Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

April 30, 2014

Income Inequality in Milwaukee Among Working Families Unacceptable

Filed under: Inequality,Wisconsin Class Warfare — millerlf @ 9:08 am

Report on income inequality among employed families
The annual ETI analysis of state income tax data showed 12 to 1 differences in family income by Milwaukee County neighborhood in 2012. Working-age married and single families in inner city zip code 53206 had average incomes of $20,260 while families in the “North Shore” suburban zip code 53217 had income averaging $253,082.
Educational opportunity and achievement gaps between children of wealth and children of poverty are profoundly influenced by these extreme differences in family resources. The tax data also showed a $17 million reduction in state earned income tax credit support for “working poor” families in the county after the 2011 state legislation cut EIC supports for families with more than one child.

To see the full report go to:

Income inequality in MilwOther2014

May 22, 2012

Right-Wing Walker Group, Citizens for Responsible Government, Attacks and Slanders Janesville Teachers

Filed under: American Injustice,Scott Walker,Wisconsin Class Warfare — millerlf @ 2:56 pm

Citizens for Responsible Government tied to anti-teacher flier

By STAN MILAM WTMJ Tuesday, May 22, 2012

JANESVILLE — An anti-teacher flier distributed over the weekend in Janesville is the work of a conservative Milwaukee organization with local representation.

Citizens for Responsible Government, also known as CRG Network, filed a freedom of information request with the School District of Janesville on March 29, said Brett Berg, spokesman for the district. Those figures were used to create the flier, said CRG Executive Administrator Chris Kliesmet.

“The group and its representative, Orville Seymer, filed a freedom of information request for a list of all Janesville district teachers, their job titles and annual salaries,” Berg said.

When contacted by The Gazette, Seymer said he knew the names of local participants but was asked not to release them.

“They want to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation,” Seymer said. “However, this is all public information.”

The flier lists the names and salaries of 321 teachers whose salaries range from $59,344 to $75,695. The district employs 765 teachers; the lowest salary is $34,676.

“We did most of the grunt work at the request of people over there,” Kliesmet said. “We did the freedom of information request and gathered the data. People in the area printed the flier and distributed it.”

At the bottom of the flier is a “Parents’ Rights Protection Form” urging parents to send it to Superintendent Karen Schulte and request that “my child be assigned to a classroom taught by a non-radical teacher during the 2012-2013 school year.”

When asked about comments regarding “radicals” and taking students out of classes, Seymer said he did not have any input on the content of the flier.

The flier does not say what its authors mean by “radical,” but it does include information directing people to a website listing state residents who signed the petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker.

Schulte said if she receives any of the requests, “they’re going in the trash.”

CRG conducted a similar exercise in 2008 highlighting Milwaukee Public Schools expenditures. The group was also involved in an unsuccessful effort earlier this month to recall state Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, and boasts on its website of the successful effort to recall former Milwaukee County Executive Tom Ament.

The flier did not state who produced it.

Stephanie Kortyna, a fifth-grade teacher at Jackson Elementary School, said she wasn’t bothered to see her name on the list, but she objected to being classified as a radical.

“I couldn’t care less about people knowing my salary,” she said. “But if these people are this concerned with this, why the anonymity?

“Why are they not saying who is this group, who is the leader of this group, where is the money coming from to make these fliers? If you have a beef with us, or if you are angry with us, make yourself known,” Kortyna said.

The flier was distributed in Gazette home-delivery tubes.

Gazette representatives said the newspaper did not authorize the use of its tubes, and the flier is not connected to the newspaper.

Gazette Circulation Manager Lon Haenel said Gazette tubes are for newspaper use only. The paper asks unauthorized people or groups to stop using The Gazette’s tubes, Haenel said, and will contact the police if they do not.

Schulte said she was shocked when someone showed her the flier Saturday. She said it was interesting that she saw the flier at Craig High School, where 400 people including teachers were volunteering to package food to be sent to feed the hungry in Haiti.

“I think it’s wrong to go after any group that has an honest profession,” Schulte said. “I don’t understand where this intense anger is coming from.”

The flier distributed this weekend is done in the same style as a flier stuffed in some Janesville mailboxes in March. Those fliers listed the salaries of some district administrators and teachers and made specific charges against public schools, including “dumbed-down curriculum,” “Marxist/globalist agenda,” “sexualization of children” and “union bullying and vindictive targeting of students.”

The first flier also contained no information about who made it. It suggested parents pull their children from public schools and put them in private schools.

The Gazette contacted local private schools at the time, and officials said they had nothing to do with it. Some were upset because their schools were listed on the flier.

Only two teachers make more than $74,000. Salaries are based on a salary schedule that awards pay raises for years on the job to a maximum of 17 years and for continuing education up to the doctoral level. Teachers pay out of their own pockets to take the graduate courses. Teachers also receive extra pay for additional duties, such as coaching.

May 14, 2012

The Company Owned By Walker’s Billionaire Friend, Whom He Told On Camera That He Would Divide And Conquer Wisconsin’s Unions, Paid No Income Taxes For 2005 Through 2008

Filed under: Scott Walker,Wisconsin Class Warfare — millerlf @ 8:30 am

Billionaire Walker donor pays no state corporate income tax
Diane Hendricks gave $500,000; her Beloit firm pays $0 income tax

Institute for Wisconsin’s Future May 2012

Beloit billionaire businesswoman Diane Hendricks has been in the news recently because of her politi­cal activism on behalf of Gov. Scott Walker. It was in a conversation with Hendricks that Walker made his now-famous comment about using a “divide and conquer” strategy against labor unions.

During a three-month period in 2012, Hendricks donated $500,000 to Walker’s campaign, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. She is the largest single donor to the governor’s anti-recall campaign, outspending even fellow billionaires Sheldon Adelson (Las Vegas casinos) and Richard DeVos (Amway).

Hendricks, whom Forbes magazine says is worth $2.8 billion, heads Beloit-based ABC Supply Com­pany, which the magazine calls “the nation’s largest roofing, window and siding wholesale distributor” with annual sales approaching $5 billion.

ABC Supply may be a huge money-maker for Hendricks, but the Wisconsin corporate income tax returns she files claim the company makes not a penny in taxable profit.

ABC Supply paid exactly $0.00 in state corporate income tax in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, accord­ing to the state Department of Revenue. Tax data for more recent years were not available when the information was requested from the department.

Hendricks helped make headlines last week when a video emerged of a conversation she had with

Walker in Beloit. In the video, Hendricks asks Walker: “Any chance we’ll ever get to be a com­pletely red state and work on these unions and be­come a right-to-work state? What can we do to help you?”

Walker replied: “Well, we’re going to start in a cou­ple weeks with our budget adjustment bill. The first step is we’re going to deal with collection bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Hendricks is well-known as a financial backer of conservative causes and candidates. Her political donations in Wisconsin date as far back as a $1,000 gift to then-Gov. Tommy G. Thompson in 1991, ac­cording to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

And she speaks out herself in favor of low taxes and less regulations. The opening sentence in an op-ed she wrote in 2010 for USA Today says: “Taxing job creators is a sure way to stop the engine of eco­nomic growth.”

Well, she’s found a way to get around paying any state income tax on her business. After all, state tax law is full of plenty of loopholes for her lawyers and accountants to work with. It’s not known which loop­holes ABC Supply used to avoid income taxes.

ABC Supply was founded in 1982 by Hendricks and her late husband, Kenneth Hendricks. She was a very active partner while he was alive and has been running the company since his death five years ago.

 

 

 

 

February 29, 2012

MATC Is Under Attack From Republicans

Filed under: Grothman,Republicans,Wisconsin Class Warfare — millerlf @ 12:36 pm

Last week a Wisconsin senate committee passed SB 275 that will remove all nine members of the MATC district board and replace them with a board selected by a new, less democratic and representative appointment committee composed of the Washington, Ozaukee and Milwaukee County Executives and the Milwaukee County Board Chair.

The bill is an outrageous power play by Republican politicians who have never supported MATC or its students and who slashed their funding by 30% last year. It was bottled up in committee until it was amended to be exclusively about MATC.

There was no public hearing on the bill. Nor did its authors, Senator Glen Grothman (R) and State Representative Mark Honadel (R)  discuss the proposal with the MATC board chair, Melanie Holmes, MATC’s President Dr. Michael Burke or the appointment committee chair, Dr. Michael Bonds.

The bill eliminates the current board including all four minority members, none of whom are even eligible to reapply under the new criteria established by the bill.

The proposal gives Washington County 25% of the board appointment committee’s authority even though only 2.4% of MATC’s students come from Washington County and its investment in the college, 4.3% of total funding, is minimal.

Ozaukee County which provides the college with 14.4% of its funding will also be empowered with 25% of the board appointment authority. So, two counties that provide MATC with 18.7% of its funding will control 50% of the appointment authority, while the city of Milwaukee home to 57% of our students gets no representation.  And Milwaukee County which contributes 84% of our funding gets only 50% of the appointment authority.

The bill destroys the college’s historic commitment to shared governance by eliminating the employee representative seats on the board.

The legislation was clearly designed to remove particular board members, including attorney Peter Earle, the lead attorney challenging the manipulative Republican redistricting maps that were developed in secret and in probable violation of the United States Constitution; Ann Wilson, who directs a non-profit agency; and Alderman Tom Michalski of Oak Creek.

Lauren Baker, the Director of Career and Technical Education for the Milwaukee Public Schools, will also be removed despite being featured in the latest issue of the Milwaukee Business Journal for being a great bridge between industry and education. Fred Royal, the Secretary of the Wisconsin Technical College Board’s Association would also be dismissed.

This bill is an assault on the democratic process and on the college. If passed, the governing body of the college will be people with no experience or knowledge of the college or its students. That’s like putting someone with no flying experience in the cockpit of a transatlantic flight!

Why is the board being dismissed?

MATC, unlike the state of Wisconsin, has been a model of fiscal responsibility, maintaining its AA1 bond rating while the state’s was reduced. MATC has a reserve find of 22%. The state barely has one. MATC’s costs per student are the state’s average despite running 25% more programs than any other technical college. This is nothing more than a power play by power hungry politicians that will hurt our students.

You can help stop this bill by calling your state representative and politely urging them to kill this bill.

If you don’t know your state representative’s contact information you can find it here:

http://legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx

For more information on the bill see: http://districtboards.org/advocacy/SB275advances022412.pdfthat

September 15, 2011

NAACP Data on Dismal Conditions Faced by Milwaukee’s Black Citizens

Filed under: Poverty,Wisconsin Class Warfare — millerlf @ 3:47 pm

The NAACP issued a report in June of this year called Milwaukee Today: An Occasional Report of the NAACP.

As poverty significantly increases in Milwaukee and around the nation the data presented in this report exposes the dire conditions facing African Americans in our city. While the lack of response by too many leaders is appalling, other Milwaukee leaders have willingly supported and encouraged draconian measures by Tea Party Republicans. This is criminal.

Included in the report is an extensive list of the problems faced particularly among Milwaukee’s African American citizens. For example-

“Wisconsin incarcerates Blacks at nearly eleven (11) times the rate at which it incarcerates Whites.”

To see the Executive Summary go to:

NAACP Executive Summary

Video: Mayor Barrett on Poverty, Jobs and Unions In Milwaukee

Filed under: Poverty,Wisconsin Class Warfare — millerlf @ 8:24 am

To Listen to Mayor Barrett address issues of poverty and jobs in Milwaukee go to:

http://www.jsonline.com/multimedia/video/?bctid=639559083001

June 7, 2011

Republicans Want Weaker Child Labor Laws

Filed under: Scott Walker,Wisc Budget Bill,Wisconsin Class Warfare — millerlf @ 10:53 am

Republicans are proposing, in the budget bill, revising child labor laws to end a prohibition on minors under age 18 working more than 40 hours or six days a week. The bill would also repeal the prohibition against minors under 16 working more than 24 hours a week, replacing that with a limit of 18 hours of work in a school week or 40 hours during a week with no school in session.

May 29, 2011

Joint Finance Continues The Assault On Wisconsin’s Kids

Filed under: MPS,Scott Walker,Wisconsin Class Warfare — millerlf @ 10:44 am

On Friday the Joint Finance Committee agreed to reduce funding cuts to public education by approximately 12 %. Alberta Darling (and company) is trying to give a new face to the massive slashing of public education funds. This will prove meaningless as Darling faces recall for her misconduct as a legislator.

Following is a letter from “I Love My Public Schools” in response to the Joint Finance Committee’s decision.

Dear Public School Supporter:

Do you have 20 minutes, and a computer? Please write a letter to the editor this weekend to address the Joint Finance Committee’s vote on Friday to defund public education statewide.

The JFC agreed, along party lines, to reduce funding to Wisconsin public schools by $1.6 billion over the biennium, instead of the $1.7 billion Scott Walker had proposed. They returned about $100 million to the state education budget, to be used over two years. When Robin Vos called the vote, he even claimed that the JFC had just “restored” public-education funding. But that $100 million is a mere fraction of the total cut and will make little if any difference in our children’s classrooms next year. Over the last few weeks, we’d hoped that math teacher leaders, school nurses and special funding for high-needs schools and at risk children might be spared the budget ax. Not so.

Furthermore, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/122732019.html) only tells half the story as it focuses solely on the state aid portion of the cut and not the law change that restricts the amount that districts can raise locally. Those two pieces taken together are referred to as the “revenue authority” and reductions to revenue authority equal about $1.6 billion. Expanding voucher and 2r charter schools also is not free and the JFC will be doing that next week.

The JFC had the money to temper the cuts to public education. They had the money to take on comprehensive funding reform and implement the DPI’s Fair Funding for Our Future plan. They’d like us to think that they didn’t but they did, it was sitting in their hands. They’re spending $200 million on a hedge fund plan that even Senator Grothman is questioning. On Friday they shifted an additional $160 million more to highways. That’s $360 million right there that could have gone to education, and you don’t have to search too hard to find the rest. Again, this is not a matter of can’t, it is a conscious choice to force Wisconsin’s 871,000 public school children to bear the brunt of our state’s financial burden.

Here’s how Republican legislator Alberta Darling described the cuts: “A win-win.” Here’s how Democratic legislator Tamara Grigsby described the cuts: “The GOP is throwing concrete over kids.” http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/122732019.html

To recap–The JFC says “Yes” to fund:

$200 million hedge fund

$160 million more to road-building projects (for a total of $360 million on highways)

$1.8 million for Racine charter schools

A $7 million voter ID bill

And “yes” to take an unprecedented $1.6 billion away from K-12 public education over the biennium, despite the fact that the Legislative Fiscal Bureau projects $636 million in newly found revenue for next year.

Please write a letter to the editor this weekend. In 150-200 words, tell the people of Wisconsin what you think our kids deserve. Tell them what will happen to your child’s school when these cuts are realized. The JFC waited until the last possible moment of the holiday weekend to finalize these school-killing cuts. Don’t let the media forget about this by the time Tuesday rolls around. Let’s flood the editor’s box at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Wisconsin State Journal, or any newspaper of your choosing. We must stand up at every opportunity and resist the de-funding, privatization and segregation of public education.

Here’s a link to MJS “Letter to the Editor” details: http://www.jsonline.com/news/30627794.html

And one for the State Journal: http://host.madison.com/wsj/opinion/mailbag/

And one for the Green Bay Press Gazette: http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/ic/forms/editor.shtml

Racine Journal Times, http://journaltimes.com/app/lettertotheeditor/

And a link to other Wisconsin newspapers all across the state: http://www.usnpl.com/winews.php

Write away, friends.

Sincerely,

ILMPS

May 15, 2011

Income distortions affecting our democracy

Filed under: Poverty,Wealth,Wisconsin Class Warfare — millerlf @ 7:21 pm

By Mike McCabe May 14, 2011 MJS

We have reached the point in which the richest 1% of Americans have more wealth than the bottom 95% combined, a sad truth verified in 2009 by PolitiFact.com. The 400 richest Americans have a bigger net worth than half of all Americans collectively, another harrowing statistic confirmed by PolitiFact earlier this year.

Such a grotesque redistribution of wealth from the many to a privileged few is inconsistent with any legitimate notion of economic justice, not to mention incompatible with democracy.

This condition is the product of a long series of deliberate policy decisions flowing from a corrupted political process. It also, in turn, reinforces the establishment of plutocracy – government of, by and for the wealthy.

If we were founding a nation today and had the nerve to embark on a journey leading to the creation of a democracy, there is no way we would fashion a system of paying for elections that even remotely resembles what we have now – which is legal bribery resulting in the sale of government to the highest bidder and the exclusion of everyone except those who are independently wealthy or willing to take out a second mortgage on their soul to pursue most public offices.

But here we are, 235 years into the American experiment, and that’s exactly where we are stuck.

In Wisconsin, less than 1% of the population pays for all the election campaigning by state politicians. After buying the elections, that tiny fraction of our society ends up owning our government. These elites are then rewarded with what amounts to “wealthfare” payments – tax breaks, pork barrel spending, patronage jobs, no-bid contracts for state government work and other special benefits – at our expense.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We are better than this.

Few inside the Capitol, where so many are so heavily invested in the status quo, are recommending any cures for what ails our democracy. If we’re looking for ideas on how to get us to a better place and the inspiration to make it happen, we’d best look in the mirror.

To that end, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has put forward a new campaign reform plan called Ending Wealthfare As We Know It that aims to replace big-money plutocracy with a small-dollar democracy. It tackles legal bribery by sharply lowering limits on the size of allowable campaign contributions to candidates for state office.

It further attacks the wealthfare system by creating strong incentives for candidates to seek support from the communities they will represent if elected rather than outside interests and by incentivizing greater participation by small donors who live where the candidates are running.

The centerpieces of Ending Wealthfare are a public matching program for small-dollar political donations, a tax credit for small contributions, significantly tighter limits on campaign giving and far greater disclosure and accountability for outside interest groups.

More information about this initiative is available online at www.wisdc.org/endingwealthfare.php.

The cost of Ending Wealthfare is $10 a year for each Wisconsin taxpayer, leaving each of us with questions to answer. Is putting an end to legal bribery in state politics worth $10 a year? Is it worth $10 to have a voice at the Capitol? Is that too much to pay to have a democracy?

Mike McCabe is executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonpartisan watchdog group. The Democracy Campaign’s website is www.wisdc.org

March 22, 2011

NY Times Op-Ed: Wisconsin’s Radical Break

Filed under: Wisconsin Class Warfare,Wisconsin Uprising — millerlf @ 9:51 am

By WILLIAM CRONON  Published: March 21, 2011 Op-Ed Contributor NY Times

NOW that a Wisconsin judge has temporarily blocked a state law that would strip public employee unions of most collective bargaining rights, it’s worth stepping back to place these events in larger historical context.

Republicans in Wisconsin are seeking to reverse civic traditions that for more than a century have been among the most celebrated achievements not just of their state, but of their own party as well.

Wisconsin was at the forefront of the progressive reform movement in the early 20th century, when the policies of Gov. Robert M. La Follette prompted a fellow Republican, Theodore Roosevelt, to call the state a “laboratory of democracy.” The state pioneered many social reforms: It was the first to introduce workers’ compensation, in 1911; unemployment insurance, in 1932; and public employee bargaining, in 1959.

University of Wisconsin professors helped design Social Security and were responsible for founding the union that eventually became the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Wisconsin reformers were equally active in promoting workplace safety, and often led the nation in natural resource conservation and environmental protection.

But while Americans are aware of this progressive tradition, they probably don’t know that many of the innovations on behalf of working people were at least as much the work of Republicans as of Democrats.

(more…)

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