Category Archives: Politics – Wisconsin

Democratic Candidates Support Drivers Licenses for Illegal Aliens

Of course they do.

The participants were former state Rep. Kelda Roys; Mahlon Mitchell, head of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin; political activist Mike McCabe and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout.

 […]

A question from Voces de la Frontera, an immigrant rights organization based in Milwaukee, asked if candidates would support a law that would allow undocumented immigrants access to driver’s’ licenses “no matter what their status or income.” All four candidates said yes, and pointed to a larger need to support immigrants.

But they do not support the kids of those illegal aliens having access to better schools through School Choice. Democrats are big on keeping people staying in their assigned place in society.

 

Foxconn Will Only Benefit Southeast Wisconsin

Oh, wait

Foxconn Technology Group is buying a historic downtown Eau Claire building and space in the Haymarket Landing building as part of an expansion that will create 150 jobs.

The company announced it is expanding its Wisconn Valley Innovation Network to west-central Wisconsin as part of its initiative to spur innovation, attract talent and connect with supply chain partners, according to a statement. Foxconn plans to close on these properties later this year and open new operations in early 2019.

The new centers, to be named Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley, will create at least 150 high-tech jobs in Eau Claire. Employees will work with companies that will become part of Foxconn’s extensive supply chain and contribute to the development of the AI 8K+5G ecosystem that Foxconn is building in Wisconsin.

“We are excited to expand our Wisconn Valley footprint to the Chippewa Valley and west-central Wisconsin. Our goal in establishing Foxconn Place here is to help inspire innovative ideas, attract talent and catalyze cutting-edge solutions in this part of the state,” said Alan Yeung, Foxconn’s Director of U.S. Strategic Initiatives and President of FEWI Development Corporation. “Foxconn Place Chippewa Valley will play a key role in building a vibrant AI 8K+5G ecosystem in the U.S., with Wisconsin at the center of this vision.”

I will remind the gentle reader that every single Democrat running for governor has spoken against the Foxconn deal. I actually think that if one of them would break with the pack and champion Foxconn, they would stand a better chance of winning the general election, but it would kill them in the primary.

Dems Vow to Keep ICE

HAHAHAHAHAHA

A group of Democrats who introduced legislation to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said they will vote against the measure if GOP leadership follows through with their vow to bring it to the House floor.

Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Adriano Espaillat(D-N.Y.) released a statement Thursday accusing GOP leaders of exploiting the legislation for political gain after leadership confirmed it planned to hold a vote.

While the Democratic lawmakers said they plan to vote against their own measure – which would create a commission to examine ICE’s responsibilities and then recommend transferring them to other agencies – they said they welcome the opportunity for debate.

So some lefty politicians, led my Wisconsin’s own Mark Pocan, jump on the radical bandwagon and submit a bill to abolish ICE. When the leadership says, “OK, cool… let’s have a vote,” those same lefty politicians cry foul and vow to vote against their own bill, thus proving that they were just posturing.

On the bright side, I guess I’m happy that they aren’t actually stupid enough to abolish ICE.

Baldwin Won’t Vote for Kavanaugh

I’m shocked. SHOCKED!

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin says she’ll oppose President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, citing his views on health care and abortion rights.

“The people of Wisconsin need a fair, impartial and independent Supreme Court Justice who will stand up for them, not for powerful special interests. I don’t have confidence that Judge Kavanaugh would be that justice,” Baldwin, D-Madison, wrote in a Facebook post Thursday.

Baldwin’s opposition is not surprising. Kavanaugh has yet to have any Democratic senators pledge support for his confirmation, though a few remain undecided — and most have come out strongly opposed.

Rogue School Board Foments Turmoil

This story is amazing, but not surprising.

DPI issued a finding late last month that the Mercer School District inappropriately spent about $175,000 from its community programs and services account — otherwise known as “Fund 80” — over the 2015-’16 and 2016-’17 school years. Most of that was used to boost wages and benefits for a small group of employees, including Torkelson, without adequate documentation, according to the letter.

DPI also admonished board members for voting on bonuses for administrators, including $11,000 for Torkelson, in closed session.

[…]

The DPI probe focused on how the tiny school district spent its Fund 80 dollars for recreation including pickleball and community programming over the two years. Torkelson said in a January interview that the district offers a broad array of programming — child care, senior meals, yoga, art and music classes — that have “transformed the culture of our district.”

Critics dismiss it as a handful of sparsely attended classes and a “walking track” through the halls of the school.

[…]

Of keen interest has been Torkelson’s compensation. Torkelson was paid about $136,000 last year, though his contract was for about $98,000, according to his critics. He said he effectively buys back some of his benefits, including insurance and unused vacation days, but Reinert and others say that should total no more than $114,000.

[…]

And things could get heated. In 2014, a local blogger, Richard Thiede, sued the district for suggesting he was tied to a supposed hacking of the district’s email system. Reinert was slapped with a restraining order over the “Fifty Shades” fracas. Late last year, the board voted to consider legal action against anyone, including Reinert, who forwarded an email letter critical of the district.

[…]

Reinert and Duley, as well as one of the deputies, tried to obtain the district’s video of the meeting, but were not successful.

Months later, then-President Deanna Pierpont told the Journal Sentinel that she had erased it, and that Mercer no longer records its meetings.

“I didn’t like what I saw. … People in the audience were yelling. Students were there. … I just felt that I didn’t want that out on the website.”

Reinert was stunned when she heard, but not entirely surprised.

“Unbelievable. I was afraid they were going to do that,” Reinert said. “It’s illegal. You can’t just get rid of documentation of a public meeting.”

We are seeing shadows of this from local governments (school boards, in particular) all over Wisconsin. Threatening detractors, stonewalling requests for information, conducting the people’s business outside of public view, destroying public records, violating board contracts and policies, an on and on. And when wrongdoing is identified, District Attorneys and the Attorney General are always reluctant to prosecute anyone in local government.

Unfortunately, our form of self-government relies on honorable people conducting the people’s business. Many times, the only real enforcement mechanism for school boards is for the public to vote them out of office. But that takes a long time and relies on the public being able to learn about their malfeasance. This is further aggravated by the collapse of local news outlets’ ability or willingness to ferret out the information. Often times, the local school district is one of the largest advertisers for the local newspaper that is supposed to be covering them. This leaves the hard task of digging out local government dirt to amateurs and angry citizens, who are often marginalized and stonewalled. They simply do not have the time or resources to aggressively investigate suspected bad behavior by local governments.

I don’t really have a good answer. Good government requires that citizens be vigilant about electing good people to office and that they remain engaged to hold their elected officials accountable. But few citizens have the time to really keep tabs on their local municipality, county, school board, and other various governments. Also, information is increasingly difficult to uncover in an era where we, as a people, are not willing to financially support the local media outlets that we need to dig out relevant and actionable information.

The inevitable result is what we are seeing… more and more local governments being run by ne’er-do-wells and buffoons with little regard or capacity for honorable stewardship of the public business.

Baldwin’s Empty Chair

Ouch

Washington County Sheriff Candidate’s Spouse Signed Walker Recall Petition

It has come to my attention that the wife of one of the two Republican candidates for Washington County Sheriff signed the petition to recall Governor Walker in 2011. Shelly Schulteis is the wife of Captain Marty Schulteis. She is a teacher in the West Bend School District and signed the recall petition. You can see it for yourself here.

One can certainly debate how relevant this fact is, but it is certainly newsworthy. The attempted recall of a sitting governor over the passage of Act 10 was a defining issue in Wisconsin that energized both sides of the debate to a white hot fury. The debate over Act 10 continues to be waged even as the evidence of years has mounted to prove that the Act has been tremendously successful in liberating local governments and taxpayers from the shackles of the entrenched public employee unions. It is precisely because the attempted recall of Governor Walker was so controversial that signing the recall petition continues to be relevant in current events.

In this case, we are not talking about the candidate signing the petition. We are talking about his wife. How relevant is it to how the candidate will perform the job should he win? That’s hard to say. We are also talking about a political office that, although partisan, is not terribly political. While a Sheriff can be politically active and has a philosophical view of how to do the job, 90+% of the job has to do with things like leadership, management, prioritization, communication, preparedness, etc.

Also, Marty Schulteis has a long history on the job in Washington County. If he were a closet lefty who uses his position to advance liberalism, one would think that someone would have noticed by now. I haven’t heard anyone make that claim.

I have met with both candidates and investigated their backgrounds. I am personally still undecided and it’s a close call for me. Both candidates have solid law enforcement bona fides and conservative philosophies, but have slightly different takes on how to be a Sheriff. You can read my column from a few weeks ago about them. This is another piece of data to throw into the decision matrix that wasn’t included in that column.

I asked Captain Schulteis if he would like to comment. He provided a very thoughtful response that I have posted in full below.

My commitment to Washington County is that I will be a Constitutional Sheriff that protects the individual rights of every person.  The first 10 amendments to the US Constitution contain individual rights including the 1st amendment freedom of expression. My core belief in individual rights does not end when I pull into my driveway.

My wife is an exceptionally talented and dedicated local elementary educator of over 20 years.  She is a strong and independent woman and I love her more than life itself. We started dating in high school long before our career paths developed.  She and I share common ground on many public policy issues, but there are other areas that we find ourselves on completely opposite spectrums politically.  One such example is the Governor’s performance.   She signed the Walker petition back in 2011 based on her convictions. She also never left the classroom during the Madison protests based on her convictions.  We have simply agreed to disagree on Act 10.  Anyone with a significant other can probably relate to not always agreeing with one another on some issue.

I was raised in a conservative household and that is simply who I am.  Although I do not agree with her, my greater conviction is that I completely protect her ability to have a difference of opinion.

If elected as Sheriff, my pledge will be to represent all with respect, dedication and fairness.  The Sheriff needs to embody everyone’s common concerns relating to local public safety policy.   It is imperative that the Sheriff can work with others that may not have the same philosophical views, even his wife.

Forum for Candidates For 59th Tomorrow

FYI. Common Sense Citizens of Washington County are hosting a forum tomorrow:

Wednesday night, July 11th will be the voter forum for the four candidates running for the open 59th Assembly seat. The forum will begin at 7:00 and is at the West Bend Moose Lodge.

This is shaping up to be a very interesting race. I’ll have more on it in the days to come.

Putting Crooks in Jail Reduces Crime

Who would have thought?

Keep two things in mind in assessing the consensus among Democratic gubernatorial candidates — and, apparently, former Governor Tommy Thompson — that Wisconsin incarcerates too many criminals.

  1. In 1990, there were 215,000 crimes reported in Wisconsin. Last year the total was 123,388.
  2. In 1990 Wisconsin prisons housed 7,332 inmates. At the start of this year the number was 23,200.

In other words, the expansion of Wisconsin’s inmate population coincides with a 43 percent reduction in crimes reported by the FBI. Research documents a causal link between reduced crime rates and the incarceration of serious, repeat offenders. The staggering cost of crime to victims is obviously much less, a factor almost never mentioned when discussing the higher costs of incarceration.

It is amazing how many crimes are committed by a few people. Very few people just commit one crime, but almost all crimes are committed by a very few people.

WI to Exempt Some Small Retailers from Internet Sales Tax

Not only do I not like the tax increase, I thoroughly dislike that an unelected agency is making these arbitrary decisions instead of the legislature.

The Department of Revenue’s administrative rule to allow the state to begin collecting the sales tax on some online transactions will include an exemption for smaller retailers.

The DOR’s announcement yesterday is consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that cleared the way for states to begin collecting the sales tax from online and remote sales involving retailers with no physical presence in their states.

That means retailers must have annual sales of at least $100,000 in Wisconsin or at least 200 transactions before having to collect the sales tax.

The Walker administration told WisPolitics.com on Monday that it planned to begin collecting the tax Oct. 1 and was in the process of notifying retailers.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau on Monday released a memo projecting the state could collect an additional $90 million in the current fiscal year if it began collecting the tax Oct. 1. It would then bring in an estimated $120 million annually.

Walker Administration to Levy Tax Increase on October 1st

Booooo

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration plans to expand collection of taxes for online purchases by Oct. 1 as permitted by a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

How it will do so — and whether small retailers might be exempt from having to collect and remit taxes for online sales — remains unclear, because the administration isn’t addressing those details yet.

Walker spokeswoman Amy Hasenberg said “we plan to start collections on Oct. 1” but referred other questions to the Department of Revenue, which oversees tax collections.

School Districts Fail to Use Act 10 to Control Budgets

The Wisconsin Department of Administration has done the public a massive service by releasing a detailed description of every Wisconsin School District’s health insurance plans. You can find it here.

The first thing that jumps out is that the health insurance plans that Wisconsin’s school districts give to their employees are still very generous. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. We want our teachers to have good health insurance, but many private employers offer good health insurance and their costs are lower.

The average yearly premium for a family plan in Wisconsin’s school districts is $20,062.44. That compares to an average yearly premium of $18,764 in the U.S. For some rough math… if 50% of the 108,820 Wisconsin public school employees have a family plan and paid the national average, it would save taxpayers over $70 million per year – and district employees would still be receiving good health insurance.

The second thing that jumps out is that school districts are not taking advantage of Act 10 to control costs. Act 10 decoupled benefits decisions from union negotiations and left them at the discretion of the governing body. In this case, the local school boards have the power to determine the health insurance plans offered and the amount that employees pay for their share.

Across all 422 Wisconsin School Districts, Employees still only pay an average of 11.7% of the cost of their health insurance premiums for a family plan and 11.5% for a single plan. This is far below the average for private or government employees. According to the BLS, private sector employees pay an average of 33% of their health insurance premiums. State and local government employees pay an average of 29%! So here in Wisconsin, public school employees are paying less than half what other state and local employees pay for health insurance despite local school boards having complete power to being their employees into the national mainstream.

Clearly, there is still plenty of money to waste in our schools.

A Closer Look at the West Bend School District

Of course, since I live in the West Bend School District and they are preparing to ask the tax payers for tens of millions of dollars in a referendum despite declining enrollment, I have to take a look at my own district.

In the West Bend School District, the annual premium for a family plan is well above the state average coming in at $21,864. That does not include the fact that the school district provides an on-site clinic that provides services at no cost to the employees and without any co pays.

While receiving a more expensive health insurance plan, West Bend School District employees pay far less than other districts. Employees pay 8.2% of the premium for a family plan and 13.3% for a single plan. Furthermore, employees can earn a premium differential. The report doesn’t say how employees qualify for the differential, but a premium differential is generally a discount for things like not smoking, participating in wellness activities, etc. If an employee qualifies for the entire differential, their percentage for a family plan drops to 2.7% of the total premium, or $49 per month.

Just to recap, for a family plan, the average American state or local government employee pays 29% of the premium, the average Wisconsin school district employee pays 11.7%, and an employee of the West Bend School District pays 8.2%.

If the West Bend School District merely adopted a health insurance plan that was near the national average and asked employees to pay for 29%, it would save taxpayers $8,393 – PER FAMILY POLICY PER YEAR.

I ask the taxpayers of West Bend to remember these numbers when the district comes around again claiming poverty and asking for more money. The West Bend School Board, despite their claims of conservative leadership, are failing to manage benefits costs even to national or state norms.

Madison Pulls Plug on Internet Scheme

Heh.

A pilot program meant to bring internet access to four low-income Madison neighborhoods has ended after a second call for proposals to manage it went unanswered. The city severed ties with the local company originally implementing the project earlier this year.

Madison-based ResTech Services had been working to build a fiber-optic broadband network in Darbo-Worthington, Brentwood, Allied Drive and Kennedy Heights neighborhoods through the program, called Connecting Madison. The city and ResTech signed a $512,000 contract in March 2016.

However, the implementation process was slow and ultimately ended with the city sending a “cease and desist” letter to ResTech. The city is still working to resolve the matter, Assistant City Attorney Roger Allen said this week.

The city issued a second request for proposals April 12 to find a company that would operate the infrastructure in place as a continuous program but did not receive any responses by the May 25 deadline.

So the city spent half-a-million tax dollars to give 19 people cheap internet even though there are several private market options for those folks. And what did the city leaders learn from this debacle? They didn’t spend enough:

Edgerton said the outcome of Connecting Madison illustrated that the program needed more vetting of the vendor, dedicated staff to work with the vendor and funds to market the program.

 Yes, if only they had spent more to have dedicated city staff working with the vendor and a marketing program, it would have worked.
Stories like this are why people like me roll their eyes when governments whine about not having enough money.

Conservative Fiscal Management in West Bend Bears Fruit

Here is a portion of a column from the Mayor of West Bend that ran in the Washington County Insider:

Two weeks ago the Council was presented with our annual Financial Audit prepared and presented by Baker Tilly.  Recent Councils have taken action to improve the financial stability of West Bend.

In 2011, reserves stood 30% below the minimum recommended level for communities our size.  At the end of 2017, we are 53% above the minimum and nearing our goal level.

From a debt standpoint, we owed over $83,000,000 in 2010 and have reduced that number by 31% down to $57,000,000.  Our advisors and bonding agents recommend continued debt reduction but applaud our recent efforts.

As a community, we should be proud of the progress made the past 8 years and the stronger financial position we are currently in.

I would add to that story by pointing out that the City of West Bend has managed to lower its debt, increase its reserves, remodeled City Hall and the Police Department, met the city’s needs, and did so without raising taxes in YEARS. I think we are up to 9 years now without a tax increase in the city. They have been able to do all of this thanks to conservative leadership and taking advantage of Act 10.

This is what solid conservative fiscal leadership looks like. The Republicans over in Madison and Washington should take note.

Wisconsin Public Safety Unions Face Changes

It will be interesting to see if public safety unions will see the same erosion of dues paying members as other public unions did.

Public-safety worker unions in Wisconsin cannot require that fees be paid by non-union members under a pivotal ruling issued Wednesday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gov. Scott Walker touted the national ruling as a sign Wisconsin was ahead of the curve seven years ago when it passed a landmark law curtailing the power of public unions.

Most public unions in Wisconsin were barred from collecting so-called “fair-share” fees by Act 10, the 2011 state law that broadly curtailed their power. But that law exempted public-safety unions such as police, firefighters and the State Patrol.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling applies the ban on requiring payment of fair-share fees by non-union members to all public unions nationwide. It overturns a 41-year-old decision that had allowed states to require that public employees pay such fees to unions that represent them in collective bargaining even if the workers choose not to join — so long as the fees cover only the unions’ costs to bargain and their administration, not their political or advocacy work.

As was the case in Wisconsin after Act 10, the national Supreme Court ruling is likely to cause public union membership elsewhere to decrease and their political clout to wane, one expert said.

Wisconsin politicians should reject tax increase on internet purchases

As you could have read yesterday in the Washington County Daily News, here is my column urging Wisconsin’s Republicans to reject a tax increase.

Thanks to a 1992 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court that said that states could only collect a sales tax on businesses with a substantial presence in their state, consumers have been largely exempt from paying sales taxes for purchases made online. Those days may be coming to an end.

Last week the Supreme Court overturned its 1992 ruling. The new legal landscape means that states can now levy a sales tax on internet sales, but they are not required to do so. States like Illinois and California, with their self-inflicted derelict financial situations, are salivating over the opportunity to capture more tax revenue. What should Wisconsin do?

A report last year from the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates that the imposition of Wisconsin’s sales tax on online purchases would result in between $123 million and $187 million in annual tax revenue for Wisconsin. The important thing to remember is that this projected tax revenue is not “found” money. It is additional money that would be extracted from the pockets of Wisconsinites by state government. It is not a tax on the online businesses who sell to Wisconsinites. It is a tax increase on Wisconsinites.

That is not to say that imposing a tax increase is necessarily a negative thing. There are some compelling reasons for states to impose a sales tax on internet purchases. The primary reason is for the cause of tax fairness. Wisconsinites pay the sales tax at brick-and-mortar stores without question or debate. The fact that those same Wisconsinites can buy products online without paying the sales tax gives online retailers a material advantage over the brick-and mortar stores. In the name of fairness, government should treat businesses equally regardless of their mode of delivering products.

The problem with that argument is that the unequal treatment of businesses is a consequence of a policy decision. The sales tax is not imposed on the businesses. The businesses are merely tasked as an agent of government to collect the tax. The consumers are paying the tax. The implementation of the sales tax whereby consumers must pay it at a physical retailer but are exempt from paying it at an online retailer is fair. Every consumer — the people actually paying the tax — is being treated equally in this regard.

It must also be acknowledged that the different sales tax treatment of brickand- mortar purchases and online purchases is an extremely small driver of the societal trend toward online purchases. The infinite selection, ease of browsing, competitive prices, easy shipping and the ability for consumers to sit on their couches in their skivvies while they shop are far more powerful disruptive forces than the sales tax. Furthermore, even as online purchases have soared in the past two decades, they still only represent about 10 percent of all retail purchases in America.

Given that the ruling by the court is still fresh, Wisconsin’s political leaders are still pondering the consequences and possibility of imposing the tax increase. Some of them are lusting after the money with an eye to spend it on their priorities. Gov. Scott Walker and other Republican leaders are floating the idea of imposing a new sales tax on internet purchases, but using it to offset state income taxes in accordance with a law that Republicans passed in 2013.

Such a use of new sales tax revenue would be laudable. By using sales tax revenue to offset income taxes, it would keep Wisconsin’s total tax burden static, but shift some of that burden to the broader population of retail consumers and off of the shoulders of income earners.

History tells us, however, that raising one tax to offset another never works over the long term. While Walker and legislative Republicans may set up such a tax offset initially, over time there will be different politicians with different priorities. Inevitably, some future politicians will begin to carve out a percentage of online sales tax revenue for some spending “priority” or “crisis.” Then that percentage will increase over time until the notion of a tax offset is all but forgotten except by crotchety curmudgeons who write columns.

Wisconsin’s Republican leaders should resist the temptation to tax online purchases and make sure the whole nation knows that Wisconsin is the place to live if you want to continue to make tax-free online purchases. The best tax is the one that is never imposed.

Wisconsin politicians consider tax increase on internet purchases

In my column this wee in the Washington County Daily News, I take a deeper dive into the issue of a potential sales tax on internet sales following the decision by the Supreme Court last week. Here’s a snippet, but pick up a copy of the Washington County Daily News to read the whole thing!

That is not to say that imposing a tax increase is necessarily a negative thing. There are some compelling reasons for states to impose a sales tax on internet purchases. The primary reason is for the cause of tax fairness. Wisconsinites pay the sales tax at brick-and-mortar stores without question or debate. The fact that those same Wisconsinites can buy products online without paying the sales tax gives online retailers a material advantage over the brick-and mortar stores. In the name of fairness, government should treat businesses equally regardless of their mode of delivering products.

Wisconsin Ponders Internet Sales Tax

Times’re a changin’.

Wisconsin could generate as much as $187 million in new tax revenue annually if it extends its sales tax to online retailers based in other states — enough to give about $84,000 to every Wisconsin school or make permanent this year’s one-time $100-per-child tax credit and back-to-school sales tax holiday.

However, Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers have already signaled that additional funds from such taxation should be used for a different purpose: automatic reductions in state income tax rates.

[…]

On Thursday the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling, which did not split along ideological lines, overturned the 1992 decision and said states can tax internet sales.

The ruling doesn’t mean such a sales tax will begin immediately in Wisconsin as it will in many other states that have laws where the court decision automatically triggers a sales tax collection for online sales.

Walker’s office, the state Department of Revenue and the Legislative Fiscal Bureau are still reviewing the decision and declined to comment before completing the review.

So it’s unclear if new legislation is needed or whether the Walker administration can collect the tax from out-of-state companies through regulatory changes.

Walker and the Legislature enacted a law in 2013 requiring income tax rate cuts corresponding to any potential online sales tax revenue collections “as a result of any federal law to expand the state’s authority to require out-of-state retailers” to collect the tax. But that law doesn’t refer to U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

I agree with the decision of the Supreme Court. Whether or not a state can tax inline purchases should be up to the state. But then each state must decide if they want to do it or not.

There is not escaping the fact that taxing online purchases is a tax increase imposed on the people in the state who buy stuff online. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad thing since it spreads the tax burden a little wider and puts online and brick-and-mortar retailers on the same footing when it comes to the sales tax.

If Wisconsin law makers decide to impose a tax on internet purchases to reap the projected $187 million windfall and uses it to increase spending, it would be just another tax increase to fuel more government spending. If they impose the tax for the purposes of being more fair, or whatever, and use the tax revenue to offset other taxes while not increasing spending, I might be okay with that. I don’t trust their discipline to resist just blowing any additional tax revenue – especially in an election year.

Mayville Schools Display Raunchy “Protest Art” to Middle Schoolers

Wow. From the Washington County Insider. Follow the link for videos of parents and others commenting. What the heck are they teaching in Mayville? Is creating protest art a positive and effective use of taxpayer resources? Apparently the teacher who sanctioned this thing so. She said that, “The fact that a discussion is happening is a positive outcome, as well as, a learning opportunity.” Really?

 

rg-1

June 20, 2018 – Mayville, WI –  A piece of “protest art” by an 11th grader in the Mayville School District drew some harsh comments about what sort of education is being taught in the public schools in the small community of just over 4,900 in Dodge County.

Parents and taxpayers questioned the graphic nature of the piece that was part of a K-12 Art Fair held this past May at Mayville Middle School.

[…]

After the art fair in May calls were placed to School Board President John Westphal and District Superintendent Scott Sabol. Neither returned calls or offered a comment.

[…]

When two children from the Mayville Middle School came home and asked their parent about some of the words in the picture the parent said she tried to get a hold of teachers and administrators. Below is an email response from Mayville High School art teacher Sarah Heideman sent to a parent on May 23, 2018.

The school district’s Ted Hazelberg, also sent an email response to the parent on May 21, 2018.

From: Sarah Heideman <sheideman@mayville.k12.wi.us>
Date: Wed, May 23, 2018, 7:36 AM
Subject: Re: protest art – Invitation to view
Cc:, Scott Sabol <ssabol@mayville.k12.wi.us>, Bob Clark <bclark@mayville.k12.wi.us>, Ted Hazelberg <thazelberg@mayville.k12.wi.us >, John Schlender <jschlender@mayville.k12.wi.us >, Jessica Stortz <jstortz@mayville.k12.wi.us>

My student’s assignment was to create a talking conversation through a piece of artwork about something that they felt strongly about. The fact that a discussion is happening is a positive outcome, as well as, a learning opportunity. In the process, I apologise for not thinking about the placement and content for a younger viewer, since the show is over, I cannot fix it this year, but can promise in the future that these things will be addressed and learned from.
Thank you for raising the questions,
Sarah Heideman

Vaping Included in Milwaukee Smoking Ban

Heh.

E-cigarettes are now banned in the same locations where smoking is prohibited in the city of Milwaukee, after the common council unanimously passed a measure to do so on Wednesday.

The measure bans the use of e-cigs on city property and in places where state law currently bans smoking, such as bars and restaurants.

“Next month we celebrate the 8th anniversary of Wisconsin’s smoke free law in public places,” said Alderman Cavalier Johnson in a statement, who co-sponsored the proposal. “As new products have since emerged we can better address them through this resolution and align our policy with state law.”

The resolution was part of a three-part effort aimed at public health and tobacco use. It also included a measure to increase fines for those who sell tobacco to minors and another item to prohibit the sale of e-cigs to minors.