Monday, April 29, 2013
Documentary "Citizen Koch" and book by Journal Sentinel reporters have differing takes on 2011 battle between unions and Gov. Scott Walker.
As the dust settles on the epic battles over union rights for public workers in Wisconsin, two new major works aim to put these events into perspective. The first is “Citizen Koch,” a documentary by award-winning filmmakers Carl Deal and Tia Lessin. It aired at the Sundance Film Festival in January and the Wisconsin Film Festival this month. The second is “More Than They Bargained For,” a book by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporters Jason Stein and Patrick Marley, published by the University of Wisconsin Press. Both recount how newly elected Gov. Scott Walker in February 2011 “dropped the bomb” (his words) regarding his plan to largely end the collective bargaining rights of most state and local public employees. “Citizen Koch” frames …
Saturday, April 27, 2013
An analysis shows the UW system sitting on nearly half a billion dollars in extra tuition. Officials say they need it for future projects.
The University of Wisconsin system is under fire from both parties in the state Legislature after a Legislative Fiscal Bureau report showed it had $650 million in reserve — including $414 million in tuition reserves — despite annual tuition increases of more than 5 percent. Gov. Scott Walker is now considering a change to the $181 million planned for the UW system in the biennial budget, and whispers of a tuition freeze imposed by the Legislature are percolating. But UW officials say the surplus — about 25 percent of the operating budget — is in line with recommended practices, according to Madison.com, and less than Minnesota and Illinois keep. And the College Board says Wisconsin’s public-school tuition is still lower than Midwestern …
Thursday, April 25, 2013
A lawsuit filed by unions representing Madison teachers and city of Milwaukee employees over the state's collective bargaining law may be headed to the State Supreme Court.
A state appeals court is urging the Wisconsin State Supreme Court to take on an Act 10 lawsuit filed by two unions, which challenged the constitutionality of the collective bargaining limitations Gov. Scot Walker imposed on almost all public unions in 2010. The Supreme Court could take the case without waiting for an Appeals Court decision, but whether is does so is at the high court's discretion. If the Supreme Court doesn’t take the case, then the Appeals Court would need to take it. A certification filed by a panel of three judges from the 4th District Court of Appeals, asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case because “a number of public unions have filed suits against municipalities over Act 10 provisions, which have left …
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Speculation aside, Larry Sabato, a well-known political scientist lays out his argument for Gov. Scott Walker being a top-tier candidate for Republican nomination for president in 2016.
The signs that Gov. Scott Walker is laying the groundwork for a possible presidential run are clear, but still speculative. And that speculation may be intensifying as Larry Sabato, a well-known political scientist, has declared Walker a top-tier candidate for Republican nominee for president in 2016 — right up there with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Walker is writing a book about his governorship, which may become a resume of sorts and is planning to address conservatives in Iowa at the invitation of Gov. Terry Branstad in May. He also was one of the key speakers at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March. And, according to Politico, “he wouldn’t commit to serving throughout a second four-…
Friday, April 19, 2013
Governor Scott Walker and state legislative leaders call for tuition freeze at the University of Wisconsin after hearing the unexpected news.
A recent financial review of the UW System found a $1 billion surplus, and state lawmakers are furious. According to a story on Wispolitics.com, a review by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau discovered the overage. UW officials told the bureau that a good chunk of that money comes from the federal government for specific purposes and another healthy slice is from gifts. Still, that leaves almost $650 million in university system coffers, some $414 million from tuition alone. GOP leaders in Madison — including Joint Finance Co-Chairs Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) — issued a statement shortly after they received the LFB's report, taking UW officials to task over what they said is "gross mismanagement of …
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Area state Democrats hosted a budget listening session Monday at the Racine campus of Gateway Technical College.
Most people at Monday's budget listening session with area Democrats Monday weren't pleased with the prospect of expanding vouchers. But, citizens also talked about Gov. Scott Walker's refusal of federal money for Medicaid, cuts in transportation, funding for the arts, and cuts to conservation programs. Reps. Peter Barca, Cory Mason and Tod Ohnstad were joined by state Sens. John Lehman and Bob Wirch for a three-hour budget listening session at the Racine Campus of Gateway Technical College. Bob Lang, director of the non-partisan Budget Fiscal Bureau was also on hand to record residents' remarks. During his opening remarks as the emcee of the night, Mason said he is a better representative when he hears directly from the community. Lehman …
Monday, April 15, 2013
State Republican leaders held a press conference at Steelwind Industries to criticize federal taxes and highlight their work to decrease state taxes.
Republican leaders criticized federal tax increases and touted their efforts to lower the state tax burden at a press conference in Oak Creek on the last day people have to file taxes without an extension. Speaking at Steelwind Industries, 7550 S. 10th St., state GOP Vice Chairman Brian Schimming said the federal government should take a cue from Wisconsin in addressing tax issues. "The Legislature has set out a course here where they would address these issues head-on and not hide behind them," Schimming said. State lawmakers and Gov. Scott Walker are pushing for an income tax cut worth about $300 million, though how much savings the average person would see has been debated and remains to be seen. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald …
Thursday, April 11, 2013
The governor hopes a manufacturing production credit will help convince companies in Illinois that want to expand to move to Wisconsin.
Gov. Scott Walker visited Gateway Technical College's iMET Center in Sturtevant Thursday to promote partnerships between government, business and the state's colleges and universities. The goal, he said is to get people the skills they need as quickly as possible so they can move into family-supporting jobs and a future. Walker highlighted Gateway's CNC and welding boot camp programs, which typically run six to 16 weeks, that help employers find the workers they need and help individuals start careers into which they can continue to grow and earn family-supporting wages. But, he also touted a manufacturing tax credit that he hopes will bring companies from Northern Illinois up and over the border into Wisconsin. The manufacturing …
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Democratic representatives from the area will holding a listening session Monday about Gov. Scott Walker's proposed 2013-2015 budget.
Area residents are invited to a listening session Monday with Democratic representatives at Gateway Technical College about Gov. Scott Walker's proposed 2013-2015 budget. Representatives Peter Barca, D-Kenosha; Cory Mason, D-Racine; and Tod Ohnstad, D-Kenosha with state Sen. Bob Wirch, D-Somers, will host event. In a written release from Mason's office, residents are enouraged to bring questions and concerns. "All members of the press and the public are encouraged to attend and share their views on the state budget," the statement reads. The session runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday at the Gateway Technical College Racine campus in the Great Lakes Room, 1001 Main Street.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker never formed a panel to consider pardon applications, which now number more than 1,400 since he took office. Is this the right move?
An Associated Press examination revealed that Gov. Scott Walker has declined to consider any of the 1,400 pardon applications he’s received since taking office. This move is neither unprecedented nor partisan. Haley Barbour, former Republican governor of Mississippi, granted more than 200 pardons before leaving office in 2012, according to ABC News. Meanwhile, the same AP story reported that Illinois Democrat Rod Blagojevich had not acted on more than 2,500 such cases before finding himself in need of a pardon. Pardons are not always get-out-of-jail passes for violent criminals. They can also clear the record of a non-violent criminal to allow them to drive, hunt with a gun or find work. They do not erase a conviction. Do you agree with …