Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Trump/Ryan tax law could tax employers' parking provision

You might be interested in this discussion of an issue with multiple ramifications - - who owns the parking lot and who pays to park there, or doesn't - - 

on which the close of public comments is fast approaching:

Believe it or Not, Trump put a Huge Tax on Parking Lots – Maybe by Mistake

Deep in the bowels of the Republican tax reform that took effect in the United States last year, its late-night authors buried a secret.

The bill, as written, made one of the nation’s most economically and environmentally destructive fringe benefits—a free parking space for anyone who drives to work—21 percent more expensive for any private employer to provide.

Did the authors of the bill, which skipped the scrutiny of Congress’s usual public hearing process, intend to include this bombshell? Who knows!...

The truth, of course, is that free parking is a commuting benefit like any other. And it’s worth a lot more money than transit fares or bike-share memberships—more than three times as much. An estimated 30 percent of American workers get the benefit.

So in December, in accordance with the new US tax code, the IRS advanced its first-ever plan to assign corporate tax liability to parking and other commuting fringe benefits...

The IRS draft regulations for the new law open two loopholes. Citizens, however, have a chance in the next week to tell the IRS to close those gaps—and a mobilization campaign that launched today is pushing for Congress to get involved, too.

The tax hike nobody saw coming

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

US Supreme Court upholds public's Great Lakes beach access

The US Supreme Court declined to restrict the public's traditional access to beaches along the Great Lakes.
The public's right to walk along Great Lakes shorelines, even adjacent to private lakefront property, remains unchanged, after the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take up an Indiana case that sought further clarity on where people can stroll along the waterline...
the State of Indiana's definition for land available for public use along the Great Lakes shoreline — the "ordinary high water mark" [is] delineated by wave action and where plant life is aquatic or washed away.
That's good news for Wisconsin and people who wish to walk legally north of Kohler Andrae State Park where Kohler interests want to build a privately-owned golf course in a Kohler nature preserve - - 

 - - and extending for several acres into the state park - - which runs close to Lake Michigan.

I'm not a surveyor, and the property's dip towards the water is irregular, but there should be public access between the land and the water there - - though you might need water-proof footwear, no?

Here is some of what DNR has said the "ordinary high water mark,"  or OHWM, issue in Wisconsin: 
Waterway and wetland permits: Ordinary High Water Mark 

The Ordinary High Water Mark - what is it?

Under Wisconsin’s Constitution, lakes and rivers belong to everybody and DNR manages them for the benefit of all citizens. The state Supreme Court has ruled that the state owns title to lakebeds (not streambeds or flowed lands) and that the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM), establishes the boundary between public lakebed and private land.
In 1914, the Wisconsin Supreme Court defined the OHWM as “the point on the bank or shore up to which the presence and action of the water is so continuous as to leave a distinct mark either by erosion, destruction of terrestrial vegetation or other easily recognized characteristic.”
Water marks are often at various elevations, but the most permanent and prevalent marks constitute the ordinary high water mark. The OHWM doesn’t change with temporary fluctuations in water levels, nor is it always at or near open water, as is the case with cattail marshes and bogs. The Supreme Court has ruled that the area between the water’s edge and the OHWM need not be navigable to be held in the public trust.

How it affects your property

With undeveloped waterfront in Wisconsin becoming scarce, properties once bypassed because they didn’t have the more desirable sand beach or cobble edge are now being sold and subdivided. These sites often have wetland-fringed shorelines or other features that make it less easy to identify where private property ends and public water begins. 
The Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM)-- where the regular action of water against the bank leaves a distinct mark -- determines the extent of public water. This mark isn’t typically identified on surveys and may be difficult to see on some sites. As a result, some property owners have recently discovered that when the OHWM is identified, land they thought was theirs is actually public lakebed.

Has DNR changed how it sets the Ordinary High Water Mark?

No. DNR staff and others determine the OHWM today in the same way as it was defined by the Wisconsin Supreme Court and other courts in decisions dating to the late 1800s.
 What’s changed is that OHWMs aren’t as easy to identify on many of the properties being developed today. In addition, many property surveys done in earlier decades used the water’s edge, not the OHWM, in setting boundaries.

Monday, February 18, 2019

WI public defenders may get raise; GOP private lawyers rake in far more

Big spending WI Republicans have again identified their favorite beneficiaries.


And their lawyers.

After years of institutional penny-pinching, the GOP-run state legislature may approve a pay raise for private attorneys hired to assist overworked and under-appreciated public defenders.

The raise would lift those private attorneys’ pay from the nation's lowest rate for serving as advocates for indigent clients to $70 per hour from the current $40.

But don't applaud the GOP legislators' 'generosity' too loudly, as they are paying other, select private lawyers seven times as much - - $500 per hour - - for representation against challenges to the Republican lame-duck power grab engineered in Scott Walker's final days in office:
Legislative leaders this week signed contracts with the national law firm Troutman Sanders to represent them in the two lawsuits. The lead attorney, former Wisconsin Solicitor General Misha Tseytlin, will charge $500 an hour. Other lawyers at the firm might charge less, but the contracts do not specify their rates.
This GOP #UsFirst money grab is not an isolated happenstance.

Note that the $500-per-hour rate approved by GOP legislators in an open-ended contract and far exceeds the $275-per-hour rate authorized for other lawyers whose pay is capped at $100,000 total while representing state Democratic officials in the lame-duck litigation

Wisc Sen. Scott Fitzgerald.jpg
WI GOP State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald 
* And don't forget the 840,000 Wisconsin taxpayer dollars GOP legislators spent on big-time Chicago attorneys for representation against allegations that the WI GOP's 2012 gerrymander violated the Constitution. That case is likely to get a fresh review by the US Supreme Court.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Dealing with Walker decay is now Evers' work

While Walker uses Twitter to showcase his travels and burgers runs, the decay he left behind hurts state residents, public budgets and the people's natural resources.

*  Like his ubiquitous "Scottholes" and deteriorating roads now measured a few days ago by the mile, in the 'extreme.'
MADISON, Wis. - About 2 miles of Interstate 39/90 remain closed for emergency repairs Tuesday morning, according to the Wisconsin State Patrol.  
Officials with the Wisconsin State Patrol said the emergency repairs are due to "extreme road failure" because the road is deteriorating and there are numerous potholes. 
*  And there is the embedded presence of chronic deer wasting disease, (CWD). reported on this blog often, which Walker failed to effectively address, for years
Deer disease keeps worsening in Wisconsin, as predicted
The DNR issued several news releases last week about more positive CWD test results in several counties last year; here is a sample:
MADISON - Following positive test results for chronic wasting disease in wild and captive whitetail deer during the 2018 deer hunting seasons, a baiting and feeding ban in   and Wood counties will be enacted, along with the renewal of a three-year ban Portage County, effective Feb. 1, 2019. 
Two wild deer harvested in southern Portage County will initiate a two-year baiting and feeding ban in Waushara County, while CWD-positive detections at two Portage County captive deer farms will enact a two-year baiting and feeding ban in Wood County. State law requires that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources enact a ban on feeding and baiting of deer within a county or adjacent county within a 10-mile radius of a captive or free-roaming domestic or wild deer that tests positive for CWD or tuberculosis.
And then there is the good news that Gov. Evers in his first budget will add state funding to address a long-overdue need: added dental care, principally in rural areas long underserved by providers.
Dental Caries Cavity 2.JPG

This shameful state of affairs is symptomatic of Walker's years of refusal to accept available federal Medicaid expansion funding - - a refusal backed 100% by Assembly GOP Speaker Robin Vos - - and the GOP's insistence - -  guaranteed by the Republican lame-duck legislative power-grab - - to keep Wisconsin in court fighting for the repeal of Obamacare which could provide that Medicaid expansion.

An expansion, by the way, which would give the state access to desperately needed funding for opioid addiction treatments, as I wrote last March:
Wisconsin GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel is lauding his litigation against Obamacare:
Texas and Wisconsin, joined by 20 states, filed a lawsuit in federal court earlier this month asking the federal courts to obey what the Supreme Court has already recognized and hold all of Obamacare unconstitutional...
We bring this challenge to Obamacare because, as state attorneys general, we took an oath of office to uphold the rule of law and protect the rights of Americans from the unconstitutional, ever-expanding intrusion of the federal government.
Remember that Obamacare helps fund Medicaid so this latest Schimel ploy if successful could make it harder for opioid addicts covered by Medicaid to receive expanded treatment - - as The [Federal] Centers for Medicare and Medicaid recently explained in plain English:
CMS announces new Medicaid policy to combat the opioid crisis by increasing access to treatment options
While Wisconsin on Schimel's watch had the largest uptick in opioid-related emergency room admissions in one, 16-state survey.
But when Evers announced his state-funded dental expansion proposal Thursday, this note in one Fox Valley media outlet's story tells you why the decay which Walker left behind for Vos to preserve will take years, and a fairly-redistricted Legislature, to repair:
FOX 11 reached out to Republican state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos for comment to see whether or not Republicans could support this proposal, however he was not available to comment.
Oh: And Walker? He's in Florida.

And still in love with his meals, as he showed us Twitter Feb. 15th.
Eating pizza at Doc’s. Mmmmmm!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

IL officials want Evers to revisit Foxconn's WI permits

Foxconn's dubious future is not the only negative runoff from its budget-straining-sprawl-inducing intrusion into rural Racine County.

Illinois has already raised various freshwater, discharge and air quality concerns about the project which Walker and his allies administration recruited and funded, so it is logical that those officials in communities across the state line, downwind and downstream would now ask the new Wisconsin Governor to take another look at what Walker left behind:
Illinois Democrats ask Evers to review Foxconn impact
Illinois congressional Democrats have asked Wisconsin’s new Democratic governor to re-evaluate the environmental impact of a sprawling plant that Foxconn Technology Group plans to build near the states’ border, saying they are concerned it could exacerbate flooding in Chicago’s northern suburbs. 
Evers had said several days ago he'd do just that:
Evers: DNR Will Review Foxconn Air, Water Permits 
Gov. Tony Evers Says Review Is Needed To See Whether Changes Are Necessary
Also note:

* These and many other pieces of the Foxconn story are included in this 20-month-long, continuously updated archive.

* Stronger storm events are often cited as products of a warming, changing Midwestern climate. 

* Walker had a long history of ignoring or discarding information about climate change and its effects on the land and infrastructure.

In December, 2016, I discovered that Walker's DNR removed nearly all information from its climate change information webpage, as I wrote along with the full original and deleted texts:
Gone are references to known "human activities" contributing to a warming planet, warming's contributions to changes in rainfall and snowfall patterns, extreme weather events, drought, species and economic losses as a result - - among other truths- - of materials whitewashed off this official, taxpayer-financed website.
Here is an example of what was deleted which ought to get Illinois' attention:
Changes in rain and snowfall patterns (including more frequent and severe storms) could change water flow in streams and rivers and increase stream bank erosion and runoff pollution.
* Racine County, where Foxconn is building, has a history of flooding

* So did the project site after a downpour last summer:

Friday, February 15, 2019

OWI snowmobiling reflects WI's alcohol abuse picture

I wrote a series years ago for The Milwaukee Journal about dangers posed by alcohol abuse beyond the more-widely known OWI-related tragedies on the highways.

Examples included fatal falls, home accidents and fires, and snowmobile crashes.

And I remember reporting data showing that in the late 1980's, all nine Wisconsin snowmobile fatalities in one year were alcohol-related.

That kind of regrettable data is piling up again, according to news reports and this DNR release:

DNR wardens & local agencies investigating five weekend fatal snowmobile incidents 
  • Calumet County: About 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9, a single snowmobile operator was traveling on Lake Winnebago when it appears the machine struck a snowbank or an ice crack. The machine landed atop the operator. The Calumet County Sheriff's Department and the DNR wardens are jointly investigating. Alcohol and speed are possible factors. 
  • Forest County: About 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9, two snowmobiles were traveling eastbound on a snowmobile trail on the frozen Pickerel Lake when a passenger and operator on the lead snowmobile were ejected. The ejected passenger then was struck by the second snowmobile, which was traveling behind as part of the same group. The passenger was severely injured and died prior to a medical flight to hospital. Alcohol and speed are possible factors. 
Separately, it is encouraging that Gov. Evers is interested in getting tougher on first-time OWI offenders, and two GOP legislators are again promoting legislation to do just that, regardless of the strength of powerful lobbies and other legislators' callous disinterest in the facts:

Also encouraging: media focus, like this ongoing series at TMJ4, and by state government through WisDOT:
'Drive Sober' campaign launches in worst state for excessive drinking
However, the larger picture is that Wisconsin tolerates alcohol abuse in ways that other states do not.
[Wisconsin is] the only state that treats a first [OWI] offense as a civil violation rather than a crime.  
And pays a price in lives, medical costs criminal justice consequences and negative media.

Wisconsin dominates drunkest-cities' rankings. At what cost? 
Nothing to boast about 
You can add Wisconsin's persistent alcohol abuse to this compilation of negative state rankings, as Wisconsin - - as it did last year - - put ten cities on this list of the country's 20 most-drunken municipalities.

No other state came close, so call it life in the state of denial.
Green Bay named drunkest city in the US; 10 Wisconsin cities listed as top 20 drunkest
The consequences in Wisconsin lives lost, families damaged and money wasted is well-known and heavily, repeatedly documented by public officials:
The per capita alcohol consumption rate in Wisconsin is 1.3 times higher than the national rate. The alcohol consumption rate for adults is 10 percentage points above the national rate (63% vs. 53%). Heavy drinking among adults is more common in Wisconsin than the nation as a whole. Wisconsin’s rate of adult binge drinking (22%) is third highest across all states and U.S. territories. Wisconsin women of childbearing age consume alcohol at levels higher than their national peers. 
Consequences of Alcohol Consumption Outpace National Rates
Given Wisconsin’s alcohol consumption patterns, it is not surprising that the rates at which Wisconsin experiences the consequences associated with alcohol use have also tended to be higher than national rates. Since 2008, rates of alcohol abuse and dependence have been higher in Wisconsin than the nation as a whole. Wisconsin's rate of death from alcohol-related liver cirrhosis has risen since 2008 as has the rate of alcohol-related deaths from causes other than liver cirrhosis. The latest available data show that Wisconsin has 1.2 times the national rate of arrests for operating while intoxicated (OWI) and almost three times the national rate of arrests for liquor law violations. However, since 2010, Wisconsin’s rate of alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths has been similar to the national rate.
Alcohol is the most frequently consumed substance of use and misuse in Wisconsin, contributing to consequences that affect all state residents.
In 2015, alcohol was a factor in at least 2,008 deaths and 2,907 motor vehicle crash injuries in Wisconsin. In 2013, the economic burden resulting from excessive alcohol use totaled $6.8 billion dollars.
Those data were published in 2016, nearly six years after Walker and the GOP took over state government.
They reflect many of the same outcomes published in 2012 by the same officials 21 months after Walker came to power. In other words, little progress.
Also for the record:
This guest post here more than ten years ago, this one six years ago and these 2015 state findings about alcohol abuse which have not translated them

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Republicans and their self-inflicted wounds

Trump is probably the only person in DC or the political world who doesn't understand that he's the one responsible for the garbage-barge
that's emptying on his Presidency.

No history of pathological lying, soulless rapacity, secret dealing with Russia, inner circle of dishonest and corrupt friends, payoffs through Michael Cohen, Comey firing - - 
James Comey official portrait.jpg
- - witness tampering signaled to Manafort, and no long-term Putin bromance, well then, no Democratic capture of the US House of Representatives, Speaker Pelosi empowerment, fresh round of investigators armed with subpeonas, House committee chairs named Schiff, Nadler and Cummings, et al, wall funding collapse, likely emergency declaration collapse, and on and on.

You broke it, you own it.

Ditto for Walker:

No John Doe slipperiness and credibility drain, no Act 10 bomb-dropping, no 250,000 new jobs pledge-cum-fiasco, no pressure to throw the Foxconn Hail Mary which reinforced his credibility deficits, no traction in polls, on the campaign trail or at the ballot box.

Sure, this is an oversimplification. But Trump and Walker's arrogance and delusions in the face of facts in plain sight don't rule out other factors, but instead welcome them into a discussion of what these two self-defeating incompetents have in common.  

New York City to Amazon: Don't Foxconn us.

Perhaps an outbreak of Foxconn Fever got nipped on the bud out East.

New York today said no - - 

In the End, Amazon Didn’t Win Its Own Subsidy Game
Economists have long criticized tax breaks to corporations; politicians and the public may be starting to share their skepticism.
- - to a $3 billion giveaway to a wealthy corporation.
Amazon HQ2: $3 billion in state, city tax breaks draws company to New York
Think the captains of American industry, finance and office-holders as well follow the subsidy games in the Midwest? Yup.
Op-ed: Wisconsin Deal With Foxconn Was as Bad as They Come
Gov. Scott Walker just lost his re-election bid in Wisconsin. The Foxconn deal might be a reason why. 
 | Nov 07, 2018
And who still doesn't get it? From yesterday, one guess: 
Walker's most embarrassing plea for relevancy yet
If Walker had been an effective Governor and manufacturing leader for eight years, why would he be talking now about reviving manufacturing, not extending and burnishing it, let alone bringing up Foxconn - - the very manufacturing 'deal' which is burying the last molecules of Walker's legacy?
Scott Walker says Foxconn deal will help revive manufacturing in Midwest
I'll add today's post to the Foxconn archive I've been maintaining since Foxconn's Day One in Walker's mind. A recent sample:
* Bloomberg News calls Foxconn 'disastrous...hollow...nakedly political.'
Big national business media outlet uses 49 sources to demolish Foxconn and the politicians who were used to buy in.
Meanwhile the fresh embarrassment continued. 
Offhandedly, he claimed he talks with President Trump about the connections between manufacturing and workforce issues "all the time."
Sure. Like Trump who won Wisconsin cares about details like that, or needs information about anything from the incumbent Governor who lost Wisconsin.


WI GOP legislators spruce up their white privilege identity

If you thought the days of Wisconsin's right-wing GOP reflex to insensitive insularity had ended when the dog-whistling Scott Walker was dismissed, you need to note that Republicans' dog-whistles have gotten even louder:
Wisconsin Republicans reject second effort to include Colin Kaepernick in Black History Month resolution
Wisconsin lawmakers spent Tuesday and Wednesday embroiled in a debate over how to commemorate Black History Month — specifically, whether to include former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on a list of African-Americans being honored by the Legislature...  
There are no black Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The MMSD making '19 a year of overflow prevention

Remember last summer's rains around here?

I do, and took this picture of the Milwaukee River rushing past Estabrook Park after heavy August rains:
Flooding, rains expand the Milwaukee River
The New York Times also remembers, noting that precipitation in Milwaukee last year was up more than ten inches.

The MMSD remembers, too.

And will invest heavily in 2019 on flood and overflow controls, the agency said this week:
02/11/19 09:19:am
Immediate Release
February 11, 2019
(Milwaukee, WI) – Aging and failing equipment for the Deep Tunnel is slated for replacement in early 2019 after a unanimous vote today by Commissioners of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD).
“We have to be rain ready all year long with the crazy, unpredictable weather patterns we’re seeing,” said MMSD Commission Chair Kris Martinsek. “Asset management is crucial when it comes to optimizing reliability and performance when it counts. It’s a $1.4 billion investment (including financing) we’re making over the next six years.”
Regional treatment plants and sewers will see the bulk of MMSD’s $92.9 million capital project/program spending in 2019.

Walker's most embarrassing plea for relevancy yet

Poor Scott Walker, already reduced to tweeting photos of burger runs - - More
- -  Jan. 31:
4 hours agoJan. 31 Warm meal at Mission BBQ on a cold day. Even got to sing the National Anthem at noon 🇺🇸.
and trips he's making on aeroplanes - - 
Beautiful mountains in Montana.

- - ooooh, paid speaking gigs, perhaps?

Yet there he is, manufacturing media for himself about what he knows little and accomplished less:


In this self-inflating and embarrassingly sad plea for relevancy - - Walker is embarrassingly oblivious to his tacit admission that he indeed failed to meet his promise of creating 250,000 new jobs in four or five or six or seven+++ years in office, even though he had full control of the government, budgets, and free media on talk radio and advocacy sites to control the outcome.

If Walker had been an effective Governor and manufacturing leader for eight years, why would he be talking now about reviving manufacturing, not extending and burnishing it, let alone bringing up Foxconn - - the very manufacturing 'deal' which is burying the last molecules of Walker's legacy?
Scott Walker says Foxconn deal will help revive manufacturing in Midwest
I'll today's post to the Foxconn archive I've been maintaining since Foxconn's Day One in Walker's mind.

Meanwhile the fresh embarrassment continued. 

Offhandedly, he claimed he talks with President Trump about the connections between manufacturing and workforce issues "all the time."

Sure. Like Trump who won Wisconsin cares about details like that, or needs information about anything from the incumbent Governor who lost Wisconsin.

The only links between anything manufactured by a workforce which Trump cares about are the subpoenas being issued to his inner circle bh House Democrats and indictments being crafted by Team Mueller.

On the other hand, since Walker suggested building a 4,000 mile wall across the US-Canadian border, maybe he can turn Trump's attention to an even bigger project that could further stick it to Wisconsin exporters.

Walker also added a couple of his patented ineptitudes to a story he ginned up which is actually about nothing more than Walker seeing and hearing his own name:
"There's gonna have to be automation, there's gonna have to be artificial intelligence," Walker said. 
- -  which shows that when he says 'manufacturing,' Walker's not looking to help those blue-collar workers whose pay he helped diminish through fast-tracked 'right-to-work' legislation he signed after saying he had no interest in doing just that.

I mean, if Walker's involved, there's gonna have to be clumsiness, there's gonna have to be low intelligence.

WI GOP dips toe in brown, green, dead waters. Color me unimpressed.

Beware Robin Vos bearing gifts.

After eight years of ignoring known data about rural well contamination

Manure flow from a Kewaunee County Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, (CAFO).

and giving away groundwater on the hand-delivered direction of big corporate/donor users - - 

-  - and enabling Lake Michigan dead zones and more green algae pollution, and shrugging off 'brown water' events, and coordinating pro-industry water, land and power grabs with the now-defeated Attorney General, GOP Assembly Speaker Vos has convened with the cooperation of fawning underlings a task force to look into pre-empt Gov. Evers on the issues.

As I noted last month:
Vos awakens from long slumber on rural ag water pollution
Are legislative Republicans now told to include these kinds of Dear Leader compliments in official news releases, a la Team Trump, or do they do it on their own? If so, sad:
Thank you to Speaker Vos for allowing us this opportunity to dig deeper into this important issue.
Message to colleagues. CYA.

Message to polluters: We still have your back.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The GOP-led WI Legislature is free to add lead abatement $$

Three things to remember about the modest state funding for lead abatement in municipal water lines which Gov. Evers will propose in his first state budget:

* $40 million for lead-abatement financing is but a first-step/down-payment; the Legislature is free to increase it. Hey, GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, your district is close to the City of Racine, where the lead abatement need is known and substantial.

Ditto for rural well-water pollution prevention.

* Which is unlikely, given that public-sector hating Republicans control both legislative houses.

And the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce in 2017 opposed a bi-partisan legislative initiative to speed up public sector financing of lead line replacement when the group with a straight face argued that Wisconsin city treasuries - - already cash-strapped by Republican spending and revenue caps - - could afford to do the work themselves without the participation of their water utilities. 

Not to mention that many municipalities, like Racine and Milwaukee, have large numbers of senior or low-income homeowners who could not afford to pay a portion of the per-property cost, let alone all of it.

But we have come to expect these uninformed inanities and selfish postures from the WMC: this is the same group which argued against the development of an environmental impact statement on the soil-and-water rich 3,000-acre Foxconn site, because - - wetlands, shmeplands - - there was no need for that kind of "a book report."

And the same WMC official had earlier supported a proposal to end state clean air regulation altogether.

* I understand that complete replacement statewide of all the lead-lined pipes could cost somewhere between $600 million and $1 billion.

That's a lot of money for the public sector to provide, no doubt through borrowing, but remember that the WMC had no objection to major state borrowing to pay for big road projects, like the Marquette and Zoo Interchanges - - all the planned segment upgrades to the SE Freeway System have been calculated at $6+billion - - or the transfer of more than $3 billion in state tax credits and highway spending to Foxconn.

If's pretty iffy that the Foxconn project will ever meet its initial promises, but imagine the added financial and social value to 176,000 properties were they upgraded with lead-free drinking water service.

Let me repeat: Hey, GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and major Foxconn booster, your district is close to the City of Racine, where the lead abatement need is known and substantial.