Posts tagged ‘Wisconsin legislature’

January 9, 2010

Legislators legislating legislation

by thoughtfulconservative

I’m talkin’ about the whole kit and kaboodle. US House, US Senate, Wisconsin legislature. Probably yours. Could include county supervisors, city councils, school boards. Go ahead take your turn at naming one.

What most of these have in common (I can’t say all, because some one would say, “Prove it!” and I can’t) is the propensity to invade into areas that don’t really concern them or that are a waste of time and they wouldn’t have thought about it except for the fact that some lobbying group is telling them how many votes they would get if they would co-sponsor this wonderful bill that is really non-controversial.

Right.

OK, let’s look at some particulars:

The first is the most recent of Wisconsin state symbols–cheese as the official state snack.

Cheese would become Wisconsin’s official state snack under a bill up for public hearing on Thursday.The proposal by Democratic state Sen. Jim Sullivan of Wauwatosa doesn’t differentiate between cheddar, blue or Swiss. And it also doesn’t say anything about curds.

Yes, folks a state snack. I’m sure you also remember hearing that the Wisconsin legislature is debating the state microbe and state motorcycle:

But a pair of contenders hoping to join the state symbol club would honor two equally famous Wisconsin traditions: cheese and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

One bill, introduced last week, aims to celebrate Lactococcus lactis, a tiny organism that makes the state’s estimated $18 billion per year cheese industry possible, by naming it the official state microbe. The other, introduced in the Senate on Wednesday, would designate Harley-Davidson the Wisconsin state motorcycle.

No time for less important issues like school funding and the budget deficit.

Congress, of course, gets in on the act. Now that they have successfully given us the 2,000+ page health care bill, they have time to tackle important things like probing NFL  concussions.

These are not the only examples. Most states have symbols ranging from amphibians to trees.

It’s mostly harmless cheerleading. And it keeps them away from serious legislation that might screw with my life some more.

February 16, 2009

Republicans, are you paying attention?

by thoughtfulconservative

WisPolitics Budget Blog: Cabinet members give up pay hikes.

Previously, on this subject:

Wage increases for legislators – Part 2

Three Wisconsin legislators plan to refuse pay raise

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January 29, 2009

Wage increases for legislators – Part 2

by thoughtfulconservative

I’ve written before (OK, not on my blog or in a comment, but in e -mails to Kramer and Kanavas) what I think the Republican party should do on the pay raises for legislatures, but I guess that’s not going to happen.

(Thanks to Spring City Chronicle for the link; it was easier to go there than to go back and look for it from the online editions of the Freeman)

  • Mary Lazich – “I’ve returned raises in the past and after I gave them back I saw how the state squandered the money. I don’t want to let it go to waste. I’d rather give it to a charity.” So I’m helping Sen. Lazich be charitable. Great. I don’t suppose she claims it on her income tax. Nah.
  • Bill Kramer – “It’s my understanding that it was six years without a pay raise and I didn’t have anything to do with the voting on it. “But I still have to pay taxes on it. And I still have to spend time away from my business so I’ll need to put (the raise) into my business.” Yeah, well we’re all struggling, I guess.
  • You’ve hear this one, right? “A state law that says we must accept the raise.”

This from the Freeman,

    The Freeman contacted several departments within the Legislature and the state Department of Justice to verify that rule, though no one could confirm if there was such a requirement.[Emphsis mine]

Wigderson Library & Pub: I’ll see that and raise you a legislature

Perhaps even more disappointing than Kramer’s reaction was the mixed reaction from all legislative members of the Republican Party in Madison. It’s not like this pay raise was unexpected yet there was no strategy for dealing with the issue. Instead of being used to partisan advantage, the issue seems to have been rolled under the GOP tent like a live hand grenade. The reaction, sadly predictable, has been every man for himself.

And you would think legislators would at least acknowlege receipt of an e-mail, but maybe that’s asking too much.

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January 10, 2009

Taxes and spending

by thoughtfulconservative

The Chief, who I don’t think would mind being called left-of-center, reminds us of something all conservative should know.

[L]et’s make something perfectly clear: any program introduced by a legislator — no matter how well-meaning, how virtuous, how essential to the public good — costs money.

The Chief is pointing at Sen. Mary Lazich’s Silver Alert legislation, which she plans to submit and, frankly, rightly calls it hypocritical. Now perhaps the senator is looking at cutting spending elsewhere to make room for this expense, but with Wisconsin already looking at having a $5 billion deficit, it’s hard to see where this would come from.

But maybe she’s looking elsewhere. In another post Sen. Lazich wrote,

Congress is considering giving grants to states to start their own Silver Alert programs. Another bill to be introduced in Congress this month would make Silver Alert a federally-run program in every state. [Emphasis mine]

Even if a federal program, it will be paid with my taxes. Is a state tax increase bad and a federal increase good?

But as a Stateline.org article notes

Silver Alert has few opponents, although proposals in some states have been rejected because of budget concerns and worries that law enforcers already are overburdened. Some state policymakers also have cautioned that too many alerts could make the public less likely to respond. [Emphasis mine]

Popular, but concerns.

So how much will it cost? I guess we’ll have to wait for the state bureau to look at it.

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January 5, 2009

Wisconsin Democrats’ stimulus plan

by thoughtfulconservative

Via Journal Sentinel NewsWatch,

Focusing money on highway, bridge and other infrastructure projects would let “Wisconsin companies hire Wisconsin workers at family-supporting jobs,” Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Weston) said in a speech on the Senate floor.

Yeah, like that Government Accountability Board web site deal.

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May 21, 2008

“The Sensenbrenner Tax”

by thoughtfulconservative

This is the clever title (well, maybe not so clever since Cato wrote it first) of the latest post by Wisconsin 5th CD candidate, Republican Jim Burkee posted at the Small Business Times and on his Community NOW blog Responsibility Now (which has footnotes where the SBT post doesn’t. BTW, if anyone can figure out how the footnotes work, I would appreciate it. I can’t.).

His basis is that Sensenbrenner was the sponsor of the Real ID Act of 2005 which was responsible for an unfunded mandate that caused the Wisconsin Legislature to raise driver license fees $10 — the Sensenbrenner Tax.

This fee/tax was also involved in the recent budget repair “deal” and a tongue lashing by Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin Assembly Majority leader Mike Huebsch.

Burkee is correct when he says,

With Real ID, Jim Sensenbrenner has managed to unite left and right in opposition.

Of course, Sensenbrenner was just the sponsor. All but 12 Republicans in the House voted for the measure in February 2005 before it was attached as a rider to the military appropriations bill, eight voted “No” and 5 didn’t vote. All three of Wisconsin Republicans voted for the measure, so I’m not sure if Burkee is condemning the entire Republican Party and aligning himself with Ron Paul, who was one of the eight nay votes.

Instead of Real ID, Burkee touts Rep. Paul Ryan’s Employee Verification Act, which seems to have promise, but has not been passed and I doubt it will in the current climate.

I’m not a big fan of Real ID myself, but it seems we need to get something on track. And as Owen has pointed out, the Wisconsin Legislature has already passed the $10 fee and are not rescinding it.

This looks like a spending cut, but it really isn’t.  It cuts $21,989,300 for implementing the Real ID Act and transfers the money to the general fund.  But implementing the Real ID act is de-facto mandatory unless Wisconsinites are cool with their drivers’ licenses being invalid for federal purposes.  So while this looks like a spending cut, it is actually just delaying this spending into the next budget.

Also notice that this was the excuse for the increased vehicle registration fee that was passed in the budget.  So now there is a fee that is being collected to implement the Real ID act, but the money is being taken used in the general fund instead.  Bait and switch, anyone?

Does this mean it’s no longer Sensenbrenner’s tax?