence they use to support their position, evidence that just as strongly shows how inadequate the current system is and in fact supports Liebert's position.

For instance, Janesville School Board Member Kevin Murray said he doesn't see any geographic evidence of (east-west) bias on the board because ...

JG: The board actually works hard to be balanced, Murray said, noting that when questions were raised about the high school expansion projects, board members agreed to change the plans so that the wrestling facilities at Craig and Parker would be similar.

They have to work hard to be balanced? Thank God they agreed, huh? At least that time ...or that other time.

The Gazette also takes the position that only educated and affluent people run for local elective office and it is those qualities in candidates that makes the city's current system of at-large presentation the better of any alternatives. But in the same manner of Erickson's comment, they conversely imply that those living on the west and south sides of Janesville, despite paying property taxes and being contributing members to the city, are either too stupid or too poor to run for city council and are better off to leave issues and decisions to those more educated and deserving.

At the same time, and this is almost unbelievable, the Gazette editors fuel the polarization in their editorial by stating that current and past city "leaders" should be offended by anyone who suggests they don't care about all of Janesville's neighborhoods and residents. Ummm, never mind the Gazette's own offensive condescension and animosity toward the Janesville constituencies they just trashed. By the way, this isn't the first time the Gazette debased certain segments of Janesville's population.

Included in the article were a few comments by Sen. Tim Cullen, who seemed to be non-committal to the idea of an aldermanic style of government for Janesville, but senses that government at every level is indeed broken.

Cullen thinks partisanship is the main problem, but he also inadvertently sounded an alarm of sorts when he mentioned how some organizations are recruiting candidates for public office and school boards that are philosophically "anti" to public education and the concept of government.

This in my opinion is a real and growing problem that should be addressed during question and answer forums with local candidates. There is nothing wrong in asking school board candidates what their primary goals are for public education. Are they running to make our public schools the best in the world? Or are they running to defund and dismantle them? The same goes for city council members and the county board. Do you want to restore faith in government or is that the wrong strategy? What business would hire people whose main goal is to hurt business performance? On the same token, why in the world would we elect candidates knowing they want to obstruct or poison government for the sake of fueling public mistrust and hatred towards government? It doesn't make sense.

The Gazette also uses the context of "leaders" when referring to the seven representatives of Janesville's at-large city council and "geography" when describing district ward representation.

But let's put it in fundamental terms. How many corporations have 7 CEOs? Or 7 head coaches for one football team or 7 managers for a baseball team? How well does anyone think those teams would perform if they are led by seven diverging game philosophies or different managerial personalities bickering over authority? But that is similar to how the city of Janesville is operated.

The problem is; what are they representative of? Since it's not geography, or to be blunt, districts with boundaries, it can only mean that they are representative of special interests, ideologies or parties. That doesn't mean district representation will end the influence of special interests, ideologies or parties. But it does mean that the option of pure representation now exists and voters will finally have the opportunity to voice and check those priorities.

Again, getting back to basic fundamentals, district representation is not all about geography. If it were, Janesville's 34.45 square miles would then be divided into eight 4.30 square mile districts. But that's not how districts are created. Districts are simply containers for the "demos," the people. That means Janesville's population of 63,000 would be divided into 8 districts of 7,875 people. Each district, regardless of how poor, rich, conservative, liberal or uneducated they are, are then represented by one of their own in the body politic. It's the people that are the core or root of the container, not geography, not their wealth and certainly not their education.

Finally, it's not surprising for the Gazette to use a bully pulpit against one council member who merely happens to have a different view. But it is horrendous, and to use Janesville residents as wedges to further polarize the issue is even worse. Again, what the Janesville Gazette does is not an opinion - it's a campaign. It's how they roll.

If you liked this article, you might be interested in the following. Don't be put off by the age of some of the postings - very little has changed in Janesville since:

RNR - Janesville's City Council Likes Things Just The Way They Are (Sept, 2013)

RNR - Newspaper Injects Partisan Politics into Local Non-Partisan Elections (Dec, 2011)

RNR - Will GM-less Janesville Usher In Government Reforms? (July, 2009)

RNR - In Janesville, Less Leadership Is More (Feb. 2008)

RNR - E Pluribus Non Unum – From Many, Not One (Dec. 2008)

RNR - Zero-Sum Development Unique To Poor Planning (July, 2008)

RNR - Non-Partisan Elections Like Throwing Darts (March, 2007)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Increased State Revenues Still Driven By Doyle and Dem's Policies

Remember in 2009, how state republicans and their lackeys went batshit bazooka when Gov. Jim Doyle raised $2.1 billion in taxes and fees to help close a budget gap, a gap that was being driven by a national economic emergency? Those tax increases included a $1.77-per-pack cigarette tax to $2.52, a controversial hospital tax and a 75-cent monthly fee on telephone lines, among others.

Like it or not, those timely policies along with previous state revenue adjustments legislated by democrats during Doyle's last term helped restore the necessary revenue streams that have placed Wisconsin on solid fiscal footing and for the most part, remain intact today.

In 2009, state republicans also complained as if the sky was falling that Doyle's $63 billion budget would increase state spending 7.7 percent over the next two years. Yet contrary to popular belief, Walker and republicans did not make any state budget cuts in spending when they had their chance two years later. Instead, Walker increased state spending to $66 billion in his first budget. To this day, establishment media sources continue to parrot "Walker budget cuts" as if he lowered state spending with tough budget cuts. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Same tax policies as before - but with increased spending.

You should also recall that Gov. Walker's class war Act 10 budget, in general terms, was a budget that achieved paper balance primarily on the backs of public employees and school teachers created in part by huge cuts in state aid to hundreds of Wisconsin communities and school districts.

Not to even mention the record borrowing, Act 10 impacted the state's debt structure, Medicaid enrollments, collective bargaining, compensation, retirement, health insurance, and sick leave of public sector employees. There was very little actual tax policy in Act 10. In the kindest descriptive terms possible, Act 10 legislation was mostly a defunding tool of state obligations to its employees and communities. Again, any substantial tax policy was not part of the program.

The next budget, Act 20, uses the same backdoor budgeteering as Act 10. But to be fair, Act 20 did have some minor tax policy changes, but only around the margins. The most well known of these was Walker's $100 million property tax cut campaign gimmick which returns a small amount of state aid back to public schools over two years. Local public education however will not see additional new dollars because they remain under a state imposed budget cap.

Of possibly greater significance and with a real potential to drive future state deficits, Act 20 also incrementally reduced state income tax rates slightly. But, effects on the budget from these cuts have yet to be fully realized or tabulated while the most recent budget projections going beyond 2015 show the state veering into deep budget deficits. Surprised? You shouldn't be.

So when we hear stories about a Wisconsin state budget "surplus," we have to step back and find out from where the revenue is derived.

If you're looking to give Gov. Scott Walker credit for a budget surplus, we should look at the supply side of increased borrowing and the withholding of state aid from communities. Those are areas Walker's backdoor budgeteering policies have had the greatest impact. But if you're making the claim that the surplus is built on positive revenue streams from a growing economy - look toward the tax policies that have remained fundamentally intact over the last 6 to 8 years. That's where real front-loaded state revenue comes from and those policies don't belong to Scott Walker or state republicans.

But that may all change if Walker is re-elected and follows through on his proposal to drastically cut or eliminate the state income tax. IF income tax is cut AND replaced with income blind taxes and regressive fees, there is no question a greater burden will fall on those with the least. This will have a devastating effect on the state's economy.

On the other hand, if you're a big believer in supply-side Laffer Curve economics, you should be able to cut income taxes without giving any consideration to offsetting or raising replacement revenue. Right? Because according to those theories, increased tax revenues will flow naturally from the tax cut growing economy, so offsets or replacement revenue mechanisms would not only be unnecessary, they would be counter-productive.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

JC Penney Closing In Janesville After Newspaper Reports Record Area Retail Sales

Coming a little more than two weeks after the Janesville Gazette posted one their "ambassadors of optimism" puff pieces boasting of record retail sales in Rock County for 2013 is the news that one of the anchors of the Janesville Mall, J.C. Penney, will be shutting down.

Channel 3000 Excerpt:
The J.C. Penney in Janesville is one of 33 stores across the country set to close in May.

According to a statement from the company, Janesville and the other stores were under-performing.

Seventy-one employees will lose their jobs when the Janesville store closes. The retailer expects the closures to save the company about $65 million a year.

"It's sad. It's been here for a long time, and we do shop here. I'm just shocked, “Janesville resident Ken Hjertquist said. He's concerned how the closure will impact the community.

"There's a lot of unemployment here, we survived GM but we'll see what happens now," Hjertquist said.

How does the troubled retailer's planned closing mesh with the earlier Gazette story?

To be fair, the Gazette story about record retail sales was based on a straight-up comparison of a 2.3% increase in 2013 dollars to sales in 2008 - which by the way is not fair at all. Unfortunately, the "record retail sales" story was narrated by two of Gov. Scott Walker's local boosters, James Otterstein and John Beckord, for low info reader consumption. It contained zero professional analysis.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Kleefisch: Businesses (and rankings) Don't Care How High Sales Taxes Are


Zero to 19:30: Introductions

19:30 to 38:00: State Presentation of mostly political propaganda about tax reduction and tax credits since Scott Walker was elected. Includes a summary about the state’s tax structure.

38:30 to 39:20: Lt. Gov. Kleefisch – “This may or may not color what you’re about to say, (but) from an economic development standpoint and there are a number of economic development professionals in the room, one of the things we tend NOT give a ton of credit for when it comes to business ranking is our low sales tax. You saw we’re ranked 35. When it comes to business rankings for the friendliness of a state towards a job creator, oftentimes it’s property tax, personal income tax and corporate tax that gets factored in in a big way. Sales taxes are either low on the totem pole or don’t get factored in at all." (Translation: State rankings for business climate are unaffected by sales taxes and businesses don’t care if sales taxes are raised to the moon, they’ll just pass them on to the customer.) Huge directional signal sent to “tax reform” roundtable.

45:30 to 45:40: Kleefisch - "We want to know how we can love you more."

46:00: Q. How can we make it better for small business? A. More tax credits and make them long term.

46:35 to 47:30: Kleefisch asks the oligarchs for a show of hands to the questions: Which is better ...would more tax credits be better for you OR, would you like to see lower rates overall?

56:40 to 59:10: Guest wants to know what Wisconsin is doing to court (bribe) businesses from other states. Suggests flying business owners in helicopters (luxurious stuff) including several million dollars in throw-away tax incentives.

1:02:05 to 1:04:00: Rock County 5.0 mouthpiece James Otterstein suggests the state must give the oligarchs everything they want. Said the state must lower the overall aggregate tax liability AND give away tax credits, cash freebies, etc.

1:07:10 To the question on why tax records are public information. Walker official uses air quotes when saying, proponents of "open government" got it passed.

1:23:30 Guest suggests state should offer incentives to companies to go into high schools for laborers. Although he will be pushing his own kids to go to college, this guest states companies are paying good money to other people's kids to be laborers.

1:25:00 Guest is worried that they are investing in people’s education only for other states to offer incentives recruiting those students out of Wisconsin.

* * *
On one hand, these fine folks seem worried that Wisconsin can’t keep our own educated children in the state. But who wants to work in a state that considers high wages, benefits and even civil rights "burdens" on economic development OR have a governor who thinks there should be no bottom on wages? What smart kids want to stay behind in Wisconsin knowing their low wages will be subject to a greater tax burden than those who can better afford? Or as a production worker wage earner, you're considered a second-class citizen?

One last note on this video. Although Diane Hendricks ABC Supply and Holdings were well channeled by four reps in attendance, most of the invited guests seem to be second-stringers or paid mouthpieces for the real oligarchs of south-central Wisconsin. Neither co-chair of Walker's booster clubs the Rock County 5.0, Hendricks or Mary Willmer, or Forward Janesville operators, John Beckord or Dan Cunningham, were in attendance.

Perhaps their appearance was completely unnecessary.


Democurmudgeon - Corporate Welfare, Entitlement and Greed on Full Display in Closed "Public" Meeting with Business Whiners.

Esquire - Business Lobbying In Wisconsin

RNR - States Compact Needed To Bolster Business, Free Markets and Protect Taxpayers

Friday, January 10, 2014

Free States Compact Needed To Bolster Business, Free Markets and Protect Taxpayers

* Updated Nov. 2, 2015 *

How many people lost their jobs in Wisconsin for no other reason than because another state bribed their employer with cash, tax credits and other freebies into moving out of Wisconsin? When does anybody think that charade is going to end - if ever? How about other states losing their businesses? Is there any empathy? Do you think that is the right course to create jobs and move communities forward? I don't.

I haven't found anything about this after searching the Web, but it's a pretty big world out there so it is possible a group or individual may have developed something similar before. Again, I haven't seen it at the time (1/10/2014) of this posting.

In the meantime, here is a suggestion that I strongly believe would protect state and local taxpayers, end at least one major element driving the corrosive "picking winners and losers" mentality of crony capitalism, and help restore free market based decision making for business expansion and relocation.

This suggestion is essentially a compact agreement (economic treaty?) between individual states, not one imposed by the Federal government, that would prohibit participating member state governments including their counties, municipalities, school districts or any other taxing body within that state, from using their public treasury, collective power or taxing authority for bidding purposes (incentives) offering exemptions or capital, tax credits or property free or below market value, that could effect a private business or corporation in another compact participating state. We could call this the "Free States For Business Compact" for now.

This compact has several obvious positive effects for its members and in actuality, the number of positive effects just might be incalculable.

Participating states and local tax treasuries combined would save hundreds of millions each, if not billions annually by no longer playing in the charade handing out publicly funded capital incentives and property to enrich politically connected cronies and other individual private entities while providing zero net new jobs nationally. These freed-up savings can then be used to empower home-grown entrepreneurs, lower state and local tax rates and help fund advanced education for emerging industries.

It also can be said that the constant reliance of states and communities on poaching jobs and businesses state-to-state has created a dumbed-down lazy sense of easy economic development. So, who needs to think up new industries or invent business ideas when the status quo solution for economic development is to constantly throw money at the top, whether in tax credits, free capital or other entitlements? All this does is create a greater wealth disparity, increase dependency on government and drain local assets.

This Compact is a fairly simple agreement that could be drawn in one state's legislature and signed into law by its governor. Of course one state acting alone won't do, the Compact needs reciprocity to work, but I certainly would like to see one of our more progressive states take this up and sign it into law. Again, it's meaningless until a second state and others get on board, so the first state to develop the compact would be under no obligation to carry out provisions of the compact unilaterally. But it can't succeed if it isn't tried.

I also realize that Article I, Section 10 of the United States Constitution provides that "no state shall enter into an agreement or compact with another state" without the consent of Congress. But that doesn't stop any one state from drafting the compact and hanging it out there for interested participants. They can always seek Congressional approval later.

In fact, the former House Ways and Means Chairman and now Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, makes a distinction between what is appropriate for the federal and state governments. A Ryan aide, who asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue said Ryan believes states are free to compete for business as they see fit.

So, I can see 5 or 10 states might be willing to sign up to an agreement like this, as they see fit. Of course the goal is to have all 50 states under the compact. But as you know, I am a dreamer. This agreement would also serve as a unifying message for the rest of the country that we are all in this together. It's like saying to one another, let's create a vibrant economy with sustainable industries and jobs by first doing no harm to one another.

Who would be against that?

If you agree, please contact your state legislators and tell them about Free States. Nothing is impossible.


Citizens Action Wisconsin - WEDC Pursues Economically Bankrupt Job Poaching Strategy (March, 18, 2015)

Monday, January 06, 2014

Janesville Showing: Film, We Are Wisconsin

The Rock County Progressives present ...

WE ARE WISCONSIN is a feature length documentary film that follows the day-to-day unfolding of public outcry against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's controversial budget-repair bill through an in-depth profile of six leading individuals central to the story.

WE ARE WISCONSIN premiered at Toronto's HOT DOCS to sold-out audiences and received standing ovations at all three screenings.

Cinemablographer named it BEST FILM AT HOT DOCS:

‘Wisconsin deserves the title for how perfectly it captures the cultural and political atmosphere of contemporary America. The fiery conviction of its subjects is inspiring and I think that Wisconsin is a film that can really make a difference...’ cinemablorapher dotcom

*** The Show is FREE, but RCP will ask for donations to cover costs ***

Wednesday, January 8
Starting at 6 PM

*Basics Cooperative
1711 Lodge Drive
Janesville, Wisconsin 53545

(*This is an independent event not affiliated with Basics)

Rock County Progressives, also on Facebook

Friday, January 03, 2014

Controversial "Tax Reform" Meeting Video Finally Released


The Wisconsin State Journal reported that Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch finally turned over the video to the "tax reform" meeting held in Beloit. Here's a few of the more alarming passages from their article...

Wisconsin State Journal Excerpts: (Pay Site)
"We want to know how we can love you more," Kleefisch told the group of 30 executives, managers, accountants and others during the 1-hour, 40-minute session.

The two other meetings were not recorded, because videos would generate more records requests, and would again draw attention to the way Kleefisch was gathering recommendations ...

ABC's tax director Scott Bianchini said the state should stop disclosing how much residents pay in taxes, saying the information is used for "sabotage."

At the Beloit meeting, Bianchini told Kleefisch that tax credits are too stingy because some can only be applied to taxes owed to the state. The state should pay the credits in cash to companies that didn't earn enough to have tax bills, Bianchini said.

Who knew * eyeroll * that many of these business "leaders," some either very wealthy or representing establishment employers are in such dire need of government assistance? Obviously, they want free stuff - free money from the collective that is.

But to get back to the how can we "love you more" part. You might recall the time when Scott Walker told The 700 Club that cutting able-bodied poor adults from state assistance was a sign of how much he loves them because he didn't want them to be indebted to government for the rest of their lives.

Expect more fall-out from this video in the coming days.


RNR - Kleefisch, Walker Officials: Stonewalling Media/Public Is Just Standard Operating Procedure

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Top Ten Blog Stories From 2013

The stories below made the Rock Netroots top ten most popular for the year 2013 based on the number of page visits.

But there was a slight problem. Because commentaries posted about Gov. Scott Walker easily received the greatest share of page views, I had to do a little finagling to break up the top ten listing with a few local themes. By excluding some of the less relevant (to today) Walker-centered blog posts, I was able to add popular commentaries on local economic development and others to diversify the listing.

#10 Paradox? Local Conservatives Demand Large Government Role For Economic Growth (September)

This posting could be a brief chapter from Naomi Kline's "Shock Doctine," but on a local scale. It's the story about how established businesses, start-ups and developers have installed a system of extortion and exploitation by holding their business and potential hostage in exchange for ransom paid for by our local tax treasuries.

#9 Email Dump Offers Glimpse Into Scott Walker's Underworld (August)

This was my overview of the O'Donnell parking garage email dump. I'm going to cheat here a little by posting a second link to my detailed account of several passages from those emails. O'Donnell Emails Expose Walker's Callous Dishonest Routines

#8 Talk To Primary Paul Ryan Erupts After Cliff Vote (January)

After voting "yes" on the fiscal cliff deal, conservatives on social media went on a warpath against Rep. Paul Ryan only to become just more toothless bluster of inaction during the course of the following year.

#7 Wisconsin Is Entitled To Know Who Paid Gov. Walker's Legal Defense Fund (May)

This one looked at how the media blasts state and local agencies that dares to hide information that previously was available to the public to how they completely ignore Gov. Scott Walker's refusal to release the names of those paying for his legal fees. Wisconsin Law states it is a matter of declared policy that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information ...

#6 Gov. Walker Implies He's Out of the Loop In Executive Decisions (June)

After choosing but then suddenly withdrawing a college student from the Board of Regents, Gov.Walker dismisses questions about the puzzling reversal by claiming he wasn't directly involved in the decision. We've been getting that alot lately from Walker, including that he "never advocated for it" on issues he refuses to discuss.

#5 Walker Sees Debt More Inviting Than Grover Norquist (March)

A bit more complex than most of my posts, this one explains how Gov. Walker is way beyond using smoke and mirrors to project a balanced budget and surplus. In the end, it's all about political calculation and hard right-wing ideology.

#4 Workforce Skills Gap: There Was None Until They Got The Memo (July)

This posting returns to a segment from the documentary "As Goes Janesville" showing members of Janesville area chambers of commerce stating how easy it would be to train a workforce for a new manufacturing plant. The episode caught on video was just before the state embarked on a "workforce skills gap" meme to excuse the state's joblessness under Scott Walker.

#3 Walker's Wisconsin Falling Faster And Harder (March)

Following a report showing wages in Wisconsin fell faster and harder than in most of the nation, this animation put the story into a visual perspective and attracted a surprisingly large amount of visitors.

#2 Wisconsin Republicans Propose Imbalanced Budget Amendment (June)

I scared the hell out of myself with this one connecting some of the dots of Wisconsin's republicans (fiscal conservatives?) legislative efforts to systematically build debt and government inefficiency under an aura of balanced budgets to later justify paying down debt by selling off state assets. Keyword here is "privatization."

And the Number 1 story ...drum roll please ... for 2013 was ... Influential Wisconsin Conservative Shatters "Government, Get Out Of The Way" Meme

You won't believe what she replaced it with.

Just missing the cut for the top ten were:

Janesville Officials Looking To Dewalkerize Profile For City Manager Candidates (May)

Scott Walker: Cutting Govt Aid To The Poor Is Love (April)

Benefit Or Burden? Janesville's Economic Development Director Resigns (March)

Bizarre Ruling On Act 10 Should Alarm Everyone (September)

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