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Friday, August 07, 2015

Anonymous Column - "Pass It On" #6

"Pass it on" is the new title replacing "Community Quotes" for my version of the Janesville Gazette's Sound Off anonymous column.

On Wage Growth In Janesville/Beloit Area
✦ Just to give you an idea on how things are in Wisconsin, wages grew 4.6% in the Janesville/Beloit metro area and that is listed as one of the top growth rates in the state, while state spending grew 15% during roughly the same period under Gov. Scott Walker. So Walker's state spending grew three times greater than that of wage growth in the state's fastest wage growth community! That can't be good news. Keep in mind that the wage growth statistic is heavily weighted in skyrocketing executive and CEO salaries. Yet even with the area's positive wage growth, Janesville/Beloit wages remain at about 10% below the national average.

✦ Locals are boasting about higher wage growth in the Janesville/Beloit metro area in a state that has seen the largest Middle-Class decline of any state and with no end in sight. Ummm ...OK. I guess any little bit of news about higher wages is great news anywhere in Wisconsin, a state whose governor recently restricted prevailing wage laws and doesn't see a purpose for the minimum wage. Savor the moment.

✦ Keep in mind this wage growth comes after the area hitting rock bottom soon after GM pulled out. Because of those circumstances, the wage growth rate statistically is not a good indicator to rely on for the area's economy, unless you're in the political propaganda business.

On Corporate Welfare For Milwaukee Bucks Arena
✦ I received a strange phone call the other day. The guy on the phone said there is $419 million, maybe more, waiting for me in my name and all I have to do is wire him 250 million dollars right now to expedite the money. He warned, "if you don't act right now, you could lose $419 million." I said, "Hey wait minute, is this a scam?" He said "no, this is Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin."

On Democrats Getting Rolled In The Bucks Arena Deal:
✦ What an embarrassment for Wisconsin Democrats. No strategy, vision or caucus unity to win the hearts and minds of Wisconsin voters. They missed a golden opportunity to push back against republicans legislative agenda when they gave them the Bucks deal for nothing.

✦ Dems should have asked for full repeal of two non-budget items passed during the 2015 budget sessions and demanded one major budget item serving the Wisconsin Idea in exchange for their votes in the Bucks deal. Call it log-rolling. Call it anything you want, but the legislature is for deliberations and that was the time to deliberate. If the GOP refused the amendments as expected, the majority-GOP legislature would have owned the Bucks leaving the state. But Dems are scared, detached and lack messaging.

✦ Very telling that no legislator spoke up against the corrupt Bucks deal despite some Dems voting against it. Voters want fighters in the legislature, not silent sheep.

✦ Wisconsin Democrats 5-point strategy for fighting the GOP/ALEC red state agenda:

✦ Whoever advised Wisconsin Democratic party and caucus leaders on the Bucks arena, the Republican party thanks you.

✦ Some folks think Wisconsin Republicans have overreached and will begin losing some state seats in the coming elections. Nonsense! If Democrats couldn't repeal some of the GOP's overreaching in exchange for the Bucks deal, how and why should voters?

✦ When the GOP pulled the Bucks arena out of the state budget, they gave state democrats a rare opportunity to show fight and principled leadership on what they stand for. They deflated ...miserably. Opportunities like that for a minority party in a gerrymandered state come along only once every 4-5 years. The column at the Lacrosse Tribune nailed it, democrats will be in the minority for a long time.

On Walker's Failed Budget Reforms
✦ GOP policies over the last four years in Wisconsin placed greater burdens on the middle class (see this) and working poor, while cutting tax obligations for the wealthy and political elite. When tax policy is your growth policy under those "tough love" conditions, and if eight percent revenue growth over the previous year is true, that means much more is being taken out of the pockets of those that have proportionately the least. In the long run, that will chill demand and is a recipe for greater wealth disparity and future economic decline.

✦ With an 8% increase in revenue, why did we hear "everything is on the table" from republicans to balance the state budget? If only local governments and school districts had the luxury of extra revenue like the central state statists apparently have, local budgets would be a breeze.

✦ Poor Art Laffer, his name betrays him.

On Uptick in City Spending For Propaganda
✦ Several years ago, the Janesville city council cut spending on the city's newsletter resulting in fewer publications. That was done to save money. But now I see the city found some new money and is paying the Janesville Gazette to publish city hall ads on their Web Site and in the newspaper. In addition, the crony-fund Janesville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is posting ads in the local Janesville Gazette, when those ads should be in Rockford, Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee and points beyond.

✦ I've noticed a sharp uptick of city taxpayer-paid ads in the Gazette lately. Those ads don't come cheap. Something must be in the works between the Gazette and the city. Watch for even more favorable pro-city government editorials and possibly a campaign by the Gazette to help the city ram through higher taxes and fees since your wages are on the increase. You watch my back, I'll wash yours. They'll win journalism awards for it.

✦ Shocker: The Gazette recently gave the city a "thumbs up" for rising tourism ad spending. LOL

On Downtown Janesville ARISE:
✦ See if I have this straight. The local business donor wing of Paul Ryan' and Scott Walker's political booster club want a progressive community for their own back yard, warn of a death spiral if we don't raise taxes and developed a downtown plan that is absolutely worthless unless it is heavily dependent on government for the long-term, and they call their proposal, 'ARISE.'

✦ We can always count on small government conservatives to call their government dependent community growth plan 'ARISE.' Government IS the great provider.

✦ Remember kids, instead of the local private sector growing their business expansions on the profit incentive of well-managed supply-and-demand economics, the only supply they gravitate first to are our tax dollars to provide the incentive to grow their business expansions. They're the circular people.

On County Sheriff Seeks Extra Money For Beloit Patrols:
✦ Wait a minute, Janesville gets five times less state aid per capita than the $457 collected by Beloit, yet Beloit needs $225K extra than budgeted to pay for police patrols. What is Beloit spending their windfall of state aid on? Hendricks Developments?

✦ Hell no. Wisconsin is a red state now. That means everyone buys a gun and protects themselves.

✦ By the way, where is Diane Hendricks on this? If she can throw $5M to Scott Walker for robbing the middle-class, she should be able to give some chump change back to the community.

✦ Take the $225,000 out of former city manager Arft's pension annuity since he's over-collecting from a system he complained that had higher wage and benefit standards for too many decades.

✦ The City of Beloit should ask Scott Walker for the extra money to pay the county. Walker’s budget spends 15% more than drunken-sailor Doyle’s last budget. The state can easily afford it.

Jackson St. Bridge Opening Ceremony:
✦ Finally a nice gesture from someone in the city administration to have Bill McCoy cut the ribbon for the new Jackson Street bridge. For years, McCoy and his supporters have been treated like trash by city hall apparatchiks and the media lynch mob. So it took someone with at least a partial brain to get past the built-in hate to understand that his efforts deserve recognition. A rare moment for Janesville authorities.


RNR - Pass It On #5 "Community Quotes"

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