We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community columnist John Eyster.

Forewarned is forearmed: 2014 is an ELECTION YEAR!

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John W. Eyster
Monday, December 30, 2013

I confess I am feeling the shift from the meaningful and inspiring message of Christmas which I articulated in my last two blog posts, “Birth of a baby!” (Christmas Eve, 12/24/2013) and “Thrilled to hear Pope's message” (Second Christmas Day, 12/26/2013) as I prepare for the arrival of New Year 2014.  I feel the DUTY to warn readers of my WE THE PEOPLE blog of the FACT/REALITY that 2014 is an ELECTION YEAR!

It is Mid-year Election Year for the national government with ALL 435 members of the HOUSE to be elected and 35 members of the SENATE.  Among the Senate seats, 21 are currently held by Democrats and 14 are held by Republicans.  WE THE PEOPLE of WI do NOT have a US Senator up for election in 2014.

It is Election Year for WISCONSIN.  We will elect a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State and State Treasurer, all 99 members of our ASSEMBLY and 17 members of our SENATE (odd numbered districts). Of the Senate seats up for election this year, 10 are currently held by Republicans and 7 are held by Democrats.  For the Janesville area, we are in District IV – WI Court of Appeals – we have one judgeship up for election. And, we have one Rock County Circuit Court Judgeship up for election.  These are the STATE elections in 2014 spring (April 1, 2014 – yes, APRIL FOOLS' DAY!  Dah!)

There are also the county and local elections as part of the SPRING ELECTION on April 1, 2014.

My New Year's Resolution list includes the following related to the ELECTION CYCLES of 2014:

1.  I will try to NOT answer any ROBO-CALLS!  Please, WHY can't we make ROBO-CALLS ILLEGAL?!

2.  I will try to NOT answer any POLITICAL CALLS!  Why can't we make these calls ILLEGAL!  They should be part of the NO-CALL LIST in WI.  WHY NOT?

3.  I will NOT open any campaign mail because it is PURE PROPAGANDA.  I am able to learn ALL I need to know through outside sources, e.g., newspapers, credible websites.

4.  I will NOT contribute to ANY PAC for ANY POLITICAL CANDIDATE!  I want to contribute directly to specific candidates whom I plan to vote for and therefore WANT TO SUPPORT.  Political contributions from WE THE PEOPLE are VERY significant for high quality candidates.

5.  I will express my SUPPORT for the candidates and public policies which I believe are BEST for WE THE PEOPLE of the US and WI.  It is very important that WE SPEAK-OUT and NOT relinquish the talk-talk to the professional TALKERS!

What are YOUR NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS vis-ŕ-vis the 2014 election cycles?

I am OUTRAGED by the manipulation of WE THE PEOPLE of WI already articulated by Governor Walker with his “repeal income tax” propaganda.  The fact is: this is PURE PROPAGANDA to create an image for re-election which is TOTALLY MISLEADING!  I am going to assert that REPEAL of INCOME TAX in WI would be DYSFUNCTIONAL!  Already we've heard the cautious comments of Republicans who are REALISTIC!

When I was Legislative Liaison for the School District of Janesville (October 2000 – June 2008), we had a major state-wide movement to create a healthier way to fund PK-12 public education.  There were several functional public policy plans proposed.  Rep. Wayne Wood, who was representing the Janesville area (44th State Assembly District), developed a well-organized plan based on SALES TAX FUNDING.

NOW it is Governor Walker who has suggested that the SALES TAX be used to replace the INCOME TAX in WI.

When we were discussing the WOOD SALES TAX PLAN it was the REPUBLICANS – every single one in the legislators – who strongly opposed the idea arguing, “You just plain cannot bank on sales tax receipts.”  The GREAT RECESSION (I am convinced it was really a “depression.”) which started in the US in December 2007 and is still a very significant issue in our economy, demonstrated the FACT that one could NOT bank on sales tax receipts.  So, why does Governor Walker now use this source of funding to offset INCOME TAX receipts?  I accuse Scott of another round of total DIS-information and pure propaganda!  We were TRICKED in 2008.  Will WE THE PEOPLE of WI be tricked again in 2014? 

The best discussion I've read about Walker's tantalizing re-election idea to eliminate the WI income tax is the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's editorial, “Don't eliminate Wisconsin's state income tax.”  I urge you to read the editorial and consider the valuable clarification of the significance of our WI income tax with the need for reform of our whole tax system in WI.  I agree that we must not eliminate our Wisconsin state income tax.  I also agree that we must reform the whole WI tax system.  We have to be on guard that we are not misled by Walker's re-election propaganda.  Forewarned is forearmed.  What do YOU think?

I share the concern expressed by the Editorial about the REGRESSIVITY of the sales tax in contrast to the PROGRESSIVITY of the income tax.  I see Walker's idea targeted to reassure his wealthy Republican supporters.  What do YOU think?

The issue of regressivity is VERY important to me in terms of healthy political culture and fair economy.  The Editorial develops the regressivity point, “But there is a risk in shifting a large portion — or all — of the state income tax onto other taxes, especially the sales tax. The sales tax is more regressive, meaning that lower income earners would pay significantly more of their income toward such a tax than wealthier taxpayers. The income tax will account for about half the money the state spends out of its main account.

“Dale Knapp, research director for the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, pointed out that wealthier people pay more of the state income tax and the poor spend more of their earnings. A shift from the income tax to the sales tax benefits high-income earners. And the more of that burden is shifted, the bigger the benefit.

"'That will be a big, big issue — regressivity,' Knapp told Stein. 'If you go this direction, you have to find a way to deal with low-income families and that issue.'”

I have noted the VERY SIGNIFICANT SHIFT which Scott Walker has made in the last months to strategize for his own re-election as Governor in WI.  I commend him for his strategy which has provided desperately needed support for some of the needy in WI.  I have to ask, “Why did YOU (Scott Walker) NOT accept the expansion of Medicaid funded by the federal government?”  I've read the rationale, but I do NOT believe Walker's assertion will be true.  In fact, it is NOT TOO LATE for Walker to accept the federal funding to expand Medicaid in WI for the benefit of WE THE PEOPLE of WI.  WHY NOT, GOVERNOR WALKER?

I realize Scott Walker is really running for US President in 2016 as of now.  I am aware of his articulation, but I am more convinced by his behavior.  Scotty is full of TALK-TALK.  Watch the WALK rather than the TALK!  WE THE PEOPLE of WI must NOT forget Scotty's attitudes and behaviors early in 2009.  I accept the truth spoken by the Old Testament Prophet Jeremiah, “Can you ever change and do what's right?  Can people change the color of their skin, or can a leopard remove its spots? If so, then maybe you can change and learn to do right.” (See Jeremiah 13:23, Contemporary English Version.)  So?

I am among the voting citizens of WI who was very disappointed when Governor Walker chose to sign into law the WI DISCRIMINATION PROTECTION LAW also identified as the “Indian Mascot Bill” which passed the Republican controlled legislature   This law repealed the healthy law passed by our WI State Legislature in 2010 and signed into law by Governor Doyle.  As a long-time PK-12 public school educator and citizen of WI, I am embarrassed by the repeal of the law.  I advocate equality and respect for ALL PERSONS in our republics (WI and USA)!

One of the details in the law which demonstrates the real motivation of the Republican legislators and Republican Governor Walker, the shift of review of school mascots from the WI CONSTITUTIONAL STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC EDUCATION who is elected directly by WE THE PEOPLE of WI and the WI Department of Public Education to the WI Department of Administration headed by the GOVERNOR's appointee.  Why the shift from the EDUCATION department controlled by the superintendent elected by WE THE PEOPLE of WI directly to an ADMINISTRATION department controlled by the Governor? 

“Wisconsin Gov. Walker Takes 'Big Step Backward' With Mascot Bill” is the title of the December 23, 2013 article published by “Indian Country.”  I encourage you to read the whole article to gain information and perspective on this significant public policy issue.  I agree that with Governor Walker's signature of the bill into law he took WI another BIG STEP BACKWARD.

This WE THE PEOPLE blog post on the eve of New Year's Day 2014 launches us into a continuing discussion of the public policy issues and political candidates.  I look forward to your comments as I discuss various issues and candidates.

Best wishes to YOU – WE THE PEOPLE blog readers – for a healthy, productive, satisfying and involved NEW YEAR 2014!

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.

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