Thursday, March 27, 2014

An electoral reform we really need: blended proportional representation

Proportional Representation ensures that nearly every voice will have some representation in the legislature

Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill into law this week designed to curtail early voting for citizens in the state. While this electoral “reform” is anything but positive for citizens, there are some things that could be done to improve the democratic process...rather than limit to what extent the people’s voice can matter, which seems to be the objectives of Republicans as of late.

One measure that could benefit the will of the people all across the state would require amending the state constitution, but its benefits would resolve two problems associated with our current methods of selecting state leaders. The idea is also unpopular, as it would require a different way of choosing representatives. Still, proportional representation is an idea worth discussing.

Walker won't reach his jobs pledge...or his 2010 opponent's goal, either

In spite of significant gains elsewhere, Wisconsin lags behind the nation, Midwest region, in job creation

Economists and political pundits alike all agree that Scott Walker will likely not reach his campaign pledge of 250,000 new jobs by the end of his term.

Since the release of the latest quarterly job numbers for the state, Wisconsin has seen a net gain of about 103,322 new private sector jobs since Walker took office. That represents a gain of about 4.5 percent over the past 2.75 years, which is second worst in the Midwest region.

Being unable to reach your own goal, which Walker previously called his “minimum,” is embarrassing enough. But if the current pace continues, Walker won’t even be able to reach the goal that his 2010 opponent, Democrat Tom Barrett, had said he could have reached.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Some encroachments on local control are justifiable; but the current class of WI Republicans are over-doing it

Question of local control comes down to issues of necessity vs. political preferences of state legislators

The Republican Party and the issue of local control holds an important place in today’s Cap Times. Writer Jessie Opoien takes a closer look:
Republicans have long heralded “local control” as a conservative principle worth protecting and preserving. But in Wisconsin, officials at the county and municipal levels say local control — the authority for cities, towns and counties to regulate what happens in their communities — has been eroding for decades. The pace has quickened since 2011, they say, in tandem with Republican control of the governor’s office and the Legislature.
Surely a talking point during this next election cycle will focus on Republicans taking away local control from communities, especially liberal cities like Madison or Milwaukee. But the Democrats should use caution when they bring this point about. There are times when local control is good, while other times state authority can be justly imposed.

The Republicans aren’t necessarily behaving irrationally when they put up legislation that strips local control. Rather, it’s the specific legislation they put up, and the motivations for those restrictions on municipalities that makes their power grab so obvious and dubious.

Monday, March 24, 2014

“10,000 new businesses” promise falls short, and then some -- net totals decreased under Gov. Walker’s watch

But Walker administration insists Girl Scouts, Ping Pong clubs make up the difference

One of the forgotten promises of then-candidate Scott Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign that tied in closely with his jobs pledge was his commitment to bringing 10,000 new business entities to the state by the end of his first term.

It’s now nine months away from that deadline, and what does Walker have to show for it? Nothing much. In fact, just the opposite: the net number of business entities in the state has dropped.

In December 2010, Wisconsin had 156,752 businesses in the state. According to the latest Quarterly Census report (commonly referred to as the QCEW) put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that number has...decreased by nearly 400 net business establishments.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Latest quarterly jobs data for Q3-2013 no cause for celebration

Data shows Walker's predecessor's budget performed stronger on job creation

The latest Quarterly Survey of jobs came out today, and while an improvement from last year is noticeable, the Scott Walker administration shouldn’t be patting itself on the back quite yet.