Two radical pieces of Legislation have gone virtually uncovered by the mass media, and are closer to passage in Scott Walker’s Special session on “Job Creation.” The results would be lost tax revenue to the state and open season on “court shopping,” removing Dane County as the seat of judicial authority in Wisconsin. These bills have as obvious benefactors corporate interests, who have spent thousands of dollars lobbying for their passage – and placing their cronys in high places in the Walker Administration supporting them. The net result will be more pain and less jobs for the people of Wisconsin.
SB117 was disclosed in Badger Democracy in an October 3 post. Authored by Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa), the bill, simply stated, would allow a plaintiff bringing suit against the State of Wisconsin to originate the action in ANY county in the state – regardless of residency or interest. Staffers in Jon Erpenbach’s office (D-Middleton) have nicknamed it the “court shopping” bill. SB117 passed out of committee recently, and has been calendared for first reading in today’s Senate Session; and will most likely be voted on by the end of the week. The bill has drastic ramifications for the state; and research by Badger Democracy shows the likely benfactors will be corporations bringing suit against the state disputing tax delinquency (see October 3 post for 2010 case analysis). An ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) legislative member, Leah Vukmir has pandered to corporate sponsors repeatedly in this and previous sessions. When asked about the ALEC influence of this bill, Center for Media and Democracy researcher Brendan Fischer said this seems to be a “combination of ALEC principles. If passed, it could be presented as model legislation around the country.” As the current legislative pattern has proven, the bill provides no jobs – only “regulatory certainty” for corporations to maximize profit, and avoid paying taxes. Senator Vukmir’s ofiice provided no comment or clarification for her motive in authoring this bill.
SE1AB-23 was first disclosed by Badger Democracy in an October 4 post. First disclosed before introduced as a bill, it has now been assigned a bill number, and received its first public hearing this morning in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. The Senate version of the bill (SB23) was authored by Rich Zipperer and the Assembly version of the bill was authored by Pat Strachota (R-West Bend), with the Assembly version being fast-tracked by Governor Scott Walker. The bill would drastically change the authority of the Department of Revenue to conduct audits, assess penalties, and collect taxes owed from previous years. The bill also changes the transparency in public access to tax records of corporations. While this fact is disputed by Rep. Strachota’s office, the bill language is clear as to the change in record availability. The Department of Revenue support is also highly suspect in regard to motive. The October 4 post revealed DOR Secretary Richard Chandler’s prior lobbying record on behalf of corporations who stand to benefit from such a law. In addition, the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce is registered in support of the bill, and continues its practice of lobbying against the people of Wisconsin, and for Corporate Anarchy.
The two bills combined are a perfect demonstration of the misguided jobs approach of Scott Walker and the GOP nationwide. Despite years of contrary evidence, they continue to promote the conservative myth and propaganda that deregulation and tax breaks for the corporate elite will create jobs.
The mainstream media is failing to inform the people of Wisconsin as to the true consequences of these “job bills.” There is not a single bill on the calendar which creates jobs. It is up to us – spread the word, share the truth, stay informed. The recall of Scott Walker is a necessity to preserve Democracy and equal representation, and fight the overwhelming corporate influence in the legislative process. Call your Legislators, and insist they stand for the people, not Corporate Anarchists.