Friday, June 22, 2007

Some Goings-on In the Judiciary Committee...

Here are the full minutes, below are the parts that I am concerned with:

4. Domestic Abuse Position for District Attorney
District Attorney Christian Gossett advised that his office only has one Domestic Abuse Investigator at this time due to budget restraints. Currently, the District Attorney’s Office contracts with local police agencies to have an officer work as their Domestic Abuse Investigator. By doing this, they must follow that officer’s union contract with their respective police agency. The contract for the current Domestic Abuse position will expire at the end of June 2007.

They are currently in the process of looking at filling this position with someone from within their office, possibly using retired officers, rather than contracting the position. By doing so, they would not have to follow a union contract and they would gain five more hours a week, and a full four more weeks a year of time from the person, along a savings of about $17,000. He believes that they will have a better chance of getting the 2nd Domestic Abuse Investigator position filled in 2008.

Now, I would hope that DA Gossett would be more concerned with getting the correct person in this position than subverting Union contracts...

I support a second Domestic Violence Investigator. The fact that it was left out of the budget was the reason I voted against the budget. However, if DA Gossett is going to use this position and the needs of battered and threatened women in Winnebago County as an attack on organized labor, I would encourage you to talk to him about it. I will be.

6. Accept Grant from Wal-Mart – Sheriff’s Office
Captain Verwiel advised that they have received a grant for $1,000 from Wal-Mart. This grant money will be used to cover the cost of purchasing Canon digital photography cameras that will work with their preexisting equipment. These cameras are good forensic-type cameras, as they are the only cameras available that have a viewfinder that can be moved around to change positions, which will help greatly at autopsies and traffic accidents. The digital photos can then also be emailed to the District Attorney’s Office. One camera will be used in the jail and two cameras will be used by the Detective Division.

A motion to approve acceptance of the $1,000 grant from Wal-Mart was made by Donald Griesbach, seconded by Tom Ellis. Motion carried 3-1. Bill Wingren opposed due to some of Wal-Mart’s practices.

Bill Wingren did the right thing. Wal-Mart owes Winnebago County, the State of WI and taxpayers nationwide much more than this $1000 can even begin to repay. I will have a subsequent post detailing the case for rejecting this grant.

After Wal-Mart stops using Badger care to insure its emplyees, tax loopholes to not pay income tax in WI and all the other shady ways they get out of thier responsibilities to society, then maybe we can accept the $1000.

I'd rather take it out of the budget than accept their money. The Sheriff can have his camera if it is needed in the budget.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Meeting on Tax Loopholes Monday...

Press release from the Institute for Wisconsin's Future:

June 15, 2007
CONTACT: Joe Fahey 414-731-4789

County Forum On Closing Tax Loophole
To Prevent tax increases for homeowners and businesses

Leaders from city and county government, community organizations and labor unions leaders from Winnebago County are encouraging voters to meet their state legislators and urge them to close a new corporate tax loophole that causes higher property taxes for homeowners and small businesses. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 18 at 7:00pm at the Coughlin Center in Oshkosh.

This loophole was opened by a recent court ruling. A New Jersey-based paper company argued that a 1953 law that exempted sewage treatment facilities from property tax should exempt them also (because they use re-cycled cardboard in their manufacturing process). A state court allowed this company, Newark Paper, to stop paying taxes on its paper mill property in Milwaukee County. This court decision turned a small and specific tax exemption into a giant tax loophole. Currently, hundreds of manufacturers throughout Wisconsin use recycled materials and dozens of companies have applied for this new tax loophole.

Any property tax decrease received by a corporation results in a property tax increase for everyone else owning property in the same city or county. This property tax break is a windfall for corporations who will continue operating as before, benefiting from the same fire and police protection, the same road repairs, snow removal and other services vital to their businesses. But these normal costs of doing business will no longer be borne by that business. Instead, the costs for the public services used by the corporation will be paid through increased property taxes by other businesses and all homeowners.

A group of Democratic and Republican legislators have sponsored a bill to close this new loophole and protect families and businesses from property tax increases. This bill – Senate Bill 122 – was introduced in April. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce opposes the bill and Assembly leaders in the state legislature have delayed it.

The June 18 meeting is open to the public and is an opportunity for the public to discuss the issue with their elected state legislators and ask them to close this loophole immediately.
Institute for Wisconsin’s Future Press Release