Friday June 23, 2017

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Republicans Rush Voucher Bill through Education Committee PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Wisconsin Senate Democrats   
Friday, 09 June 2017 21:10

school-bus-kidsOne day’s notice is slap in the face to concerned tax payers, as bill is pushed through committee.


MADISON - Our public dollars are being spent on unproven, profit-motivated voucher schools. It is a slap in the face to Wisconsinites whose hard-earned tax dollars are funding these unaccountable schemes to have one day’s notice on a bill that directly impacts the way their public investments are being spent.

The State Legislature should be having conversations about the current state budget or at the least closing the $1000 per student deficit Republicans created between public and for-profit voucher schools. Instead of working to complete the budget, today committee members met to fix past details that were pushed through by voucher school lobbyists during prior budget cycles.

*****

This statement on the rush to pass Senate Bill 293 out of the Senate Committee on Education was offered by Senators Chris Larson and Janet Bewley.

 
Conservationists to Welcome Acclaimed Activist, Honor Simpson Street Free Press PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Conservation Voters, Ryan Billingham   
Wednesday, 07 June 2017 15:44

lennox-yearwoodWill honor Reverend “The Rev” Lennox Yearwood’s innovative climate and clean energy work on Thursday, June 8.


MADISON – On Thursday, June 8, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters will celebrate its 15th Anniversary and host one of the most inspiring conservation events of the year, featuring Reverend Lennox Yearwood, President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus.

Called one of our country’s “New Green Heroes” by Rolling Stone and named as one of the Top 10 Change Makers in the green movement by Huffington Post, Reverend “The Rev” Yearwood’s innovative climate and clean energy work has garnered the Hip Hop Caucus support from Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, League of Conservation Voters, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, and Bill McKibben’s 350.org.

The event – “Revvin’ it up For Conservation!” – will include a special award ceremony honoring the work of the Simpson Street Free Press – an after school program that grows writing and critical thinking skills and builds community advocates. The Simpson Street Free Press will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year.

Media is invited to a private VIP hour and media event at 4:30 p.m., before the 5:30 p.m. event program for interviews and photographs with Rev. Yearwood and the Simpson Street Free Press student editors.

Visuals
Access to Rev. Yearwood Jr. for interviews, the youth editors of Simpson Street Free Press, and a sold out crowd at the Goodman Community Center.

Media liaison
Ryan Billingham, communications director, will assist media with interview requests, set-up, and media packets will be available. Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Kerry Schumann will also be available for interviews.

Contact Ryan Billingham, Communications Director, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, 608-208-1129 (office) 608-213-6972 (mobile or text) or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more details.

# # #

Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to electing conservation leaders, holding decision makers accountable, and encouraging lawmakers to champion conservation policies that effectively protect Wisconsin's public health and natural resources.

You can follow legislation impacting natural resources on our Conservation Vote Tracker, a real-time accountability tool that provides you with a complete picture of what conservation issues are in play and how legislators are performing: conservationvoters.org/vote-tracker.

 
Walker's Failed Leadership Created Budget Impasse PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby   
Wednesday, 07 June 2017 15:31

walker-senateRepublicans would rather bicker over how to erode opportunity than work with Democrats to rebuild a fair and vibrant economy in Wisconsin.


MADISON - Amid the near day-to-day chaos of the 2017-19 state budget process, it's clear that Republicans don’t have any ideas to create more opportunity for hard-working families in communities across Wisconsin to get ahead.

Instead of bringing more ideas to the table, Republicans would rather bicker over how to erode opportunity than work with Democrats to rebuild a fair and vibrant economy in Wisconsin. Who's to blame? The two biggest newspapers in the state say Gov. Scott Walker's failed leadership is to blame for the current budget impasse.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial: Legislature and governor need to find common ground on the state budget
"Sadly, Republicans can’t look to the governor for help, or even a reasonable long-term plan. He would borrow more and put off some necessary major projects, such as improving the I-94 East-West Corridor through Milwaukee. That simply wastes money and kicks the can down the proverbial road to future generations. It’s unfair to them and it’s unfair to the businesses looking for a reliable transportation network to grow the economy.

"Walker needs to take off his blinders and recognize the severity of the problem. And he needs to sit down and come to terms with Vos and Fitzgerald on a solution that can meet long-term needs.

"Republicans do have urgent work to do on this budget beyond transportation, including funding for rural schools. They need to show voters that they can do their jobs in a timely manner. Failure will leave the state a lot more than a day late and a dollar short."

Wisconsin State Journal Editorial: Get roads done with real money
"But what the governor failed to acknowledge at his press conference Monday is he is the biggest reason so many projects are falling behind. Gov. Walker has repeatedly failed to support a sustainable transportation funding system. He wants to borrow half a billion dollars in his latest state budget request, rather than raising long-stagnant fees on drivers to bring in real money.

"The Legislature shouldn’t allow the governor to continue pushing highway costs into the future. Lawmakers should insist on more revenue and less borrowing in ongoing state budget negotiations."

martha-laning"Democrats know that working families in Wisconsin deserve leaders who will increase opportunities to achieve the American Dream, " Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning said on Wednesday. "The two largest papers in the state can see that Governor Scott Walker and legislative Republicans are standing in the way of progress for working families in our state. After six years of the same failed policies, it's time for a change. Democrats are ready and willing to work with Republicans to create economic security for hard-working families. Wisconsinites deserve progressive leadership that will prioritize creating a fair economy that works for us all and provides economic opportunity for every community in our state."

 
6 Years of Walker & Wisconsin is Lagging Behind PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Assembly Democrats   
Wednesday, 07 June 2017 13:26

walkerFrom job creation to road quality, Wisconsin is weaker under Republican leadership then other Midwestern States.


MADISON - New state rankings released today reveal that Wisconsin is lagging behind other Midwestern states for job creation. In 2016, Wisconsin lost nearly 4,000 manufacturing jobs and created 10,000 fewer jobs than in previous years. That made 2016 the worst year for job creation since the great recession in 2009.

Wisconsin was 33rd for job creation in 2016. Since Gov. Walker took office, Wisconsin has continually underperformed its neighboring states for job creation. From 2011 to 2016, only Iowa was worse for job creation. Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota outperformed Wisconsin during Walker’s tenure.

The jobs report also revealed lower wages for Wisconsin workers. The average Wisconsin worker in the private sector earned $624 less in 2016 than in 2015 based on reported fourth-quarter earnings. Manufacturing workers saw an average decrease in annual pay of $2,652 a year also based on fourth-quarter earnings.

peter_barca“When I look at this report, I’m astonished that Gov. Walker doesn’t see how desperately we need to work together to create an economy that works for everyone. This report shows that Wisconsin is still in the bottom third in the nation for job creation. We’ve lost nearly 4,000 manufacturing jobs. We’re dead last in the nation for entrepreneurship. Wages are falling at a time when they should be rising,” said Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca. “Weeks ago, I called for Gov. Walker to ask the legislature for a special session to address these challenges, but the governor did nothing. I don’t understand how Walker and the Republican legislature can look at these facts and praise each other for their successes. It’s time for a bold plan to jumpstart the economy.”

While Gov. Walker touts low unemployment rates, his data neglects to consider individuals who have dropped out of the job market and residents who have left Wisconsin for work in other states.

Wisconsin has fallen behind neighboring states on a number of measures, including:

  • Wisconsin has some of the worst roads in the nation. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation said roads have gotten worse since Walker has been in office from 2010 to 2015.[1]
  • Wisconsin has risen to fifth highest in the nation in the percentage of college graduates with student loan debt according to the Institute for College Access and Success.[2]
  • Wisconsin is dead last in start-up activity according to the Kauffman Index.[3]
  • Wisconsin also continues to lose residents to other states. In 2015, Wisconsin lost more than 15,000 residents to out-migration.[4]

****

Olivia Hwang contributed this story.

 
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