Scott Walker’s Record on Privatization
From educating our children to incarcerating criminals and everything in between Gov. Scott Walker is willing to outsource public functions to private contractors. That his dogmatic dedication to privatization has often left workers losing wages and benefits while taxpayers pay more for the same or reduced services and get less accountability matter little.
No wonder when you realize Walker has handsomely padded his campaign account with contributions from the beneficiaries of his willingness to hand over public tax dollars to private business. As a state legislator Walker defended shipping Wisconsin prisoners to private facilities in other states, despite serious questions about how these facilities operated and pushed to build a private prison in Wisconsin. As Governor he’s led the charge to expand a private voucher school industry that is taking millions of tax dollars out of public schools.
All along Walker benefited from the financial largesse of the privatization special interests, including his campaign co-chair who heads one of the biggest funders of right-wing, pro-privatization propaganda the Bradley Foundation.
This report exposes the web of right-wing funders advancing a radical school privatization agenda through the use of Wisconsin-based front groups, with special focus on the Bradley Foundation, headed by Scott Walker's campaign co-chair Michael Grebe.
There is a long-held belief among many conservatives that public schools are simply not an appropriate role of government and should be privatized through the use of vouchers. One of the staunchest supporters of this extreme view is Gov. Scott Walker.
Under Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-led legislature, less accountable private voucher schools have reaped a financial windfall both in the amount of state tax dollars they receive and the number of students for which they are paid state tax dollars. As reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, all across Wisconsin public schools are now feeling financial pressure as the voucher program drains resources from them, and new data shows per pupil state revenue payments for vouchers are on average poised to exceed those for public schools.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements about a new memo from the independent, non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau showing students in unaccountable voucher schools would be getting an average of $1,000 more than students in public schools as result of Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed state budget.
The nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education is teetering on the brink of rejection by the U.S. Senate with bipartisan opposition to her confirmation building after a disastrous confirmation hearing and new allegations she plagiarized parts of her written answers to questions submitted by members of the committee weighing her nomination. Yet Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction hopefuls John Humphries and Lowell Holtz, all of whom have or are hoping to benefit from the financial largesse of the Michigan billionaire private school voucher backer, continue to stand by their woman.
Madison, Wis. — According to a report in today’s Wisconsin State Journal, Gov. Scott Walker is denying the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s request for legal representation in a school privatization case brought by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL). Public files reviewed by One Wisconsin Now show between 2011 and 2015, WILL received an astonishing $3.78 million from the Bradley Foundation, which is run by Walker’s campaign chair Michael Grebe.
Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature have cut over $1 billion from K-12 public schools since taking office and, by the end of the current budget cycle, will have doled out in excess of $1 billion in taxpayer dollars through the private school voucher program to unaccountable private and religious schools. Now, in the final days of the legislative session, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is pushing to get his way with a last minute amendment that adds over $22 million more to the cuts to public schools as part of the voucher school funding scheme.
Unaccountable Private School Voucher Program a Billion Dollar Boondoggle Under Gov. Walker and Republican Legislature
A new analysis from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau finds that under Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature, Wisconsin taxpayers will have to foot a $1.18 billion plus tab for the private school voucher program by the end of the 2016-17 fiscal year. In addition, the state treasury will take a $30 million per year hit from a no top income limit tax giveaway to parents already sending their kids to private schools.
The bumbling run of Gov. Scott Walker for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination stumbled on yesterday with a speech on education in New Hampshire. In his address the Wisconsin governor, who made the largest cuts to public education in state history, floated a name for a potential cabinet secretary pick for an agency he declared he would eliminate and used a story of a Wisconsin public school teacher who has repeatedly asked him to stop mentioning her in his stump speeches.
WALKER RHETORIC: “I ran for Governor because I was worried about my kids' future.”
Will College Dropout Gov. Scott Walker Sign Budget Measure to Allow High School Dropouts to Teach in Wisconsin?
According to education experts, an amendment to the 2015 state budget adopted by the Republican controlled Joint Committee on Finance in the middle of the night would eliminate almost all standards, including having graduated from high school, for teachers. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross blasted the provision as emblematic of the GOP contempt for teachers and public education and called on Gov. Scott Walker to veto the provision if it remains in the budget.
In his continuing travels in pursuit of his personal political ambitions, Gov. Scott Walker today visits New Orleans, Louisiana to address the private school voucher industry front group, American Federation for Children. Back home in Wisconsin it’s “let the good times roll” for the unaccountable voucher program as Republican politicians consider Walker’s scheme for further statewide expansion of taxpayer support for private schools while public schools may, at best, see their funding not cut.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker touts himself as purveyor of big, bold ideas for the public good in his pursuit of the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination. But according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, Walker has instead advanced his own political career by pledging allegiance on pet issues for major right-wing funders the Bradley Foundation, run by his gubernatorial campaign co-chair Michael Grebe, and the Koch family foundations of notorious right-wing billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch.
Out-of-state backers of the failed 25-year school privatization racket will be descending upon Madison today for what will likely be among many events designed to “commemorate” the quarter-century failed school privatization experiment in Wisconsin. The event is being hosted by the Federalist Society with a featured speaker from the Goldwater Institute, both of which have received huge financial support from the pro-privatization Bradley Foundation, which is headed by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign co-chair, Michael Grebe.
One Wisconsin Now Research Reveals Gov. Walker Campaign Co-Chair as Major Financier of Propaganda Campaign Paving Way for Wrong For Wisconsin Right to Work Law
Late last week, while traveling out of state, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker dropped his pre-November 2014 election charade of opposition to a right to work law that could cut the average Wisconsin family’s wages by over $5,000 per year. One Wisconsin Now’s research of the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, headed by Gov. Walker’s campaign co-chair, reveals the stage has been set for Walker’s latest assault on Wisconsin’s middle class for his personal political benefit with a well-financed propaganda campaign utilizing a nationwide web of front groups.
Private School Voucher Industry Keeps Giving Big Campaign Cash, Keeps Getting Special Treatment from Gov. Walker and GOP Legislature
According to the latest round of campaign finance filings, individuals associated with the private school voucher industry kept busy filling the campaign coffers of Gov. Walker and others, even after Election Day. According to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross their donations are already paying off handsomely in the 2015 legislative session.
In Walker’s 2015 budget, he proposed lifting the caps put in place in the 2013 expansion, expanding vouchers across the state without limits
`State lawmakers responded mostly along party lines to Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to cut funding to the University of Wisconsin System by 13 percent over the next two years. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Walker will propose turning the 13 four-year campuses and 13 two-year colleges of the UW System into a public authority, giving the university more flexibility over a wide array of matters that are now mandated by state law.The UW System had requested $95 million from the 2015-17 budget, a request based largely on the financial impact of a second proposed tuition freeze. The governor will still move forward with the freeze, but the $300 million cut comes with more flexibility and autonomy for the university. [...] UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank told the Wisconsin State Journal that she expects layoffs "at every school and college." "To get through the demanding times ahead, we know that we will be called on to make challenging and difficult decisions. It won’t be easy. Taking a longer view, our new relationship with the state will allow us to leverage the System’s great resources, talent, and ideas to even better serve the people and economy of Wisconsin," said UW System president Ray Cross in a statement.
Wisconsin legislative Republicans are promising legislation to regulate the private school voucher program that is slated to rake in over $212 million from state taxpayers in the current school year. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted massive campaign spending by voucher special interests and evidence voucher lobbyists were intimately involved in drafting legislation last session raises red flags about who is behind the GOP’s latest proposal.
‘Right-to-Work’ Backer Cites Bradley Foundation-Funded Junk Science to Justify Attack on Middle Class Wages and Workplace Safety
A Republican state legislator who says he will introduce a controversial, so-called “right-to-work” bill is basing his case in part on statistics produced by a right-wing group that receives significant support from the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the source for statistics being cited by the presumptive bill author, has raked in nearly $500,000 over the last decade from the Bradley Foundation.
Two weeks after being elected for a second four-year term as Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker’s campaign is polling voters on his planned presidential run, asking favorability questions about various Republican and Democratic candidates, including fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, according to a One Wisconsin Now source who received the call Tuesday evening.
Less than twenty-four hours after the polls closed in the November 4 general election, Assembly GOP Speaker Robin Vos and Gov. Scott Walker called for a dramatically expanded private school voucher program in Wisconsin, financed with public tax dollars. According to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, a news report revealing the pro-voucher group spent nearly $1 million in the fall campaigns and $4.5 million in Wisconsin since 2010 shows why it’s no coincidence that an expansion of the unaccountable taxpayer financed voucher program is on the short list of GOP legislative priorities.
As Percentage of Wisconsin Graduates With Student Loan Debt Rises, GOP Leaves Borrowers Out in the Cold
In announcing an agenda that includes an even more expansive, unaccountable public-funded private school voucher program and targets poor people for drug tests, Gov. Scott Walker and legislative Republicans have left the nearly one million Wisconsin student loan borrowers out in the cold. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted that brand new national research shows that Wisconsin, with 70 percent of 2013 graduates having student loan debt, now ranks fourth highest in the nation for percentage of graduates with debt.
Gov. Scott Walker’s Campaign Co-Chair’s Fingerprints on Latest Political Hit Job to Try to Maintain Power for Gov. Walker
The fingerprints of the Wisconsin Money Badger Michael Grebe, Gov. Walker’s campaign co-chair and head of the $500 million right-wing Bradley Foundation, are all over the latest sleazy political smear launched against Walker’s opponent just six days before the election. A review of IRS records and Bradley Foundation reports reveals they have provided significant financial support for the media outlet that first reported on the smear, along with funneling millions to other groups working to advance the political interests of Gov. Walker.
Party Line Howard Marklein Tows the Education Privatization Line for Party Bosses and Special Interests
A recent news report reveals $139 million in state tax dollars went to private schools in Milwaukee kicked out of the school voucher program, supported by Rep. Howard Marklein, for failing to meet basic standards for things like student safety and financial transparency. Yet as State Representative, Marklein voted to cut state aid for K-12 public schools in the 17th Senate District by over $25 million.
While studies of the voucher program have failed to demonstrate higher achievement for students, pandering to the voucher industry has been lucrative for career politician Scott Walker’s campaign account. According to One Wisconsin Now executive Director Scot Ross that may account for Gov. Walker’s call yesterday to further expand the unaccountable private school voucher program.
As students across Wisconsin head back to school, it’s Gov. Scott Walker who needs to be educated about the impact of his wrong-headed education policies, according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. Under Walker and his education policies, Wisconsin has had lagging job growth and rates of wage increases that trail neighboring states, earning him a failing grade.
An analysis of recently filed campaign finance reports by One Wisconsin Now has found supporters of private school vouchers from across the country are dropping big donations on Wisconsin politicians in recent months, including over $113,000 to Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. In total, voucher supporters pumped over $175,000 plus into Republican politician’s campaign coffers in just the first six months of 2014.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty is not simply a conservative, public interest law firm. It is a virtual extension of the political apparatus surrounding Gov. Scott Walker, engaging in ‘issue litigation’ to advance and protect his interests.
While Gov. Walker refuses to answer if he continues to direct a scheme to avoid Wisconsin campaign laws described as “criminal” by a Republican prosecutor, perhaps others know the answer. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross suggested Walker’s campaign co-chair, the right-wing mega-funder Bradley Foundation’s chief Michael Grebe, might have the answer.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction today released application information for the taxpayer funded private school voucher program, expanded statewide by Gov. Walker and the Republican controlled legislature in the 2013 state budget.
Records Reveal Private School Voucher Industry Lobbyist Wrote Latest Republican Bill Proposing to “Regulate” Voucher Industry
A review of legislative drafting files by One Wisconsin Now has uncovered legislation claiming to impose new accountability requirements on schools participating in the private school voucher program was written by the lobbyist for the school privatization industry.
Gov. Walker’s Administration Asks: ‘How Can We Love You More?’ Corporate Special Interest ALEC Provides Answers.
In a closed-to-the-public meeting convened by the Walker administration, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and head of the state Revenue Department, Kleefisch asked of the assembled corporate special interests in the room, “how can we love you more?” On the eve of Governor Walker's State of the State address, when he is expected to unveil a new tax scheme, all signs point to the answers to Walker's question coming from the corporate funded American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.
Wisconsin Ensnared in $83 Million National Propaganda and Privatization Web Spun by Radical Right-Wing Funders
“S is For Shill,” a new report from One Wisconsin Now, in association with the ProgressNow network and the Center for Media and Democracy, exposes a web of right-wing funders advancing a radical privatization agenda through the use of Wisconsin-based front groups. In addition to support from the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, headed by Gov. Walker's campaign co-chair Michael Grebe, innocuously named groups like the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI) and the MacIver Institute are part of the larger State Policy Network (SPN), a right-wing, dark money funded pro-privatization propaganda effort.
The state Department of Public Instruction today released official enrollment counts for students in the expanded private school voucher program. Nearly 80% of students participating in the program this year did not attend a Wisconsin public school last year, and over 73% of students now having their tuition and expenses paid by a taxpayer funded voucher were already attending a private school last year. The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross regarding the data:
In an appearance in Wisconsin today, Gov. Walker unveiled a new tax scheme he claimed would help Wisconsin homeowners and called for passing a bill within the next ten days. But according to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the average Wisconsin homeowner would save a mere $13, or $1.08 per month, in 2013. The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross on Gov. Walker's latest scheme:
As Gov. Scott Walker and the right wing noise machine shift into overdrive in their efforts to boost sagging opinion of his job performance, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted that, try as they might, the fact remains on issue after issue, the Walker administration has been an abysmal failure.
While private schools benefit, courtesy of taxpayer-funded vouchers that in many cases far exceed the tuition paid by other students, it is once again our state public schools that lose out under the agenda of Walker and the Republican Legislature.
One Wisconsin Now will join public education supporters from across the state at Saturday's 'Public Education Is a Civil Right' march and rally beginning at Milwaukee High School at 10:30 a.m. One Wisconsin Now research has shown that the systematic assault on our public schools owes much of its support to tens of millions of dollars given to pro-privatization propaganda by Milwaukee's Bradley Foundation, headed by Gov. Scott Walker's campaign co-chair Michael Grebe.
Private School Voucher Scam: 75% of Applicants for Statewide Expansion of Taxpayer Funded Private School Vouchers Not Currently Attending Public Schools
The state Department of Public Instruction today released information on the number of new schools and students applying for the statewide expansion of the private school voucher program enacted by Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans in the 2013-15 state budget. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross said the statistics about where the students applying for the program previously attended school expose the voucher program as a scam on state taxpayers, orchestrated by well-funded education privatization forces.
According to documents reviewed by One Wisconsin Now, staples of the state right wing noise machine, and some new entrants, were once again beneficiaries of the largesse of Wisconsin's Money Badger, Michael Grebe, in 2012. Besides controlling the $620 million plus in reported assets of the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, Grebe serves as co-chair of Gov. Walker's campaign.
Under Walker’s New Tax Giveaway, Families Could Receive Up To $4,000 for Children in Kindergarten Through Eighth Grade And $10,000 For Each Student In High School
“Walker's signing of the budget comes in time for the new fiscal year, which begins Monday. The final version of the budget will: Tax cuts. Cut income taxes by $651 million over two years and provide $30 million a year in income tax savings for the parents of the nearly 100,000 private school students in Wisconsin. Families could receive an income tax deduction of up to $4,000 for private school tuition paid for each kindergarten through eighth-grade student and up to $10,000 per high school student.”
In his twenty years in office, Scott Walker has amassed a truly astounding record of failure. To commemorate the looming anniversary of his first election to office, One Wisconsin Now is highlighting a different and depressing failure of Gov. Walker every day, for twenty days. Under Gov. Walker no area has more directly felt the impact of his formula for failure than public education, and the 2013 budget, set to be debated by the Senate and Assembly this week, continues the trend.
In his twenty years in office, Scott Walker has amassed a truly astounding record of failure. To commemorate the looming anniversary of his first election to office, One Wisconsin Now is highlighting a different and depressing failure of Gov. Walker every day, for twenty days. Today, we look at the right-wing machine behind the man, the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, headed by Gov. Walker's campaign co-chair, Michael Grebe.
Wisconsin Working Families and Middle Class Lose Big as Top GOP Legislative Leaders Flip-Flop Way to Budget Deal
In his 2010 campaign, Gov. Walker signaled support for a bill to ban the legislature from voting after 10pm because, “… nothing good happens after midnight. That's even more true in politics.” According to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross it's too bad for the middle class and working families of Wisconsin that top legislative Republicans didn't take their Governor's advice. Instead, they signed-off on a two year budget deal in the middle of the night that includes a flat-tax scheme that overwhelmingly benefits the wealthy and a statewide expansion of the unaccountable private school voucher program.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is traveling to Iowa today to address a gathering of Republican Party activists in another of an increasing number out-of-state sojourns as he ponders a bid for national office. Also making the trip is One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, along with copies of the Walker “Resume of Failure.”
Scot Ross, who heads the liberal One Wisconsin Now group, says Walker is not doing his job in Wisconsin while the state lags near the bottom in creating new jobs.
Is Wisconsin ‘Money Badger’ Michael Grebe Paying Fox News Head Big Bucks for Fawning Media Coverage of His Favorite Wisconsin Politicians?
Roger Ailes, Fox News Chair and CEO, is in line for a big payday courtesy of Wisconsin's “Money Badger” Michael Grebe, head of the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation and co-chair of Gov. Scott Walker's campaign. According to news reports, Ailes will receive a $250,000 no strings attached “Bradley Award” in a ceremony next month.
The just-filed lawsuit by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) over a contract signed by the Milwaukee Area Technical College comes thanks to Gov. Scott Walker's campaign co-chair Michael Grebe, the CEO of the Bradley Foundation, which has contributed $500,000 to WILL. The lawsuit seeks to undo a contract that will save taxpayers $14 million in its first year and nearly $150 million in the future.
One Wisconsin Now Calls on Rep. Marklein, ‘CPA Caucus’ to Put Gov. Walker’s WEDC Under the Microscope
Following the “revelation” that the University of Wisconsin System maintains a reserve fund, State Representative and member of the “CPA Caucus” Howard Marklein has vowed to review the finance of more state agencies. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross suggested Marklein and his GOP cohorts ought to start with Gov. Walker's woefully underperforming Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).
The latest round of right-wing University of Wisconsin System bashing, this time over an annual report indicating the system has surpluses in several accounts, could be more bad news for students, their families and Wisconsin's economy according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross.
New research from One Wisconsin Now reveals a web of right-wing groups are part of a $31 million plus propaganda campaign pushing a massive privatization of public education in Wisconsin. Underwriting the effort is the Milwaukee based Bradley Foundation, headed by Gov. Scott Walker's campaign co-chair, Michael Grebe.
An analysis of Gov. Walker's 2013-15 budget plan reveals a massive increase in the percentage of state taxpayer dollars going to the unaccountable private school voucher program. Meanwhile, state support for K-12 public schools is essentially held flat, even after record budget cuts in the last budget.
Gov. Walker’s Nearly $68 Billion Budget Allocates $0.0 For Direct Relief From Trillion Dollar Student Loan Debt Crisis
In his nearly $68 billion state budget proposal, Gov. Walker larders special interests with sweetheart deals and doles out millions in tax breaks for the wealthiest Wisconsinites. But, according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, not one cent is spent to provide direct relief to students or their families being crushed by the trillion-dollar student loan debt crisis.
Under Walker's proposal, districts would be opened up to voucher programs if they have at least 4,000 students and two school buildings receiving a grade of "fails to meet expectations" or "meets few expectations" on state report cards...Walker's budget plan would set the criteria for bringing school districts into the voucher system, rather than naming specific districts that would get the program. That means in future years other districts could be added to the program. Wisconsin has 42 districts with at least 4,000 students, but only nine have at least two schools with a failing grade. They are Beloit, Fond du Lac, Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Sheboygan, Superior, Waukesha, and West Allis-West Milwaukee. The expansion would start small. This fall, just 500 students around the state could attend private schools at taxpayer expense outside of Milwaukee and eastern Racine County. That would increase to 1,000 the next year, and there would be no cap after that.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements on the two-year anniversary of Scott Walker as Governor:
- Flatlined funding in student financial aid, even though tens of thousands of eligible students have been denied aid due to lack of funding
- Cut the UW System’s budget by $66 million for the biennium while freezing system’s ability to raise revenue from tuition.
- Continue the public education deficit created in the 2011-13 budget;
- Expand the private school voucher program and increase its funding by $90 million;
- Create an income tax deduction for private school tuition of up to $10,000, at a cost of $30 million per year; and
- Eliminate funding for the Farm to School program
- Due to the Republican plan to reject Medicaid expansion, taxpayers will pay $206 million more to provide healthcare to 84,700 fewer people
- Instead of using a balanced approach, this budget takes a surplus built on record cuts to public schools and goes into future deficit in order to give a tax cut targeted toward the wealthiest people
- Rolling back consumer protections to favor predatory payday loan shops, cable companies & makers of lead paint
“Create a deduction from the individual income tax for amounts paid for tuition to a private school, beginning in tax year 2014. Limit the deduction to tuition expenses of up to $4,000 per year per pupil enrolled in kindergarten through grade eight and $10,000 per year per pupil enrolled in grades nine through twelve. Define claimant as an individual who claims a pupil as a dependent for federal income tax purposes on his or her tax return; define pupil as an individual who is enrolled in kindergarten or grades one to twelve and who is a dependent of the claimant for federal income tax purposes; and define tuition as any amount paid by a claimant, in the year to which the claim relates, for a pupil's tuition to attend a private school, as defined under current law, that meets all the criteria for a private school, as enumerated under current law.”
Proposed and ultimately signed the 2013-15 budget which included expansion of the private school voucher program statewide. As approved, the program was expanded for 500 students in its first year and 1,000 students in the next school year.
In Response to Mass Shooting, Walker Said Arming School Officials Should Be ‘Part of the Discussion,’ Along with Addressing Mental Health Needs
In the wake of the country's latest mass shooting, Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday that more should be done to help mentally troubled individuals and that arming school officials should be "part of the discussion." Walker called for a summit involving top mental health professionals from around the state early next year...And Walker said that he would not rule out allowing school employees with firearms training to carry guns to fight back against armed intruders.
Wisconsin's 'Money Badger', Michael Grebe, appears to have his paws in the attack on worker rights in Michigan according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. Grebe, who runs the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, has doled out nearly $2 million to three organizations taking leading roles in promoting the attack on worker rights launched by Michigan Republicans in a lame duck session of their state legislature.
Recent media reports on prospective 2016 Republican presidential candidates' money chase included Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on a list of suitors seeking an audience with GOP mega-donor and Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. But according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, Walker may already have found his Super-PAC sugar daddy, the Wisconsin 'Money Badger', Michael Grebe of the Bradley Foundation.
Critics of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have condemned his funding cuts to schools and tax breaks for businesses and wealthier individuals… We rated Half True a claim by the liberal One Wisconsin Now group that tax breaks approved for corporations and the rich would cost taxpayers $2.3 billion over a decade. The changes aren’t a cost to taxpayers in the normal sense, because the tax breaks mean less will be paid in taxes.
Under Gov. Walker, Wisconsin’s economy has tanked, ranking dead last in the nation for job creation and suffering the ignominy of being the only state in the nation with statistically significant job losses over the last year. Meanwhile, Gov. Walker’s cross country cash grab has been a stunning success, netting two-thirds of the $13 million raised from out-of-state contributors, according to One Wisconsin Now’s analysis of his latest campaign finance report filed today.
“Gov. Scott Walker signed four bills relating to women’s reproductive health and pay equality without the usual public fanfare last Thursday, a move that came under fire from Democrats and advocacy groups. Walker signed the four bills into law on Thursday and announced their signing, along with 47 other bills, in a statement released the following day. The first three bills relate to abortions in the state, and the fourth relates to women’s health issues, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau. One piece of legislation repeals Wisconsin’s Healthy Youth Act.”
One Wisconsin Now Deputy Director Mike Browne made the following statement regarding Gov. Scott Walker’s latest special interest funded campaign ad:
2010 Politifact “Lie of the Year” award winner, GOP pollster Frank Luntz, addressed a gathering of CEOs sponsored by the state’s big business lobby today in Madison. One Wisconsin Now Deputy Director Mike Browne said Luntz will have his work cut out for him trying to boost Gov. Scott Walker’s record of job losses and policies that cut education and health care while doling out tax cuts for the wealthiest and corporations.
GOP Stalls Voucher Loophole Fix, Proposed Accountability Standards as Their Campaign Coffers Fill With Cash
Campaign finance records show private school voucher advocates have showered Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP with over $507,000 in campaign contributions in 2011 and 2012. Meanwhile proposed accountability standards that would include voucher schools are on hold and a bill to close a loophole that could allow statewide expansion of the private voucher program is stalled in the GOP controlled Assembly.
Governor Scott Walker failed to tackle Wisconsin’s jobs crisis - posting six straight months of job losses here while nationally jobs are being added - and is now poised to take on “the truth” in his second State of the State address.
Reilly sent a letter to the DOA on Dec. 14 outlining how the UW System plans to deal with a budget lapse - or additional reduction in state aid - of at least $65.7 million or more than 37 percent of a 174.3 million cut across all state agencies that was imposed in the 2011-13 biennium by Secretary Mike Huebsch in mid-October. In the memo addressed to state budget director Brian Hayes, Reilly proposes a "compromise" lapse amount and warns that the disproportionate hit delegated to the UW System will reduce funding for faculty and instructor positions, which means fewer class sections, decrease in academic advising and larger class sizes, "creating a bottleneck in the education pipeline."
A comprehensive analysis entitled “D is for Dismantle,” authored by the non-partisan One Wisconsin Institute shows that despite claims from Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin schools are not failing, instead his budget cuts and disastrous education policies endanger our proud tradition of excellent schools. The report from One Wisconsin Institute, the education and research partner of One Wisconsin Now, includes research that contradicts Gov. Walker's assertions about public schools and students not performing at the highest levels.
The Monona Grove school district cited in Gov. Scott Walker’s latest deceptive television ad as being a success story, has lost teachers, seen higher class sizes rise throughout the curriculum as result of Walker’s historic $1.6 billion gutting of public education.
Rolled back class size reduction program; allows teachers to be evaluated on standardized test scores
On December 17, 2011, Walker signed a bill into law that rolled back a major provision of the popular class size reduction program, Student Achievement Guarantee in Education Program, which established class sizes of 18 or under in grades K-3. This bill allows school districts to opt out of class size reductions in grades 2 and 3. Prior law required participation in K-3 to receive SAGE funding. Additionally, Act 105 allows school districts to use value-added analysis of standardized test scores to evaluate teachers. Though it cannot be the sole reason used to fire, suspend or discipline a teacher, the bill allows school districts to place greater weight on the test scores in evaluating a teacher’s job performance. Prior law prohibited the use of standardized test results to fire, suspend or discipline a teacher. (2011 SB 95, introduced 5/13/2011; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call)
Walker Allowed University of Wisconsin to raise tuition by 5.5% annually; Cut $250 million from System
UW-Stout and UW Eau Claire Chancellors contend the state's latest round of budget cuts would unfairly burden Wisconsin's four-year universities...The UW System comprises only 7 percent of the state budget and will get 38 percent of the cut for at least 174.3 million included in the 2011-2013 state budget. They will also include $65.6 million in cutbacks to UW System schools on top of previous state aid reductions also in the budget.
Attempts by the new Republican administration to largely privatize the state's food assistance program have been all but stopped in their tracks. The controversial plan, first proposed by Gov. Scott Walker in March, would have replaced county-level sites where residents can simultaneously apply for FoodShare and medical assistance with a limited number of centers across the state staffed by private workers. The move would have cost roughly 270 public workers their jobs…Turns out, USDA officials were never keen on private workers being involved in the administration of the federally funded food assistance program. The federal officials have been warning the state to change its course, or at a minimum refrain from hiring more private employees, since early 2010. ”The state right now is not in compliance (with federal law)," said Alan Shannon, a spokesman with the USDA's regional office in Chicago. "It's that simple."
Students who attend the 26 campuses of the University of Wisconsin System and the state’s 13 liberal arts campuses will pay hundreds more in tuition this fall - ranging from $235 more a year at UW Colleges to $659 more a year at UW-Madison after the UW Board of Regents approved a 5.5 percent tuition increase for the 180,000 in-state students at a meeting Thursday.
Headline: Wis. Gov. signs budget cutting education $1.85B. “Democrats assailed the budget as an attack on middle class values since it cuts funding for public schools by $800 million, reduces funding to the UW system by $250 million and cuts tax credits for poor people. It also reduces the amount schools can collect from property taxes and other revenue combined, which translates into another education cut of about $800 million. While schools are seeing deep cuts, Walker's budget extends tax breaks to manufacturers, multistate corporations and investors.”
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements regarding Gov. Scott Walker’s planned signing of the 2011-13 Wisconsin state budget on Sunday. Walker’s budget includes tax breaks for corporations and the rich that will cost the state of Wisconsin taxpayers $2.3 billion over the next decade. At the same time, they are raising taxes on the working poor by $70 million, dismantling public education by $1.6 billion and slashing the University of Wisconsin by $250 million.
In March, UW-Eau Claire expected a $5.1 million cut based on Walker's budget proposal, but that went up to $6.3 million with the version approved this week by the state Legislature. UW-Stout’s university's spokesman, Doug Mell, said the $3.85 million cut estimated for UW-Stout based on earlier budgets would go above $4 million under the Legislature-approved one...The Legislature also is allowing a tuition increase of up to 5.5 percent, which will soften the blow of cuts to institutions, but not offset the entire amount. At UW-Eau Claire, Rindo said an additional 5.5 percent in tuition revenue would bring $3.4 million to the university, a little more than half the cut in state support. The state contributed 64 percent of funding for instructional expenses in the 2000-01 school year, he said. The newest budget funds 44 percent of the university's instructional costs, with tuition picking up the rest. "We're now, for instruction, more tuition-based than state-based," Rindo said.
State Capitol ‘Run Against Walker’ to Focus on Walker, GOP Attacks on Health Care, Middle Class to Pay for $600 Million Corporate Tax Cuts
Massive attacks against health care, education and middle class priorities launched by Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislative majority are the focus of a “Run Against Walker,” scheduled at the State Capitol today. The “Run Against Walker,” a run/walk for citizens organized by One Wisconsin Now as part of the “Walkerville” activities on the State Capitol Square, will accommodate both runners and walkers who are united against Walker’s attacks on the middle class.
One Wisconsin Institute Report: ‘We’re Not Broke: The Truth About The Wisconsin Budget, Taxes and Governor Walker’s Phony Fiscal Crisis’
A comprehensive analysis authored by the non-partisan One Wisconsin Institute shows that despite claims from Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin is not “broke.” The Institute's research contradicts Gov. Walker's assertion, pointing out Wisconsin's Gross Domestic Product has steadily rose the past twenty years and Wisconsin has plenty of overall wealth - but this wealth has shifted to those at the top of the income ladder, while Wisconsin's tax structure is built around the middle class.
Gov. Scott Walker has announced a $75,000 taxpayer-financed grant to a company, who along with its Chief Executive Officer, donated nearly $50,000 in 2010 to the Republican Governors Association, which spent $5 million to elect Walker governor, according to a figures obtained from the Internal Revenue Service by One Wisconsin Now. Walker announced the taxpayer-financed grant to the company, Jack Links, Tuesday in a press release.
The names of nearly 16,000 Wisconsinites who have signed One Wisconsin Now’s online petition in just over the last week demanding an end to Gov. Scott Walker’s unprecedented attack on public education were deliver today to the Governor and leaders of the state Joint Finance Committee. JFC has a scheduling hearing today to discuss Walker’s plans to cut of $834 million from public education, skyrocket tuition for students in Wisconsin and dismantle the technical college system — all to pay for unprecedented tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest.
“Walker is taking one of the biggest draws that the state of Wisconsin has, which is the fact that we have great public schools, and trashing that,” said Scot Ross, executive director of the liberal group One Wisconsin. “Meanwhile, he’s giving more money and more power to the unaccountable private school lobby.”
Gov. Scott Walker’s unprecedented attack on the public education of children across Wisconsin is part of a dismantling of the middle class tool box to enrich the wealthy and corporate America and Wall Street. Gov. Walker’s budget actions would cut $834 million from public education, skyrocket tuition for students in Wisconsin and dismantle the technical college system - all to pay for unprecedented tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements regarding Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald’s planned denial of committee voting rights to 14 Senate Democrats, who represent 2.2 million Wisconsin residents and taxpayers.
State funding for Wisconsin's 16 technical colleges would drop to a dollar level not seen since the late 1980s, despite enrollment growth of 40% over the last decade, if cuts in Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget ultimately gain approval, college officials said last week. That could lead to longer waiting lists for classes, more limited access to courses and programs, and ultimately, challenges for Wisconsin manufacturers, health care providers and other employers looking for skilled workers as the state's economy struggles to recover, officials said…Collectively, the technical colleges enroll more than 400,000 students. The technical colleges are widely considered among the state's primary engines driving economic development, as Wisconsin has a greater proportion of middle-level jobs than the rest of the nation - jobs predicted to see a higher-than-average rate of growth in the next decade. (Note: cuts were signed into law, 2011 Act 32)
Walker proposed no-bid sales of state-owned power plants; removed provision from final bill after public backlash; Koch denies they would gain from power plant sale
A lesser-known provision of Wisconsin's budget-repair bill would allow the state to sell off publicly owned power plants in no-bid deals - prompting a flurry of speculation by liberal bloggers who allege that Gov. Scott Walker is attempting a giveaway to energy conglomerate Koch Industries...Koch insists it doesn't stand to gain from the legislation, and is furiously denouncing the rumors as they have spread to media outlets including MSNBC, Forbes and Bloomberg… Koch Industries, led by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, has emerged as a major benefactor of conservative Republican candidates, and the Koch-backed group Americans for Prosperity has helped organize tea party rallies in Wisconsin supporting Walker's proposed budget fix.
One Wisconsin Now issued the following statements regarding Gov. Scott Walker’s enactment of the failed Indiana model for privatizing the taxpayer-financed Wisconsin Department of Commerce.
Gov. Scott Walker’s misguided plan to create a supermajority for tax increases ignores that the taxes targeted have not been increased by the legislature in over 30 years. Similar supermajority measures in California have led to that state’s near economic collapse, a record-setting deficit and draconian cuts for critical public investments.
The Republican Party of Wisconsin’s frivolous complaint to the Government Accountability Board (GAB) regarding its legislative candidates’ support for the Social Security privatization scheme concocted by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville), belies the RPW’s own state platform, which offers incontrovertible support for the so-called “Ryan Roadmap.”
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker admitted in a newspaper story today he was unaware of a comprehensive report on the tragedies at the Milwaukee County mental health complex - but that has not stopped him from refusing to release the report to his own county auditors. Walker refused to tell the private legal counsel he hired, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars to taxpayers, to release the report to Milwaukee County auditors who have requested it to complete their investigation.
“As governor, I’ll find ways to do more with less …and sign an amendment that will protect funds like these from future raids.” “¢ Walker Statement, 7/20/10
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has promised to reveal his plans in the coming days to reduce the state government payroll, but if his Milwaukee County record is any indication of his plans, taxpayers will be socked with higher costs and compromised safety.
The first television advertisement for Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s campaign for governor paid for by the Republican Party of Wisconsin not only is full of distortions and exaggerations, but also ignores the impact of his policies which have been disastrous for Milwaukee, a fact-check conducted by One Wisconsin Now concludes.
Latest Sexual Assault Revelation Highlights Disastrous Cost of Walker Mental Health Center Mismanagement, Privatization
Milwaukee County Scott Walker’s mismanagement of the County Mental Health Complex is under even more scrutiny after tragic reports of yet another patient sexual assault, this time at the hands of a security guard hired as part of Walker’s failed effort to privatize county services.
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s latest campaign ad is riddled with falsehoods, distortions and half-truths about his disastrous record for Milwaukee County, according to a fact check of the ad conducted by One Wisconsin Now.
Scott Walker Flip Flops on Immigration; Remains Firm in Refusal to Explain How to Pay for $2 Billion Tax Giveaway to Rich, Big Business
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker's pandering flip flop on the racist Arizona immigration law has One Wisconsin Now asking whether a similar strategy could get him to answer the question he has refused to answer: How will Scott Walker pay for his $2 billion tax giveaway to benefit the rich and big business? Walker flipped his position from a weekend Associated Press story after his Facebook page was riddled with criticisms by tea party types.
Walker Privatized Courthouse Security, Resulting in a Convicted Sex Offender Working There Without County Knowledge
“(Chad Wegener) works for Wackenhut Security Services, a big international firm, which took over security at the Courthouse last month. However, back in 2004, Wegener resigned as chief of police in Manawa, Wisconsin amid scandal -- accused of making repeated unwanted sexual advances towards on-duty male officers after pressuring them to drink beer and watch pornography at his home. Wegener plead no contest to five misdemeanors, including disorderly conduct, and spent three months in jail.”
County Board Supervisors Accused Walker of Overstepping His Authority in Laying Off 76 Workers, Privatizing Their Jobs
“Irate supervisors said Wednesday that Walker overstepped his authority by laying off 76 workers, including the security personnel, and some vowed to try to stop him from privatizing courthouse security. Walker's unilateral actions created an emergency that didn't exist, said Supervisor Michael Mayo Sr. He said the legal argument justifying Walker's actions under emergency statutory authority was ‘poppycock.’ Walker has said he relied on legal advice from the county corporation counsel as well as an outside law firm before issuing layoff notices. Acting County Corporation Counsel Timothy Schoewe said Walker was justified in hiring a security firm on an emergency basis. Schoewe also said Walker was on solid legal ground with the layoffs to help fill a budget shortfall. Dimitrijevic said she planned to introduce legislation aimed at undoing Walker's plan to award a $1.1 million annual contract to Wackenhut to take over the security checkpoints. The County Board in November rejected Walker's plan to privatize security as part of the 2010 budget and that policy should prevail, Dimitrijevic said. Last Friday, Walker fired all 27 security guards and also issued layoff notices to 49 other county workers.”
At Tuesday’s Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce lobbying luncheon Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker will likely find support from the corporate lobby for his $2-billion, budget-busting, deficit-doubling plan for tax breaks that mostly benefit corporations and the wealthiest Wisconsinites. What is less likely, is that Walker will explain which drastic cuts he would make to pay for this failed fiscal strategy, according to One Wisconsin Now.
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker wants to double Wisconsin’s projected $2-billion state budget deficit with a series of tax breaks that mostly benefit corporations and high-income people.
“...Walker said privatizing airport operations could enable the county to "actually turn a profit and use the revenue to pay down debt." He also said the money from an airport privatization could be used to help pay for the county's bus system without increasing the property tax. ...He sought but failed to win County Board support for a study on airport privatization for 2009, and he didn't address the issue in his 2010 budget. ...Three county supervisors attending Walker's speech said they remained opposed. Supervisors Johnny Thomas, Christopher Larson and Theo Lipscomb said it would be unwise for the county to entrust one of its prime assets to private firms. They warned that fees for a variety of services at the airport would likely be increased.”
If Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is interested in providing an honest assessment in his 2010 “state of the county” address, it will be a long apology to the people of Milwaukee County for his failed leadership, skewed priorities and playing politics with county operations.
“Operation of the Milwaukee County Zoo, one of the area's most popular attractions, would be spun off to a nonprofit company under a plan by County Executive Scott Walker. A proposal he'll include in his 2010 budget will call for creation of a steering committee to work out details of how the privatization would work, including whether the Milwaukee County Zoological Society or some newly created entity would take on zoo operations. Walker is eyeing a late 2011 date for the shift.”
“Meanwhile, the board delivered a second snub to Walker on Thursday on his plan to outsource operation of the public assistance call center, voting 12-6 to reject his plan. The board also voted against the idea last year. Walker favored hiring Impact, a private agency, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to operate the call center for $2 million a year. ...The board approved a resolution calling on Walker to increase the call center staff to 30 using county employees, which would cost slightly less than Walker's outsourcing, according to board figures.”
“A Milwaukee County Board veto override Wednesday means contractors will miss out on $600,000 worth of contracts, and 30 tradespeople on the county payroll will keep their jobs. ‘We are not a source to go to the private sector to make them richer off of taxpayer dollars,’ said County Supervisor Michael Mayo, who voted against County Executive Scott Walker's outsourcing plan.”
“Walker struck out with the board on every major privatization move, with one exception. The board sustained a Walker veto that keeps alive - though barely - his plan to outsource operation of the troubled public assistance call center. Under Walker's plan, the county would pay the private social agency IMPACT and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education $2 million a year to run the center. Because of the complex partial veto that Walker used to resurrect the call center, the matter must come before the board again for approval of an outsourcing contract on the call center, county Corporation Counsel William Domina said. That means the board could still kill the plan. Walker got only eight votes Wednesday, enough to sustain the call center veto but not enough to get the call center contract approved...Other Walker outsourcing ideas defeated included privatizing scores of workers who fix county vehicles, maintain county buildings, work as housekeepers or admissions staff at the Mental Health Complex, or work as mental health caseworkers. The board also used an override to defeat Walker's plan to substitute seasonal help for 48 parks maintenance workers, which added $1.8 million.”
“His message to his staff members as they gear up for the annual budget pageant: economize and privatize. ‘Anywhere and everywhere, they should be considering contracting out’ so services can be provided at less cost, Walker said in an interview. That's been his mantra since he took office, one that he re-emphasized during his successful re-election campaign this year.”
He's also been a staunch supporter of private and religious school choice, playing a key role last year in maintaining funding for the program, which provides taxpayer money for private education.
Walker Wanted Students in Milwaukee, One of the Most Segregated Cities in the US, to Stop Attending to Schools Outside of Their Neighborhood
“For years, Milwaukee students have been bused to schools far from their homes and far from the support of their parents and neighbors.”
If we don’t do anything … our school costs will so overwhelm our budget that there won’t be anything left.”
“I won’t shy away from the fact that it had appeal to myself and other conservative members who don’t believe we should fund this, but the broad appeal was financial.”
The bill proposed making permanent a previously adopted cap on public school funding.