Tag Archives: Tony Evers

Evers Says he Won’t Raise Taxes

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Evers, it’s that he still isn’t used to people actually listening to what he says. He seems to just say whatever he thinks is convenient to the person he’s currently talking to – apparently unmoored by his previous statements or actual thoughts and intentions. If you believe that Evers won’t raise taxes if he’s elected, I have a bridge to sell you… brand new!

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Democrat Tony Evers, who has said he would consider raising the gas tax if elected governor of Wisconsin and has campaigned on ending a tax break primarily benefiting manufacturers, told a newspaper that he’s not planning to raise any taxes.

Evers, the state schools superintendent, is challenging Republican Gov. Scott Walker, with the most recent poll showing the race tied. Walker has vowed not to raise taxes. Evers has been open to a variety of tax hikes while vowing to cut income taxes for the middle class by 10 percent.

Evers planned to pay for that tax cut with $300 million gained by eliminating the manufacturing and agriculture tax credit program, a move Walker has cast as a tax increase on beneficiaries of the program.

But in a Washington Post story published Thursday, Evers said, “I’m planning to raise no taxes.”

Evers spokesman Sam Lau offered little clarity Friday on the contradiction. Lau said that Evers was referring only to his plan for the middle-class tax cut.

“Those details have not changed,” Lau said.

Bernie Evers Wants $15 Minimum Wage

Minimum!

MacIver News Service | Oct. 22, 2018

By Bill Osmulski and Chris Rochester

MILWAUKEE – Tony Evers stole Bernie Sanders’ socialist spotlight in Milwaukee on Monday when he told supporters that when it comes to the minimum wage “we’re going to $15 an hour minimum. Minimum.”

Sanders was in Milwaukee to rally the Democrat base around the party’s top candidates in next month’s election. Tony Evers, Gwen Moore, Randy Bryce, Tammy Baldwin, and Mandela Barnes were all there at the UWM student union. Several hundred people attended.

Given the location at one of the UW System’s top universities, Evers thought it was also a good time to admit being on the board of regents is “the worst part of my job.”

Nothing says “economic growth” like bone-crushing government regulations.

First Debate Between Evers and Walker

Since nobody actually watched the debate live because it was on a Friday night during a Brewers playoff game and a Bucks game, here’s a recording of the debate.

Tony Evers Heavily Plagiarized in Official Budget Request

Way to set an example for the school kids, Tony.

MADISON – State schools Superintendent Tony Evers submitted a budget request as his bid for governor heated up in September that included sections plagiarized from Wikipedia, a blog by an intern at a think tank and two other sources.

[…]

Evers’ budget request includes a 15-paragraph section on the benefits of summer school programs that is nearly verbatim to a blog post written by a Thomas B. Fordham Institute intern.

A section on the benefits of having students work matches nearly word for word a publication by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability. That section includes two paragraphs and a list of four benefits of having students work.

Two other paragraphs appear to be taken verbatim from other sources — one from the Afterschool Alliance and one from Wikipedia.

And this is telling…

A spokesman for Evers’ Department of Public Instruction acknowledged that “proper citation use was missed in certain places” of the budget request. Staff will be retrained but Evers does not plan to discipline anyone, according to the department.

Clearly there isn’t a culture of accountability in Evers’ DPI.

Evers’ failed logic and Cedarburg’s folly

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

In justifying his call for a massive spending increase on public schools, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers cites the fact that local school districts have been passing referendums as evidence of a pent-up demand for more taxing and spending by everyone. Not only is Evers’ argument flawed, but he conveniently overlooks how dishonest many school districts are being to get their referendums passed.

More than 25 years ago, Wisconsin imposed a limit on how much local school districts can raise the local property tax levy, but the state allowed school districts to exceed the levy limit if local voters approved through a referendum. Recently, there has been a spate of school referendums being approved.

Where Evers’ logic fails is if the fact that some school districts passed referendums is evidence of an overall desire to increase taxes, then the opposite must also be true. The fact that the vast majority of school districts did not pass a referendum must be evidence that there is not an overall desire to increase taxes. The fact is only a small minority of the 421 school districts in Wisconsin have passed a referendum in recent years. Many of them have not even propositioned the voters with the question. If a majority of districts did not pass a referendum, would it not stand to reason that the majority of voters do not want a tax increase?

The recent surge in referendums passing is primarily due to two reasons. First, thanks to the booming job growth and increasing wages, we are living in a time of plenty. It is easy for voters to feel generous when times are good. They often forget that the $300 or $400 property tax increase they approve when the bank account is flush may not still be there when the next recession hits and they are looking for work.

The second reason referendums have been more successful lately is because many school districts have found a formula, based on gross misinformation, which increases the odds in their favor. Let us look at the referendum in Cedarburg as a perfect example.

First, the school district builds the facade of support through a stacked community advisory group and a phony propaganda survey. There are builders, architects and survey companies who have made it their business to help school districts run this sham process and Cedarburg engaged the infamous School Perceptions to conduct their advocacy survey. As designed, the survey in Cedarburg came back showing support for a referendum.

Second, the school district tries its best to hide the real costs of the referendum. In Cedarburg, they are saying that it will cost $59.8 million. That is completely false. The Cedarburg District wants to borrow $59.8 million. As anyone who has borrowed money to buy a home, vehicle, or anything else knows, there is a cost to borrowing. The total actual cost of the referendum, depending on the interest rates and term, is more likely between $90 million and $105 million.

Third, school districts play down the tax impact. In Cedarburg, they are claiming that such a massive debt would “be an increase of $58.00 per $100,000.00 of a home’s value.” That is a grossly incorrect portrayal. According to the district’s financial disclosure, the cost of the referendum would be $181 per $100,000. The $58 number is because the district plans to retire some old debt, so the net tax increase would be $58. But if the voters vote down the referendum, they will actually enjoy a tax decrease of $123 per $100,000 of home value when that debt is retired.

Not to mention that there are not a lot of homes in Cedarburg that cost $100,000. According to Zillow, the median home value in Cedarburg is about $300,000. So the total cost for the owner of a median Cedarburg home is $543 per year – or $10,860 over the 20-year term of the loan.

Fourth, every school referendum is different, but they usually share some similarities in their justifications for needing more money. In Cedarburg, they cite growing enrollment as a need for more space. The problem is that the Cedarburg School District, like most Wisconsin public school districts, has been experiencing a decline in enrollment. Kindergarten through 12th grade enrollment in Cedarburg is down 6.5 percent since it peaked in the 2004-2005 school year. And if you subtract the kids who open enrolled into the district (a number that the district can control), kindergarten through 12th grade enrollment was actually down 10.5 percent since the 2004-2005 school year.

Cedarburg District officials insist that enrollment is about to explode even though census data and state projections predict a continued decline in enrollment. Cedarburg officials rest their predictions on a bizarre analysis of residential development in the district. The problem is that history does not support their projections. In short, district officials are claiming that the district will add far more kids per new development than has been the case for the last 10 years or more.

Fifth, the school district leadership stonewalls anyone who might ask tough questions. In the case of Cedarburg, the superintendent declined to comment on the referendum and pointed to the district’s website for all inquiries.

If the voters in Cedarburg are smart, they will see through the balderdash that their school district is trying to sell them and vote down their referendum. If not, and they choose to foist a huge tax increase on themselves, it is certainly not an indication that anyone else in Wisconsin wants a tax increase too.

Evers’ failed logic and Cedarburg’s folly

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here’s a taste, but you’ll need to pick up a paper today to read the whole thing.

Where Evers’ logic fails is if the fact that some school districts passed referendums is evidence of an overall desire to increase taxes, then the opposite must also be true. The fact that the vast majority of school districts did not pass a referendum must be evidence that there is not an overall desire to increase taxes. The fact is only a small minority of the 421 school districts in Wisconsin have passed a referendum in recent years. Many of them have not even propositioned the voters with the question. If a majority of districts did not pass a referendum, would it not stand to reason that the majority of voters do not want a tax increase?

Vote for Tony Evers if you want higher taxes

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

During the era of Gov. Jim Doyle, Wisconsin was a tax hell. Our state consistently ranked in the top tier for overall tax burden and worst tax climate for business. Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans in the Legislature have made great strides in lowering taxes to the point that Wisconsin is now slightly worse than the average state in these rankings. That is a remarkable improvement in less than a decade. Perhaps it is now fair to say that Wisconsin is a tax purgatory, but it certainly has not ascended to a tax heaven yet.

If Wisconsin’s voters elect Democratic candidate Tony Evers to be our next governor, he will certainly push Wisconsin back down into the depths of the tax hell we just escaped. One may be tempted to think that this is just another baseless “Democrats will raise your taxes” attack. Evers is a doctrinaire liberal, so it would be easy to just assume that he wants to raise taxes. But one need only look at Evers’ own words to see that it is true. In fact, increasing taxes to support more government spending seems to be Evers’ answer to every issue facing the state.

Evers’ core issue, as one would expect, is public education. As the head of Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction, he has served as the titular leader of public education in the state for years. Yet, year after year, he failed to advance any initiatives to actually improve education. His one solution has always been, and is now, to spend more.

In his role as superintendent of the DPI, he submitted a budget that would increase state spending on public education by $1.7 billion in the next budget. That is a massive increase in spending. On Tony Evers’ campaign website, he says that if elected he will, “increase investments” and “increase funding” in virtually all aspects of the public school oligopoly.

Evers claims that such spending increases will not require tax increases because other state spending can be reprioritized. The problem with his math is that he wants to increase spending on all of the other major state spending items too.

When it comes to state spending on transportation and infrastructure, Evers says that he will “invest more in local road maintenance,” and “increase funding for public transit.” He will also “repeal changes made to Wisconsin’s prevailing wage laws.” Those changes will save the taxpayers millions of dollars — if they are not repealed.

For the environment, Evers will “invest in our natural resources” and shield the Department of Natural Resources from public oversight. For health care, Evers will “invest in preventative health programs” and “accept federal Medicaid expansion dollars,” which is already forcing more state spending in the states that accepted it. For economic development, Evers promises to “ensure access to high speed broadband,” “invest in our roads, bridges, ports and airports,” and “increase our investment in education.” For the University of Wisconsin System, Evers promises to “increase investments in both our technical schools and UW System.”

One thing becomes very clear in reviewing Tony Evers’ plan for Wisconsin. Whatever problems the state faces, the solution, in Evers’ mind, is to spend more money. The short list of items above comprises more than 60 percent of all state spending, and Evers wants to increase spending on all of it. What will he cut to offset that spending? Pensions? Law enforcement? Local aids?

There is no doubt that Tony Evers will raise taxes if given the chance. There is no other way to support the incredible increases in spending he envisions for the state. The only questions is how much taxes will go up under a Governor Evers.

Vote for Tony Evers if you want higher taxes

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here’s a taste.

During the era of Gov. Jim Doyle, Wisconsin was a tax hell. Our state consistently ranked in the top tier for overall tax burden and worst tax climate for business. Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans in the Legislature have made great strides in lowering taxes to the point that Wisconsin is now slightly worse than the average state in these rankings. That is a remarkable improvement in less than a decade. Perhaps it is now fair to say that Wisconsin is a tax purgatory, but it certainly has not ascended to a tax heaven yet.

If Wisconsin’s voters elect Democratic candidate Tony Evers to be our next governor, he will certainly push Wisconsin back down into the depths of the tax hell we just escaped. One may be tempted to think that this is just another baseless “Democrats will raise your taxes” attack. Evers is a doctrinaire liberal, so it would be easy to just assume that he wants to raise taxes. But one need only look at Evers’ own words to see that it is true. In fact, increasing taxes to support more government spending seems to be Evers’ answer to every issue facing the state.

More money has not, and will not, improve education for our children

Here is my full column for the Washington County Daily News that ran yesterday.

With school back in full swing, the MacIver Institute’s Ola Lisowski completed a comprehensive review of the state of education in Wisconsin. The data gives some insight into how well our education system is serving our kids and raises some questions. One is left wondering, however, why Wisconsin’s politicians insist that throwing more money into education is the only answer.

Overall, ACT achievement scores have remained flat. In 2017, the average ACT score for graduating students was 20.5. That was the exact same as in 2016. Prior to 2016, the average ACT score remained flat at 22.0 or 22.1, but there was a change in participation requirements in 2016.

Until 2016, students only took the ACT if they were intending to go to college or just wanted to take the test. Starting in 2016, Wisconsin began requiring all enrolled students to take the ACT and taxpayers pay for the exams. Although students can still opt-out, the new rules pushed the participation rate for taking the ACT from the 63.5 percent in 2015 to 92.1 percent in 2016 and 2017. The fact that a much larger number of kids are taking the ACT — including many who do not have any intention of attending college — necessarily lowers the average.

Compared to the other 16 states that require all students to take the ACT, Wisconsin’s average is third best. Only Colorado and Minnesota do better.

Another metric for which longitudinal data is available is Advanced Placement course participation and results. Average scores for AP tests have been trending slightly down since 2010. In 2011, 68 percent of students scored a 3 or better on AP exams and 65.9 percent scored that well last year. But the good news is that more and more kids are taking AP exams. Last year, 57 percent more AP exams were taken as compared to the 2010-2011 school year. Much like with the ACT, broader participation usually pushes the average down, so it is good to see so little decline with the surge in participation.

Graduation rates have increased slightly since 2011 from 87 percent to 88.6 percent in 2017. That beats the national average of 84 percent. The real news in the much better graduation rates for some minority groups. The Hispanic and Latino graduation rate jumped from 72 percent in 2011 to 79.9 percent in 2016. The graduation rate for Native American kids grew from 71.7 percent in 2011 to 77.8 percent in 2016. Asian and black graduation rates increased by 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. More kids are graduating and that is good news.

Unfortunately, we must temper the good news about the graduation rate with the data about remedial education. For many years, colleges have offered remedial education classes for incoming students.

They are classes for kids who are accepted and enrolled into the college, but need to shore up their core math or English skills.

Wisconsin began requiring in 2016 that UW System schools track which students need remedial education and the high schools that graduated those kids. The results are not good. Roughly 20 percent of all incoming students in the UW System require some form of remedial classes. These students graduated from 184 high schools. That means that almost 36 percent of Wisconsin high schools are sending kids to college who are not proficient in math or English. Not only is that indictment of those high schools, but it is a tremendous added expense to those kids who have to pay for remedial education they should have already received.

There is a lot more data on school performance. I invite you to read the overview at the MacIver Institute or dig through the Department of Public Instruction data yourself. A couple of insights bubble to the top after wading through the data. First, Wisconsin’s schools are fairly decent, for the most part, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Second, the performance has remained fairly consistent for the years despite taxpayers spending more and more every year.

This makes the politicians’ response all too disappointing. Tony Evers, the Democratic candidate for governor, has one answer to every question about education: Spend more money. This is despite the fact that spending more has no measurable impact on educational outcomes. Gov. Scott Walker has had a strong record of actual education reform, but has fallen into the same spending paradigm. This election, he is hanging his hat on the fact that Wisconsin increased spending on education and is spending more than ever.

The reason that politicians conflate more government spending with improving educational outcomes is as lazy as it is stupid. It is an easy way for them to demonstrate that they are “doing something.” In fact, they are doing nothing but wasting more money. The outcomes matter — not the spending.

More money has not, and will not, improve education for our children

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online now. Go pick up a paper, but here’s a snippet:

A couple of insights bubble to the top after wading through the data. First, Wisconsin’s schools are fairly decent, for the most part, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Second, the performance has remained fairly consistent for the years despite taxpayers spending more and more every year.

This makes the politicians’ response all too disappointing. Tony Evers, the Democratic candidate for governor, has one answer to every question about education: Spend more money. This is despite the fact that spending more has no measurable impact on educational outcomes. Gov. Scott Walker has had a strong record of actual education reform, but has fallen into the same spending paradigm. This election, he is hanging his hat on the fact that Wisconsin increased spending on education and is spending more than ever.

The reason that politicians conflate more government spending with improving educational outcomes is as lazy as it is stupid. It is an easy way for them to demonstrate that they are “doing something.” In fact, they are doing nothing but wasting more money. The outcomes matter — not the spending.

Tony Evers’ Old-School Pro-Abortion Stance

Wow.

TWS: One story I’m interested in is the role of pro-life Democrats: Do they have a place in the party? There’ve been fewer and fewer in Congress. What is your message to them? Do you want to see Medicaid funding of abortion generally? I know that’s restricted in Wisconsin.

EVERS: Yeah, we have a big tent here in Wisconsin. We have to in order to win elections. And yes pro-life Democrats are welcome in the party, and I respect their decisions on this issue. But we need to have the Medicaid money be available for all people and restricting it because of a certain procedure, whether it’s a tonsillectomy or any other procedure, seems to me a foolhardy thing to do. So, yes, we have to respect people’s people’s pro-life beliefs, and certainly they’re welcome in the Democratic party. Absolutely.

Two point… first, according to Evers, pro-life Democrats are welcome as long as they still support a radical pro-abortion agenda. Second, also according to Evers, killing an unborn child has the same moral equivalence as a tonsillectomy.

Again. Wow.

Evers Threatens Education for Thousands of Choice Students

True.

Yesterday, State Superintendent Tony Evers won the Democratic Primary for governor. While Evers may come off much like a friendly grandfather—affable and harmless—it is important to recognize that he represents a threat to school choice in Wisconsin, even more so than previous Democrat gubernatorial candidates. Evers has a long record of opposing education reform that needs to be highlighted.

His stance on school choice may kick thousands of low-income Milwaukee students out of their schools

Evers has threatened to end Wisconsin’s school choice programs unless a number of untenable reforms are implemented. Without such changes, enrollment in the programs would be frozen. Voucher schools, particularly in Milwaukee, are reliant on a continual stream of students to remain viable. Freezing enrollment would effectively mean these schools would shut down and more than 27,000 low-income families in Milwaukee would be left with no option but to return to the low-performing Milwaukee Public Schools.

Evers to Challenge Walker

Wait… what? Way to come out of the gate strong, Tony.

best

Tony Evers Pivots to General Election

Clearly Evers feels comfortable about winning the primary election and has begun his pivot to the general election.

Eau Claire (WQOW) – We are less than one month away from the fall primary, and Tuesday, the leading Marquette Poll’s leading Democrat in the governor’s race stopped by the News 18 studio.

Tony Evers was the only Democrat to crack double-digits in the poll, with 31 percent of support. However, 38 percent of those polled are still undecided in the race.

Many Democrats are campaigning against the Foxconn deal. Recently, the company announced it was opening two locations in downtown Eau Claire.

Tuesday, Evers said, if elected, he will not advocate for ending the deal, but he does plan to change the terms.

“What we have to do is make sure that money that’s been invested is invested wisely,” Evers said. “We have to make sure that all the state benefits from Foxconn. We have to hold their feet to the fire on all sorts of issues that, frankly, Scott Walker walked away on. Environmental issues, pay issues, making sure that there is good paying jobs for people.”

Tony Evers Uses Education Address to Campaign

Tony Evers is the state Superintendent of Schools. Every year, the person in that job gives a kind of “state of the schools” address. It’s normally a pretty mundane affair. This year, Tony Evers decided to use his official office to ramble on about all sorts of things that have nothing to do with schools, like transportation, Medicaid, etc. It’s clearly a political speech on the taxpayers’ dime. There isn’t much recourse for it since Evers is in a constitutional elected office, but it’s worth noting that Evers has little regard for separating his office from his campaign for governor.

State Superintendent Tony Evers on Thursday blasted the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker for not significantly increasing school funding in recent years, refusing to take federal money to expand Medicaid and for the condition of the state’s roads.

Evers, who announced last month he is challenging Walker in 2018, took aim at his future opponent and the Republican Party on several issues during his annual “state of education” address at the state Capitol — remarks typically focused on K-12 education, which he oversees as the head of the Department of Public Instruction.

Quoting President Teddy Roosevelt throughout what verged on a political stump speech, Evers told the Capitol rotunda full of school superintendents, lawmakers and other state officials that Roosevelt “is calling us to stand tall in the face of adversity.”

Tony Evers Announces for Governor

His platform is to increase taxes and dump more money into schools.

He said he chose to seek a higher office, in part, because of “inadequate resources” from the state to schools and higher education institutions, which he said has a negative impact on the state’s workforce.

“We need to rebuild our middle class — clearly it’s in significant disarray and people frankly just aren’t paid enough to support a family,” Evers said.

Can we dispense with the fiction that DPI Superintendent is a non-partisan office?

Top Two Advance in DPI Race

Good.

State Superintendent Tony Evers will face off against Lowell Holtz in a general re-election bid for his post, according to the Associated Press.

Eliminated in today’s primary was John Humphries, former Dodgeville administrator who also worked at DPI.

Evers gathered 69 percent of the vote, while Holtz has 23 percent and Humphries has 7 percent, according to unofficial election results from AP.

With turnout so low in the state, the reliable union voters were likely over-represented a tad. This presents a good, clear choice for the April election.

Evers Blasts School Reform

Heh.

Wisconsin school Superintendent Tony Evers is blasting a plan from a challenger that would make it possible for low-performing public schools to be converted into private charter or voucher schools.

The idea comes from John Humphries, a former Dodgeville school administrator who is challenging Evers. His proposal would allow the lowest-performing schools with a high percentage of low-income students to be reorganized, possibly as a private voucher school.

Evers says Humphries has no vision and wants to dismantle public schools. Evers says Humphries is peddling ideas that haven’t worked and won’t be accepted.

Yes, I agree with Evers. Instead of trying something different with failing schools to help them succeed, let’s just keep doing the same thing /sarcasm.

It’s an old saw, but it’s true. If you keep doing the same things the same way, you will get the same results. Apparently, that is the core of Evers’ “vision.”

Three Vie for State Superintendent

Interesting.

State Superintendent Tony Evers — first elected in 2009 — will face former Beloit School District Superintendent Lowell Holtz and John Humphries, a Dodgeville School District administrator, in a February primary.

 What’s interesting is who is missing. Germantown Superintendent Jeffrey Holmes announced that he was running for this seat months ago. It looks like he didn’t file. What happened? He did just shepherd through a massive school referendum in his district. Perhaps he thought he couldn’t win with conservatives with that on his record? Or does he now want to have the fun of spending all of that money? Or perhaps some family issues came up? Curious. Perhaps some intrepid reporter will look into it for us.

DPI Superintendent Laments Teachers’ Opportunities

Talk about a Marxist mindset.

At a conference of public school funding activists in Wauwatosa on Tuesday, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Tony Evers told the audience he’s not happy with competition for talent between school districts.

“In addition, especially in this part of the world, and I know you don’t want to hear it, after Act 10, the ability of districts to poach other teachers,” Evers said to over 300 attendees of the Wisconsin Public Education Network conference at Wauwatosa East High School. “I know that, probably I’m sure that, others don’t want to hear it as poaching. It’s the wild west out there.”

Before Act 10, it was very difficult for teachers to change districts. Since pay and benefits were largely based on seniority because of how the union contracts were negotiated, moving to a new district usually meant starting back at the bottom of the labor pool. This practice effectively limited the ability of good teachers to better their pay, work environment, or location.

After Act 10, it is much easier for teachers to move between districts. Act 10 created an environment where districts can recruit (or as Evers calls it, “poach”) good teachers that they need to benefit their students. The districts must recruit the good teachers with more pay, better benefits, better work conditions, etc. if they want to be successful. Act 10 has allowed for the free market to work a little more in the labor market for teachers resulting in better pay and benefits for good teachers – particularly for the teachers who teach in specialized areas.

So instead of celebrating a freer labor market that is allowing great teachers to benefit and encourage them to stay teaching, Evers wants great teachers chained to their districts with no chance of leap frogging their less talented peers. In case Evers hadn’t noticed, this is how the labor market works in 90% of the private sector.