Falk Raised Taxes By Millions As County Exec

Politifact has rated that claim by Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch as true.

“In a national economic downturn, Wisconsin families cannot afford to have a leader with an addiction to taxing and spending,” Kleefisch wrote in an opinion piece published by Madison’s Capital Times on Feb. 3, 2012. “The failed policies Falk has consistently stood for throughout her career are exactly the same policies that led Wisconsin down an irresponsible path to a $3.6 billion budget deficit.”

Kleefisch went on to cite chapter and verse:

“As Dane County executive, Falk raised taxes by millions of dollars every year, most notably in 2010, when she increased taxes by 8 percent, the second highest increase across the entire state of Wisconsin.”

The op-ed piece contrasts these claims with Walker’s state budget, which Kleefisch says was balanced “without raising taxes on Wisconsin families.”

The proof behind this truth?

Asked to back up the claim about Falk, the Walker campaign — speaking for Kleefisch — pointed us to property tax figures compiled by Dane County and the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, a nonpartisan research group.

Falk’s approach as executive from 1997 to 2011 was to limit increases in the property tax levy to inflation with a factor built in for population growth. It was an effort to tie increases to service demand, said Scott McDonell, chairman of the Dane County Board, which largely approved of Falk’s approach.

Did Falk’s budget raise property taxes by 8 percent in 2010, “the second highest” in the state? Yes.

In 2010, Falk busted past her self-imposed levy limit of 1.19 percent for that year. She blamed lagging sales tax and other revenue due to the Great Recession, and said higher property taxes, a 3 percent wage cut negotiated with county unions and efficiency moves would preserve needed services.

Head to the source to see Politifact’s full assessment.

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Unions Looking For Puppet

When it comes to the recall attempt of Governor Scott Walker, unions are looking for a candidate to be their puppet.  And they appear to have found one.

Union leaders are asking Democratic candidates for governor to veto the next state budget if it doesn’t restore collective bargaining for public workers and one leading candidate – Kathleen Falk – has agreed, participants in the private meetings say.

The plan, which could lead to shortages or even layoffs in government if it doesn’t succeed, is a key strategy that union leaders are considering for undoing Gov. Scott Walker’s repeal last year of most collective bargaining for public employees. Falk, the former Dane County executive, has committed to restoring collective bargaining in the next state budget and vetoing the budget if those provisions come out, while at least three other candidates including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said they wouldn’t commit to any one strategy to accomplish that.

“The governor’s job is to veto budget items that don’t reflect citizens’ values. That’s why a million people signed recall petitions – because Scott Walker’s budgets didn’t reflect citizens’ values,” Falk spokesman Scot Ross said. “All the support she’ll receive is because she the best candidate to take on Gov. Walker’s divisive, extreme, national tea party agenda and bring Wisconsin back together.”

Unions helped launch the recall effort against Walker in November in response to Walker’s labor legislation, and the state teachers union on Wednesday endorsed Falk in that looming contest. All the potential Democratic challengers to Walker support restoring collective bargaining, but they don’t all agree on how to make that happen.

Smells like pay-to-play.

The union request and Falk’s commitment brought withering criticism from Republicans, who said the move would be bad for the state and wouldn’t succeed with the GOP-controlled Legislature.

“This backroom deal reeks of pay-to-play,” state Republican Party spokesman Ben Sparks said.

What’s amazing is that a candidate would publicly commit to such a request.  It’s one that other Democrats said no to.

In an interview Wednesday, Barrett said that when he spoke with unions he told them that he would call a special session to seek the restoration of collective bargaining. If that didn’t work, Barrett said he would look at other means of accomplishing that goal but he stopped short of committing to veto the state budget over collective bargaining.

“My position has always been legislatively that I don’t rule anything out and I don’t rule anything in,” Barrett said.

“I said I could not make that promise and I did not think any serious candidate for governor could or should make that commitment,” Cullen said of a veto of the state budget. “It’s a $60 billion document.”

Vinehout said that she would seek to sell the state public on the importance of restoring collective bargaining rather than attempt to force it through the Legislature in a budget standoff.

“The answer to that was that was I would do my very best to avoid a situation where we have brinkmanship,” Vinehout said.

Unfortunately public sector unions like WEAC and WSEU don’t care what happens to Wisconsin as long as like spoiled children they get what they want.

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Beginning the Conversation With Jesus

A great article in the Lutheran Witness on beginning religious conversation with Jesus.

Another option is beginning the religious conversation with Jesus. That is, after all, where our Gospels begin. Like other famous figures, He really was a part of history. Luke notes that Jesus was born when Caesar Augustus ruled the Roman Empire and was executed by the governor appointed by that emperor. Ancient creeds even catch this by saying that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate.

So, if we can agree to the reality of Jesus, the question about religion can continue, even if those to whom we talk can agree only to see Him as a great moral teacher and not God. The conversation can continue by agreeing to listen to what He said about Himself as God, His relationship to the Father, and His astounding claim that no one comes to God except through Him.

At the same time, the four Gospels begin with Jesus. Luke starts with apostles who were eyewitnesses of the Word, that is, Jesus. Mark simply says, “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” John begins with Jesus as the Word and then introduces God. “In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Matthew begins with Jesus as the Immanuel child, “God with us,” who by being called out of Egypt is recognized as God’s Son. This is confirmed at Jesus’ Baptism by the voice from heaven claiming Him as His Son. Finally, the Trinitarian God is revealed with the appearance of the Spirit in the form of a dove.

Only later, at the end of his Gospel, does Matthew give us the familiar order of how the divine persons exist with one another: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But in the well-known benediction, Paul still begins with Jesus: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

Rev. Scaer sums it up perfectly.

Jesus is the content of faith and Jesus is the content of faith and its boundaries. its boundaries. With Him, we begin and end the religious conversation.

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GOP President Probably Won’t Repeal ObamaCare

Mitt Romney’s opponents in the GOP Presidential primary need to jump all over this.  Seems one of his advisors feels ObamaCare won’t be repealed completely.

“You will not repeal the act in its entirety, but you will see major changes, particularly if there is a Republican president,” Coleman told BioCentury This Week television in an interview that aired on Sunday. “You can’t whole-cloth throw it out. But you can substantially change what’s been done.”

That would be former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman, who Romney’s campaign is trying to distance itself from.

“With all due respect to Sen. Coleman, he’s wrong,” campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said via e-mail. “Gov. Romney can and will repeal Obamacare and is committed to doing so.”

Distancing or not this is another example of why Mitt Romney can NOT be the Republican nominee. It’s also an example of why the Republican establishment needs to stop trying to pick who their nominee should be.

(H/T – RedState)

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