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State faces $2.2 billion deficit heading into 2015-17 budget cycle Print Email

Gov. Scott Walker's administration is projecting a $2.2 billion deficit heading into the 2015-17 budget cycle.

Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/state-faces-billion-deficit-heading-into---budget-cycle/article_5a3d6933-5937-5b23-8cd7-3bc16bf07edb.html#ixzz3JeNk9Hvy

Gov. Scott Walker's administration is projecting a $2.2 billion deficit heading into the 2015-17 budget cycle.

That's a sizable hole for Walker, who is contemplating a 2016 presidential run, to climb out of as he crafts his own budget proposal due out early next year. Achieving a balanced budget will require scaling back program requests, especially if he wants to further cut taxes.

"We will continue to protect Wisconsin taxpayers, provide a good value to those taxpayers, and live within our means," Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said. "Governor Walker will introduce a balanced budget early next year focused on growing the economy and moving people from government dependence to true independence."

The deficit reflects how much departmental budget requests exceed projected revenues. It is included in a summary of biennial budget requests provided by the Department of Administration to Walker as he prepares an executive biennial budget for release in early 2015.

State agencies have asked to spend $37.2 billion in 2015-16, or 6.1 percent more than the current year, and $38.4 billion in 2016-17, or a 3.3 percent increase over the previous year.

"The numbers put out today show what it would cost to fund everyone’s wish list," Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said. "The reality is that’s not going to happen. We will continue to manage the state’s finances by making prudent decisions and doing what’s best for Wisconsin and its taxpayers."

The deficit amount is nearly 13 times higher than the $171.4 million deficit that was projected for the 2013-15 budget in November 2012. The same report in 2010 prepared by Gov. Jim Doyle's administration projected a $1.5 billion deficit for the 2011-13 budget.

No surprise but pls re-post everywhere for exposure.

Obama Plugs Science, Math Education at Ceremony

Source: abcNEWS

Associated Press

President Barack Obama said Thursday that 19 scientists, researchers and innovators who received the country's highest honor for their life-changing work embody the spirit of the nation and its "sense that we push against limits and that we're not afraid to ask questions."

"When that spirit, that sense of possibility, is truly unleashed, then you get the remarkable men and women that you see here today," Obama said at a White House ceremony recognizing the newest recipients of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

The recipients include researchers working on everything from DNA replication to personalized medicine.

Another honoree invented the tiny data storage device known as a thumb drive.

Obama used the event to plug math and science education, particularly for minority students. He announced that groups that have been trying to further his goal of getting 100,000 more math, science, engineering and technology teachers in schools are putting an additional $28 million toward the effort.

"We have to remind ourselves constantly that so much of what has set us apart economically, culturally, is our commitment to science," Obama said. "We have to continue to broaden opportunities for young scientists, especially girls and minority students, to enter into the field and we have to remind them of how exciting it is to be able to shape the world, unlock its secrets, make new stuff."

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/obama-plugs-science-math-education-ceremony-27057412

Welp, this is SURE to irritate the RW'ers & Tea Partiers...

Ex-Coal Exec Pleads Not Guilty in W.Va. Mine Blast

Source: abcNEWS

Former coal company chief executive Don Blankenship has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges in the deadliest U.S. coal mine accident in four decades.

Blankenship entered the plea Thursday at his first court appearance since he was indicted last week. He is accused of conspiring to violate safety and health standards at the Upper Big Branch mine. In April 2010, an explosion at the mine killed 29 men.

The 64-year-old Blankenship faces up to 31 years in prison if convicted.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/coal-exec-court-mine-blast-killed-29-27045904

I'm an agnostic when it comes to believing in a traditional hell, but Blankenship surely qualifies.

Clean Energy Group Says It Will Sue to Block We Energies’ Solar Rate Hikes


No justification for new ‘solar tax’

A pro-solar group is poised to sue the state Public Service Commission (PSC) for approving new fees for clean energy system owners in We Energies’ territory, saying the utility provided no evidence that the new “solar tax” on solar-owning homeowners is necessary.

In a nutshell, the PSC is penalizing those trying to lower their use of highly polluting fossil fuel by installing solar energy panels, raising rates for residential and small business customers while keeping rates flat for larger businesses and, most importantly, making sure that We Energies has an annual rate of profit greater than 10%.

“We Energies got what they wanted and we will sue and win on appeal,” Bryan Miller, co-chair of the Alliance for Solar Choice, told the Shepherd on Friday, shortly after the PSC’s 2-1 vote in favor of the new rates. “This decision will not stand.”

The two Scott Walker-appointed PSC members—chair Phil Montgomery, previously a Republican legislator, and Ellen Nowak, a former school voucher lobbyist—supported We Energies’ rate hikes, balking only at the monopoly utility’s attempt to ban solar system leases through its rate request. They both said the matter was best left to the state Legislature.

The solar lease issue seemed to be the only area of agreement the Republican commissioners shared with Eric Callisto, appointed to the PSC in 2008 by Jim Doyle, a Democrat.

Callisto consistently voted against the various rate increases We Energies sought to impose on its customers. His term is scheduled to end in March 2015, when Walker will be able to appoint a new commissioner and the PSC will be completely captured by his allies.

The GOP-dominated PSC voted on Friday to:

■ Raise the fixed charges on all We Energies’ residential customers’ monthly bills from $9 to $16

■ Increase rates for residential and small business customers 2.5% over the next two years

■ Keep the rates paid by businesses flat, with less than 1% increase over the next two years

■ Impose new fees on homeowners with solar systems

■ Guarantee We Energies a 10.2% profit in 2015 and 2016

Read more:

Missouri Governor Activates National Guard

Source: abcNEWS

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard in advance of a grand jury decision about whether a white police officer will be charged in the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.

Nixon said Monday that the National Guard would assist state and local police as needed, in case there is civil unrest when the grand jury's decision is announced.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/missouri-governor-activates-national-guard-26975108

This does not look good.

This Is the Left's Confidential $100 Million Plan to Win Back the States


Read how progressives hope to regain state-level power before the next round of redistricting.

Perhaps the most important story on Election Night 2014 was not the Republican Party winning back the US Senate, but the GOP's utter domination at the state level. Beginning in 2015, Republicans will control 68 out of 98 partisan state legislative chambers, the most in the party's history. It will also hold 31 governorships. Republicans will maintain one-party control—holding the governor's seat and majorities in both legislative chambers—in 23 states. The Democrats control only seven. And as states go, so often goes Congress—given that states draw the lines for congressional districts and how those lines are drawn can determine who makes it to Washington.

Liberals know that they have been steamrolled in the states, and that Democrats will have a tough time growing their ranks in the US House of Representatives if they don't win at the state level. And they have a $100 million plan to do just that, according to internal memos revealed by the conservative Washington Free Beacon. The goal: to notch more state-level victories and reclaim political power before the next round of congressional redistricting after the 2020 census.

The plan comes from a little-known outfit called the Committee on States. Founded in 2006, the Committee on States is a collection of wealthy donors, political operatives, labor unions, environmental groups, and other progressive organizations raising and spending money in the states to advance a liberal agenda.

Despite its relative anonymity, the Committee on States moves big sums of money. Along with the Democracy Alliance, a similar donor club that funds national liberal groups, including the Center for American Progress and Organizing for Action, the Committee on States pumped nearly $50 million into 20 states in 2014 to build left-leaning political machines that would try to elect Democratic politicians and pass progressive policies, according to these confidential memos. By 2020, the memos state, the Committee on States plans to increase its state-level investments to $100 million a year. The documents published by the Free Beacon indicate that some of this money could flow to political committees, which usually disclose their donors, and other funds could go to dark-money nonprofit groups, which don't have to name their donors. (Scott Anderson, the executive director of the Committee on States, declined to comment.)

George Zimmerman Supporter Changes Mind, ‘Trayvon Targeted For Race’


Friend and former neighbor Frank Taaffe is testifying against George Zimmerman before a grand jury that will decide if Zimmerman is guilty of violating Trayvon Marton’s civil rights. Despite once defending him on national TV, Taaffe now believes that Zimmerman went after teenage Martin because he was black.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Frank alleges that a man claiming to be George Zimmerman called him and told him a “racial comment” that was disparaging to Travon Martin before being arrested for the shooting. The former neighbor wouldn’t disclose exactly what the man said outside the courtroom other than it was racist.

He didn’t testify in the earlier court case where Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder charges, believing that the call was just a prank.

Taaffe made the decision to talk about the phone call with FBI due to his own personal tragedies. Recently, both of his sons died, which caused him to reflect on the pain Zimmerman caused the parents of Travon Martin. He explained to reporters, “this is a young man who didn’t deserve to die.”

Read more: http://www.inquisitr.com/1609070/george-zimmerman-supporter-changes-mind-trayvon-targeted-for-race/

U.S. court rejects religious objection to Obamacare contraception deal


(Reuters) - In a win for the Obama administration on insurance coverage for contraception under Obamacare, a U.S. appeals court on Friday ruled that Catholic non-profit groups' religious rights were not violated by a compromise already achieved on the volatile issue.

Catholic groups had sued over the compromise, saying they should not have to pay for or facilitate access to contraception or abortion, but a judge wrote in the ruling that under the compromise, "the regulations do not compel them to do that."

Handed down by a three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit, the unanimous decision is the third by an appeals court to rule in favor of the government. The issue could yet be decided by the Supreme Court.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/14/us-usa-court-obamacare-idUSKCN0IY1VR20141114

Scott Walker: Denying Health Care To Low-Income People Helps Them ‘Live The American Dream’


Defending his fellow Republican governors’ decision to block Medicaid expansion in their states, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Friday suggested that denying health coverage to additional low-income Americans helps more people “live the American Dream” because they won’t be “dependent on the American government.”

Walker has recently leveled some criticism at other GOP leaders for accepting Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion, saying they shouldn’t necessarily trust the government to come through with the federal funds to cover the policy. During an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Friday, Walker was asked whether his position stemmed from an “ideological criticism,” and if he believes the handful of Republican governors implementing this provision of the health law are not “genuine conservatives.”

The governor didn’t explicitly answer that question, pointing out that every state has different needs. But he did offer a broader criticism of the public health program.

“Beyond that, I just ask the basic question: Why is more people on Medicaid a good thing?” he said. “I’d rather find a way, particularly for able-bodied adults without children, I’d like to find a way to get them into the workforce. I think ideologically, that’s a better approach, not just as a conservative, but as an American. Have more people live the American dream if they’re not dependent on the American government.”

In reality, however, the majority of people who stand to benefit from the Medicaid expansion are already in the workforce. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which has been closely tracking the policy effect of states’ decisions on this Obamacare provision, most of the people in this coverage gap are part of a demographic group known as the “working poor.” Two thirds of them are part of a family where someone is working, and more than half of them are working themselves — often in sectors like the agricultural and service industries, which have a history of failing to provide insurance benefits to their workers.

Read more: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2014/11/14/3592511/scott-walker-medicaid-expansion/

Do we want Wanker as our next POTUS??

Domino’s Founder Created All Catholic, No Birth Control Town In Florida


Domino’s Founder Created All Catholic, No Birth Control Town In Florida
Author: Wendy Gittleson November 12, 2014 6:12 pm

Freedom of religion took a major hit when the Supreme Court ruled that corporations can have religions and that their religions are more important than yours and mine. While most of us (at least those reading) agree that Burwell v. Hobby Lobby was pretty clearcut in that it was a violation of women’s autonomy over their own bodies, at least there was a little bit of gray area because Hobby Lobby isn’t actually the government.

One millionaire, though, is testing the First Amendment to its outer limit by creating an entire town that is based on his Catholic rules. The worst part? The town is built in part with input from Justice Antonin Scalia. I wonder how he’d rule if this made it to the Supreme Court?

Ave Maria, Florida houses only about 2,500 residents. It’s the pet project of Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan, who is strictly Catholic.

The town brags to be “southwest Florida’s newest hometown . . . A town where children can ride their bikes to school, walk to the candy store and scoot their way to the ice cream shop. Where neighbors are friends and life is good. Where everyone enjoys life as it is meant to be lived.” Source: Truth-Out.org

Ave Maria was founded in 2005. Florida’s governor at the time, Jeb Bush, called the town, “a new kind of town where like-minded people live in harmony between faith and freedom.”

By “freedom,” Monaghan means the freedom to follow his church-imposed laws, including no birth control or X-rated TV channels. You can be sure there are no abortion doctors in the town either.

Monaghan fancies himself a philanthropist, modeling himself after Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet. He wants to give away half his nearly half billion dollar fortune before he dies, but unlike Simpson’s co-creator, Sam Simon, who is using his entire fortune to feed humans and feed and shelter animals, Monaghan wants to give us the Catholic version of Sharia Law.
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