Monthly Archives: April 2011

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Bill affects more than voter ID

Absentee ballots limited, primary date moved in new GOP version

April 26, 2011- The latest version of a bill requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls would make sweeping changes to Wisconsin elections - moving the September primary to August, tightening rules on absentee ballots and ending straight-ticket voting.

A hearing on the bill is slated for 10 a.m. Wednesday, and Republicans who run the Assembly will meet in private later in the day to discuss any changes to the measure.

Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) said his caucus is largely behind the latest version by Rep. Jeff Stone (R-Greendale), but may want to tweak it. He said he hopes to pass the bill in May and forward it to the Senate.

Stone's bill leaves in place the ability of people to register at the polls. Some Republicans have wanted to eliminate election-day registration, but Stone said he did not believe they needed to take that step.

"This is going to go a long way to restoring confidence in elections," Stone said of his bill.

Buzzflash: Tea Party Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Adopts Soviet-style Authoritarian Powers Over Michigan Cities

April 16, 2011- We talked about Scott Walker's Orwellian rhetoric yesterday, but Michigan Tea Party Gov. Rick Snyder leaves Walker in the dust when it comes to turning the book "1984" into a reality.

Snyder recently signed a bill that gives him powers to unilaterally take over local governments by appointing "emergency financial managers" with near absolute powers to supersede decisions made by democratically elected officials.

If this strikes some as an example of the type of governmental tyranny that the Tea Party deplored (but never existed before in a state as far as we know), that is because it is.

The Tea Party - and the Republican Party - have shouted to the rooftops that local government and individual liberties are the true "patriotic" freedoms in America.

Yet, they elect a governor in Michigan who - as one of his first pieces of legislation - empowers himself to take those rights away, nullifying the will of the voters in a given town or city.

Think Progress: After Pledging To Not Raise Taxes, Walker Proposes Hiking Taxes And Fees On The Poor And Students

April 16, 2011- One of the most important ideological commitments of the modern conservative movement is an opposition to tax increases. It is with this ideology that then-Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker signed Americans For Tax Reforms’ “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” a vow not to raise taxes on the people of his state.

Yet in his newly proposed budget, now-governor Walker appears to have already broken this pledge. While the budget would lower taxes overall — it includes $83.3 million in tax cuts “primarily for businesses and investors” — it would make up for lost revenue by eliminating tax credits and exemptions that primarily benefit the poor and even some in the middle class.

Wisconsin’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau — the state’s equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office — finds that this would amount to a $49.9 million tax increase on people who receive these credits over the next two years:

AP: Super rich see federal taxes drop dramatically

April 17, 2011- As millions of procrastinators scramble to meet Monday's tax filing deadline, ponder this: The super rich pay a lot less taxes than they did a couple of decades ago, and nearly half of U.S. households pay no income taxes at all.

The Internal Revenue Service tracks the tax returns with the 400 highest adjusted gross incomes each year. The average income on those returns in 2007, the latest year for IRS data, was nearly $345 million. Their average federal income tax rate was 17 percent, down from 26 percent in 1992.

Over the same period, the average federal income tax rate for all taxpayers declined to 9.3 percent from 9.9 percent.

The top income tax rate is 35 percent, so how can people who make so much pay so little in taxes? The nation's tax laws are packed with breaks for people at every income level. There are breaks for having children, paying a mortgage, going to college, and even for paying other taxes. Plus, the top rate on capital gains is only 15 percent.

Forbes: Gov. Scott Walker Reportedly Planning Financial Martial Law In Wisconsin

April 16, 2011- A well known political player in Wisconsin, Ed Garvey, is reporting that Scott Walker is now preparing his next assault on the democratic political process in the State of Wisconsin.

Following the lead of Michigan GOP Governor Rick Snyder, Walker is said to be preparing a plan that would allow him to force local governments to submit to a financial stress test with an eye towards permitting the governor to take over municipalities that fail to meet with Walker’s approval.

According to the reports, should a locality’s financial position come up short, the Walker legislation would empower the governor to insert a financial manager of his choosing into local government with the ability to cancel union contracts, push aside duly elected local government officials and school board members and take control of Wisconsin cities and towns whenever he sees fit to do so.

Such a law would additionally give Walker unchallenged power to end municipal services of which he disapproves, including safety net assistance to those in need.

Forbes: More Questions Of Koch Brothers’ Fingers In Scott Walker’s Wisconsin Pie As ‘Jason’ Identity Revealed?

April 22, 2011- In the piece posted here on Wednesday entitled, “What Is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Not Telling Us About Financial Stress Test Legislation”, I recounted the story of a Wisconsin private security guard, Lance Gosnell, who claims to have overheard a conversation involving a gentleman Gosnell believes to be Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald. The alleged conversation took place on an elevator in the State Capital building.

According to Mr. Gosnell, he listened as the parties discussed the blog posted by Wisconsin Democratic political player and one time gubernatorial candidate, Ed Garvey, suggesting that Gov. Walker might be planning to introduce emergency financial legislation – something Walker has emphatically denied.

During the conversation, one of the parties speculated as to whether “Jason” might have been responsible for the leak(s) that gave life to the story.

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