Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The game is rigged

By Bill Kraus

The massively anti-government 2015 state government budget is almost law.

It is hard to find anyone who isn’t offended by something in this radical document.

The losers range from the entire education establishment where the iconic UW system took a large hit and the vaunted public education apparatus got a combination of competition and less money down to the people who wanted to cross some railroad tracks to get to their favorite fishing hole.

I asked the then Secretary of the Department of Administration Mike Heubsch whether there had been any pushback from the legislature. This was early. He said “no.”

This changed somewhat as the budget worked its way through the Joint Finance Committee and the individual legislators began to hear from their constituents about the harm being done to traditional Wisconsin institutions and values.

Monday, June 15, 2015

It's all about the money, stupid

By Bill Kraus

Former Governor Lee Dreyfus’s golden rule for politics: Those who have the gold make the rules.

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign recently published a list of the top “rule makers” in Wisconsin over the last 4 1/2 years. In total this group contributed $116,671,117 during that period to advance their interests by promoting ideas and candidates or by criticizing opposing ideas and candidates.

Many of the groups' interests are obvious. The state’s largest business organization is on the list. It doesn’t represent all the state’s businesses or even all of its own members, but it isn’t required to disclose which businesses contributed to its political communications. The National Rifle Association is, surprisingly, on the list. Who knew they needed to spend money to get their way?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

On Wisconsin?

By Bill Kraus


Jay Heck’s release opened with the following paragraph:

Democracy is in dire trouble when voters in a state have only one in ten state legislative districts that are even remotely competitive in a general election. Wisconsin was such a state in 2014. CC/WI conducted an analysis of last Fall's general election results, identifying the State Senate and State Assembly districts in which voters had a real choice that wasn't already preordained by the 2011 redistricting process.
A day later Speaker Vos told a Milwaukee talk radio host that a bill won’t be passed because “a lot of folks in vulnerable districts” are worried about a backlash.

At an earlier WisPolitics forum Majority Leader Fitzgerald responded to a question on the same point made by Jay Heck by saying the redistricting system was working fine.

Any hope of getting a hearing on a redistricting reform bill by a legislature controlled by Speaker Vos and Majority Leader is going to get past these two delusions.

There is no public outcry.

The editorials in all 19 of the state’s daily newspapers have fallen on deaf ears.

The governor is in Israel.

The SuperPacs and other sources of large political contributions are investing in things like defunding “government schools” and changing the constitution to unseat a sitting chief justice of the state supreme court.

On Wisconsin?

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