Opinions

Sat
16
Feb

Not wagging tail yet over dog park talk

Last week, news broke about a potential dog park being planned in Shawano near the Shawano County Humane Society. As a dog owner, I should have found that to be wonderful news. I didn’t, because I’ve seen other efforts to establish a dog park in the area fizzle out for one reason or another.

When I first moved to Wisconsin and started working for the Leader eight years ago, there was talk about the city potentially offering some land that it owned near County Road B for a potential park. That didn’t materialize.

Then a dog park group formed, and Shawano County was approached for potential space for a park. Several ideas were tossed up, including the old county farm property, the old Franklin School site and later a clay borrows site in the town of Belle Plaine. Then a circus ensued.

Sat
16
Feb

America needs better health care system

The private insurance market has had a strong hold on American’s health care for decades.

Americans have had to deal with high deductibles, co-pays and no maximum caps in their insurance plans. Patients who suffered from pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and other life-threatening conditions have been denied coverage.

Back in 2008, when the costs for health care insurance were skyrocketing, the Democrats in Congress felt the need to help those who couldn’t get the health care they so desperately needed. Although they thought the best solution was a government single payer tax-funded plan, they compromised and settled for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which kept private insurance companies in the loop.

Sat
16
Feb

Military on border OK in certain instances

Is it legal for the military to be on the border? Has the military ever been on the border before? Is our National Security at risk? Can we use active duty, reserve and National Guard military?

The legal discussion for use of the military has been debated since our beginnings. In the early years of the United States, there were incidents involving use of the military by the U.S. government. In 1807, we had the Insurrection Act, designed to quell rebellions. Following the Civil War, abuses by occupying federal troops and carpet baggers in the South resulted in the law known as the Posse Comitatus Act.

The purpose and intent of these two laws is to limit the use of federal military troops to enforce domestic policies within the United States. To be clear these laws are aimed at the use of active military except for the Coast Guard, which operates under Homeland Security.

Sat
16
Feb

Enough politics, let’s cut taxes for families

I made a promise to you and the people of our state when I was running for governor: I promised I would cut taxes by 10 percent for middle-class families.

So, just last week, I set out to make good on that promise, introducing my plan to cut taxes for Wisconsin’s working families by 10 percent. If you’re a single filer make less than $80,000 or your family makes less than $125,000, you’ll get a full 10 percent tax cut on your taxes next year. If you’re a single filer making less than $100,000 or your family makes less than $150,000, you’ll still see a tax cut on your taxes next year, too.

As I’ve said all along, I don’t make promises I can’t keep, and I won’t propose things we can’t pay for.

So, I didn’t just promise to cut taxes by 10 percent. I promised you that I’d cut taxes for middle-class families — and that I’d do it responsibly — by making sure we have a plan to pay for it in the long run.

Sat
16
Feb

Living in small town means paying it forward

To the editor:

Two recent experiences focused my attention on the benefits of living in a small town where people look out for each other.

Most recently in the storm Sunday night, I got stuck in my cousin’s driveway on a rural road just outside of town. When three of us could not push out the four-wheel drive vehicle (I went off the driveway into the ditch), I hailed a plow driver who was clearing the parking lot of a nearby business. He came to our rescue. One more pusher did not help, so he and his two 6-year-old sons and another helper shoveled so they could hook on and pull my car out. He also assisted a friend who was stuck in the other side of the driveway.

Sat
16
Feb

Manufacturing tax credit needs rethinking

It’s time for Wisconsin to rethink the runaway tax break that allows manufacturers and other businesses to pay next to nothing in income taxes. Gov. Tony Evers wants to rein in this wasteful tax break and redirect the benefits to the middle class, but Republican lawmakers are fighting tooth and nail to keep the loophole.

The Manufacturing and Agriculture Credit, which lawmakers passed in 2011, nearly eliminates income taxes for manufacturers and agricultural producers — at a very steep price. This tax loophole has cost an estimated $1.4 billion in lost tax revenues so far, reducing the resources available for investing in Wisconsin’s families, schools, and communities.

Indeed, the Wisconsin Budget Project, the nonprofit organization for which I work, calculated that tax break is costing nearly double the amount originally estimated.

Sat
09
Feb

Small towns have their advantages

“If you are any good, why aren’t you in New York?”

When you work in newspapers, you get used to hearing comments about your work. How your paper sucks. How you are incompetent, naive, money-grubbing, and, most recently, fake.

This comment was different. This was not personal. It was territorial.

I confess that I did not have a good response at the time.

I have one now.

Today, cities are growing in population while small towns struggle to keep schools and businesses open. Millions of people are drawn to the tempo, the entertainment, the diversity, the job opportunities of an urban lifestyle. Many also express a longing for that “someday” when they can retire and live where they want to live. In “God’s Country,” or “Up north,” they say. They live their entire lives wanting to be somewhere else.

Sat
09
Feb

Help with garbage cans greatly appreciated

To the editor:

A big thank you goes out to all the young people who have helped me take out my big garbage cans this winter — sometimes even in the summer.

People just stop as they are going by to help me when they see me with my cane tugging on those big cans.

One day, a lady stopped to help me with my wheelbarrow when I finished cleaning my rabbit barn.

I don’t know any of these people.

Just younger people helping an old lady who can’t walk very well any more. There are a lot of very nice and helpful young people out there. We just don’t hear about them as much. Thank you.

Don’t cut our young people short.

Bev Echtner,

Cecil

Sat
09
Feb

Learning 3 lessons will help resolve border issue

Let’s face it: The government shutdown was stupid. I don’t say that to place blame on any particular party or person. The blame game is endless, and while it provides a short-term sugar high, it ultimately poisons the body politic. Rather, the shutdown was stupid because border security is one of the most solvable problems we face, and we got no closer to solving it.

To avoid another shutdown on Feb. 15, we need to learn three lessons from our stupidity. First, there is massive miscommunication about what is actually being proposed. In January, I went to the White House with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to meet with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on border security. Within minutes it became clear that, although Republicans and Democrats speak in different tones about the problem, their proposed solutions are not as dissimilar as the media suggests.

Sat
09
Feb

Racine officials showed bad judgment on records

The more we know about the efforts by officials in Racine to shield public records from public view, the more outrageous it seems.

In late January, the office of Racine City Attorney Scott Letteney disclosed a summary of records it has fought tooth and nail to keep secret. It showed these to be ordinary email communications, mainly between Racine Alderwoman Sandra Weidner and her constituents.

In one email, Weidner asked the city attorney’s office whether a given contract would need city council approval. Another attached a resolution regarding the creation of a redevelopment authority. There were also emails concerning a bar license and a constituents’ claim for garage damages.

These are the kinds of records routinely released by local governments throughout the state.

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