28 results for author: Senator Kathleen Vinehout


Kicking Controls Out the Window

Kicking Controls Out the WindowBy State Senator Kathleen VinehoutNo UW Oversight by LAB a Recipe for Corruption"Suspend current law…requiring the Legislative Audit Bureau to conduct an annual financial audit of the UW System. Instead, require the UW System to contract with an independent accounting firm,” read the motion introduced by Senator Harsdorf and Representative Schraa.Recent action by a majority of the state’s budget writing committee not only kicked the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) out of the UW System but also approved a process to get rid of state purchasing laws at the UW and waive the state’s bidding ...

Citizen Input Provides Important Details of Conservation Budget Cuts

Citizen Input Provides Important Details of Conservation Budget CutsBy State Senator Kathleen Vinehout"Why is it I keep hearing more about what’s in the governor’s budget?” the woman asked me. “Don’t you see it all at once and then decide what to do?”It can be difficult for legislators to know the full effect of cuts without the critical input of citizens.For example, news of cuts to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) made its way to western Wisconsin. Constituents communicated back to me the effect of these cuts. Through emails, phone calls and office visits I was able to piece together the real effect of a few lines of ...

Sen. Kathleen Vinehout: State’s debt growing, not shrinking, under Scott Walker

Sen. Kathleen Vinehout: State's debt growing, not shrinking, under Scott WalkerApril 29, 2015 10:30 am  •  KATHLEEN VINEHOUT | Democratic state senator from Alma"I’m okay with the cuts,” the man wrote me. “It’s shameful to pass debt on to our children.” In the man’s message, he implies a common misconception about Wisconsin — there is no state debt.Wisconsin owes a lot of money and the state budget proposes we borrow even more. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau reported in January that the state owed about $13.8 billion. This is slightly less than the previous year, but almost $600 million more than when Gov. Jim ...

A Business Owes Nothing in Taxes & Gets a State Check?

A Business Owes Nothing in Taxes & Gets a State Check?"Why doesn’t the press cover what’s happening with refundable tax credits?” I asked the journalist. We were chatting about what I found in the state budget. “Because the press doesn’t understand them,” she told me.“Doesn’t understand them?” I thought. “There has to be an easy way to describe what’s happening...”Imagine if you had no state tax taken out of your paycheck. You filed your tax return but you owed nothing. Now imagine the state sent you a refund check. Wow! This is like a refundable tax credit. A company owes little to nothing in taxes but gets a ...

Farmers say Budget Damages Farm Research, Schools and Conservation Input – By State Senator Kathleen Vinehout

“It’s very important that we are here today,” the farmer from Independence told me. “In fact, it’s more important that we be here than anywhere else.” Here was in my Capitol office. Local farmers were visiting as part of Ag Day at the Capitol.The weather that day was dry and warm. It was perfect for getting early spring chores done. Instead, these farmers drove hundreds of miles to meet with their legislators.They were on a mission to change parts of the state budget that hurt rural communities. The first thing on their mind – in every group that visited – was rural schools.“What are you going to do about rural schools?...

Economic Development $$$ Grow – Public Oversight Shrinks – By Senator Kathleen Vinehout

Senator Kathleen Vinehout“I’ve heard about the cuts,” the Buffalo County man said. “But this budget spends more.  Who’s getting more money?”Folks are concerned about big cuts to the UW; cuts to local schools; scaling back of health programs for the disabled; public radio and TV losing state support.But the new budget spends $3 billion more than the last. Where is that money going?One place to look is the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).  Despite its name, WEDC is a part of state government; in fiscal year 2012-13 it received  over $62 million from the budget (including about $4 million in federal funds) ...

“I Don’t Have a Clue” – School Play Mirrors Confusion in Assembly Education Committee

“Edgar: All right, everybody; back to the scene of the crime.“Ella: New clues?“Carol: What clues?“Bob: What’s the next clue?“Carol: I don’t have a clue.“Norman: (At the window box, dramatically.) Guys, the body’s gone!”So goes the hilarious comedy written by Craig Sodaro and performed by Alma students. The play begins as a murder mystery dinner invitation and ends wrapped up in an international smuggling ring.Students spent the last three and a half months practicing lines and preparing costumes. Play Director Tom Brakke coordinated a cast of roughly a quarter of Alma’s Middle and High Schoolers with ...

Serving Wisconsin: Retiring Senators Offer Wisdom

“There is a yearning outside the Capitol for common sense, cooperation and compromise,” Senator Tim Cullen told his fellow Senators. “You all know how to do this if you’ve been married for more than 15 days.”As 2014 comes to a close, so do the public careers of several extraordinary Senators. I listened carefully as these public servants delivered farewell speeches on the Senate floor. The wisdom shared by three great men comes from a cumulative 80 years of experience that spanned four decades.  “We came because we care,” Republican Senator Dale Schulz told his colleagues. “I ran for public office because I felt called.”  ...