Daily Archives: April 20, 2011

AFL-CIO Blog: Ohio’s Kasich Wants to Outsource Any Job Anytime—And Winner Pays No Taxes

April 12, 2011- Just when you thought the political pandering to corporate greed could not get any worse, Ohio Gov. John Kasich has taken it to a new low.

Hidden deep in his proposed budget is a provision to allow his administration to contract out for 75 years any state service to any applicant that the state budget and management director (OBM)—a Kasich appointee—alone deems “qualified.” The winning contractors would pay no business tax on gross receipts or on any income from providing public services. Not to mention the thousands of jobs that could be lost.

The provisions are tucked away between pages 261 and 266 in Kasich’s proposed budget and do not require that the winning bidder be current on taxes, operate a safe workplace, pay a legal wage, or even be an Ohio company that employs Ohioans. Nor is there anything to stop Kasich’s cronies from awarding contracts to major Kasich campaign contributors. And nobody, not even the state’s Controlling Board, which oversees state contracts, would be able to review the deal.

Talking Points Memo: Detroit Sends Layoff Notices To Every Public School Teacher

April 15, 2011- Every one of Detroit's public school teachers is receiving a layoff notice — but that doesn't mean they will all be fired.

The layoff notices were sent to the 5,466 unionized teachers "in anticipation of a workforce reduction to match the district's declining student enrollment," according to a Detroit Public Schools statement. The layoff notices are required as part of the Detroit Teachers Federation collective-bargaining agreement. Non-Renewal notices have also been sent to 248 administrators, and the layoffs would go into effect by July 29.

As Reuters reports, a new law in Michigan gives Detroit Public Schools' Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb the power to alter collective bargaining agreements and even fire elected officials if he believes it will prevent a financial emergency. And Bobb "fully" intends to use that authority, he said in the statement.

The Brad Blog: Waukesha, WI Follies: 97.63% Turnout in 2004? 20,000 More Votes Than ‘Ballots Cast’ in 2006?

Trying to get to the bottom of new anomalies discovered in County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus' bizarre election results…

April 14, 2011- Waukesha County, Wisconsin's County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus was already known, for some time, to be among the nation's worst elections official. And that's saying quite a bit. But new information being discovered over the past several days suggests she may be even worse than previously known — which is also saying quite a bit.

We noted last Friday that the stunning 14,000+ "new" votes she announced as having discovered in the state's Supreme Court election from the city of Brookfield last Thursday actually weren't "new" at all. In fact, they were independently reported late on Election Night by Lisa Sink of the Brookfield Patch, exactly as they were eventually included in Nickolaus' final canvass report [XLS].

The Brad Blog: JUST IN: ‘State Investigating Vote Irregularities in Waukesha County Going Back 5 Years’

April 14, 2011- Guess what? As per our story published a few hours ago on the still-unexplained anomalies found in past Waukesha County, WI elections, it looks like the state's Government Accountability Board (the body which oversees elections in the state) can't understand County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus' explanations for the anomalous 2006 results either, where some 20,000 more votes were tallied than "ballots cast", according to her own reports.

Just in tonight from the Wisconsin State Journal: "State investigating vote irregularities in Waukesha County going back 5 years"

Our report from earlier this evening offers a great deal more detail on the anomalies in question, and includes explanation (of a sort) and comment from Nickolaus who, the Journal reports, "was unavailable for comment Wednesday and Thursday." She did, for whatever reason, manage to offer The BRAD BLOG comment on these concerns both yesterday and today, terse as it was. FWIW.


St Petersburg Times: UCF economist: Gov. Scott’s plan to cut taxes isn’t the answer

April 15, 2011- A day after one prominent Florida economist applauded Florida Gov. Rick Scott's tax-cutting strategy, another economist attacked it.

University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith warned that cutting corporate and property taxes is not the way to draw more business and jobs to the Sunshine State.

"Florida already has one of the lowest tax burdens in the nation and only lags behind South Dakota, Alaska, Wyoming and Nevada for the best business tax climate in the country," Snaith said in releasing his latest quarterly statewide forecast Thursday morning. "There is not much room for improvement as far as the tax climate in Florida is concerned, and trying to be the cheapest state in the country is not going to bolster the number of suitors Florida has.

"There is very little to win in our race to the tax bottom."

Instead of enacting Scott's proposed $1 billion in cuts to corporate income and property taxes, lawmakers should use tax breaks to encourage business behaviors like educating and training employees, Snaith recommended.

Wisconsin State Journal: State investigating vote irregularities in Waukesha County going back 5 years

April 15, 2011- The state's investigation into vote irregularities in Waukesha County will stretch back at least five years, the head of the Government Accountability Board said Thursday.

Questions over vote totals in Waukesha have lingered over the past week after County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus announced she failed to report more than 14,000 votes from the city of Brookfield in initial vote totals.

The new total gave incumbent Supreme Court Justice David Prosser a lead of about 7,000 votes over challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg in the hotly contested state Supreme Court race. Official results in that race have not yet been announced.

Now questions have emerged over Nickolaus' published vote counts from as far back as the fall of 2006, when there were key statewide elections including races for governor and attorney general.

Think Progress: Scott Walker Admits Union-Busting Provision “Doesn’t Save Any” Money For The State Of Wisconsin

April 14, 2011- Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform called Govs. Scott Walker (R-WI) and Peter Shumlin (D-VT) to testify in a hearing titled “State and Municipal Debt: Tough Choices Ahead.” Much of the hearing was spent probing Wisconsin’s spate of anti-union restrictions it recently passed.

At one point, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) confronted Walker about his crackdown on public employee unions. The congressman referenced a provision Walker signed into law that would require union members to vote every year to continue their membership. Kucinich asked the governor how much money the state would save from the provision. Walker repeatedly dodged the question and eventually admitted that it actually wouldn’t save anything at all.

The Cap Times: Biz Beat: Koch Industries gains from pollution law delays

April 14, 2011- Right or wrong, Koch Industries has served as the bogeyman for all the evil doings of the Walker administration.

Sometimes there's no smoking gun — like the new state contract for copy paper with Koch-owned subsidiary Georgia-Pacific, which was awarded while Gov. Jim Doyle was still in office.

But this new report from the liberal ThinkProgress.org offers some insight into Gov. Scott Walker's call for delaying implementation of tougher water pollution laws in Wisconsin.

First some background:

Koch Industries since 2005 has owned Georgia-Pacific, which owns the former Fort Howard paper-making facility in Green Bay. The Green Bay plant is one of the largest contributors of phosphorus into Wisconsin waters. One state report estimates that Georgia-Pacific is responsible for nearly 10 percent of total phosphorus pollution in the Lower Fox River.

In 2005, the Department of Natural Resources issued a permit to Georgia-Pacific to nearly double its phosphorus releases in the Fox River. But a group of citizens challenged the move, claiming the DNR's permit violated the Clean Water Act.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Recall petitions filed against Harsdorf, Olsen

April 19, 2011- Signatures seeking to recall a third and fourth Republican state senator were filed this week.

About 24,000 signatures were filed Monday to recall Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) and an estimated 23,000 signatures were filed Tuesday to recall Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls). That's far more than the 14,733 needed to recall Olsen and 15,744 needed to recall Harsdorf.

Also Tuesday, Rep. Fred Clark (D-Baraboo) said he would make an announcement about the recall effort against Olsen at noon Thursday at the Baraboo Civic Center. Clark is expected to run against Olsen.

Recall efforts are under way against four other Republican and eight Democratic state senators. Recall organizers have to collect signatures equaling 25% of the total vote for governor in November's election in each Senate district.

Three of the campaigns against Democrats have said they planned to file signatures this week.

Dan Hunt, chairman of a group trying to recall Sen. Robert Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie), says his group has more than 20,000 signatures, well over the 13,537 needed.

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