Fiscal Budget


Taxes are Good

Book Title
This is a second article promoting website and book “Government is Good, An Unapologetic Defense of a Vital Institution.” Taxes are perhaps the most effective “wedge” issue used by conservatives to keep people voting against their own best interests. On his website Douglas J. Amy, Professor of Politics, Mount Holyoke College does a terrific job countering the conservative obsession with taxes and tax cuts with hard facts and good reasoning.“Most conservative criticisms about the ill-effects of taxes are exaggerated or untrue. Taxes are in fact good – they ...

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Government is Good

American Flag
Government is good and has many successful programs to show! On the other hand, the conservative mantra is that government is too big and needs to be cut. Government is the problem and not the answer. We are better off with the smallest government possible.They have been so successful at this agenda that many “liberal” politicians are afraid to defend successful government programs and the necessary taxes to support vital public infrastructure and services.There is a great website (and book) which addresses this subject in wonderful detail. Government is Good, ...

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Kicking Controls Out the Window

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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 ...

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Rep. Melissa Sargent: Government for the People is a Moral Responsibility

Rep. Melissa Sargent: Government for the people is a moral responsibilityby MELISSA SARGENT | Democratic member of Assembly from MadisonLast week, I stayed up late listening to the proceedings in the Joint Finance Committee as the Republicans once again pushed more money into taxpayer-subsidized, private voucher schools to the detriment of public education.As I watched my 5-year-old sleeping next to me, tears streamed down my face. I was devastated at the thought of how different his educational experience will be from my own and even my oldest son’s. Public ...

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The Looming Retirement Crisis

The Looming Retirement CrisisBy Joyce LuedkeCurrently half of all Americans 65 and older live on $18,000 a year or less. 75% of those nearing retirement age have less than $30,000 saved for retirement. In Wisconsin 101,000 people 65 and older claim the Homestead Tax Credit. In Wisconsin more than 48,000 households with people 60 or older received food stamps in 2010.The number of people 65 and older is projected to nearly double over the next 30 years. The number of people 85 and older will skyrocket 142% to 287,000. The number of ...

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Citizen Input Provides Important Details of Conservation Budget Cuts

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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 ...

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

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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 ...

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CAN YOU IMAGINE CLOSING ALL NEIGHBORHOOD PUBLIC SCHOOLS?

School Buses
CAN YOU IMAGINE CLOSING ALL NEIGHBORHOOD PUBLIC SCHOOLS?By Joyce Luedke Can you imagine closing all neighborhood public schools in a city and replacing them with 40 different privately managed charter schools, a Recovery School District, funded by taxpayers?Can you imagine no centralized oversight of these 40 different entities to guarantee that the needs of all students are met? Can you imagine firing 7,000 school personnel and replacing 4500 teachers with unlicensed personnel holding alternative certificates who have no training in child development, ...

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Protect Our Outdoor Heritage

Looking at the budget debates going on in Wisconsin and nationally it is hard to understand the conservative positions. Their destructive, short- sighted, and counter-productive agendas are simply “penny wise and pound foolish.” Why are they obsessed with cutting successful programs that cost pennies in comparison to the social and economic benefits?I am a member of the North Country Trail Association (NCTA). This non-profit organizes volunteers to build and maintain the North Country National Scenic Trail which runs across Northern Wisconsin. The work we do as ...

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

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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 ...

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