Today is

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Walker's "Reforms" Drive Wisconsin's Middle-Class Decline




We're number one! We're number one! We're number one!

According to a report from Pew Trust Research, Wisconsin ranks worst among the 50 states in terms of a shrinking middle class, or in Gov. Scott Walker's twisted world, we're number one and "heading in the right direction."

In fact, Walker's spokesperson tried to make a case in response to the report by stating Wisconsin's income grew during Walker's first three years. Except, Pew's research includes statistics showing a steep decline in the percentage of Wisconsin families considered "middle-class," that means most income growth occurring was concentrated in the top 1 percent, Walker's campaign donor class.

As it is, Wisconsin has the number one spot all to itself as no other state comes close to the 14.7 percent drop in median incomes combined with the 5.7 percent shrinkage in middle class families. And to think Wisconsin is ranked number one in this category BEFORE Walker's "Divide and Conquer 2.0" reforms of right-to-work, the 7-day work week and the end of prevailing wages have their day driving the middle-class roadkill machine.

On a local note, the Pew report serves as a crowning moment for the conversations captured in the documentary As Goes Janesville.

To be fair, the decline of the middle-class had already begun on a national scale, but it was during the documentary filming when Gov. Scott Walker said major changes are on the way from reforms that will move the state in a new direction.

Walker described how he would use "divide and conquer" in a campaign to break unions and turn Wisconsin into a right-to-work red state with Rock County 5.0 business elites responding, "exactly what we need" and "right on target," to Forward Janesville operatives giggling about ex-Janesville GM employees being forced to take much lower pay in their next jobs and how that will work in the "plus column" for their business purposes, to the Beloit City Manager explaining how Wisconsin workers have enjoyed higher wages, good benefits and even civil rights "for too many decades," to which a Rock County employee replied back that economic development (policy) is about eliminating "those burdens."

THAT is what they mean when Walker and his donor class say Wisconsin is now "heading in the right direction." So it's not "despite" the shrinking of the state's middle-class, Walker's reforms don't work unless they spite the middle-class. The direction was laid out in "As Goes Janesville" and the Pew Report shows it's working as intended.

RELATED:

CapTimes - Report: Wisconsin worst in nation on shrinking middle class

Crooks and Liars - Pew Report: Wisconsin No. 1 State In Household Income Decline

CAW - Wisconsin’s Worst in the Nation Decline of Middle Class a Bipartisan Disaster

RNR - Rock County: Wisconsin Enjoyed Higher Standards For Too Many Decades

RNR - Janesville Is On The Edge With Low Wages

RNR - Letter Writer Says Middle Class Is Unaffordable. Walker Is Right To End It. (April, 2013)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Evansville Forum: Is Democracy An Endangered Species?


Hosted by Move To Amend Evansville

Two powerful speakers. One important issue. Mike McCabe and Rick Brunton will discuss how We the People can get big money out of politics and reclaim our democracy.

When:
Thursday, March 26
Begins at 7 PM

Where:
Evansville High School, Media Room
640 South Fifth Street
Evansville, WI

View Event Flyer Here

Monday, March 23, 2015

Forward Janesville Board Member: Every Budget Will Be Tough, Unless ...


The special meeting held by the Janesville city council last week is turning out to be a treasure trove of eye-rolling statements by Forward Janesville operatives answering questions during interviews before appointment to the city council.

Tha candidate eventually winning the appointment, Richard Gruber, holds a chair on Forward Janesville's board of directors and is VP of Mercy Health System. To a statement that 2015 will be a tough budget year for Janesville and asked for his thoughts on what the city can do to raise revenue beyond the state-imposed levy cap, Gruber said "I think 2016 will be a tough budget year, 2017 will be a tough budget year. 2018 will be a tough budget year ...unless things dramatically change in Madison."

Digest that one keeping in mind again ...it was made by a board member of the local Scott Walker booster club, Forward Janesville.

Why does it seem like local chambers want Wisconsin municipalities to be kept "budget desperate?" Is it to force officials to do desperate things like sell off city property to raise revenue, privatize public works, create more TIF Districts and drain off TIF surplus cash? It sure seems that way to me.

Watch the segment here. The passage begins at the 1:26:30 mark.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Forward Janesville, Totally Not Partisan


Robert Yeomans, a member of Forward Janesville's Government Relations Committee (former, present?), was one of four finalists answering questions from Janesville council members during a special meeting to select a replacement for Council Member Matt Kealy. One of the questions asked was for their opinion on what Janesville city officials can do about correcting the wide differences in state shared revenues among Wisconsin communities.

Yeomans answer: “It’s a complicated formula and it doesn’t seem like it’s gonna be something easy to do because I think the people in Madison and Milwaukee have a lot more say as to what that shared formula looks like at the end."

The "people in Madison" are often referred that way in the context of describing state government, but once someone combines Madison with Milwaukee, the context is no longer about state government but a derangement to create a mythical political scapegoat to divert attention away from the real suspect. In this case, Yeomans implies to the listeners that the republican-led majority state assembly, senate and governship are powerless to change the state aid formula. He continued to drive that theme home...

"But I think we need to continue going to the legislature and saying hey, and I think we need to do it on a local basis ...NOT go up there, but have OUR legislators come down here to us and say this is what it is, do you feel this is right and what can you do within your party to try and adjust it."

Huh? Wut?

Is that how Forward Janesville does it when they want something? Umm, no. They go up there and lobby the state legislature.

When they wanted to grab more federal money to help fund the I39/90 expansion, did they call local federal guy Paul Ryan into Janesville to press his party for the fix? No, they flew to Washington DC. In fact, Forward Janesville just finished their second annual "legislative" trip to DC during the last week of February.

At stateside, by "our" legislators from Janesville, Yeomans means democrats.

So, he's saying don’t go up there. Why? Well ...because "up there" is the single-party ruled GOP Forward Janesville legislative majority!! They’re doing exactly what they’re told to do. That's why! Instead call down your “democrat” legislators, box them in and see what they can do “within your party” to correct the shared revenues error. Seriously.

You can watch the video here. The question and answer on this begins at the 0:41:30 time mark. It's precious if you're into this sort of thing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Good 'Ol Boy Appointed To Janesville City Council


Last night at a special city council meeting, Richard Gruber, a board member of Forward Janesville, was appointed to fill a council seat unexpectedly vacated by Council Member Matt Kealy who resigned mid-term after recently buying a home outside city limits.

Gruber's selection came soon after the council questioned each of the final 4 candidates separately in 30 minute interviews. The six member council's second round of voting came to a 3 to 3 deadlock between Gruber and Barry Badertscher. However, soon after the tie was announced, Council Member Doug Marklein said he will change his vote in favor of Gruber. The council recast their votes and Gruber won 4 - 2.

Doug Marklein is also a member of Forward Janesville and happens to be the loudest cryer on the council about partisanship in city government. That's how that always works, isn't it?

I can't even begin to imagine the rage that would have ensued had a member of a local labor union won that seat or if the deciding vote for a union "boss" was cast by one of its own patch-wearing members. Yeah, praise the Lord for Janesville's city manager slash council at-large form of government or else some disagreeables might win election. I mean, God forbid ...we'd be talking about months of some serious backlash from naysayers in the Janesville Gazette with that sort of partisanship. LOL.

As it stands, Janesville will continue to be run by the tax-shifting footstools of the oligarchy, while its majority population continues to dance around the campfire singing Kumbaya or just simply look the other way. So although the names have changed, everything pretty much remains the same.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Walker's Failed Reforms Flood School Districts With Red Ink



Rock County's school districts are expected to be slammed yet again by substantial cuts during year one of Gov. Scott Walker's next budget. Now into his third state budget, this leaves no doubt that Walker's reforms including his heavily touted Act 10 have failed to provide Wisconsin school districts and communities with even a minimal level of budget neutral certainty.

Total shortfalls are estimated at $5 million for Rock County school districts alone.

Janesville $1,509,750
Beloit $1,096,725
Milton $517,050
Edgerton $277,950

See Scott Walker's pie chart of cuts for Rock County schools here.

H/T Source - School Funding Reform For Wisconsin View more Wisconsin counties.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Janesville School Board Member's Witch Hunt A Lesson For Citizen Watchdogs


More than five weeks have passed since School Board member Bill Sodemann doubled-down with a retaliatory second FOIA request on the Rock County office emails of employee Carla Q, and so far there have been no headlines or major articles posted in the Janesville Gazette about his findings.

Carla Q, as you might recall, became a target of Sodemann's only after it was discovered her school board petition signatures and candidacy papers were deemed valid and in proper order. You read that right.

Of course we wouldn't think Sodemann filed his FOIA requests simply because he thought she was associated with a group like ...ohhh, let's pretend and say, Catholic Charities, the Girl Scouts of America, United Way, St. Jude or World Vision. Nahh. It's much worse than that. He figured she must be associated with one of those democrat parties or employee unions and he'll find all their dirty laundry tucked away inside her county paid email box.

After five weeks, had Sodemann or the Gazette found the dirt they were looking for, I'd think it would have been published by now with blazing headlines and flow charts showing how all the partisan conspirators have conspired to steal a Janesville school board seat.

Instead, they have egg on their faces. Only their victims remain.

But, IF the Gazette lets Sodemann's wrongheaded witch hunt die on the vine with no respite for the victims, it will still serve a desirable purpose for them.

It will stand as a lesson to any of you unionistas or "citizens" who think about snooping around Janesville where you don't belong. Let's just say you won't see procedural cooperation according to state and local ordinances. Instead, we will obstruct where we can, publish what we feel like publishing, and retaliate without just cause in ways that will make your life miserable.

We've shown you what you should always expect. And Oh, thanks for visiting!!

RELATED:

RNR - Janesville School District Insiders Retaliate Against Whistleblower, Scandal Spreads

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Wisconsin Locals Have Right-To-Work Peer Conditions To Emulate


According to a Web site (a research facility?) touting itself as "exposing the inequities of compulsory unionism," so-called right-to-work states have living costs averaging about 22% less than economies of "forced" union states. Ironically, that percentage is equal to U.S Government Federal spending portion of the nation's GDP. That's a considerable percentage of capital activity to potentially lose given the already tight economic conditions.

Although their article states that the correlation between higher living costs in union states and RTW States is robust, they also want everyone to know that correlation does not equal causality. So their talking points serve some purpose, just don't rely on them to mean something substantive to the point you may think they're trying to make.

Besides they claim, employees are happy so long as they can get two buck cheeseburgers and $39 eyeglasses. That's what matters most.

Excerpt:
What matters most to employees seeking better lives for themselves and their families and employers seeking good employees is not nominal wages and salaries. It is what those wages and salaries can buy in the location where they are earned.

Wow: "what matters most ...is what those wages ...can buy ...," not whether those wages compensate employees equitably for their production, skill set or time. Here's two bucks, go get yourself a cheeseburger.

Obviously, things won't change overnight, but with rhetoric like that winning the argument for right-to-work, I hope local officials throughout Wisconsin have budget plans to cope with kicked-down taxpayers expecting more for much less in the new sinking bottom.

The reality is now there and the psychological seeds are all set.