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Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive

Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive

Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive. Before moving to Green Bay in 2008, he was the Assistant Director of Human Resources for Milwaukee County. A graduate of UWM in 1971, he moved to Madison, where he was Executive Personnel Officer and Technology Manager for the State Department of Employment Relations. He is a former Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Brown County, Director at the Human Resources Management Association of S.E. Wisconsin (now SHRM), and Technology Commission Chair for the City of Franklin. Bob is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force (1965-1971).

Hansen Says Governor’s Admission of Outsourcing Problems at WEDC is Not Enough

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 02 May 2015
in Wisconsin

walker-no-jobsMADISON - On Thursday, Governor Scott Walker told WKOW TV 27 Madison that he was open to more sanctions against companies that take state job creation money and then outsource Wisconsin jobs.

This is a major reversal for the Walker, whose administration has repeatedly denied claims by Citizen Action of Wisconsin and others that it is still perfectly legal for companies to outsource and to also receive large grants, loans, and tax credits from the Governor’s jobs agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

Walker's admission followed an announcement last Wednesday by Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay), who said he was drafting an outsourcing accountability bill. Senator Hansen’s bill bans companies who receive public economic development money and then outsource jobs from state aid for a period of five years.

dave-hansen-gbIn a statement released Friday, Sen. Hansen acknowledged Gov. Walker’s admission of outsourcing problems at WEDC. Hansen said:

“It is heartening to hear the Governor admit there are problems with businesses applying for and receiving tax payer assistance from WEDC on the promise they will create jobs here in Wisconsin only to turn around and send Wisconsin jobs to foreign countries or other states."

However, it is clear that Sen. Hansen believes Walker's admission of problems at the WEDC last week is too little, too late for the troubled agency.

"Governor Walker and WEDC officials acknowledged the outsourcing problem last summer yet so far they have made little if any effort to stop it. In addition to paying back the tax dollars they received, businesses that commit this kind of fraud should be banned from receiving any taxpayer assistance for a minimum of five years," Hanson said.

Walker's plan of re-branding WEDC under a new name and merging it with WHEDA will not be enough, says Hansen, to make taxpayers forget about the disaster that WEDC has proven to be or stop the continued use of tax dollars to help companies ship their jobs overseas.

Hansen concludes Walker's plan does not "provide much hope that such a move will solve WEDC’s problems rather than hurt WHEDA. Without fundamental changes that put safeguarding the taxpayer’s money first and foremost the merger between WEDC and WHEDA is bound to fail.”

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Hansen to Introduce Legislation Banning State Taxpayer Money to Companies That Outsource Jobs

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 29 April 2015
in Wisconsin

dave-hansen-gbGreen Bay's Senator is drafting legislation to ban companies that outsource jobs from receiving taxpayer assistance for five years. Recent news reports show outsourcing continues while number of delinquent loans has tripled.


MADISON - State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) announced today that he is drafting legislation to ban companies from receiving taxpayer assistance for five years if they are found to have outsourced jobs from Wisconsin after receiving state aid.

“We are seeing all too often under WEDC cases where companies have received help from state taxpayers for the purpose of creating jobs only to send Wisconsin jobs out of state or overseas while state officials appear to ignore it or look the other way,” said Hansen.

Corporations taking state tax dollars intended for job creation only to layoff Wisconsin workers in favor of lower cost labor in other countries are becoming an increasing problem. According to Channel 27 News in Madison outsourcing by Eaton Corporation is just the latest example:

“A global power systems management corporation that has received nearly $370,000 in tax incentives from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) since 2012 is shipping jobs from Wisconsin to Mexico for the second time in three years.

Eaton Corp. announced last week it is permanently discontinuing the manufacture ofprinted circuit boards at its facility in Watertown, which will result in the elimination of 93 employees there.”

“When a corporation promises to create jobs here in order to receive $370,000 in taxpayer money and then actually eliminates jobs here and sends them to a foreign country one can only assume there is no fear they will be held accountable for their actions,” said Hansen.

Under Hansen’s bill any company that is found to have outsourced jobs from Wisconsin after receiving taxpayer funded assistance would be banned from applying for future taxpayer help for five years.

According to Hansen: “Protecting Wisconsin jobs requires more than lip service. There needs to be consequences for taking taxpayer money on the promise that you’re going to create jobs and then do the opposite. If we are going to hold people on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder accountable when they do not fulfill the responsibilities required of them to receive taxpayer help we should hold those at the top accountable as well.”

Governor Walker’s administration continues to struggle to meet his promise of creating 250,000 jobs amid reports that Wisconsin has fall to 38th in the nation for job creation and Wisconsin is on track to see its highest number of layoffs since Governor Walker first took office in 2011.

“Given the dismal performance of this administration you might think they would be taking a tougher stand on outsourcing. But given this latest report it appears to be business as usual—corporations taking taxpayer dollars while giving their jobs to foreign countries,” Hansen concludes.

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Author and Government Watchdog Launches New Citizen Movement

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 08 April 2015
in Wisconsin

Blue Jean NationMike McCabe, popular author of 'Blue Jeans in High Places' and former director of the nonpartisan watchdog group Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, starts Blue Jean Nation. ‘First-party’ effort addresses failing political system.


GREEN BAY - With the goal of getting regular people back in the driver’s seat of government at a time when democratic institutions are failing the country, a new citizen group called Blue Jean Nation announced its formation Tuesday.

“We aim to make a household for the politically homeless and in so doing transform parties that are failing us,” Blue Jean Nation founder Mike McCabe said. For 15 years McCabe headed the nonpartisan government watchdog group Wisconsin Democracy Campaign where he was among Wisconsin’s leading whistle blowers and the nation’s best political money trackers. Last year he authored the book Blue Jeans in High Places: The Coming Makeover of American Politics.

The new group starts with an organizing committee of citizens from all of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts and 19 different counties. The website BlueJeanNation.com is now live, as are social media accounts for the group on Facebook and Twitter.

“We are not starting a third party. We are neither elephant nor ass, but we recognize that America has a two-party system and we plan to work within that system to get the parties truly working for all of us and not just a favored few who are well connected politically,” McCabe said, describing Blue Jean Nation as a first-party movement.

“Our end goal is to make concern for the common good far less uncommon,” he said. “To reach that goal, we will work every day against political privilege.”

To accomplish its aims, Blue Jean Nation will engage in community outreach, civic education and engagement, grassroots organizing, and public policy advocacy and social action.

Read Blue Jean Nation's creed.

Take a look at the group's five aims.

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Plan to Eliminate SeniorCare is a Giveaway to Big Pharma

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 26 March 2015
in Wisconsin

dave-hansen-listeningGovernor Walker’s scheme would save big drug companies over $44 million dollars says Green Bay Senator Dave Hansen.


GREEN BAY - State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) today called Governor Scott Walker’s plan to eliminate the popular SeniorCare prescription drug plan a $44 million giveaway to the big drug companies at the expense of seniors’ health.

Over 80,000 Wisconsin citizens depend upon SeniorCare to help them afford their needed, and in many cases lifesaving, medication. The ability of the state to negotiate lower drug prices provides significant savings to both SeniorCare participants and taxpayers.

SeniorCare is able to provide needed prescription drugs at lower prices than the federal Medicare Part D plan because the state is able to use its buying power to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs. As a result, people who qualify for SeniorCare pay a small annual fee and low deductibles and co-pays compared to Medicare Part D which charges a monthly premium as well as deductibles and co-pays.

According to Hansen:

“SeniorCare is one of the most successful, bi-partisan plans approved in our state in recent history because it does exactly what it was intended to do: Help low income seniors afford their needed medication by negotiating the best deals with the drug companies."

However, thanks to Governor Walker and his desire to help his corporate friends SeniorCare is once again targeted for elimination.

“Because Governor Walker is more concerned with helping the pharmaceutical industry than doing what’s best for Wisconsin residents ... seniors could be forced to pay higher prices than they can afford,” said Hansen who voted to create SeniorCare.

The pharmaceutical industry has been a major source of support for Governor Walker and legislative Republicans. According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Eli Lilly alone has donated over $20,000 directly to Governor Walker and fellow Republicans not including any dark money contributions made to outside groups to support them.

Senator Hansen has said that despite support for the program voiced by some Republicans he remains concerned for the future of the program. Hansen said “Anything less than full restoration of SeniorCare in its present form is not acceptable.”

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Walker Signs So-Called 'Right to Work' Bill

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
User is currently offline
on Monday, 09 March 2015
in Wisconsin

walker-open-businessMADISON - This morning, Gov. Scott Walker, who in 2011 succeeded in slashing collective bargaining rights for most public sector workers, signed a private-sector right-to-work bill that makes Wisconsin the 25th state to adopt the policy and has given new momentum to the business-led movement.

For decades, low wage states across the South and Great Plains have enacted such policies, known as “right to work” even though the right to work has nothing to do with them. They really are simply designed to prevent organized labor from forcing all workers in a shop covered by their collective bargaining agreement to pay union dues or fair share fees.

Also for decades. the higher paid industrial Midwest has resisted. Those days are gone, as Wisconsin follows neighbors Michigan and Indiana. While it may take years before the full effect of the new law becomes apparent here, most expect it to weaken unions and drive down the wages of union employees.

"This freedom-to-work legislation will give workers the freedom to choose whether or not they want to join a union, and employers another compelling reason to consider expanding or moving their business to Wisconsin," Walker said in regard to the signing, even though there is little evidence that either claim is true.

Walker’s real motivation is much more likely about politics than job creation: breaking a dwindling union movement in Wisconsin and boosting his standing as the conservative choice for the Republican presidential nomination next year. In the long run, the new laws throughout the region are intended to help Republicans build a favorable electoral map for 2016, by weakening the labor groups that have traditionally provided muscle and money to Democratic candidates in crucial swing states.

So the political ambitions of Scott Walker and his big business donors once again trump the interests of the people of Wisconsin, who still face a lagging economy and a $2.2 billion state budget deficit. Only time will tell how the events of the last two weeks will affect Walker's electability.

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