This is your tax dollar at work.
Our unionized school teachers here in Madison are accustomed to biting the hands that feed them. Their sense of entitlement is matched only by their cluelessness as to how an economy works.
The teachers union decides when schools shall be in session and when schools shall be emptied and the superintendent is powerless to stop them.
Here is an e-mail from a Madison teacher urging a boycott of local businesses who, she alleges, support Gov. Scott Walker. She is clearly using Madison schools e-mail. Reproduced here as written.
From: Kris Wigdal
Date: Thu, Feb 17, 2011 at 9:03 AM
Subject: Stress and business list
To: lindbergh_staff; shorewood_staff; Jeannette Deloya
Let's support each other more now than ever and we are truly all in this together. Dont worry about other colleagues judging you. Your thoughts and self-talk can either help you or make your anxiety grow. Try to shackle your fears and know that we are all going to be ok. Some of our students are probably feeling the stress big time too and let's look out for them. One child, one step for ourselves at a time.
Below is a list of businesses that have funded Governor Walker regime. Please consider where you are putting your financial resources. I am asking my tax accountant, local pizzeria, dentist, pharmacist about their political affiliations.
I will not replicate here Kris Wigdal's list of boycott targets but here's the punchline: her list numbers 154 of the leading companies in Wisconsin! Suffice it to say it would be difficult to mow your lawn, do a summer cook out, quaff your thirst, gas up your car, or get medical care unless you do like the Fugitive 14 Senators and go out of state.
Madison school board member says governor's budget could work
I have long felt that Ed Hughes is probably squarely in the center of the Madison school board -- not too hot, not too cold. His take on Governor Walker's budget as unveiled Tuesday is that it could work for Madison without teacher layoffs:
The Governor has stated that the cuts in benefits he is imposing on public employees will allow school districts and other governmental agencies to absorb the cuts in state aid that they will sustain without requiring significant layoffs or decreases in services.
Does that claim hold up? Well, for our school district it looks like it might. If my assumptions are correct, it looks like the big financial hits the Governor wants our teachers to absorb will enable us to make it through the recommended cuts in state aid and in our spending authority without the need for significant layoffs.
... Madison's spending limit for 2010-2011 is roughly $290 million. The Governor's budget calls for a 5.5% reduction in the spending limit for 2011-2012. This would result in a $274 million spending limit for MMSD for 2011-2012.
But the 2008 referendum authorized the Madison school district to exceed its spending limit and school district has not fully taken advantage of that allowance. Hughes figures that puts the district's spending cap at about $277 million.
Hughes counts on Gov. Walker's budget to save district taxpayers $11 million by making teachers pay more for their retirement pensions. Bottom line, Ed Hughes says the district is looking at a $7.5 million increase in the property tax levy next year, to make up for the loss of state funding while our overall spending holds steady. Hughes concludes:
Our property tax levy this year is about $245 million, which was about an $11 million increase over the property tax levy for 2009-2010. A $7.5 million increase next year would not be out of line with recent history.
It looks like the adoption of the financial aspects of the budget repair bill and the enactment of the Governor's proposed budget would not compel layoffs of a significant number of teachers or otherwise lead to a financial catastrophe for the Madison school district.
I will differ with Ed Hughes, a thoughtful man, in one respect. Madison just took on an $8 million obligation to begin 4-year-old kindergarten. This is something that we managed to survive without all this time. It falls into the category of "nice to have" but not necessary. Now is NOT the time to be raising taxes!
But here is the bottom, bottom line: for Ed's math to work, the governor's givebacks on pension and health insurance will have to be enacted.
Blaska gets in
I was privileged to hear, in person, Gov. Walker's budget address to the joint session of the Legislature, minus the 14 fugitives. Met the Meade of Althouse on the way in. We had to go through airport level security, emptying pockets and getting wanded but not felt up. (Darn!)
Then a guide announced that she would escort our group to "the hearing." I said, "No, we're going to the governor's speech." She said, "O.K., the speech." But she took us nonetheless to the South wing where, apparently, Assembly Dems were still hearing testimony. So we simply broke off and went to the West wing and found our way to the third floor and the gallery. I was in the West gallery and we cheered lustily for the governor.
Bob Ziegelbauer, the former Democrat and only Independent in the Legislature, also stood and applauded. The Dems pretty much sat on their hands. Ziegelbauer, by the way, is also a county executive in Manitowoc.
Police were thick every step of the way but not outside the Capitol where, apparently, Sen. Glenn Grothman could have used one.
I'm listening to Mike Mikalsen, staffer to Rep. Steve Nass (and village president of Cottage Grove), on Mitch Henck's show as I write this. Mikalsen makes the point that if thousands of people were banging drums, clogging exits and sleeping overnight outside of Judge Moeser's courtroom or office, what would his reaction be?
Bailiffs, clear the courthouse!
Truly a mob scene
Kudos to State Rep. Brett Hulsey, of all people, for defusing what can only be described as an angry mob. Watch this video and tell me that this crowd is not hostile.
State Sen. Glenn Grothman, a Washington County Republican, is trying to get into the Capitol but is hounded by an increasingly angry and unruly mob. Hulsey, a Madison Democrat, clearly senses that the senator is in danger and puts his arm over Grothman's shoulder and announces, "This is my friend."
Tell me that the mob isn't trying to prevent our elected officials from doing the Capitol's business.
You can hear the obscenities and the menace and the insistent pleas to "Calm down, calm down."
I know Glenn Grothman a little bit. He is as mild-mannered and easy going as the mob shown in this video is vitriolic. Blaming the governor for making it difficult for the senator to get inside the Capitol is truly blaming the victim.
This is not an atmosphere where democracy can thrive.