Archives for posts with tag: ethics issues

Today’s news summary will be a bit harried, as I have a pint of Guinness waiting for me in a darkened pub.  As always, an archive of news clips related to Fitzwalkerstan is available on my “Save the State” page. Here are today’s highlights:

1. Governor Walker will balance his budget on the back of poor sick people

In light of the centuries of oppression and poverty endured by the Irish, today is as good as any to point out that Governor Walker’s budget will do the most harm to the most vulnerable in our community.  They will see tax increases, decreases in education and training funding, healthcare cuts and possibly death. That’s not an exaggeration, read my full post on it.   But, hey, at least the state will have more funding for their funerals!

2. More lawsuits, more ethics inquiries

Today, local activist Ben Masel filed a lawsuit regarding the constitutionality of the state’s new event permitting process at the Capitol. Yes, he’s a marijuana activist, but in Madison our marijuana activists are informed and they know the law.

Also the Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Board over Governor Walker’s meeting with a national republican pollster at the State Capitol.

3. Governor Walker and Wisconsin GOP leaders went to D.C. for a political payoff after “winning” against unions

Just in case you thought the republicans’ policies were based on doing what they think is best from Wisconsin, Governor Walker and the state GOP leadership went out to D.C. last night to receive a massive payout from Washington-based lobbyists and other corporate donors as a thank-you for ramming through Governor Walker’s anti-worker legislation last week. Amazingly, some in the GOP refrained from this payday, which could be a signal that some republicans actually care what people in Wisconsin think about them. From the Capital Times:

Absent from the gathering were the other 16 Republican state senators, including Senate President Mike Ellis, who took the lead in forcing majority leader Fitzgerald to back off his attempt to deny Democratic senators the vote. Capitol aides say that Ellis and a number of other senior senators have grown increasingly ill at ease with Fitzgerald’s erratic behavior and with his inability to recognize the damage that could be done to Republicans by flying into Washington to pick up corporate money in return for passing Walker’s plan.

“There’s just no way to spin this as a positive,” said one aide, who suggested that Ellis would look “like a bagman.”

(Notably, Congressman Sean Duffy, a Republican from northern Wisconsin, contacted media outlets to emphasize that he had not been invited to the event and would not be attending.)

As with anything Governor Walker does lately, there was a large protest outside the D.C.  fundraiser.  Visit dane101 for some some great pictures.

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Now that Wisconsin news outlets are shifting back and forth between news of Governor Walker’s anti-worker law, news of his budget proposals and news of elections and recall efforts, I plan to pull together short daily news summaries of keys news items from each day.  As I do almost every day, I will also log all news articles, editorials and other resources in my “Save the State” page for later reference.  I hope you find these resources helpful, but if you have any suggestions to make these pages more meaningful, don’t hesitate to send me an email at duchessofstubb at gmail dot com.

Here are Wednesday’s reasons why Scott Walker and the republican leadership are bad for Wisconsin:

1. School cuts to most districts, except wealthy suburbs of Milwaukee:

That’s right, according to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s analysis, under the formula used by the Governor’s office for his proposed cuts, some of the least-needy districts in the state will avoid any cuts whatsoever.  From the Journal Sentinel:

The Dover School District in Racine County would be the biggest winner in the state with a 17.5% increase. Other local districts that would have gained state aid and their percentages are: Fox Point (4.6%), Mequon-Thiensville (3.2%), Nicolet (2.9%), Pewaukee (7.4%) and Stone Bank (0.7%).

Meanwhile, Milwaukee Public Schools would have seen its aid decrease by 8% and a large number of other school districts would have lost 10% or more of their aid.

Even if your child happens to attend one of the few districts benefiting from this formula, does this seem like a very logical or equitable way to “share sacrifices”? The Governor  gave a news conference today where he touted that districts can off-set his cuts by cutting 10% from their employees’ pay (By the way, this is pretty much the ONLY way districts are allowed to offset these cuts. So much for local control, right). But this was widely disputed by many of the school district representatives who were at the Capitol today but were not allowed to attend the press conference because they would draw attention to the fact that our Governor pretty much lies or misleads any time he opens his mouth.

2. Lawsuits, Lawsuits, and other questionable ethics:

Today Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne filed a civil lawsuit to void Walker’s anti-worker legislation because it was passed illegally in a committee in which republican members knowingly violated state public meeting laws.  There will be a hearing on this lawsuit tomorrow before a Dane County judge.  According to the Journal Sentinel, this judge will on Friday also hear a different lawsuit filed against the Governor by Dane County.

Meanwhile Governor Walker today was forced to settle a joint lawsuit filed by the Isthmus and Associated Press for failing to respond to their public records requests.  Under the settlement Governor Walker will produce the requested records on a CD (so the news organizations are not burdened by printing costs) and will also pay  for the legal fees incurred by the news organizations.  (Actually, the state will pay the legal fees on the Governor’s behalf.)

Finally, Democratic Senators Pocan and Risser today were forced to boycott a different public meeting held by the republican leadership because it was not fully accessible to the public.  The governor claimed afterwards that meeting was fully open, even though key members of the public were not allowed access.

3. Terrible leadership, anti-worker laws causing a massive wave of public service retirements

The Capital Times and Wisconsin State Journal ran similar pieces today on the high amount of public employees retiring because of Governor Walker’s anti-worker measures.  Although the retirements might allow some younger employees to enter the workforce, the sheer amount of retirements will result in a massive  amount of brain-drain in a number of key issue areas.  From the Capital Times:

Despite these short-term assurances, it’s clear from interviews with public employees that the potential for losing benefits in the near future looms large and is one motivation for those heading for the doors. Others are leaving because they are tired of feeling like they have a “target on their backs,” as one put it, and oppose the cuts they fear will hurt the citizens they serve.

As seasoned workers leave, people inside and outside of state government worry about a loss of institutional experience and memory.

The DNR’s Lathrop, for instance, will be hard, if not impossible, to replace, colleagues say.

“Dick is the ‘go-to’ guy regarding lake issues in Wisconsin,” says Ken Potter of the UW-Madison’s department of civil & environmental engineering. “His early retirement is a great loss to the DNR, the University of Wisconsin and the people of Wisconsin.”

From the stories it sounds like many older workers are retiring because the worry about their ability to maintain benefits they planned to retire on.  Others, also feel pushed to retire because programs they helped develop are being undermined or even dismantled by the Walker administration.  One such program is Family Care, which uses innovative approaches to treatments and nursing care to keep adults out of nursing homes.  The program actually saves the state money, but that hasn’t stopped the Walker administration from proposing an eligibility cap that will force people into costly nursing home care.

If you were a public worker who had spent 20 years building a program to cut down on costs and improve services to Wisconsinites, would you want to stick around and watch it fall apart? In addition, losing people who can properly administer public service programs is just another blow to low-income working families in our community.  To learn more, the Wisconsin Council on Children & Families recently released this damning analysis of the effects that Governor Walker’s proposals will have on working families.

People, when are we ready to say that enough is enough?