Wednesday August 23, 2017

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State and Local
Industry Groups Want To Restore Recycling Funding to Budget PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by GBP Staff   
Tuesday, 31 March 2015 10:08

lake-michigan-shoreMADISON - Wisconsin’s four solid waste and recycling professional organizations a letter to Gov. Scott Walker last week detailing their collective opposition to cuts to Wisconsin’s recycling program and waste reduction/recycling research. The programs in question are all funded by the $7 per ton Recycling Fee charged at Wisconsin landfills.

The four groups are the Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin (AROW), Council on Recycling, Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) – Badger Chapter, and the Wisconsin Counties Solid Waste Managers Association.

The groups want the Governor and his Republican legislative allies to reconsider the following reductions or eliminations in funding from the Environmental Management Account:

  • Reduction in Recycling Grants Available to Local Governments ($4 million)
  • Elimination in funding for UW Extension Solid & Hazardous Waste Education Center (SHWEC) ($394,100)
  • Elimination in funding for UW Solid Waste Research & Experiments ($156,100)

The groups maintain that the cuts proposed will not save Wisconsin any money and may in fact cost the state an estimated $6 billion from the positive economic impact of recycling. When recycling is successful and sustainable, we all benefit from the jobs created, products made from recyclables and water and energy saved.

A complete copy of their letter can be viewed here.

Details Buried Deep in Budget Affect Students and Voters PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
Monday, 30 March 2015 14:51

UWThis week, Sen. Kathleen Vinehout writes about details in Governor Walkers’s budget bill that include Wisconsin-Minnesota Tuition Reciprocity, the Educational Approval Board and the Government Accountability Board. She believes these provisions should be removed from the budget bill and deliberated publicly on their merits.

Secret $1.5 million Donation from Wisconsin Billionaire Menard Uncovered in Scott Walker Probe PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by GBP Staff   
Saturday, 28 March 2015 11:18


John Menard Jr., the staunchly conservative 75-year-old billionaire who owns a chain of hardware stores throughout the Midwest, wrote checks to the pro-Walker political advocacy group Wisconsin Club for Growth (WCFG). Menard’s company has been awarded up to $1.8 million in tax credits from a state economic development corporation that Walker chairs.

MADISON - According to Michael Isikoff in Yahoo Politics, John Menard Jr., the staunchly conservative 75-year-old billionaire who owns a highly profitable chain of hardware stores throughout the Midwest, wrote more than $1.5 million in checks to the pro-Walker political advocacy group Wisconsin Club for Growth (WCFG).

Wisconsin Club for Growth spent heavily to defend Walker during a bitter 2012 recall election and has pledged to keep its donors secret.

Menard’s investments, plus a previously unreported six-figure contribution to the WCFG, seem to have paid off. In the past two years, Menard’s company has been awarded up to $1.8 million in special tax credits from a state economic development corporation that Walker chairs, according to state records.

“This, in a nutshell, is what’s wrong with the dark-money world we live in,” said Bill Allison, senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based based nonprofit group that tracks the influence of money in politics. “Here’s somebody who obviously has issues before the state, and he’s able to make a backdoor contribution that nobody ever sees."

Laurel Patrick, Walker’s press secretary, strongly denied that the governor had provided any special favors for Menard and said Walker was “not involved” in the decision to award his firm tax credits, which were approved by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Patrick declined, however, to respond to any questions about the Menard contributions. Citing a “pending legal” investigation into Wisconsin Club for Growth fundraising that will be argued next month before the state Supreme Court.

Wisconsin Republicans Plan to Raise Property Taxes by $270 Million PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Melissa Baldauff   
Thursday, 26 March 2015 16:25

senateWisconsin homeowners would take hit from GOP business tax cut.

MADISON - With Scott Walker barely to be seen in Wisconsin as he campaigns for president around the country, his Republican Party is introducing a proposal that would increase property taxes on Wisconsin homeowners by $270 million per year.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the Republican bill eliminates the business equipment tax and, in order to recover the lost revenue, localities would have to shift the burden to Wisconsin homeowners. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau reports that taxes for the average Wisconsin home would increase by 2.7 percent, or $80, to maintain services. Statewide, the increase would total $270 million per year. The Wisconsin Realtors Association, the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, and the Wisconsin Counties Association are all opposing the bill.

Walker's "Iowa Caucus Budget" already has enough bad news for middle class Wisconsin families -- it raises taxes and fees by $48 million, guts the University of Wisconsin System and K-12 public education, borrows nearly a billion dollars while delaying $100 million in debt repayment, and slashes funding for critical healthcare programs like SeniorCare and IRIS.

And those attacks on the middle class couldn't come at a worse time. Under largely Republican leadership, Wisconsin has seen the largest decline in the percentage of families considered "middle class" since 2000. A report released last week by the Pew Charitable Trust shows that Wisconsin's median household income has fallen by 14.7 percent since 2000, the worst drop of any state and more than double the average decline nationally. In 2000, Wisconsin incomes were well above the national average but are now well below.

The Capital Times reports that, in addition to the falling incomes, "many Wisconsinites are now paying a higher percentage of their income to cover housing costs. In 2000, only 24 percent of state families were spending more than the 30 percent of their income on rent or a mortgage but that has increased to 31 percent."

"Wisconsin's middle class is faring worse than in any other state, yet Scott Walker and his Republican Party want to shift even more of the tax burden onto working Wisconsin families while slashing funding for programs critical to helping Wisconsinites get into and stay in the middle class," Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Tuesday. "We know that Scott Walker is done with Wisconsin, but Wisconsin Republicans still have a chance to do what's best for working Wisconsin families and not Scott Walker's presidential campaign."

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