Friday, April 23, 2010

They Lose--We All Win

Don't you find it strange that we have reached a point where a government body's inability to pass bills represents a win for taxpayers? Democrats in Madison were unable to get the votes necessary to pass several controversial bills before the end of the current Legislative session.

Dying on the vine last night was a bill that would have allowed for the establishment of Regional Transit Authorities. These authorities would be in charge of funding bus systems in metropolitan areas with populations over 200-thousand people--which no longer receive federal funding. That would have likely included the Fox Cities area and Valley Transit if the 2010 census plays out as everyone expects. The RTA's would have had the authority to levy special sales taxes to make up for that loss of federal funds. And those taxes would have been in effect wherever the transit system provides service. So in the Fox Valley's case--that would have meant a sales tax in Outagamie, Calumet and Winnebago counties. Oh--and we would not have the opportunity to vote for the people who would serve on the RTA's. Nothing better than taxation without representation.

Also going down with the ship last night was the Governor's "Clean Energy Jobs Bill". This monstrosity would have resulted in immediate double-digit increases in electricity and natural gas bills--as utilities would have been forced to raise billions of dollars to pay for state-mandated windfarm and solar array projects--which would provide far less-efficient and far less-reliable energy than our current coal-fired and nuclear power plants. I have no doubt that renewable energy is the future of power in Wisconsin--and the minute that providing that type of energy is profitable, private industry will be tripping over each other to build turbines--provided they can win the all of the lawsuits filed by people who will have to live next to the hundreds of windfarms.

The biggest win for Wisconsin residents--and the biggest loss for Democrats--is the demise of the voter registration bill. Unfortunately (for Dems) people will still have to take action to register to vote--and we will still have to give the minimal amount of proof of residency and identity to cast a ballot. I am baffled as to how it is "unfair" to require someone to present themselves in person to register to vote--or to sign their name on a request for an absentee ballot. Maybe if you are a bed-ridden shut-in or someone who is paralyzed--but that would have been a very, very small segment of the population that would have taken "advantage" of the proposed new system. Now if we could just get proof of identity at the polls--we would really take a big step toward cleaning up election fraud.

So as Democrats Legislators lick their wounds after failing to pass some of their questionable bills--the rest of us can pat ourselves on the back for dodging the bullet.

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