News

CAP TIMES: Republican legislators should stand with Wisconsin, not Walker

June 14, 2011
Cap Times Editorial Board

Until now, Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to remake Wisconsin as a brutish state where schools are underfunded, local services are starved, local democracy is rendered dysfunctional and working people can’t get a break was just that — an “attempt.”

Now, as the state Assembly and Senate move toward definitive votes on a budget plan that would implement Walker’s agenda, theory gives way to reality.

 

MJS: Collective bargaining limits may rejoin state budget bill

June 14, 2011
Jason Stein and Patrick Marley

Madison - The Legislature will write Gov. Scott Walker's frozen limits on collective bargaining into the state budget Tuesday if the state Supreme Court hasn't restored them by then, the leader of the state Assembly said Monday.

As time was running out for the high court to act and the budget showdown loomed, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) and other Republicans said they also would seek to pass the budget bill under so-called extraordinary rules that allow it to be advanced more quickly from one house to the next.

Ideas for local venues to hold an “Reboot the Budget" protest

June 14, 2011

A business whose owners, top executives, or PAC’s donated significant amounts of money to Scott Walker’s campaign such as:

  • M&I Bank – contributions totaled over $25,000
     
  • Walmart – PAC gave $15,000
  • Sentry Foods/Metcalfe's Market – contributions totaled over $5,500
  • Kwik Trip – contributions totaled over $10,000
  • Woodman's – contributed $1,000

WBP: The Budget's Effect on Wisconsin's Low-Income Families

June 13, 2011
Wisconsin Budget Project

How will the state budget impact low-income families? Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (WCCF) has updated two analyses to show how the budget -- as amended by the Joint Finance Committee -- will affect low-income families:

Additional Information: 

See the attached reports for more info

THE PROGRESSIVE: Protesters Descend on Wis. Manufacturers and Commerce

June 13, 2011
Ruth Conniff

On Monday, June 13, at noon, Wisconsin citizens organized by the group Wisconsin Wave marched around the Capitol building and converged on the offices of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the largest business lobby group in the state, to protest the WMC's support for Governor Scott Walker and his devastating state budget.

 

STAR TRIBUNE: Wisconsin craft brewers fight possible law changes for beer brewing industry

June 12, 2011
Carrie Antlfinger

MILWAUKEE - A fight brewing over beer in Wisconsin pits the growing market of craft brewers against a large, well-known brewer.

A group of craft brewers say a proposal being supported by MillerCoors, the Wisconsin Beer Distributors Association, Tavern League of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Grocers Association and others would limit smaller brewers' ability to expand and could limit them from getting beer to consumers in the future.

"This is all about money and restricting competition. This isn't idle child's play," said Jeff Hamilton, president of the Wisconsin Brewers Guild and Sprecher Brewing Co. in Milwaukee.

MJS: Even more tax breaks for manufacturers added to state budget

June 12, 2011
Kathleen Gallagher

Aiming to make Wisconsin more attractive to business, Republican lawmakers have proposed reducing the state tax on the production earnings of manufacturers and agricultural businesses to almost nothing by 2016.

 

GBPG: Wisconsin craft beermakers fight possible brewing changes

June 12, 2011
Carrie Antlfinge

MILWAUKEE — A fight brewing over beer in Wisconsin pits the growing market of craft brewers against a large, well-known brewer.

 

PRESS ADVISORY: Labor and community groups to hold march and press conference at WMC

June 12, 2011
Solidarity Roundtable

For Immeidate Release

LABOR AND COMMUNITY GROUPS TO HOLD MARCH AND PRESS CONFERENCE AT WISCONSIN MANUFACTURERS AND COMMERCE

Organizers will declare a people’s state of emergency and call for a mass mobilization against the two-year budget bill

 

THE PROGRESSIVE: Pocan warns of Republicans' efforts to force budget through legislature

June 11, 2011
Matthew Rothschild

Mark Pocan, Wisconsin state assemblyman from Madison, just issued a warning about how rapidly Republicans may move on the budget in the coming week. He also warned that they may decide to tuck into the budget the anti-collective bargaining bill that sparked such controversy over the past five months.

ELECTION DEFENSE ALLIANCE: Public vote counting the only way to ensure fair elections

June 10, 2011
Jonathan Simon

George Soros ("My Philanthropy," New York Review of Books, 5/23/11) paints a discouraging picture of an America in thrall to the Orwellian "Newspeak" now peddled to seeming perfection by the GOP.

THINK PROGRESS: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s War On Craft Beer

June 10, 2011
Alex Seitz-Wald

Tucked into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) much-discussed budget was a little-noticed provision to overhaul the state’s regulation of the beer industry. In a state long associated with beer, the provision will make it much more difficult for the Wisconsin’s burgeoning craft breweries to operate and expand their business by barring them from selling directly to restaurants and liquor stores, and preventing them from selling their own product onsite.

WBP: Icing on the Cake for Corporations, Crumbs for Working Families

June 10, 2011
Wisconsin Budget Project

As the Joint Finance Committee wrapped up its work on the biennial budget bill late last Friday night, June 3, one of the final motions that was offered was a brand new proposal for a large corporate tax break.

Progressive Dane: Don’t roll back fair housing protections

June 10, 2011
Jacque Pokorney and Michael Johnson

Dear Editor: Progressive Dane joins Affordable Housing Action Alliance in vigorously opposing Senate Bill 107 and Republican legislative efforts to eliminate municipal authority to regulate landlord tenant matters. SB 107 rolls back over a decade of improvements in housing access and tenant protection in Dane County and the city of Madison.

CAP TIMES: Frm. Governor disgusted by current legislature's pandering to special interests

June 10, 2011
Dave Zweifel

Ran into former Gov. Tony Earl during lunch at the Avenue Bar earlier this week and asked him how he was.

“Frankly, I’m despondent,” said the governor, who at age 75 otherwise looked quite chipper. “Every day it’s something even more unbelievable.”

Earl was talking, of course, about the goings-on in the state Capitol these days, where no one should be surprised any longer by the audacious pandering to the special interests and their bottomless cache of campaign money.

CAP TIMES: Republicans can't get story straight on running fake Dems in recall elections

June 10, 2011
Cap Times Editorial Board

State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, is proud of the fact that his Republican Party is recruiting and running spoiler candidates in Democratic primaries for the seats of GOP senators who are being recalled.

WSJ: As protesters pound on walls, Walker tells realtor conferees, ‘That’s opportunity knocking’

June 10, 2011
Karen Rivedal

"That's opportunity knocking for all of us now."

Gov. Scott Walker got his biggest applause line for that off-hand remark, made midway through his keynote address Thursday at an annual housing conference at UW-Madison.

It came right after four hard, booming knocks — clearly audible over Walker's words in the packed Fluno Center auditorium — as protesters opposed to the governor's budget-cutting policies pounded their disdain on the outside walls of the building.

DANE 101 reports on the top donors to Republican Senators up for recall

June 10, 2011
Dane 101

We've gone through the financial reports of candidates up for recall up until the end of April and pulled out the top individual donors of more than $1000. We started making these lists in expectation that we'd know which of the nine Senators being challenged for a recall would be approved last week. We didn't want to waste time digging through financial reports of Senators that weren't approved. However, it wasn't until this week that we learned that the three Democrats will also be facing recalls and it turns out we didn't really need to wait, because those three Senators barely had individual donors who gave them more than $300.

THE PROGRESSIVE: Protesters surround Walker’s car at realtor protest

June 10, 2011
Rebecca Kemble

Yesterday morning Governor Scott Walker addressed participants in a conference called “New Partnerships: Government and Real Estate” which was sponsored by the UW Graaskamp Center for Real Estate, Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, Wisconsin Department of Commerce, Wisconsin Realtors Association, Wisconsin Bankers Association and M&I Bank. In attendance were scores of property developers, bankers, mortgage brokers, and real estate agents.

DANE 101: State emergency team monitoring protest-related communication and action

June 9, 2011
Dane 101

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. Dane101 has learned through a direct, anonymous source that a state emergency response team has been operating out of the GEF-2 (101 S. Webster St.) building downtown specifically to monitor protest related activity on social media sites and elsewhere.

THE PROGRESSIVE: Walker's speech to realtor conference disrupted by protesters

June 9, 2011
Elizabeth DiNovella

A hundred people protested Governor Scott Walker’s speaking engagement at the Wisconsin Real Estate and Economic Outlook Conference, co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Realtors Association. Representative Paul Ryan is slated to speak at 1:30.

Walker's proposed budget spares no one in Wisconsin from devastating cuts

June 8, 2011
Defend Wisconsin

State Budget Update (from June 8, 2011)

Editor’s Note: Thanks to State Representative Terese Berceau, who sent out the following state budget update in an e-mail on June 8, 2011. Information about the budget is regularly changing as the State Legislature meets to discuss and vote on the legislation.

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) has concluded its work on the Governor’s 2011-13 state budget proposal.  In the coming week, the Assembly will consider the budget.  It will then go to the Senate. Here is a quick list of provisions in the current version of the budget, organized by issue area.

Taxes & Borrowing

The WBP publishes report explaining what's in the proposed budget

June 8, 2011
Wisconsin Budget Project

The Wisconsin Budget Project has updated our comparative budget summary, which shows how selected provisions in the budget have been modified in the budget process. Today’s update includes all actions taken by the Joint Finance Committee. If you’re interested in tracking a specific provision through the legislative process, the comparative budget summary is a convenient way to do so.

Additional Information: 

See the attached PDF for the full report

CAP TIMES: Bogus budget deserves backlash

June 8, 2011
Cap Times Editorial Board

Gov. Scott Walker, a career politician who has never taken one elected office without beginning to position himself to run for the next, made a wild play for the national stage just weeks after being sworn in as a Republican governor with Republican majorities in the Wisconsin Legislature. Using a supposedly minor “budget repair bill” as his vehicle, Walker proposed to scrap most collective bargaining rights for public employees and teachers, to radically restructure state government to concentrate power in the governor’s office, and to use that power to limit access to health care for working families and seniors while bartering off public assets in no-bid deals with favored corporations.

MJS: WMC members feeling "optimistic" about direction of the state since Walker took power

June 8, 2011
Joe Taschler

Executives surveyed by Wisconsin's largest business lobbying group overwhelmingly say the state is "going in the right direction," a near-complete reversal of sentiment from a year ago that comes against a backdrop of exceptional political animosity.

 

FORWARD LOOKOUT: Why Did Soglin Call in the Cops on Union Protesters?

June 7, 2011
Kyle Szarzynski

Yesterday’s march from Madison’s Fire Station 1 to the Walkerville camp and around the Capitol – stopping by the criminal M&I Bank along the way – was an inspiring spectacle, but things should have turned out better.

 

FDL: Capitol Police Tackle, Arrest Members of the Press

June 7, 2011
David Dayen

Five people were arrested in Madison, Wisconsin at the Capitol yesterday, amid a march of thousands led by former Sen. Russ Feingold.

WSJ: Justices split politically as court takes up collective bargaining law

June 7, 2011
Ed Treleven

As the state Supreme Court heard arguments Monday on a Dane County judge’s order blocking a law that curtails collective bargaining by public employee unions, questions from the justices appeared to fall mostly along the court’s political divide.

CAP TIMES: Craft brewers vent anger over provision in Walker’s budget

June 7, 2011
Jessica Vanegeren

The number of craft brewers is growing across the state, with beer-brand names like New Glarus, Capital Brewery and Sprecher as recognizable to many Wisconsin beer drinkers as Bud and Miller Lite.

In all, the state’s 60 craft brewers now account for 5 percent — a rising but still slim percentage — of the state’s annual beer sales, according to the Colorado-based Brewers Association, a nonprofit trade group dedicated to promoting the country’s small brewers.

JOHN NICHOLS: Feingold marches in solidarity with protesters on Monday

June 7, 2011
John Nichols

Russ Feingold leapt into the center of the fight for worker rights and people-first budgeting in Wisconsin this week, stirring excitement about the prospect that the popular former U.S. senator might soon be re-entering the political fray — as a candidate for an open Senate seat in 2012 or perhaps as the champion of the forces seeking to remove right-wing Gov. Scott Walker in a recall election.

Feingold marched at the front of a crowd of 5,000 public- and private-sector workers, farmers and community activists who packed the streets of Madison Monday for a hastily organized march to protest moves by Walker and his allies to enact a state budget that attacks collective bargaining rights, undermines local democracy and cuts funding for schools and public services.

The MJS recaps the last three and a half months of protests in Wisconsin

June 7, 2011
Bill Glauber, Dave Umhoefer and Lee Bergquist

It was winter in Madison, and Gov. Scott Walker was poised to reorder the state's fiscal and political landscape, perhaps for a generation.

The tool he chose for his far-reaching plan was the budget-repair bill, an often mundane piece of legislation designed to balance the government's books in the middle of a two-year budget cycle.

In Walker's hands, the bill became a bombshell. Tucked in the legislation was language to curtail collective bargaining for most public employees.

 

DEMOCRACY NOW interviews the two journalists arrested while covering budget bill protests

June 6, 2011
Democracy Now

More than a thousand Wisconsin workers marched through Madison, Wisconsin, today to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s "budget repair" bill that slashes collective bargaining rights and funding for education, healthcare and seniors’ programs. During the march, police took into custody two credentialed journalists who were filming the protest.

THE PROGRESSIVE: Wisconsin activists gears up to stop budget bill

June 6, 2011
Rebecca Kemble

The limits of the conventional political process have been reached.

Wisconsin is gearing up for mass action at the Capitol in Madison in advance of the 2011 – 2013 biennial budget deliberations by the full Senate and Assembly. Governor Walker and the Republican legislative leadership have said they want the budget passed by June 20. The installation of the Walkerville encampment on the Capitol Square this past Saturday night was planned as a way to provide a base camp and organizational hub for teach-ins and for disseminating information about legislative calendars and the contents of the bills under consideration for the next two weeks up until the budget is taken up.

MJS: Republicans using state budget to weaken child labor laws

June 6, 2011
Jason Stein

Madison - As the budget committee wrapped up work last week, Republicans largely avoided putting earmarks in the state budget bill but injected new and far-reaching policies into it.

Late Friday night, the Joint Finance Committee approved allowing bail bondsmen in Wisconsin, sales tax exemptions for snow-making equipment and direct mail promotions, changing child labor laws and blocking local regulations on bird hunting preserves. The committee last week also amended the 2011-'13 budget bill to make it harder to get financial interest statements for public officials and limit the work that county highway crews can do, leaving more work for private contractors.

MJS: Republicans add additional $128.7 worth of tax cuts to budget

June 6, 2011
Kathleen Gallagher

Aiming to make Wisconsin more attractive to business, Republican lawmakers have proposed reducing the state tax on the production earnings of manufacturers and agricultural businesses to almost nothing by 2016.

The tax reductions - slashing the rate in annual steps from the current 7.9% to 0.4% - would apply to the production income of the businesses, not to income such as royalties and investments.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates the measure would cost the state $359.7 million over its first five years, and $128.7 million a year once it is fully phased in starting in 2016.

Agence France-Presse: Raging Greeks Stage Biggest Anti-Austerity Protest Yet

June 5, 2011
Will Vassilopoulos
Over 50,000 Greek protesters assemble in the capital

 

ATHENS — Thousands of Greeks took to the streets of Athens late Sunday on the 12th consecutive day of protests against the government's draconian austerity measures.

COMMON DREAMS: Madrid activists vote to continue sit-in as similar demonstrations grow across the country

June 5, 2011
María Carrión

MADRID, Spain -- The crowd of three thousand sat patiently on the hard pavement of the plaza as the fourth hour of the popular assembly came and went. The issue was whether Camp Sol, a protest that had persevered for two weeks in Madrid's main square known as Puerta del Sol, would dismantle or stay on. Protesters were exhausted from living on the streets; there had been a few cases of harassment and tensions between groups; the infrastructure of the camp was fragile; electricity was scarce. The camp's legal team had kept police at bay but there were no guarantees that it would remain that way (a similar camp in Barcelona had been attacked by police the day before).

WSJ: Wisconsin citizens launch "Walkerville" on Capitol square

June 5, 2011
George Hesselberg

Madison's newest campground opened at 7 p.m. Saturday, with most choice tent spots in "Walkerville" resting on concrete. There was no fee or registration, but the rules were strict, privacy was zero and scary stories around the flashlight were likely to feature cuts, slashes and vouchers.

There were roughly three dozen tents set up by 8 p.m., but by 9 p.m. organizers estimated there were 250 campers in 75 to 100 tents. The convivial mood was infectious, with lots of friendly conversation and tents set up within inches of neighbors, as if at a rock festival.

JOHN NICHOLS: When GOP and Socialists stood together for labor

June 5, 2011
John Nichols

The image of a Republican governor and legislators leading the charge to take away collective bargaining rights is getting so burned into the public consciousness that a lot of Wisconsinites might think that Republicans have always been anti-worker, anti-union pawns of out-of-state robber barons.

But that’s not the case.