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When Up is Down

September 13, 2017

Trying to understand last minute deals taking away local powers

By Senator Kathleen Vinehout

A last-minute budget amendment has folks in Western Wisconsin very worried.

Locals have spent seven years negotiating with large sand mines to reach agreements that

allow neighbors and mines to co-exist. In some cases, locals decided certain sensitive and

tourist areas needed protection from mines.

All the careful negotiations appear poised to go out the window in a strangely evolving

budget deal that seems to affect quarries – or, as we often know them, gravel pits.

First, in full disclosure, my farm is located next door to a quarry. My neighbor crushes





Fighting Bob Fest Saturday in Milwaukee and La Crosse

As pointed out before, there will be Fighting Bob Fest events in Milwaukee and La Crosse on Saturday.  Uppity Wisconsin, Wis.Community, and perhaps the Citizen Action Western Wisconsin Organizing Co-op will be there, probably all at one table.  Come say hello! Details in the calendar.





Wisconsin’s Long Journey toward a Living Wage

“For an adult with a family who has to pay for food, clothing, and a place to live, and be able to pay for a car, the minimum wage is clearly not high enough,” wrote Bethany of Eleva-Strum High School.

Wisconsin was one of the first states to enact a Living Wage. The law gave authority for determining a living wage to an Industrial Commission made up of a balance of employers, employees and the public. The year was 1913.

Two years earlier, people attending a national conference of the National Consumers’ League in Milwaukee called for a minimum wage. Advocates made a minimum wage the top issue.





Fighting Bob Fest Hits the Road

There was some consternation in progressive circles this year since it appeared that there would only be a kickoff event for Fighting Bob Fest, but no actual fest. 

However, the folks at Our Wisconsin Revolution have teamed up with The Progressive to take Fighting Bob Fest on the road. There will be fests in and in this year. Furious planning is still underway, but the events are soon, on Sept. 16 in both cities. 





Where are the People?

Ideological groups push de-licensing plan

By

Senator Kathleen Vinehout

“This bill does not allow for public debate...is the public even aware? You’re not allowing the public to have adequate input into this issue,” testified Stephanie Bloomingdale.

Ms. Bloomingdale is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. She represented many workers who, along with the rest of us, just found out about bills that set up a process to get rid of occupational licensing.





OWR and The Progressive revive Fighting Bobfest

A quick video update from Our Wisconsin Revolution on the upcoming FIghting Bobfest events in Madison and La Crosee.  More soon.





Thank you Wisconsin for the beautiful gift

“Friends in the Wisconsin Legislature, we beg you: Sign that bad deal with Foxconn,” recently wrote the Chicago Sun Times editorial board. “It’s the neighborly thing to do.”The Wisconsin Assembly obliged the Chicago newspaper and recently voted 50-39 to approve the Governor’s deal with the Taiwanese company, Foxconn. But lawmakers were not voting on the deal itself. Contract negotiations are presumably underway. Legislators who voted on the deal did not see the contract, they do not know the details under negotiation, nor will they approve the final negotiated contract. In essence, they gave the Governor a blank check.





Citizen Action Foxconn rally and press conference Eau Claire

Citizen Action Organizing Co-op of Western Wisconsin recently held a rally and press conference on Foxconn in Eau Claire. This was just before the Assembly voted the Foxconn bill through.  

I apologize for the low sound volume and noise - it was hard to do good sound capture in front of the Chippewa Valley Tech building right next to Clairemont Avenue. 

Foxconn continues to be a bad deal for citizens of Wisconsin, and I would encourage you to contact your state Senator to express your opinion on the bill. 





"Loving Us” Pow Wow Encourages Recovery

By

Senator Kathleen Vinehout

“I lost my granddaughter to heroin addiction,” Anita told me. “We’ve lost so many people,” Tena added.

Recently, former Marine Tena Quackenbush and her friends, including Quincy Garvin, Jasime Funmaker, Lori Pettibone, Cindy Ward hosted a gathering to promote and encourage recovery from addiction, especially the scourge of heroin addiction.





An Estimated One Billion Dollars Will Be Spent on Foxconn Jobs... for Illinoians

It's very simple math.

Approximately one-third of Foxconn jobs will be filled by people living in Illinois, which means that one-third of the whopping three billion that Wisconsin taxpayers will be spending will be going toward Illinois residents:  One billion.

It also means that every dime Illinois Foxconn workers earn will be spent and taxed in Illinois-- not Wisconsin.

Therefore, if we give Foxconn the benefit of the doubt and assume that all 13,000 jobs will be filled, that's 4,333 jobs for Illinois without spending a dime.





Dana Wachs throws hat into the ring

Dana Wachs has officially announced that he is running for governor. I thought that perhaps Dana was serious about this once he announced that his law firm had merged with another firm, freeing him up to take a leave from his firm. This is now what is happening. Dana would be a great governor, and I find myself in the unaccustomed position of having two people who I count as friends potentially running for governor, and tilting the political center of the state much more seriously toward the left coast.

I am excited to see Dana running, but I find myself a little torn in that I'm not at all sure how I will feel in the primary if both Dana Wachs and Kathleen Vinehout end up running. 





Anti-Foxconn FB Site Delivers News on the Fox Con

Led by social media such as Facebook, Wisconsin's political culture supports a ready resistance to Foxconn.

On August 4, scholar-activist Allen Ruff created the Facebook group site, Say No to the Fox Con, quickly gathering 150-plus members, expected to balloon to 1,000s by the end of next week as a "clearing house for critical news and views, primarily articles to inform and educate opposition to the construction of a Foxconn factory in Wisconsin. Pieces regarding the impact on the environment, accounts of the firm's operations elsewhere, and analyses of other effects and 'externalities' not offered up by backers."

Gov. Scott Walker has called a for a special legislative session to push the tax-water-sand give-away through in August before citizens begin focusing on the scam, (Fortune), intended in part to reelect Gov. Jobs Failure who counts on Wisconsinites too discouraged to effectively oppose his regime.





Foxconn hearing buries the public

We've been seeing more and more of this throughout the Walker administration - Public hearings that really don't qualify as public hearings. Yesterday's Foxconn bill public hearing was, as is typical now, stacked. Invited spearkers (meaning those in favor of the bill) spoke for eight hours, from 1:30 to 9:30, and then the public was allowed to testify.

By that point, of course, most of the public had gotten the message, thrown up their hands, and had gone home. Exactly the intended effect. These are not public hearings, they are GOP press conferences with a few questions from the public tacked on to the end.





"Gold Standard" QCEW Report: Since Walker Took Office, WI Has Lost 240 Manufacturing Establishments

Both Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker were elected in 2010.

Both have made restoring a manufacturing base in their states their stated top priority and in the name of this priority have severely weakened worker, environmental and consumer rights to get there. 

Both have at least one "safety glasses" photo op in a manufacturing plant at least once a week.





Break-Neck into Wisconn Valley

Here we go again - emergency legislation for something that really requires some thought - or at least reading the bill. The Governor has ordered up a special legislative session tomorrow morning to consider the "Foxconn Bill" to offer money, tax breaks, and the ability to run over the environent in Southeast Wisconsin.  Somewhere. We'll figure out all that stuff later, the important thing is to hand everything we can over to Foxconn so we can serve them better. 





Foxconn: The Hype and the Small Print

By

Senator Kathleen Vinehout

 

Great News! A big tech company called Foxconn is coming to southeast Wisconsin and bringing with it a lot of new jobs. The new company will build a big factory and make flat screens for computers.

 

The Governor tells us the company will create 13,000 jobs that pay nearly $54,000. Other businesses will benefit because the company will buy things from Wisconsin businesses.

 

But, as Paul Harvey used to say, “Here’s the Rest of the Story.”

 





Foxconn, Waker, Trump to announce plant

All of Wisconsin is apparently agog over the Foxconn plant announcement that is coming this afternoon. Still, color me skeptical. Rumors are that Wisconsin is offering a huge tax break to Foxconn in return for building the plant, and the state has certainly paved the way by stomping on unions and generally making the living wage a past dream, something that Foxconn is certainly going to appreciate. But rumors abound that the state is offering somewhere between $100,000 and $300,000 per job in tax "bounty" for the plant. I'm not sure that the state will be able to actually agree to pony up a tax break that big, particularly in view of the current inability to pass a state budget even without the complication of a huge tax break for business.





Health Care: Steps Toward the Future

By

Senator Kathleen Vinehout

 

An older man contacted me recently with a problem. A visit to the doctor left him with thousands in unpaid bills. Medicare deemed the tests “routine” and not a “medical necessity.” But the gentleman was told, for his occupation, the tests were absolutely necessary.

 

He was left with a medical bill costing more than his 2017 income.

 

The top-notch staff at the Department of Health Services (DHS), discovered the man was likely eligible for Medicaid. But the man wasn’t interested.

 





Legislature about to announce budget details

A press conference is being held to announce information on the Senate's verrsion of the state budget.  Live on Wiseye's Facebook page.    -- looks about ready to start.





Talk Is All Health Care at the Art Fair

By

Senator Kathleen Vinehout

“My father-in-law is losing his health insurance,” Pam told me. She stopped to chat as we perused the booths at the Stockholm Art Fair.

Stockholm, population 66, has one of the best art fairs in western Wisconsin. Judging by the license plates, the fair is high on the list for Minnesotans too.





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