MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin Assembly Republicans are considering an increase in their expense reimbursements for their food and lodging when they work in Madison.
Majority Leader Scott Suder of Abbotsford says it’s a logical thing to do, because hotel prices have gone up.
The Assembly’s incoming speaker, Racine County Republican Robin Vos, says he’s open to raising the per-diem reimbursements, since they have not gone up in about a decade. But Vos said the Assembly would have to cut other spending elsewhere, so taxpayers are not shelling out extra.
Right now, lawmakers in both houses get $88 a day to cover their meals and hotels when in Madison. Dane County lawmakers get half that much, because they live in or near the Capital City.
At a time when the economy is still hurting, too many people are out of work, taxes are still too high, and we just went through this massive effort to have government employees contribute more for their benefits, it is inexcusable for politicians to jack up their own pay.
Wisconsin state-chartered banks grew earnings by 28 percent in the first nine months of the year, according to a news release from the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.
Earnings grew to $289.3 million through Sept. 30, the department reported using data released Tuesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Wisconsin banks also increased capital levels to 11.5 percent as of Sept. 30, up from 10.7 percent a year ago; reduced net charge-offs for delinquent loans to 0.9 percent, down from 1.4 percent a year ago; and reduced noncurrent loans to 2.7 percent, down from 3.6 percent a year ago
So, let’s get to the strategic level as Gov. Walker and our legislative leaders fashion a jobs policy for 2013 and beyond.
First, it’s not just about manufacturing. Except in Madison, that sector is ticking up. Great! But it is never going to be the job generator that it was before out-sourcing, lean disciplines and intense automation changed how manufacturing operates. We need to also concentrate on the other state clusters, such as finance, insurance, and information technology. We were in negative territory in those clusters in 2012. Other states are doing better.
Health care, business services and education are winners, too. Emerging sectors like fresh water technology, bio-technology and energy storage hold promise
Second, encourage entrepreneurship in every square inch of Wisconsin, whether it’s great entrepreneurs in the finance sector like Milwaukee’s Kellner, Strong, Nasgovitz, Nicholas, Ziegler and Byrnes or the many smaller shops that spun out of their successes. Ditto with IT and its innovators like Faulkner of Epic and its 6,000 jobs. Ditto with insurance, a longtime strength of the state that has slipped some in the last decade.
We are just scratching the surface of what this state could do if its entrepreneurs were unleashed.
The Goldwater Institute cites evidence that lower corporate and personal income rates help the level of entrepreneurship. Gov. Walker is astutely looking at lowering both in the next budget. Even small cuts would send a strong message about our business and entrepreneurial climate.
He could also jaw-bone our university foundations and the state’s pension fund to allocate more of their alternative investments to Wisconsin early stage funds. Tommy Thompson did just that when he was governor. The governor could create a fund of funds to match private funds raised for venture investments. Early stage capital formation is gaining headway across the state, but we have a long way to go to catch the leading states.
It’s interesting to see movement back to myspace
Today, I started using myspace, again.
While I didn’t think those words would ever come out of my mouth, I am finding that I really like the renewed site. The interface is refreshing and the design elements are superb. Yes, the site is still very band-oriented, but it feels less like a place for crappy cover bands to post their music and more like a mashup between Spotify and Twitter. In fact, I think I will be using myspace instead of Spotify for now on because the interface is super fast and it doesn’t slow my computer to a halt like Spotify tends to.
My column for the Daily News is online. My working title was “PETA is a PITA.” I guess my editor didn’t like that title
West Bend Daily News 12/04/2012, Page A06
‘Bad Dad’ for Ryan insanely misguided
PETA’s hypocrisy fully on display
Congressman Paul Ryan has had an interesting and exhausting year. After leading the charge for a sane federal budget in the House of Representatives for years, he was chosen to be the vice presidential running mate by Mitt Romney. From that moment it was endless politics and a brutal schedule. Then, on election day, it all ended when President Obama won and Ryan went back to being a Congressman from Wisconsin. I’m sure he was looking forward to a few quiet days before Congress reconvened, but I doubt that he anticipated being given a “Bad Dad Award.”
The award was bestowed upon Ryan by Ingrid Newkirk, the president of PETA, because Ryan engaged in that long-cherished tradition of taking his child hunting. Ryan and his 10-year-old daughter participated in the annual gun deer season and each harvested a buck. Newkirk chastised Ryan saying, “instead of teaching your young daughter respect for wildlife and encouraging her to embrace nonviolence, you gave her a gun and encouraged her to kill animals for fun.”
Before we get into the “substance” of Newkirk’s commentary, let us reflect a bit on the source. PETA is notorious for engaging in outlandish publicity stunts to highlight its cause, but it is also filled with true radicals like Newkirk. It was Newkirk who in 2003 wrote a letter to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to demand that he stop killing Jews with suicide bombs – strapped to donkeys. She had nothing to say about the people being slaughtered.
Furthermore, it should be noted that PETA is not above killing animals themselves. In fact, they regularly euthanize animals in their shelters when the population is too large, there isn’t enough room, or when animals are injured or diseased. They justify their hypocrisy on their own website by saying that killing animals “is not a solution to overpopulation but rather a tragic necessity.”
This brings us back to Newkirk’s commentary about Ryan taking his daughter hunting. There are two aspects to Newkirk’s positions that are ludicrous. The first is that deer hunting, in and of itself, is merely an exercise in “stealing their (the deer’s) very lives for nothing more than the perverse thrill of it.” The reality is that very few hunters do so for the “thrill of it.” They eat what they kill or donate the meat to organizations that feed hungry people. They enjoy being in nature, the camaraderie, the skills involved, the quiet, and generally enjoying the experience.
Furthermore, like PETA’s reason for killing animals, the deer harvest serves the very critical purpose of culling the herd to a sustainable level. Without hunters harvesting deer, the herd would grow exponentially leading to tens of thousands of them dying the cruel death of starvation. There would also be many more deer roaming Wisconsin’s roads being killed and maimed by vehicles, and killing and maiming the humans driving those vehicles. Unfortunately, we’ve seen how little PETA cares for the animal called “human.”
The second facet of Newkirk’s position that deserves derision is the notion that the act of Ryan taking his daughter hunting makes him a “bad dad.” In a nation of absent fathers, neglectful mothers, and truly bad parents, Ryan spent hours upon hours of quality time with his daughter enjoying a family activity. I’m sure he showed her some nature skills, taught her firearm safety, shared meals, and talked about those things that only a dad and his kid can talk about. On July 10th of this year, another dad murdered his three daughters in their beds in River Falls, and yet according to Newkirk, it is Paul Ryan who deserves to be labeled a “bad dad.” If Newkirk’s priorities weren’t so insanely misguided, they would be laughable.
Paul Ryan, like hundreds of thousands of hunters every year including this writer, took his kid hunting. In doing so, they built stronger family bonds while exercising good and necessary stewardship of our environment. Newkirk and the organization she leads could learn something from them.
(Owen B. Robinson, a West Bend resident, is a blogger who publishes at http://www.bootsandsabers com. .His column runs Tuesdays in the Daily News.)