The state of Wisconsin is projected to have a $545 million deficit next year. So what has Scott Walker and his fellow teapublicans just proposed in a special legislative session he just called? He claims that there will be a $100 million surplus this year and wants to use it to cut property taxes. The effect on the average home owner? It would lower their property tax by $13 this year but taxes next year would go up so the net effect would be an increase of $11 more.
Walker told reporters "let's go big and bold" and have a dramatic impact on people when they pay their property taxes!
So how is spending more money this year going to save money next year with that large of a deficit projected?
Could the coming election for Governor of Wisconsin have something to do with it? Coincidentally, millionaire Democrat Mary Burke announced her run for governor of Wisconsin on Monday. Then a couple of days later, Walker calls for a special legislative session to cut property taxes.
Another problem with this proposal is the haste in which Walker and the teapublicans want to pass this. They want to get this done in a week which means that the public, Democrats and schools would have little time to evaluate this plan.
Furthermore, would this plan actually benefit schools that have been harmed by past cuts in education or would the state economy be better off keeping the money to help reduce the projected deficit? The real deciding factor so far seems to be how much this measure will help Walker get re-elected as governor of Wisconsin.
This past Monday our country experienced another mass shooting and this time it was at the Navy facilities in Washington, D.C. And again we learn that the shooter had a history of mental illness. This seems to be a recurring pattern. We have had mass shootings caused by others who were mentally unstable such as Jared Loughner in Arizona, James Holmes in Aurora, Colorado and Adam Lanza in Newtown, Connecticut. Now we have Aaron Alexis in Washington, D.C. to add to the list.
According to current statistics 60 percent of people with mental health problems in America don't receive the care they need. To address this need the Affordable Care Act will expand mental health benefits for millions of Americans. The ACA will provide money to help identify mental health concerns early, improves access to mental health services and funds research to understand and prevent gun violence.
The ACA will support a safer school environment and helps teachers and other adults to identify early signs of mental health problems. These young people will then be referred to services they may need.
The ACA also provides for training over 5000 mental health professionals which can help people with their problems.
Most importantly perhaps the ACA also invests in public health research on gun violence and prevention strategies on homicides and suicides.
Starting in 2014 all insurance plans will be required to cover mental health services. Also, insurers will no longer be able to deny anyone coverage due to a pre-existing behavioral health condition.
This is information that should be promoted and shared by all Americans as we will all benefit from having a healthier and safer country.
According to a recent article in the Des Moines Register, a "shall issue" gun law passed in 2010 has allowed more than 50 registered sex offenders permits to carry guns in public. This is in addition to granting permits to the blind. Isn't this a recipe for disaster? Isn't this giving sex offenders a great opportunity to go after the families who helped convict them? Isn't this giving them a great opportunity to go after more victims now that they are armed with a gun?
To make matters even worse, if someone was found mentally incompetent by a court before 2011, that information is not available when a background check is done.
Iowans don't even have to take a shooting test to be approved for a handgun. This measure is opposed by Republicans.
Some Iowa lawmakers now claim that they were confused about the bill and didn't really know what they were voting for when this bill was passed. They say they didn't realize that there were loopholes in the law that would result in jeopardizing public safety.
Meanwhile, Republican governor Terry Branstad said that "the law is working just fine and no changes are needed."
Several lawmakers have tried to close the loopholes in the current law but have been unsuccessful. It also seems that there is very little chance that anything will be done to fix the law in the coming year. So you might want to avoid taking a trip to Iowa in the foreseeable future. If you live in Iowa - good luck!
Astounding as it may seem, the Des Moines Register reports that at least "three legally or completely blind Iowans have been granted gun permits" which allows them to carry guns in public. Sheriffs in Iowa used to be able to legally deny gun permits to anyone for any reason including being blind. However, a law that was passed and took effect makes Iowa a "shall issue" state. Physical disabilities are not considered a valid reason to deny a permit.
What makes this even more amazing is that you can complete the safety certification ONLINE with no required shooting accuracy test. It doesn't matter if the applicant can't even see where to sign the application without someone guiding his or her hand.
Defenders of the law claim that blind people need to carry guns to defend themselves and would be able to shoot someone attacking them. However, I haven't found a single instance of a blind person using a gun for self defense. On the other hand I have seen reports of blind people accidentally shooting themselves with their gun.
Iowa needs to pass a law to protect the public from blind people carrying and possibly discharging a gun in public. This is only common sense. Public safety should take precedence over any perceived right to carry a gun. If blind people can't drive, how can they be handed a lethal weapon?
It was a cold, dark Christmas eve morning when police officers went looking for Jennifer Sabena, a 30 year old police officer. She was a rookie officer in Wauwatosa, a suburb of Milwaukee. She hadn't responded to a radio call from the station so fellow officers were sent out to look for her. Sabena had been on a solo patrol in the early morning hours on December 24.
Police found her body near a parking lot by a fire substation. She had been shot mutiple times but had never radioed for help. Police searched the area for clues and suspects but so far have not identified anyone who may have committed this crime.
So the questions begin: where does the gun violence end? If a police officer who was armed and trained can be shot down how safe can the rest of us be? What will it take for stricter gun control laws to be enacted?
The Milwaukee area has already seen several shocking gun inflicted murders: the Sikh temple shooting, the Brookfield spa shooting and now a police officer murdered in Wauwatosa!
After the horrific murders of 20 innocent children in Newton, Connecticut, the NRA's Wayne LaPierre came out with the ridiculous claim that schools in America need armed police officers or guards at every school. He said nothing about eliminating automatic or semi-automatic guns and large magazine clips. Now we have a police officer murdered. This is someone who was to protect us and be able to defend herself. We now see even more clearly the folly of LaPierre's claim that armed guards in schools can protect our children.
In the meantime, as police and the Wisconsin Department of Justice search for clues, we all have heavy hearts as we mourn the death of a police officer who was described as a great person and officer. Where will this all end if even police officers are not safe on patrol?
To read more: http://www.wauwatosanow.com/...
Well the mystery Family foundation behind the billboards in Milwaukee and Ohio has been revealed to be the Einhorn Family Foundation based in Milwaukee. And surprise, surprise! Stephen Einhorn is a major GOP donor. The Einhorns have given money to many Republican campaigns including $50,000 to Scott Walker.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Einhorn and his son Daniel run Einhorn & Associates, a Wauwatosa, Wisconsin mergers-and-acquisitions consulting firm, and Capital Midwest Fund, a venture capital fund http://www.jsonline.com/...
The Journal credits the One Wisconsin Now group and the Grio for uncovering who was behind the billboards.
Stephen Einhorn admitted on Monday that he and his wife Nancy were the ones who paid for all of those anonymous billboards warning of voter fraud that were put up mainly in inner city parts of Milwaukee and Ohio.
Apparently the Einhorns were given the option of taking down the billboards or having Clear Channel place their names on the billboards. Stephen Einhorn reportedly preferred to have the billboards taken down rather than having his name placed on the billboards because he "feared" for the safety of his family.
Based on what we know today it seems like the governor's race was lost a month ago before Barrett even won the primary making him the Democratic challenger. Exit polls showed that 88% of voters had already decided on who they were going to vote for at least a month ago. That means all of the months that Walker had to collect millions of dollars, send out mailers and have numerous TV and radio ads had already convinced people to vote for him. The Koch brothers had set up a $10 million field operation back in January which allowed them to get organized and make millions of phone calls.
Barrett was at a significant disadvantage not only from a monetary perspective but from the limited time of one month that he had to get his message across. About 60% of the people who voted were also against the recall process itself which hurt Barrett.
Clearly the rules for recall elections need to change in Wisconsin especially the rule that allows the person being recalled to collect untold sums of money.
Progressives need to do a better job of getting their message out and start much sooner before an election. Many voters believed that Walker's "reforms" were working and believed Walker's employment numbers. Some thought that the John Doe investigation was going nowhere and was a liberal ploy!
Fortunately, the Democrats won the Senate race in Racine and gave the Senate back to Democratic control so Walker will no longer be able to steam roll his radical bills through the legislature. Come November the Assembly could also revert to Democratic control but we need to start working on this now. A side benefit to the recall election was getting many new voters registered and this is something we need to keep working on to turn out the vote.
Finally I do want to thank everyone across the country who pitched in with money donations, phone calls and moral support. We in Wisconsin couldn't have gotten this far without you.