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Gov Walker Plans To Celebrate Budget Bill With Felon Until Union Broadcasts Rendezvous

Today, Gov. Scott Walker will sign the controversial state budget bill into law. He was originally scheduled to sign his budget at Badger Sheet Metal Works, a private business operated by a man with six felony tax convictions, in Green Bay, at 2 p.m. on Sunday. However, now that Gregory A. DeCaster’s tax troubles have been publicized, the governor’s office has announced a new locationfor the ceremony: Fox Valley Metal Tech, also in Green Bay.

“While Mr. DeCaster has served his time in jail and paid his debt to society, it is fitting that the governor would choose to sign this budget at a business owned by someone who was once convicted of the felony of tax evasion,” said Marc Norberg, a Wisconsin native and assistant to the general president of the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association.

Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch said something quite similar earlier in the day when he told WisPolitics, “Green Bay, and certainly the company that we’re going to, reflects really what this budget and what Gov. Walker’s first term here is all about.”

Will the budget bill be a job creator?
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Walker chose to sign the budget at a manufacturer “to emphasize the budget’s focus on job creation.”

Gov. Scott Walker boasted that his budget proposals and other controversial policies have created 25,000 jobs in Wisconsin since the start of the year at a discussion led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday in Washington, D.C.

CMD contacted the Center for Wisconsin Strategy, a field laboratory for high-road economic development in the state for a bit of perspective on this spin.

“While we don’t think the governor has that much ability to affect overall employment … to the extent that he has, he has arguably hurt the state,” said Sam Munger, managing director of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy’s Center for State Innovation.

Munger said a significant amount of provisions in the budget will end up destroying the quality of jobs that currently exist.

According to a recent Center of Wisconsin Strategy report, the 8 percent wage cut Walker issued to the 380,000 jobs under his control could cost Wisconsin about 22,000 additional jobs, “because families that rely on the income from their public-sector jobs will have less to spend in their local communities.”

“If you look all the way through the budget … his primary motivation has not been keeping jobs, it’s been remaking the state as a corporate welfare haven,” Munger said, citing Walker’s refusal of federal stimulus money and federal broadband money and his refusal to engage the state in other job-generating projects, while rewarding the wealthy and corporations with a range of tax breaks.

The budget’s cuts to municipalities will suck money out of localities, Munger said, adding that pulling money out of circulation will cost jobs in an indirect or induced way. In contrast to the rosy news coming from the Governor’s mansion, the most recent data from the Department of Workforce Development shows that unemployment increased in most Wisconsin cities in the month of May. The report shows that unemployment rates increased in 25 cities with a population of 25,000 people or more, with only Stevens Point experiencing a slight drop, from 7.9 percent to 7.8 percent.

Other budgetary measures that Munger said threaten job quality are cuts to childcare subsidies for working parents, making it more difficult to obtain unemployment insurance and rolling back child labor laws.

“Everything that he has done in the budget that related to jobs or employment has either killed jobs, destroyed the quality of jobs or been a giant giveaway to corporations,” Munger said.

 

By: Jessica Opoien, Opinion Writer, Center For Media and Democracy, June 26, 2011

June 26, 2011 Posted by | Class Warfare, Collective Bargaining, Conservatives, Corporations, Democracy, Economy, GOP, Gov Scott Walker, Government, Governors, Ideologues, Ideology, Jobs, Labor, Middle Class, Politics, Public Employees, Republicans, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States, Tax Evasion, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Union Busting, Unions, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scott Walker Finds Making Bumper Stickers Is Easier Than Creating Jobs

Where are the jobs, Gov. Walker?

Scott Walker, the chief executive of Wisconsin, is riding a wave of triumph. The state Supreme Court just upheld his famous crusade to strip collective bargaining rights from public workers. The state legislature just voted, along party lines, to approve his 2012 budget reordering the state’s finances to his conservative tastes.

On Monday morning, Walker stopped by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to participate in a roundtable discussion about “what works and what doesn’t” in job creation.

Walker regaled the assembled business leaders and governors with tales of his job-creating acumen. He boasted about passing tort reform, tax cuts, a “major regulatory reform” and his celebrated fight against the public-sector unions. “That’s powerful for job creators out there,” he said.

How powerful? “Since the beginning of the year in Wisconsin we’ve seen 25,000 new jobs,” Walker reported.

Sorry, governor, but that’s not very powerful.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin’s nonfarm payroll in May was 2,764,300 on a seasonally-adjusted basis, up 20,300 from January’s 2,744,000.

That’s an increase of seven-tenths of one percent in the workforce — not much better than the anemic nationwide growth in nonfarm payrolls to 131,043,000 in May from 130,328,000 in January.

This doesn’t mean Walker’s policies have failed; by his own account, the benefits could take years to materialize. But it does suggest that the conservatives criticizing the Obama administration’s handling of the economy don’t have a silver bullet of their own. Walker, who has large Republican majorities in the Wisconsin legislature, experimented with a long conservative wish-list, but the state hasn’t been a standout in job creation during his six-month tenure.

The truth is that there’s not much more that government can do to boost jobs in the short term. That’s up to the private sector now. Corporate America has recovered so well that profits have been at or near record levels of an annualized $1.7 trillion in the last two quarters – but businesses have yet to spend their piles of cash.

Instead, flush CEOs are demanding still more government spending. This was a theme of Monday’s session at the Chamber, where 23 men and one woman sat around a u-shaped table and listened to Chamber president Tom Donohue describe states as “laboratories of democracy,” where businesses are more likely to find “common sense solutions, innovations, experimentations, bipartisanship.”

Walker, whose tenure has made Wisconsin more of a laboratory of theocracy, clenched his jaw at the mention of bipartisanship. “The very first day I was elected,” he said when his turn came, “I put up a sign that said, ‘Wisconsin is open for business.’” He waved a bumper sticker for the Chamber crowd with that same message. “I called the legislature into a special session based solely on jobs.”

That led to the fight over collective bargaining, the fleeing of Democratic legislators across state lines, and huge protests in Madison. “We got a little more attention than most,” he said.

The attention continued on Monday. Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, one of two Democrats on the panel, said he “took a different approach” than Walker did: “I invited the unions to the table.” Markell said that the cuts he got from the unions exceeded his target by 30 percent, without creating statewide bitterness.

The other Democrat, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, implicitly rebuked Walker when he said “with a Republican House and Democratic Senate we passed our budget with at least 75 percent in both houses.”

In terms of job-creation, neither Democrat’s approach has worked any better than Walker’s. Colorado added 9,000 non-farm jobs this year and Delaware has been flat. Iowa, represented on the panel by Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, added 12,000. Virginia, represented by Gov. Bob McDonnell, added 22,000.

The biggest job creator of the six, Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), boasted that his tax cuts, deregulation and tort reform enabled him to cut “unemployment every month since I came into office, and last month our job creation was more than the entire rest of the country.” That’s nice, but even Scott’s job growth amounts to just 1 percent of the state’s workforce, and Florida’s unemployment is among the highest in the country.

Eventually, the governors – like President Obama – will have more to show for their job-creation policies. But for now, they’ll have to settle for baby steps. Walker told the Chamber that Wisconsin moved up 17 places in Chief Executive magazine’s annual ranking. “Last year we were 41,” he said. “This year, we went up to No. 24.”

If only those happy CEOs would start hiring.

By: Dana Milbank, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, June 20, 2011

June 24, 2011 Posted by | Businesses, Class Warfare, Collective Bargaining, Conservatives, Democracy, Economic Recovery, Economy, GOP, Gov Rick Scott, Gov Scott Walker, Government, Governors, Ideologues, Jobs, Labor, Lawmakers, Middle Class, Public Employees, Republicans, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Unemployed, Union Busting, Unions, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walkerville Activists Stand Strong: Peaceful Protest At Wisconsin Department Of Administration Offices

Dozens of Walkerville activists marched from the Wisconsin state Capitol to DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch’s offices at noon on Wednesday, June 15, to protest the former GOP state rep’s archaic Capitol security measures.

CMD learned while examining the drafting files at the Legislative Reference Bureau that Huebsch’s DOA gave the drafting orders for the collective bargaining section of the budget bill. Huebsch’s top political appointee, Cynthia Archer, served as a top aide to Scott Walker when he was Milwaukee County Executive.

The group roared “Who’s House? Our House!” as they entered the Department of Administration building on East Wilson Street. Protesters weren’t able to schedule a meeting with Huebsch – considered by many to be Governor Scott Walker’s top ally, and the architect of his 2011-2012 budget – but still managed to hang “unWANTED: Mike Huebsch” signs in his personal office and throughout the building.

Pilar Schiavo, an activist with the People’s Rights Campaign and Nurses United, led the peaceful procession. She stressed the danger of overlooking Huebsch’s involvement with Governor Walker’s anti-middle class agenda, and the need to repel his efforts to crush “the public’s right to assemble.”

“We feel like it’s important to pull Mike Huebsch out of the shadows. He’s really been responsible for the shutting down democracy within the capitol, and he’s had his hand in creating the budget,” said Schiavo.

One protestor taped an “unWANTED” sign, which read “Suspect is believed to be dangerous and armed with the unlawful eviction of The People from the Capitol” to Huebsch’s desk chair. With protestors still inside the building, a DOA receptionist began taking down the posters, citing their “offensive” nature.

Protestors hang signs inside the Wisconsin Department of AdministrationThe mood remained hopeful despite yesterday’s announcement from the Supreme Court legalizing Governor Walker’s collective bargaining legislation. Schiavo reminded the crowd that in spite of recent setbacks, victory looms on the horizon for the Wisconsin workers’ rights movement.

“People need to remember that this is a long fight, and that we’ve been successful already. We were able to hold that law for months. This is a long term struggle – the Walker agenda has been in the works for 30 years.”

 

By: Eric Carlson, Center for Media and Democracy, June 15, 2011

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Class Warfare, Collective Bargaining, Conservatives, Democracy, Elections, Freedom, GOP, Gov Scott Walker, Government, Ideologues, Ideology, Labor, Middle Class, Politics, Public Employees, Republicans, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States, Union Busting, Unions, Voters, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Few Heard At Wisconsin Budget “Hearing” In Milwaukee, But School Choice Advocate Denounces Walker’s Subsidy For Rich

At Monday’s public hearing in Milwaukee on Governor Walker’s budget, Wisconsin Republicans once again resorted to anti-participatory tactics to avoid criticism of their far-right agenda. Despite these efforts, strong criticisms were squeezed-in by longtime Milwaukee school choice advocate Howard Fuller, calling GOP efforts to lift income limits on school vouchers an “outrageous” program “that subsidizes rich people.”

Republicans Regulate Milwaukee Hearing

Milwaukee’s hearing at State Fair Park was the third of four statewide sessions on Walker’s proposed budget by the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee, and controversy arose well before the hearing began. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, two of Milwaukee’s congresswomen, Rep. Tamara Grigsby and Sen. Lena Taylor, were concerned that many working people would be excluded because the hearing was scheduled to end at 6pm. The two arranged to hold informal sessions until 9pm to allow people to voice their opinion, then notified Joint Finance co-chairs Rep. Robin Vos (R-Burlington) and Sen. Alberta Darling (R- River Falls) about their plans.

Sen. Darling reportedly approved the Grigsby-Taylor informal hearing and Rep. Vos “said he would think about it.” However, Taylor soon received notice from State Fair Park that Vos had reserved the facility until midnight, meaning the Dems’ hearing could not take place, and Milwaukee’s working population could not have their voices heard.

According to Taylor, “This isn’t open government. This is not democracy. This is shameful.”

Beer City Blockage the Latest in a Series

Vos and Darling were unabashed about their intention to suppress opposition, with Darling telling the Journal-Sentinel “we had to take precautions so that what happened at the Capitol wouldn’t happen at State Fair Park.”

“The hearings are going to be done when we say they’re done,” Vos said.

This is only the latest in a series of Wisconsin GOP efforts to limit scrutiny and stifle dissent. On February 11, Governor Walker sought to limit deliberation on his budget repair bill by introducing it on a Friday and ordering a vote on a Tuesday (Senate Democrats thwarted these plans by leaving the state). The Walker Administration violated the constitutionally-guaranteed right of public access to the state capitol in late February, and a judge ordered it re-opened; the administration violated that order in March and a hearing on that violation is pending. On March 11, Republicans forced the union-busting budget repair bill through the Senate with minimal notice, breaking state Open Meetings laws and possibly violating the constitution’s public access guarantees.

Hearing Limits Input from Milwaukee’s Particularly-Affected Populations of Color

This latest step towards suppression is especially egregious considering Milwaukee is not only the state’s largest city, but has the most people of color, a population that will be particularly affected by Walker’s budget and budget repair bill. The plans eliminate funding for a new program to track and remedy racial profiling (the first step towards confronting Wisconsin’s atrocious record of racial disparities in incarceration); will limit eligibility for medical assistance; kicks legal immigrants off food assistance; and eliminates funding for a program that provided civil legal services to low income residents. Walker is also expected to cut $300 million from Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), severely limiting education quality for the district teaching the greatest number of students (and students of color) in the state.

With Republican legislators keeping the Milwaukee hearing short, only speakers who signed up before 12:30pm had their voices heard. Hundreds of people were denied the ability to speak, and as the hearing ended at 6:30pm, there were shouts of “let us speak” and the now-familiar “shame” directed at those lawmakers.

Howard Fuller Heard on Education

While many Milwaukee residents were not heard on Monday, at least one prominent voice spoke strongly against Walker’s plans for Milwaukee schools.

In addition to cutting $300 million from Milwaukee’s public schools (and eliminating teacher’s unions), Walker’s budget reinforces existing inequalities by expanding the “school choice” program, which allows students to opt-out of public schools and use a taxpayer-funded voucher for private school tuition. The voucher program has been criticized not only because it directs money away from public schools, but because private schools can pick-and-choose their students, often selecting those who come from an advantaged background and leaving the rest to suffer in under-funded public schools.

Milwaukee became the country’s first publicly-funded school voucher program in 1990, and it grew under the tenure of MPS Superintendent Howard Fuller. He currently directs an institute at Marquette University that authorizes schools trying to get into Milwaukee’s choice program. Howard has collaborated with Republican lawmakers in the past, many of whom support so-called “school choice” out of belief in free market principles of competition and privatization. While many on the left fear defunding public education, some urban advocates like Fuller have supported vouchers to give promising low-income students a better chance at long-term success by providing education options that would not otherwise be available.

But Fuller, who is now regarded as the nation’s most influential African-American spokesman for “school choice,” strongly criticized Walker’s plans to remove income eligibility caps for the private school voucher program. “Please don’t make it true that you were using the poor just to eventually make this available to the rich,” Fuller said. “If [lifting income eligibility] is done, I will become an opponent of this.”

“I never got into this to give someone like me $6,500 to send their kid to Marquette High School (tuition $15,000 per year). . . This is where I get off the train, I’m not going to go anywhere in America and fight for a program that subsidizes rich people.”

By: Brenda Fischer, Center for Media and Democracy, April 12, 2011

April 13, 2011 Posted by | Class Warfare, Democracy, Economy, Education, Government, Governors, Health Care, Ideology, Immigrants, Jobs, Labor, Middle Class, Politics, Public Employees, Teachers, Uncategorized, Union Busting, Unions, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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