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Pantsuit Politics: No Shouting, No Insults, Plenty of Nuance
On a recent Friday afternoon I attended a Ripon College-sponsored Women’s History Month live podcast of “Pantsuit Politics.” The two Kentucky women, Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers, who were wrapping up a full day of activities at RC, are an amazing breath of fresh air. The premise of their podcasts and blog is that people who disagree can still have meaningful and and enriching conversations about things that are difficult to talk about, especially when it comes to politics. Sarah says she is from the “left,” and Beth says she is from the “right.” But the two are friends, close friends. They are extremely articulate, very bright, and regularly inject appropriate humor into tough conversations. They play off each other well with one starting a sentence and the other finishing. Best of all, despite their differences, they don’t argue, scream at each other, call each other names, or insist that their position is the “right one.” They get along, famously. They are also great role models, and will help you appreciate how you too can master difficult political conversations.
Visit their website to get connected to them.
Submitted by Malcolm McIntyre
Republicans deny you your 1st amendment rights
As of 2017, Wisconsin did not did not provide for citizen initiatives or referendums; therefore, all statewide ballot measures are referred by the Wisconsin State Legislature. The state Legislature may send a constitutional amendment to the ballot for voter consideration if it received a majority vote of state legislators in each chamber over two successive legislative sessions.
As referring a constitutional amendment requires a simple majority vote over two successive sessions of the Wisconsin State Legislature, a political party in control of both chambers over two successive sessions can refer an amendment without any votes of the minority party. Republicans have controlled both chambers of the state legislature since 2011. Thanks to Ballotpedia for this information.
This Republican-passed legislation effectively denies Wisconsin voters an opportunity to exercise a right guaranteed by the Constitution’s First Amendment in the Bill of Rights, which specifically prohibits Congress from abridging ” … the right of the people … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” What this means is that the Republican Party of Joan Ballweg, Glenn Grothman, and Ron Johnson wants to control and deny you a fundamental right. It also means that the Republicans are selective when they champion elements of the Bill of Rights; if it supports their positions, they are all in, when it doesn’t they refuse to acknowledge it. Hypocricity at is finest for sure.
Submitted by Malcolm McIntyre.
Republicans shift tax burden from ‘Big Box Retailers’ to residential property taxpayers
How does this make sense? Most municipalities rely heavily on taxes paid by local businesses. If those businesses don’t pay their fair share, the burden falls on residential property owners like you and me.
But the GOP of Scott Walker has decided that it is OK to base the assessed amount that big box retailer like Walmart pay should not be for a fully stocked store. Instead, the value of that Walmart is determined on just the building itself, not the facility and its contents.
In a recent press release, Hintz wrote, “Republicans ended the 2017-18 legislative session without closing the ‘dark store’ loophole. Based on a Supreme Court decision, big box retailers are allowed to base their tax assessments on their value as a vacant store rather than a store in operation.”
“This so-called ‘Dark Store Loophole’ saves corporate retailers millions of dollars and shifts the property tax burden to residential and small business taxpayers,” wrote the Oshkosh Democrat.
“Let me be clear, failing to take legislative action on this issue is making a decision,” said Hintz. “Assembly Republicans failure to close this loophole is shameful. This is a green light for a growing number of retailers – large and small – to contest their assessments. Continued inaction results in lost revenue that will increasingly be made up by increased property taxes on residential homeowners and small businesses.”
Despite having a majority of the Assembly as co-sponsors of the Dark Store bill, Republicans refused to take up this important legislation. “Communities across the state asked us to fix this loophole. Local governments asked us for relief from costly legal fights against well-funded national retailers. Instead, they will continue to bear this expense. I have never met a homeowner who thinks they need to pay more in property taxes so that a large national retailer can receive an unfair tax break.”
“To cite just a few examples of retailers using the dark store loophole to avoid paying taxes: Using the Dark Store Loophole, Menards reduced the value of its property in Fond du Lac, from $9.2 million to $5.2 million. A CVS property in Appleton reduced the value of its property from $4.4 million to $1.8 million. Local taxpayers are now on the hook for a $350,000 refund.”
How does this make sense?
Submitted by Malcolm McIntyre