Then fix it. Fix it. You actually have the power and authority to do something about this. Unlike most of the other wimps in the Republican Party you don’t need to be beholden to the Big Insurance Companies or Big Pharma. Make sure every American has affordable health care including comprehensive mental health care.

And if you can’t control guns in general, at least keep those with challenging mental health issues away from guns!

BTW: Europeans had school shootings, too. Then they did something about it.

If you don’t recognize the name, Mr. Cruz is the 19 year old who shot up Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County Florida on February 14, 2018 killing 17 as of this post.

Apparently the Robert Palmer ‘girl’ is back in style:

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and he continues:

No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.

Then fix it. Fix it. You actually have the power and authority to do something about this. Unlike most of the other wimps in the Republican Party you don’t need to be beholden to the National Rifle Association.

If you haven’t seen the news and don’t know what I am referring to: At least 17 dead in ‘horrific’ Florida school shooting, suspect had ‘countless magazines’

The suspect was arrested with what was reportedly an AR-15 style weapon and multiple magazines. And all we can get out of Washington and Tallahassee are thoughts and prayers. Yet a classroom’s worth of CHILDREN died just for being at school.

When will enough be enough?

Former commander, 2 staffers charged in dehydration death of Terrill Thomas in Milwaukee County Jail.

This wasn’t a singular occurrence…and the former sheriff showed a total disdain and disrespect for the men and women charged into his care at the Milwaukee County Jail. When will there be charges against David Clarke?

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We heard these terms and the denials from the president in his speeches, tweets and off the cuff asides. There was no collusion between the campaign and Russia. There’s been no obstruction with the various investigations from the White House. And it’s the biggest witch hunt in history.

Well if that’s so why don’t they just co-operate, sit back, and let the House and Senate and Mueller exonerate them?

I mean instead of nonsense like the continued denials, fanciful stonewalls like the Nunes Memo? The pressures on AG Jeff Sessions. The rumors of attempts to fire Mueller. The firing of Comey. ETC?

Smoke? Fire?

The state anticipates a budget surplus of $385 million in June of 2019. In anticipation of that surplus, Governor Scott Walker is proposing a tax rebate, a tax credit, and a sales tax holiday. The governor is intent on returning the surplus to the tax payers…in a very roundabout way. Of course the Democrats are seeing this as a election year gimmick and considering the timing and the method of credits it certainly is.

First is a child tax credit of $100 for each child under 18 years of age. There would be $100 returned to families for each eligible child in each of the tax years in the state biennial budget period. The first $100 would be a child tax rebate before the 2018/2019 school year in the form of a check to every eligible family. Quite conveniently scheduled to precede the August primary elections. Besides the partisan scheming involved, rebates are expensive means to return money to taxpayers. That requires assembling the requisite data, creating checks, stuffing envelopes, affixing postage or indicia, and then mailing them to tax payers. I don’t know what that would cost per item but I am guessing it would run into the several millions of dollars {about 671,000 families with 1.22 million children are expected to qualify}. Not exactly the best use of tax payer money…unless you are running for re-election.

The second year (when the governor isn’t running for re-election), families would receive the money as a tax credit. If the state is really intent on returning funds this way, tax credits in both years would be the most efficient and cost effective methods.

But I still have an issue with this…I don’t have any children under 18…but I pay sales and income taxes to the state every year…where’s my cut?

The second mechanism for returning surplus tax dollars is a sales tax holiday. This is always an absurd enterprise but Governor Walker makes it even more extreme. Just look:

The deal would provide a one-time $50 million sales tax holiday for the first weekend in August that would cover all goods under $100, not just back to school purchases as Walker and some other Republicans had previously sought.

This tax holiday would also occur just before the August primary. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. But ignoring the partisan tendency here, as a former retailer, and a computer programmer that worked on a sales tax system for a national retailer back in the day, coding sales tax calculations in point of sale devices isn’t a trivial undertaking. National retailers probably all have robust systems now a days that can handle short term events like this {particularly with spending limits or item caps, etc}. But smaller retailers who rely on purchased software or other services may have to pay to load the short term changes into their systems and then pay again to revert to the current tax codes. Something that should be looked into.

And then there is the unspoken loss of revenue to the counties and stadium taxing authorities…if they state isn’t collecting taxes…they probably aren’t either. And we know that there are very few counties that have the half cent sales tax that aren’t relying on that income in their own very strapped budgets. And I doubt the state is willing to make them whole!

But what to do with the $385 million surplus…well I have four quick ideas that I hope make some sense to many of you.

First: just reduce income taxes in the 2019 – 2021 budget. Chances are most of the current tax payers would benefit.

Second: deposit the monies in a rainy day fund. It wasn’t that long ago that state had revenue shortfalls and budgets were cut or monies moved around. There’s no reason Wisconsin couldn’t have a rainy day fund for future economic downturns.

Third: the firewall between the general budget and the transportation budget has been fairly porous over the past decade…maybe some of those on hold or deferred road projects could get kicked off.

Fourth: the day Madison needs to start cutting tax credit checks to Foxconn isn’t that far down the road…maybe we should set this money aside in anticipation of that day.

What do you think?

Previous takes on sales tax holidays in Wisconsin:

Scott Walker’s hare-brained scheme

Scott Walker proposes sales tax “holiday” gimmick

Sales Tax Holiday? Funny You Should Have Asked!

On Saturday, President Trump decided that he couldn’t release the Democratic response to the Nunes Memo because it contained too many state secrets. Seems rather unusual given he released the original Nunes Memo despite objections from both the FBI and his own Department of Justice. And he knew he would be accused of obstruction and being non-transparent so he co-opted that right away…and in a surprisingly subtle act for the Trump White House…he sent it back to the House so they could work with the DOJ and FBI to removed sensitive material. He didn’t fall into the trap of redacting it himself and then releasing it. I wonder who pulled that string and kept him from going off in that direction.

But it is amazing that he labeled the Democratic memo as too political. This whole circus is exactly that and of course the Nunes Memo is about as partisan as they come.

And it was hilarious that the president complained that it was too long. Too long? It was a total of ten pages…he only had to read two pages a day before he made the go/no go decision (lol). Hell I write emails that long…but considering the actual intelligence reports that these are derived from reportedly run 50 – 60 pages, ten pages seems rather restrained.

So what path for the Democrats? Huddle with the FBI, the Department of Justice, redact what needs redaction, send it back to the White House and make a big deal of going through the channels. Make a big splashy noise about working with the president. Push the president back into his own corner…call his bluff. Once approved by the DOJ, the president can’t refuse to release it.

But the whole thing really is a ridiculous and probably useless pas de deux, as we said recently at: Releasing the Democratic Memo Is Essentially a Waste of Time

High fashion advertising trends toward the edgy from time to time, but in a post #MeToo era exactly what was Valentino thinking?? [this appeared in the Sunday New York Times Style Section 2/11/2018]

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Is nothing sacred?