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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Florence Cnty WI >Social Not Just Physical Infrastructure should be Dems Party Strategy

If Trumpcare passes then these kind of counties and the people calling them home will become even more hapless and hopeless... 6/23/17

Conveying what you mean, so that you tilt a few people to vote for you rather than your opponent is a subtle and tricky business. Some do it by championing lower taxes and less regulation. Deeper reflection will lead you to conclude this is exactly the wrong thing to believe.

The following story appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal about Florence County rebounding.  It is a small population county, with a small economic base and few business players.  From the story  I conclude ... that a few local folks made some strategic investments coupled with some economic recovery in the hardwood business has led to the success.  

On Wisconsin: Florence rebounds; votes for Donald Trump and improved schools - Barry Adams

It seems to me that their continued success is still tenuous.  The title of the article illustrates one important choice they made - support education.  Other choices to renovate and rebuild real estate derive from a combination of local folks and development decisions.

As I read the story I kept thinking about what I would want to find in a rural community to get me to move there and stay year round:

  • If I were a young family would I want to move to a place with few or no schools  ... this almost happened in Florence.
  • At any age, would I want to live a long way from "healthcare facilities" in the many ways that might be defined ... depending on my age and family status.
  • What about public libraries, grocery stores, cafes, restaurants, technology (internet, etc.).  Do I want to live where there are few to none?
  • If I was a young person, who spent 3 hours a day being bused to school most of their life, would I want to stay there if I could not get a job or go to college or technical school.  I think I would prefer a larger city where I can meet and do things my peers are doing.
  • If I went away to school would I come back to a place with few job prospects and perhaps none given my education?
  • If I were a "business" would I expand or locate in an area, with an aging labor supply or none at all.  I think I would locate there only if the business were intrinsic to the local resources (e.g., hardwoods). 

The next recession may knock them back to where they were before! 

What is "Social Infrastructure"?  All of the things mentioned above are examples of it.  The article detailed how they had used Federal Grants of $2.75 million to replace water and sewer lines. Broadband internet access prioritized for small community access although physical is also social infrastructure.

Once upon a time "Universal Telephone Suffrage" was public policy -- why not the "Internet?"

That kind of investment is both social infrastructure and physical infrastructure.  I wonder, did they have "lead" pipes? 

The key message is what should they be expecting and asking from their elected state representatives.  Should every community and county be on their own or should there be a concerted political effort to address this kind of inequality?


I don't doubt plenty of people have trouble, especially in rural areas, paying their property tax bill.  That is a problem the "Homestead Credit" was designed to alleviate in Wisconsin - does it need expansion?  Many rural areas also lack social infrastructure as well as physical infrastructure.

Why would a family with children want to move to or live in a place with no schools and little immediate access to health care.  Why would a retired person want to live there either - they may be stuck and getting to a doctor is really a major problem?  Why would someone growing up there, spending most of their time being bused to school, want to stay there when they can't get a job later; when they can go to a larger community get a job, meet other people their age, and have more of a social life?

Wisconsin Self-Insurance is likely to decimate healthcare alternatives for all citizens in rural areas. Decimating Medicaid and Medicare will hurt these places even more.

The Homestead Credit is a tax benefit for renters and homeowners with low or moderate incomes. It is designed to lessen the impact of rent and property taxes. Qualifying persons can get back some or all of their state taxes withheld during the year.Jan 15, 2016

Homestead Credit – Tax Credits for Low and Moderate Income Families

*Homestead Tax Credit: In 2009, Democrats tied the Homestead 
tax break to the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index. 
Republicans repealed that annual “indexing,” beginning with the 
2011 tax year.  
Another way of saying Republicans and Walker repealed 

Florence County Net Migration since 1970s ... see the tool below!

Local Schools are so very important ...

Net Migration Patterns for US Counties ... WI POP Lab

Net out migration, in most counties, has been the pattern for decades.  It is simple to explain ... the labor force requirements have fallen dramatically (think of the first tractor, then think of the first tractor with headlights).  Some small towns and counties have thrived by attracting "new sustainable businesses" and investing in social infrastructure to attract ancillary services: healthcare, libraries, retail stores, etc.

So you may be in one of those communities not doing so well.  What can you do to spice it up?  Get involved in politics and insist on real programs that will make a difference: universal internet service everywhere ... skip it and the out migration will accelerate and your community collapse even faster. 

It's nice to think things are rosy but the fundamentals have not changed except for a greater than normal political disconnect.

Consider ... 12/9/16 ... a little in the weeds but worth understanding !

Even with "help", manufacturing jobs sliding in WIsconsin

...But let’s also remember that right-to-work (for-less) was signed into law in Wisconsin in March 2015, with Governor Walker and his fellow Koch/ALEC hacks promising that it would “free up” manufacturing jobs, and “worker freedom” would allow for a better quality of life for workers. So given that right-to-work (for less) was in place for this time period, let’s take a look and see how that theory worked out, shall we? ...
Problems with Property Taxes

On February 4th, 2017 ... Is Walker starting to wakeup?  Homestead Tax Credit still maybe a better idea then EIC !  HTC would do more to help "rural and elderly Wisconsinites".

Explained: Scott Walker's proposal to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced this week he plans to increase a tax credit for the working poor he cut early in his first term. What is the Earned Income Tax Credit, and what would the governor's proposal accomplish? 
Let's start with the tax credit. The Wisconsin Earned Income Credit is a state extension of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, which is essentially a tax cut benefiting low- to moderate-income working people. The federal credit is based on earnings, marital status and the number of qualifying children a filer has. 
In the 2015 tax year, 391,000 Wisconsinites received the federal credit, which amounted to an average credit of $2,167 per person.
... This must be something Democrats support, right? Not so fast.
In theory, yes. But it's more complicated than that. That's because Walker cut the EITC in his 2011-13 budget by about $24 million per year, a move critics said resulted in an effective tax increase on the working poor. 
"Maybe if Republicans hadn’t cut the Earned Income Tax Credit in their 2011-13 budget, we wouldn’t need to have this 'plan,'" said Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison. "This is classic GOP politics: they start fires, watch them burn, then put the fires out, and take credit for being the heroes who save the day. All the while, Wisconsin’s working families get burned in the process." 

#SocialInfrastructure Not Just Physical Projects should be #Democratic Party Strategy> #Florence WI #Rural Reality - WI 1848 Forward 

#Florence Cnty #WI 1848 Forward: #SocialInfrastructure: Increase #HomesteadTaxCredit was #Dems Policy not #GOP 

#Florence Cnty #WI 1848 Forward: #SocialInfrastructure as #Dems Policy NOT #GOP.  Why do the kids leave? 

#Foxconn :) for #Florence Cnty #WI 1848 Forward: #SocialInfrastructure #HomesteadTaxCredit Policy Keep the kids home 

#Florence Cnty #WI 1848 Forward: #SocialInfrastructure: Increase #HomesteadTaxCredit was #Dems Policy not #GOP -support #RichlandCenter #UWPlatteville

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Has GOP & Walker rigged the Vote? WI redistricting suit ask judges >consider election results

FiveThirtyEight Newsletter 9/28/2017

A really important question!

Plaintiffs in Wisconsin's redistricting suit ask judges to consider election results - KATELYN FERRAL | The Capital Times

What is the efficiency gap?
The gap represents the difference between political parties’ respective wasted votes in an election. The model considers a vote “wasted” if it:1. Is cast for a losing candidate2. Is cast for a winning candidate but that vote is in excess of what the candidate needs to winVotes can be considered wasted as a result of districts that have been re-drawn for partisan advantage in the past, known as gerrymandering. Two techniques are commonly used: 
1. Cracking — Spreading one party’s voters across multiple districts to dilute their voting power, denying the group representation in multiple districts 
2. Packing — Concentrating one party’s voters in one district to limit their voting party to only one district, limiting its influence in other districts 
Large numbers of votes commonly are cast for losing candidates as a result of cracking.
PauseCurrent Time
Likewise, excessive votes often are cast for winning candidates because of packing.

In 2012, Republicans got 48.6 percent of the statewide vote, but got 60 seats in the 99-seat assembly, and in 2014 got 52 percent of the vote and 63 Assembly seats. Democrats in 2012 received 51.4 percent of the vote and only 39 Assembly seats, and 36 seats when they received 48 percent of the vote in 2014.
"The evidence establishes, therefore, that even when Republicans are an electoral minority, their legislative power remains secure," Ripple wrote.
... and Voter Suppression is a component not even addressed. 

Wisconsin’s gerrymander being struck down should scare Republicans nationwide

WI 1848 Forward: Has #GOP [ #GriftersOnParade ] & #Walker rigged the #Vote? WI #Gerrymandering ask judges >consider election results > WI redistricting suit 

WI 1848 Forward: Has #GOP & #Walker rigged the #Vote? WI #Gerrymandering -What about #VoterID Suppression too!

WI 1848 Forward: Has #GOP & #Walker rigged the #Vote? WI redistricting suit judges panel say it's rigged! 
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Sunday, November 6, 2016

WI Medical SelfInsurance > Beware: Taxpayers, WRS Retirees, State Employees - You will spend your Golden Years doing paperwork for Walker

2/8/2017 ... the deed has been done but Joint Finance Committee can stop it !!!!

12/14/2016 ... Group Health Board postones making up their minds(?) until January?

12/13/2016 Today!

State worker benefits board to vote on options, including self-insurance

Might save estimated 2.8% or cost 6.7 percent more!  

Retirees pay their own way as it is ... so maybe you save $200 a year or it costs you $600 more ... what with new office visit charges, etc., retirees seem likely to pay more and have more paperwork to deal with.

December 13th maybe a prequel to DROP Dead date ... Board meets!  As well your insurance just got worse again -- going to cost you more!

Find Your Legislator -- let them know what you think!

Lookup and contact POLITICIAN !


I would like to share the following memo which describes some of the implications of Medical Self-Insurance.  In addition I recently received an offer to select "Medicare Supplemental Insurance" from a very reputable insurance company - The application and documentation is 39 pages; and this is for a supplement.  Self-Insurance will make doing your taxes look simple.  Unfortunately this is what our Legislature - Joint Finance Committee is poised to impose on all of us, directly and indirectly.  As they say **** rolls down hill.  So take 2 or 3 million people in the state who have to start figuring this all out for themselves and their families, their parents, their kids.
My calculations are admittedly on the back of an envelop but an earlier document estimated $42 million in savings:

State could save $42 million a year through self-insurance, consultant says. DAVID WAHLBERG, Nov 18, 2015

Do you think JFC can save "retirees"? Walker in charge: How to mess up Healthcare even more

That might save 2 million people about $21 or less per year.  Earlier estimates are that it might cost an additional $100 million.

What is a day of your time worth to you?

Notes from ACE Annual Meeting September 26, 2016 Capitol Lakes, Premier Room

Justin Sydnor, Professor in Risk Management and Insurance, UW Madison School of Business
Currently there are 17 health insurance providers for the WI state insurance system administered by Employee Trust Funds. Generally, these are integrated systems involving hospitals, providers, and insurers.
Most neighboring states and Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. use self-insurance. They contract with a 3rd party administrator.
There are costs to the current system. The insurers make a profit, about 1 or 2% of the total cost of the program. There are taxes by the federal government related to premiums.
Wisconsin is unique, with the most competitive health insurance model in the country. We have lots of localized small insurers/providers. Moving to a self-insurance system for the state system would be a big change.
Segal recommends that the State of WI move away from localized health insurers, which would be very disruptive to the current system. Our current system works well and is competitive. The change would affect citizens who are not state employees or retirees.
The current vision for the system administered by ETF: control of health insurance costs results from managed care.
Segal’s vision: Patients are supposed to compare costs and pay large deductibles and co-pays in order to limit the costs of their health insurance.
The most effective way to control costs is competition, and the current system is functioning well. The change to self-insurance by the state is likely to lead to mergers of insurance systems. Although
the change would save the 1 or 2% profit currently made by insurers, the costs would rise significantly later.
Nancy Wenzel, CEO, WI Association of Health Plans
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, WI has the most competitive health insurance market in the county. 18 different insurers are involved in covering 80% of the insured population. Segal’s experience is mostly with states that have one or two major insurers.
250,000 insured persons are involved in the state and local employee/retiree system administered by ETF.
Deloitte Consulting suggested in 2012 that self-funding could save $20 million or cost $100 million. Deloitte suggested that there could be negative impacts on small business in WI from the switch.
Administration of the system is 9% of the total costthat is what the winner bidder(s) will handle. Bids were turned into ETF on Sept. 19. On November 30 Segal will provide a (mostly closed) briefing to the Group Insurance Board. Segal will score the RFP technical responses, thus evaluating their own recommendation to self-fund.
In early December the GIB will meet to decide what to do. Any new model would begin January 2018.
Premiums for the current system are increasing 1.6% for 2017. In Georgia, which moved to self-insurance, the per employee cost went up 18.6% in 2014. In Milwaukee County, which switched to self- insurance, overall costs decreased while Walker was the County Executive because the number of county employees decreased. However per employee premiums have increased 9 20% annually.

Chris Taylor, State Representative Assembly District 76
The federal “Cadillac tax” on high cost plans has been delayed.
Segal reports that self-funding would require tripling the cash reserves the state has for heath insurance. When North Carolina
switched to self-insurance, the state took money from other programs to fund the increase needed for cash reserves for health insurance.
Money could be saved by increasing the deductibles paid by employees/retirees. Any self-insurance program is not required to follow state coverage mandates.
Health actuaries agree that reducing competition increases costs. The Joint Committee on Finance must approve any switch. General Discussion and Responses to Questions
In November 2015, Segal indicated that they do not recommend splitting out WI retirees form the system because in WI retirees pay their own premiums. (Although the RFP leaves that option open.) The panelists do not anticipate any change in use of converted sick leave to pay retiree insurance premiums. If the sick leave conversion system changed, they expect it would affect only new employees.
Segal did recommend that Medicare eligible retirees be placed into national Medicare Advantage Plans, but that recommendation was put on hold.
In response to a question about Wisconsin’s reportedly high health insurance costs, Nancy Wenzel explained that this was based on a study involving only large national insurer costs. Because large national insurers have so few insured in Wisconsin, this was not representative of typical Wisconsin costs.
She said that Deloitte found that WI health insurance costs are 4.1% lower than national costs. She also said that WI is rated in the top 3 states for quality of health care.
Nancy pointed out that Chuck Grapentine represents insured participants on the Group Insurance Board, and that he is conscientious and does his homework. She indicated that the representative on the GIB from the Attorney General’s office is thoughtful. Nancy Thompson represents local units of government on the GIB.

There was discussion of the need for local constituents to contact the Joint Committee on Finance.
It was suggested that the general public should be warned of the potential for the system to cause a reduction in the number of insurers in the state and therefore an increase in health insurance costs.
Prof. Sydnor said that research shows that systems of integrated care in which the insurers and providers have incentive to restrict costs, which is the system we have in Dane County currently, have been shown to effectively hold down health care costs.
Rep. Taylor noted that the end result of self-insurance may be shifting jobs from Wisconsin employers to a national firm.

#Medical #SelfInsurance > #Taxpayers, #WRS Retirees, State Employees - spend your time doing paperwork for #Walker -- a #GOP philosophy of "If you can't afford it you can't have it." 

#Medical #SelfInsurance > #Taxpayers, #WRS Retirees, State Employees - spend your time doing paperwork for #GOP #JFC