Boots & Sabers

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Category: Politics – Wisconsin

Wausau Suddenly Overwhelmed by Homeless People In Winter

Hmmmm… First we hear that little Whitewater is facing a crime wave with social services being overwhelmed by illegal aliens. Now we see that Wausau is being overwhelmed by homeless people. It’s almost as if we have an open border and illegal aliens are finding their way to communities throughout the country.

The Wausau Police Department is requesting an additional two officers as part of a team approach to working with homeless residents, as the number of people without permanent housing surged considerably over the past three months.

“The speed at which unhoused individuals are coming into our community scares me,” he said.

[…]
In his February presentation, Barnes said city workers are shoveling human fecal material from downtown parking ramps on a regular basis.
[…]

Barnes said the homeless situation in Wausau is making policing complicated and reducing the amount of policing that the rest of our community “that pay taxes to have a quality police force” is getting.

Wisconsin Medicaid Recipients to Get OTC Birth Control

I’m okay with this. Generally speaking, if you are on welfare, you should take reasonable measures to not increase your burden on the taxpayers.

Medicaid recipients in Wisconsin will have access to the first over-the-counter birth control pill starting Tuesday, allowing them to easily receive contraceptive medication with no out-of-pocket costs or doctor’s prescription, Gov. Tony Evers announced.

 

Two amendments to protect our elections

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

The reason these amendments are on the ballot is troubling. Even though our system of government is replete with checks and balances at every level, we remain largely dependent on people willingly following the law without the need for coercion.

 

Increasingly we are seeing government officials at all levels willfully violate the law because they have realized that there are few consequences for them doing so. We saw this phenomenon in full display during the pandemic as laws were ignored, civil rights were suppressed, and official restraint was abandoned for the sake of “safety.”

 

This was particularly true for election laws. In Wisconsin, election officials illegally collected ballots in parks, plopped unsecured ballot collection ballots all over the place, ignored voter ID requirements, accepted invalid mailed in ballots, turned over the administration of elections to private activists, and generally ignored, violated, or invented laws and regulations at their whim. With rare exception, all of the election officials who ran roughshod over our lawful election processes remain at their posts and have escaped any negative consequences for their actions. In our late-stage republic, leftists have discovered that they can implement their will through the power of the bureaucracy without the annoyance of needing to win elections or pass legislation. With a bit of gumption and an accomplice executive branch, even a banal local bureaucrat can wield enormous, unchecked power and citizens are left with few legal recourses.

 

For these and other reasons, the Republicans in the Legislature have begun to ask the voters to amend the Constitution to reflect the will of the people in the hope that the Constitution will be more difficult to ignore or violate than statutes. With our current activist leftist Supreme Court, this plan is not foolproof, but at least it provides an avenue for citizens to insist that their government obey their governing document.

 

On the ballot next month are two proposed constitutional amendments that are a direct response to leftist election officials manipulating recent elections and the failure of law enforcement to hold them accountable.

 

[…]

 

I truly wish that we did not need resort to constitutional amendments to provide safeguards for our elections. Laws and regulations should do. Unfortunately, experience has taught us that laws and regulations are not enough. We need to install every possible safeguard to protect our elections from the incompetent and the nefarious.

 

Please vote “yes” on both proposed amendments. Wisconsin will be better for it.

Choice and freedom spreading

My column for the Washington County News is online and in print. Here’s a taste:

 

One of our nation’s structural supports that has provided the stability to make us the world’s oldest republic is our federalist structure. In a very geographically large and demographically diverse nation, the ability for each of the 50 states to shape public policy in accordance with the peculiarities of its citizenry is a strength — not a weakness.

 

Our federalist structure also permits each state to experiment with various policies and let other states see the effects. In recent years, we have seen states decriminalize drug use and soften police enforcement to disastrous effect. We should be thankful that such policies are tried on a state level and not implemented on all of us.

 

While we are increasingly losing our grip on federalism as power and authority concentrates in far away Washington, D.C., each of our United States continues to experiment with different policies. It is worth taking note of policies that are taking hold and becoming widespread. Two such policies are sweeping the nation and Wisconsin is not participating. Last week, Alabama became the twelfth state to pass universal school choice and six other states are considering it this year. Some 28 states and the District of Columbia already have some form of school choice according to Education Week. School choice was an innovation born in Milwaukee by a coalition of liberals and conservatives who wanted to give poor families a chance to get their kids into better schools — even if that better school was a private school. For several years, various income-based school choice programs spread throughout the nation before stalling under the withering assault of entrenched government school interests. The pandemic changed everything. Being affronted with the reality of just how bad our government schools had become, parents insisted on a better option and breathed new life into the school choice movement. While school choice comes in many forms, the common feature is that parents are provided some or all of the funding that would have been spent for their child in a government school to be spent on alternative educational options. The goal is to couple the funding to the child and not to the bureaucracy.

 

School choice has become a potent political force in states like Texas. Despite being dominated by Republicans, school choice failed to pass the Legislature last year when a cohort of House Republicans joined the Democrats to vote against it. In the primary election last week, six Republican incumbents were ousted outright and four more are headed for runoff elections — all on the power of the school choice issue. It is an issue that transcends party and motivates parents.

 

Despite being the birthplace of school choice, Wisconsin has lost its place in the vanguard of education reform.

 

Another movement that started in the mid-1990s was to reinstate Americans’ civil rights by allowing citizens to carry a concealed weapon. For 20 years, states steadily implemented concealed carry laws to allow qualified citizens to carry concealed. Wisconsin was a laggard in this regard as the 49th state to allow concealed carry. Illinois reluctantly followed suit many years later to make concealed carry in some form a universal American policy.

 

In the past ten years, many states have gone further to allow constitutional or permitless carry whereby virtually anyone who is legally allowed to possess a handgun may carry it concealed without a permit. According to the United States Concealed Carry Association, 29 states currently have permitless carry.

 

Here again, the pandemic, coupled with the riots of 2020-2022, sparked new urgency with this issue. Recognizing that law enforcement is largely unable, and sometimes unwilling, to prevent people from committing crimes or protecting innocents, Americans began taking personal responsibility for their physical safety. Women and people of color are two of the fastest-growing groups of gun owners.

 

There is no definitive source to know how many guns there are in private hands and who owns them. That is as it should be. A Pew Research study from last year estimates that there are about 222 million private guns owned by about 105 million Americans. Guns are, and always have been, part of our culture and our right to keep and bear arms was protected at the founding. While our nation has always done a decent job protecting our civil right to “keep” arms, states are now doing a better job of protecting our civil right to “bear” arms. What good is a right if you have to ask the government to exercise it?

Making lemonade out of lemons

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News last week.

Wisconsin’s new legislative electoral maps are heavily gerrymandered to the benefit of Democrats, but where there is change, there is opportunity.

 

First, let us recap how we got here. In the normal constitutional process, every 10 years the boundaries of the legislative districts are redrawn to reflect the most recent decennial census data. The maps are drawn by the Legislature and signed by the governor like any other law. The maps are then usually challenged in state and federal courts by special interest groups. In 2021-2022, Wisconsin went through the entire legal process and the courts agreed that the maps were fine. It was done.

 

After the leftists took control of the state Supreme Court last spring, their fellow travelers immediately sued to overturn the maps because they knew that the leftist court majority would ignore previous court rulings, the law, and the state Constitution to give them the maps they want. According to plan, the Supreme Court activists threw out the existing maps and was in the process of redrawing the maps to their liking in a complete usurpation of the other two branches of government.

 

Seeking to mitigate the looming court decision, the Legislature passed the version of the maps submitted by Gov. Tony Evers in a complete tactical capitulation to the Democratic governor. Although heavily gerrymandered to favor Democrats, the legislative Republicans thought that Evers’ maps were the least bad option that the court was going to impose. Backed into a political corner whereby Evers could not veto his own maps, he signed them into law. Since then, the high cockalorum of Madison has been crowing about his “fair” maps in full knowledge of how he gerrymandered them to favor Democrats. As the expression goes, however, it is what it is. The maps are what they are, and they will not change. As the state Republicans look at the landscape for November, what is to be done?

 

In the state Senate, the Republicans currently hold a majority of 22 of the 33 seats. Only the even-numbered districts are on the ballot this November. According to an analysis done by research fellow John Johnson of the Lubar Center of the Marquette Law School, three of even numbered districts are likely Democratic wins this year with Evers’ gerrymandered maps. It is unlikely that the Democrats will win a majority in the Senate this year, but there is a strong possibility they will in 2026 when more of the seats favor Democrats.

 

In the state Assembly, all 99 seats are up for election in 2024. Evers gerrymandered a double-digit Democratic lean in 42 districts versus 34 under the previous legal maps according to Johnson’s study. Overall, the maps still slightly favor Republicans, but are gerrymandered to extend the power of the Democratic strongholds of Milwaukee and Madison into the otherwise Republican suburbs.

 

While the focus of the maps has been on political lean of each district, the opportunity for Republicans — by which I mean the Republican voters and not the elected Republicans — comes in the shakeup of incumbency. According to Ballotpedia, 99% of incumbents of state politicians of either party won re-election in 2022; 97% of them won in 2020. Wisconsin does not have term limits and the power of incumbency is, by far, the greatest force in state elections.

 

Under Evers’ gerrymandered maps, he intentionally drew as many districts as possible to pit Republican incumbents against each other. Thirty-five incumbent Republicans are now in districts with other incumbent Republicans compared with only seven incumbent Democrats. This is Evers’ attempt to counter the power of incumbency and to encourage Republican infighting to sap their strength before a general election.

 

For Republican voters, this is an opportunity to inject a substantial amount of new blood, new faces, and new ideas into the legislative Republican caucuses. Our system of government was never meant to be a job bank for career politicians. The outcome of incumbency is that elected Republicans are often reflecting the views of their constituents from when they were first elected instead of their constituents’ current views. And while a few career politicians remain energetic and effective for their constituents throughout their tenures, too many Wisconsin politicians slouch into the comfortable Madison scene and begin representing Madison’s interests instead of their constituents’ interests.

 

With the power of incumbency disrupted, Republican voters have a chance to have a rigorous debate during the primary to ensure that the elected Republican class is representing the views of the Republican electorate. Let us have that debate on issues and values. Then, let Wisconsin’s Republicans unite in the general election to elect Republican majorities in the Assembly and Senate to ensure that the other two branches of government are not left unchecked to force their Leftist ideologies and turn Wisconsin into Illinois.

State DOC In Collapse

It’s almost tiresome to say, but if this was the Walker Administration, the reaction from the media and various pro-criminal interest groups would be quite different.

MADISON – The U.S. Department of Justice has launched an investigation into an alleged conspiracy within Waupun Correctional Institution to bring in cell phones, illegal drugs and other contraband — a probe that has resulted in the suspension of nearly a dozen prison employees.

 

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and state Department of Corrections officials in June asked federal authorities to conduct an investigation into potential criminal activities inside the Waupun prison after a DOC sweep of multiple housing units uncovered prohibited items, according to Evers’ spokeswoman Britt Cudaback.

 

Cudaback said the initial DOC probe “revealed allegations of potential employee involvement in those illegal activities, including information suggesting financial crimes may have occurred.”

 

[…]

 

The investigation is under way as DOC’s top administrator is set to leave his post. Corrections Secretary Kevin Carr announced last week he would be retiring from the Evers administration at the end of this week. Evers told reporters this week that he did not ask Carr to resign. His successor has yet to be named.

 

Eleven Waupun employees were placed on administrative leave by DOC officials between May 2023 and March 2024, some with pay and some without, according to the department.

The investigation comes at a time when state corrections officials face litigation and questions from families of Waupun inmates over conditions in the prison and over the deaths of four inmates in custody of Waupun prison officials.

Making lemonade out of lemons

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

While the focus of the maps has been on political lean of each district, the opportunity for Republicans — by which I mean the Republican voters and not the elected Republicans — comes in the shakeup of incumbency. According to Ballotpedia, 99% of incumbents of state politicians of either party won re-election in 2022; 97% of them won in 2020. Wisconsin does not have term limits and the power of incumbency is, by far, the greatest force in state elections.

 

Under Evers’ gerrymandered maps, he intentionally drew as many districts as possible to pit Republican incumbents against each other. Thirty-five incumbent Republicans are now in districts with other incumbent Republicans compared with only seven incumbent Democrats. This is Evers’ attempt to counter the power of incumbency and to encourage Republican infighting to sap their strength before a general election.

 

For Republican voters, this is an opportunity to inject a substantial amount of new blood, new faces, and new ideas into the legislative Republican caucuses. Our system of government was never meant to be a job bank for career politicians. The outcome of incumbency is that elected Republicans are often reflecting the views of their constituents from when they were first elected instead of their constituents’ current views. And while a few career politicians remain energetic and effective for their constituents throughout their tenures, too many Wisconsin politicians slouch into the comfortable Madison scene and begin representing Madison’s interests instead of their constituents’ interests.

 

With the power of incumbency disrupted, Republican voters have a chance to have a rigorous debate during the primary to ensure that the elected Republican class is representing the views of the Republican electorate. Let us have that debate on issues and values. Then, let Wisconsin’s Republicans unite in the general election to elect Republican majorities in the Assembly and Senate to ensure that the other two branches of government are not left unchecked to force their Leftist ideologies and turn Wisconsin into Illinois.

Hovde to challenge Baldwin for Senate

Here is my column for the Washington County Daily News that ran earlier this week.

In 2012, this column supported Eric Hovde in the Republican primary to challenge Representative Tammy Baldwin for the open U.S. Senate seat. Wisconsin juggernaut Tommy Thompson won that primary and went on to lose to Baldwin in an election where President Obama’s electoral strength pulled many down-ballot Democratic candidates to victory.

 

Twelve years later, Baldwin is running for a third term and Eric Hovde is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge her. Hovde is still as great a candidate, and person, as he was in 2012 and Wisconsin would do well to send him to the U.S. Senate.

 

In 12 years as Wisconsin’s senator, Baldwin has been a reliable vote for Democrats, but otherwise a potted plant. She does not matter. She does not have any signature issues on which she leads, nor does she have any significant legislation she championed. According to FiveThirtyEight, Baldwin has voted for Biden’s agenda 95% of the time. When she has bucked Biden, it was because she was even more Marxist. She voted against ending the COVID state of emergency and for vaccine mandates for large businesses. The only time she runs afoul of the prevailing leftist orthodoxy is when it is not totalitarian enough. Even then, she only votes against the Democrat leadership when it is safe to do so.

 

Hovde will matter in Washington. He will make Wisconsin matter. As a fourth-generation Wisconsinite, Hovde made his fortune as a serial entrepreneur in real estate and banking. He made a living buying distressed community banks and leading them to be successful again. He knows and loves Wisconsin. He knows how to do the hard work of taking something that is failing and making it successful.

 

Equally important, Hovde uses his wealth to make the world a better place. Through a foundation created by his brother and him in the 1990s, he has spent tens of millions of dollars to build and support homes in places like Rwanda and Honduras to support, “children who have been abandoned, enslaved, and sex-trafficked, ensuring they are happy, healthy, and prepared for a promising future.”

 

As the overwhelmingly likely Republican candidate, the Baldwin campaign immediately responded to Hovde’s entrance into the race. Even though the policies that Baldwin has supported are causing crushing inflation, an invasion of illegal aliens, and a nation-killing national debt, Baldwin has chosen to attack Hovde on two primary fronts. Let us address them.

 

First, Baldwin has attacked Hovde as a carpetbagger Californian. Hovde does own a business in California and has a house there, but he is a born and raised Wisconsinite. His primary residence is in Wisconsin and he is there 75% of the time. Hovde is active in Wisconsin organizations and activities. Hovde is as Wisconsin as they come.

 

Meanwhile, Baldwin is relying on a biased media to neglect to point out that she has become a creature of Washington. Baldwin and her partner own a $1.3 million penthouse condo in Washington D.C. just steps from the Capitol. It is also worth noting that according to Opensecrets.org, in both 2018 and 2024, roughly 58% of Baldwin’s campaign contributions come from out of state, with California generating more contributions than any other state. Baldwin’s heart is in Washington, D.C., and her support comes from California.

 

Second, Baldwin has hit Hovde on the abortion issue. In 2012, Hovde was firmly anti-abortion and Baldwin is slamming him for that stance. In 2024, Hovde’s position on abortion has shifted. He has said that he personally opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. He has also said that he thinks that a majority of Wisconsinites support abortion in the very early days of pregnancy. Given that the U.S. Supreme Court has correctly relegated abortion policy back to the states, Hovde supports a statewide referendum on abortion to determine the most appropriate policy for Wisconsin. While I disagree with Hovde’s position, his position is far more thoughtful and relevant to the current state of the law than Baldwin is attempting to portray it.

 

It is worth noting that Baldwin’s radical abortion stance is out of sync with most Wisconsinites. Baldwin supports abortion up to the point of birth and is sponsoring a bill in the Senate that would have the federal government require all states to support this stance. In Baldwin’s world view, allowing the killing of a fully viable baby at term is not only permissible, it should be required. This is a bloody, radical position.

 

Hovde has his work cut out for him. Just like in 2012, an incumbent Democrat president is seeking a second term and down-ballot races like this will be heavily influenced by what happens in the presidential race. If Wisconsin Republicans want a chance to win, Hovde needs all of them to get involved and be generous with their time and money to support him. Let’s get to work.

Evers Screws Taxpayers… Again

What an ass.

One of the proposals would have expanded the second income tax bracket to lower taxes on those earning between $19,000 and $150,000 per year.

 

Another bill would cut retirement income by exempting up to $75,000 retirement income for single filers and $150,000 for joint filers.

 

The third measure Evers rejected would have increased tax credits for newly married couples.

 

In his veto message, Evers expressed concerns the proposals could be risky given the state’s financial situation.

Financial situation? The state has a massive surplus that it’s hoarding.

High Tax States Continue to Drive Away High Income Earners

Wisconsin should learn this lesson before it’s too late.

In 2023, California’s population dipped below 39 million, the lowest count since 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Data shows the state lost 75,423 residents last year — continuing a dramatic trend that started with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

 

What’s concerning is not how many people are leaving — the state has experienced lopsided out-migration for decades, according to the Los Angeles Times — but who is leaving.

 

Analysis of the approximately 750,000 people who have bid farewell to California over the last three years has revealed that thousands more high-earning, well-educated workers have left the Golden State than have moved in.

 

[…]

 

It is not just wealthy residents leaving; businesses are also exiting the state — again due to high tax rates, punitive regulations, high labor, utility and energy costs, among other things.

 

That loss of vital income tax is very problematic for California, which is facing a record $68 billion budget deficit, largely due to an unprecedented drop in tax revenue.

 

[…]

 

In tax years 2020 and 2021, the average gross income of taxpayers who moved from California to another state was about $137,000, according to IRS migration and personal income data.

 

That would place those individuals in California’s largest state income tax bracket — at 9.3% — which applies to single filers who earn between $61,215 and $312,686 per year, or married couples filing jointly with an annual income of $122,429 to $625,372.

 

If you earned $137,000 last year in California, your estimated state income tax for 2023 would be $9,896, according to the SmartAsset tax calculator. And if you reduced your taxable income by maxing out your 401(k) contribution at $22,500 (the 2023 total) and your IRA contribution at $7500 (for those aged 50 and older), your estimated state income tax would be around $6,827.

Hovde Dives In

TBF, Baldwin would have to fly in from D.C. to take a polar plunge.

Hovde posted a video on X on Thursday showing him pressing through what he says is about a half-inch (1.3-centimeter) layer of ice on Lake Mendota outside of a home he owns.

 

“It was hard to break through but it’s good to get out here for a good cold plunge,” Hovde says before he turns the camera on his shirtless torso.

 

“So the Dems and Sen. Baldwin keep saying I’m not from Wisconsin, which is a complete joke,” a laughing Hovde says into the camera. “Alright Sen. Baldwin, why don’t you get out here in this frozen lake and let’s really see who’s from Wisconsin.”

Hovde to challenge Baldwin for Senate

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. I’m all in on Hovde. Here’s a part.

In 2012, this column supported Eric Hovde in the Republican primary to challenge Representative Tammy Baldwin for the open U.S. Senate seat. Wisconsin juggernaut Tommy Thompson won that primary and went on to lose to Baldwin in an election where President Obama’s electoral strength pulled many down-ballot Democratic candidates to victory.

 

Twelve years later, Baldwin is running for a third term and Eric Hovde is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge her. Hovde is still as great a candidate, and person, as he was in 2012 and Wisconsin would do well to send him to the U.S. Senate.

 

In 12 years as Wisconsin’s senator, Baldwin has been a reliable vote for Democrats, but otherwise a potted plant. She does not matter. She does not have any signature issues on which she leads, nor does she have any significant legislation she championed. According to FiveThirtyEight, Baldwin has voted for Biden’s agenda 95% of the time. When she has bucked Biden, it was because she was even more Marxist. She voted against ending the COVID state of emergency and for vaccine mandates for large businesses. The only time she runs afoul of the prevailing leftist orthodoxy is when it is not totalitarian enough. Even then, she only votes against the Democrat leadership when it is safe to do so.

 

Hovde will matter in Washington. He will make Wisconsin matter. As a fourth-generation Wisconsinite, Hovde made his fortune as a serial entrepreneur in real estate and banking. He made a living buying distressed community banks and leading them to be successful again. He knows and loves Wisconsin. He knows how to do the hard work of taking something that is failing and making it successful.

 

[…]

 

Second, Baldwin has hit Hovde on the abortion issue. In 2012, Hovde was firmly anti-abortion and Baldwin is slamming him for that stance. In 2024, Hovde’s position on abortion has shifted. He has said that he personally opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. He has also said that he thinks that a majority of Wisconsinites support abortion in the very early days of pregnancy. Given that the U.S. Supreme Court has correctly relegated abortion policy back to the states, Hovde supports a statewide referendum on abortion to determine the most appropriate policy for Wisconsin. While I disagree with Hovde’s position, his position is far more thoughtful and relevant to the current state of the law than Baldwin is attempting to portray it.

 

It is worth noting that Baldwin’s radical abortion stance is out of sync with most Wisconsinites. Baldwin supports abortion up to the point of birth and is sponsoring a bill in the Senate that would have the federal government require all states to support this stance. In Baldwin’s world view, allowing the killing of a fully viable baby at term is not only permissible, it should be required. This is a bloody, radical position.

 

Hovde has his work cut out for him. Just like in 2012, an incumbent Democrat president is seeking a second term and down-ballot races like this will be heavily influenced by what happens in the presidential race. If Wisconsin Republicans want a chance to win, Hovde needs all of them to get involved and be generous with their time and money to support him. Let’s get to work.

Democrats keep the change

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News earlier this week.

I recently had an infuriating experience at my local gas station. I stopped in for my morning coffee. Of course, I’m a sucker for the doughnuts in line, so I grabbed one of those too. My total was $3.49. All I had on me was a $20, so I promptly put it on the counter. The clerk smiled, put the $20 in the drawer, wished me a nice day, and beckoned the next customer up. Irritated, I asked about my change and was told, “oh, we keep the change now to use for other customers who we like better.”

 

Of course, this scenario is fictional and unbelievable, but that is exactly what the legislative Democrats and Gov. Tony Evers are doing with your tax dollars.

 

Ever since Republicans took control of the state Legislature in 2010 thanks, in large part, to anger over the massive state deficit that Democrat Governor Jim Doyle and the legislative Democrats had created, the legislative Republican majority has built fiscally responsible budgets that ran surpluses. Despite increasing spending every budget, the Republicans managed to bend the cost curves to ensure that all bills were paid while leaving plenty of change. Republicans have since filled up the state’s rainy day fund with billions of dollars and the state’s finances are stronger and more stable than they have ever been thanks to Republican fiscal management. Last week, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau issued its regular report about the state of the budget and projected surplus or deficit. The estimate is based on projected macroeconomic conditions and current state policies. Once again under Republican fiscal leadership, the LFB is projecting that the state will end the current budget in June of 2025 with a budget surplus of $3.15 billion — about $550 for every man, woman, and child in Wisconsin.

 

Let me write that another way: The state of Wisconsin is overtaxing every man, woman, and child in the state by about $550 and refusing to give any of it back. For the average family of four, they will be unnecessarily taxed $2,200 above and beyond the needs of government as expressed in the budget.

 

Noting this overpayment, the Republicans want to give the taxpayers their change and adjust the tax rates to reduce the amount of overpayment. Legislative Republicans passed their third attempt at a tax cut last week that would reduce income tax rates to bring the level of taxation in line with the amount of money that the government is actually spending. Yes, the spending is still too much, but Wisconsinites are still being taxed way more than even the spending justifies.

 

Democrats in the Legislature voted against this tax cut just like they voted against the last two tax cuts. Governor Evers vetoed the last two tax cuts and will probably veto this one too. Democrats refuse to give the Wisconsin taxpayers their change after funding government.

 

Why are Evers and his fellow travelers refusing to let Wisconsinites keep their money to afford the exploding cost of living despite government being fully funded? Simple. They do not think it is your money. They think it is their money and they want to spend it on things that they want.

 

Dressed up in the language of fake compassion, Evers and legislative Democrats have offered dozens of ways to spend the surplus instead of giving it back to hardworking Wisconsinites. They have proposed spending it on child care welfare, pouring more billions into the black hole of the government education complex, corporate welfare to big business to pay for paid leave and worker training, creating new government bureaucrats like the Office of State Employee Engagement and Retention, and all manner of spending.

 

All of the Democrats’ spending proposals have two things in common. First, they were not in the state budget. They are just more ideas to spend money after the budget was completed and signed into law by the governor. Second, every one of the spending proposals is designed to be spent on, or filtered through, the Democrats’ favored people. As the money flows, Democrats and their liberal constituencies throughout Wisconsin will get their beaks wet in a stream of tax dollars that were forcibly and unnecessarily taken from hardworking Wisconsinites.

 

If you are not angry about that, you should be.

Democrats keep the change

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print.

Ever since Republicans took control of the state Legislature in 2010 thanks, in large part, to anger over the massive state deficit that Democrat Governor Jim Doyle and the legislative Democrats had created, the legislative Republican majority has built fiscally responsible budgets that ran surpluses. Despite increasing spending every budget, the Republicans managed to bend the cost curves to ensure that all bills were paid while leaving plenty of change. Republicans have since filled up the state’s rainy day fund with billions of dollars and the state’s finances are stronger and more stable than they have ever been thanks to Republican fiscal management. Last week, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau issued its regular report about the state of the budget and projected surplus or deficit. The estimate is based on projected macroeconomic conditions and current state policies. Once again under Republican fiscal leadership, the LFB is projecting that the state will end the current budget in June of 2025 with a budget surplus of $3.15 billion — about $550 for every man, woman, and child in Wisconsin.

 

Let me write that another way: The state of Wisconsin is overtaxing every man, woman, and child in the state by about $550 and refusing to give any of it back. For the average family of four, they will be unnecessarily taxed $2,200 above and beyond the needs of government as expressed in the budget.

 

Noting this overpayment, the Republicans want to give the taxpayers their change and adjust the tax rates to reduce the amount of overpayment. Legislative Republicans passed their third attempt at a tax cut last week that would reduce income tax rates to bring the level of taxation in line with the amount of money that the government is actually spending. Yes, the spending is still too much, but Wisconsinites are still being taxed way more than even the spending justifies.

 

Democrats in the Legislature voted against this tax cut just like they voted against the last two tax cuts. Governor Evers vetoed the last two tax cuts and will probably veto this one too. Democrats refuse to give the Wisconsin taxpayers their change after funding government.

 

Why are Evers and his fellow travelers refusing to let Wisconsinites keep their money to afford the exploding cost of living despite government being fully funded? Simple. They do not think it is your money. They think it is their money and they want to spend it on things that they want.

 

Dressed up in the language of fake compassion, Evers and legislative Democrats have offered dozens of ways to spend the surplus instead of giving it back to hardworking Wisconsinites. They have proposed spending it on child care welfare, pouring more billions into the black hole of the government education complex, corporate welfare to big business to pay for paid leave and worker training, creating new government bureaucrats like the Office of State Employee Engagement and Retention, and all manner of spending.

 

All of the Democrats’ spending proposals have two things in common. First, they were not in the state budget. They are just more ideas to spend money after the budget was completed and signed into law by the governor. Second, every one of the spending proposals is designed to be spent on, or filtered through, the Democrats’ favored people. As the money flows, Democrats and their liberal constituencies throughout Wisconsin will get their beaks wet in a stream of tax dollars that were forcibly and unnecessarily taken from hardworking Wisconsinites.

 

If you are not angry about that, you should be.

Evers Signs Redistricting Maps

This is my shocked face. I really thought Evers would find a reason to veto them.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signed new legislative district maps into law on Monday that he proposed and that the Republicans who control the Legislature passed to avoid having the liberal-controlled state Supreme Court draw the lines.

But remember why we are here. The activist Leftist majority of the court forced this and usurped the power of the legislature. The Governor encouraged it.

Gallagher’s falling star

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News earlier this week.

Wisconsin Congressman Mike Gallagher has had quite a week. After a controversial vote against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Gallagher made the surprise announcement that he will not be seeking reelection. The moment says a lot about where the Republican base is right now.

 

For background, according to the U.S. Border Patrol, they encountered an all-time record 302,034 people illegally crossing our southern border in December of 2023. During President Biden’s term, the Border Patrol has encountered more people every year than the year before for a whopping total of over seven million illegal border crossers. The vast majority of illegal border crossers were released into the interior of the country. That is more people than currently live in 34 of our 50 states. This number only includes the people that Border Control encountered. It does not include the countless people who evaded detection. In other words, our border is wide open. Ignoring their legal and moral responsibility to implement the law to secure our border, the Biden Administration has deliberately opened our nation’s borders. Biden has all of the legal authority and responsibility to secure the border at any time but refuses to do so. The result is that millions of indigent people are tearing social safety nets and committing crimes in communities all over our nation. People are frustrated. Angry. Enter Secretary Mayorkas. Mayorkas is the chief implementer of Biden’s openborder policy. He has spent years ignoring, obstructing, and misleading Congress in his quest to erase America’s geographic sovereignty. For this, the Republicans, who only control a single house of Congress, sought to impeach Mayorkas as the face, and chief architect, of Biden’s open border.

 

Impeachment is a political tool granted to the House of Representatives by the Constitution to be used against anyone in the other two branches of government. It is one of the famed “checks” that creates “balance” in our system of government. The criteria for impeachment are intentionally vague because it is a political tool — not a legal one.

 

Even though the Democrat majority in the Senate would never convict Mayorkas, the House Republican leadership sought to impeach Mayorkas to vent the frustration of their constituents and use the most powerful tool available to them to try to check the Executive Branch’s wonton disregard for the laws it is charged to faithfully implement.

 

Gallagher voted against impeaching Mayorkas and it failed by a narrow margin. Gallagher’s reasoning was sincere, but flawed. He aspires to a higher standard for impeachment that the Democrats abandoned long ago and is not appropriate for the seriousness of the border crisis and Mayorkas’ role in it.

 

The reaction to Gallagher’s vote from Republican voters and moderates was immediate and vicious — perhaps overly so, but reflective of the pent-up frustration and anger about Biden’s border treachery. Republican voters are looking for elected Republicans to use every tool available to fight for a secure border. We are sick and tired of watching elected Republicans latibulate when our country needs people to fight for it.

 

Gallagher took both barrels of that gurgling anger. Although he did not state this reaction as the reason, he announced that he will not seek reelection a couple of days after his vote. Gallagher was a rising Republican star with legitimate conservative credibility, but this singular vote has most likely ended his political career.

 

The silver lining for Wisconsin Republicans is that Gallagher’s precipitous announcement makes the race to replace him an open seat in the Republican-leaning Fox Valley. That region of Wisconsin has increasingly become the bellwether of Republican statewide elections and a hotly contested race for Congress may drive Republican turnout for their attempt to oust Senator Tammy Baldwin.

Wisconsin Legislature Passes Governor’s Gerrymandered Maps

I’ll bet you all of the money in my pocket that Evers vetoes his own maps. He’ll find an excuse.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s GOP-controlled Legislature on Tuesday passed legislative maps that were proposed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers — a move designed to prevent the liberal-controlled state Supreme Court from implementing maps that might be even worse for Republicans.

 

Republicans conceded defeat, while Democrats said they were afraid of being tricked.

 

“It pains me to say it, but Gov. Evers gets a huge win today,” Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said, adding that under the new maps, “the Legislature will be up for grabs.”

The Assembly and Senate passed the bill in quick succession Tuesday, sending it to Evers. Last week, he promised to sign his maps into law if the Legislature passed them with no changes. Republicans did tweak the language to ensure the new maps don’t take effect until November, but it’s unclear if that’s a dealbreaker for the governor. His spokesperson Britt Cudaback posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, after the votes that Evers position has not changed. She did not elaborate.

Gallagher’s falling star

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

Wisconsin Congressman Mike Gallagher has had quite a week. After a controversial vote against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Gallagher made the surprise announcement that he will not be seeking reelection. The moment says a lot about where the Republican base is right now.

 

[…]

 

Impeachment is a political tool granted to the House of Representatives by the Constitution to be used against anyone in the other two branches of government. It is one of the famed “checks” that creates “balance” in our system of government. The criteria for impeachment are intentionally vague because it is a political tool — not a legal one.

 

Even though the Democrat majority in the Senate would never convict Mayorkas, the House Republican leadership sought to impeach Mayorkas to vent the frustration of their constituents and use the most powerful tool available to them to try to check the Executive Branch’s wonton disregard for the laws it is charged to faithfully implement.

 

Gallagher voted against impeaching Mayorkas and it failed by a narrow margin. Gallagher’s reasoning was sincere, but flawed. He aspires to a higher standard for impeachment that the Democrats abandoned long ago and is not appropriate for the seriousness of the border crisis and Mayorkas’ role in it.

 

The reaction to Gallagher’s vote from Republican voters and moderates was immediate and vicious — perhaps overly so, but reflective of the pent-up frustration and anger about Biden’s border treachery. Republican voters are looking for elected Republicans to use every tool available to fight for a secure border. We are sick and tired of watching elected Republicans latibulate when our country needs people to fight for it.

 

Gallagher took both barrels of that gurgling anger. Although he did not state this reaction as the reason, he announced that he will not seek reelection a couple of days after his vote. Gallagher was a rising Republican star with legitimate conservative credibility, but this singular vote has most likely ended his political career.

 

Leftist court justices getting what they paid for

Here is my column that ran in the Washington County Daily News earlier this week.

There is an open secret in corporate America regarding consultants. While business leaders will sometimes hire consultants to actually study an issue and offer unbiased advice, perhaps more often than not, consultants are hired to tell the business leaders what they want to hear. This is exactly what is happening within the redistricting case before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

 

Here is how the game is played: An executive knows they need to do something or wants to do something but either does not have support or does not want to take responsibility for the decision. The executive hires a consultant to “study” the issue and provide guidance with a wink and a nod. When the consultant miraculously comes back recommending that they do what the executive wanted, the executive can sell the decision to their bosses, employees, and customers as something “recommended by unbiased experts after rigorous study.” Consultants get paid. Executive gets what he or she wants.

 

When the leftists on the Wisconsin Supreme Court chose to violate the law and Constitution to throw out the legally implemented state legislative maps last year, they decided that they needed a fig leaf of legitimacy to force whatever new maps they draw. To that end, they went out and hired two consultants, Jonathan Cervas and Bernard Grofman. Both men are academics who have carved out a niche for themselves consulting on redistricting for clients all over the country. Both of these consultants will be paid $450 per hour up to $100,000 each for their work. It is a good side hustle if you can get it. The hiring process for these consultants was utterly opaque. There was no nationwide search for the best, most unbiased consultants. The leftists did not solicit input from any of the litigants in the case. There was no bidding process or price negotiation made public. We, the public, have absolutely no idea why these two consultants were selected or why we are paying them $450 per hour. The only thing we know is that the leftist court majority chose them.

 

The leftist court majority is getting exactly what they are paying for. In response to the court usurping the power of the Legislature and throwing out the state legislative maps, the court accepted six alternate proposals from interested parties. The six sets of maps were submitted by Legislative Republicans, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, Governor Tony Evers, Democrat plaintiffs, Senate Democrats, and a group of academic mathematicians.

 

Last week, accompanied by a statement heavy with meaningless academic jargon, the consultants rejected the two maps submitted by Republicans and WILL — the only two maps submitted by someone who is not a fellow traveler of the leftist court majority. The consultants did not declare which map was most correct but left open the option to draw their own if asked to do so by the court.

 

Let me save everyone the drama of what is to come. We already know. The leftist court majority has made it clear that they will redraw the maps to favor the Democrats as much as possible. They have a fundamental belief that legislative representation should mirror the statewide popular vote – ignoring small-“r” republicanism that balances geographic and popular interests. Given that the leftists have the majority, they will impose maps that are heavily gerrymandered to favor Democrats.

 

The leftist justices want to maintain the fiction of impartiality and judicial objectivity. Yes, “fiction” is the correct word. To that end, one of two outcomes will happen. The court will choose the maps submitted by the mathematicians. This lets the leftists pretend that there is objective science behind the maps without accepting maps submitted by obviously biased Democrats.

 

The more likely outcome is that the leftist justices will toss out all of the submitted maps and charge the consultants to draw new maps. This gives them ultimate control over the outcome and covers their overt partisanship with a veneer of academic impartiality and objectivity. The mainstream media will announce their approval for the allegedly fair, in reality completely unfair, maps like the clapping barking seals they are.

 

The two consultants hired by the leftist court majority were hired to deliver maps that favor Democrats. That is exactly what is going to happen. In the end, given the billions of taxpayer dollars that are going to flow to leftist operatives and priorities as a result of this decision, $200,000 seems like a reasonable investment for them to make to maintain the fiction of a rule of law in Wisconsin.

Gallagher’s Defense of Vote is Not Principled. It is Idiotic.

Rep.Gallagher posted the following defense for his “no” vote on impeaching Secretary Mayorkas on X. Here’re the problems with his argument:

1) An unelected cabinet secretary is not the same as an elected president. How you treat one does not set a precedent for the other. It is perfectly acceptable to have a higher bar for an elected president than an unelected member of the government.

2) Impeachment is an inherently political action. It was intended to be so by the Founders, which is one of the reasons the language in the Constitution is broad and does not include specific prerequisites. Lawmakers are allowed to use their judment to decide if a government official is meeting the ethical standards we want our government to meet.

3) Specifically for Mayorkas, it is not just about him dutifully implementing Biden’s open border policies. Mayorkas has repeatedly, deliberately, and condescendingly lied under oath and obstructed Congress’ consitutionaly responsibility to provide oversight.

4) From a political lens, we all know that Mayorkas is never going to be convicted by a Democrat Senate. Impeachment is mostly symbolic, but symboilism is important. While Democrats are willing to use every political and legal lever available to them (and some that aren’t) to fight for their agenda, Republicans repeatedly fall short. Impeachment is a perfectly suitable and constitutional response to the Biden Administration and Mayorkas’ blatant disregard for the border enforcment laws dutifully passed into law by previous Congresses and Presidents. The fact that Gallagher isn’t willing to use that response is a failure on his part and confirms for many base Republicans that the Republican Party is in it to lose.

 

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