Government and Political Roundup: Support still there to eliminate voter registration on Election DayWisconsin News
-- A Republican lawmaker still wants his colleagues to eliminate voter registration on Election Day as one of their first acts in the new session next month.
A Republican lawmaker still wants his colleagues to eliminate voter registration on Election Day as one of their first acts in the new session next month. Senator Glenn Grothman of West Bend said he had not reviewed a new report from the Government Accountability Board. It said it would cost the agency millions-of-dollars to comply with federal voting laws for which the state is now exempt due to its same-day registration policy. Grothman believes it’s easier to use the same-day system to commit voter fraud – even though he admits he cannot prove it. Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson of Milwaukee said the only fraud is Republicans quote, “disenfranchising people and trying to take their votes away.” Some Republicans have long claimed that same-day registration helps Democrats. Grothman said it would be harder to cheat under the federal “motor voter” law which the state would have to adopt if it dumps same-day registration. It would allow voters to register where they get their driver’s licenses and public benefits. The new report said the Government Accountability Board would have to spend five-point-two-million dollars now, and almost two-million every two years after that – mostly for federally-required mailings to voters which the state does not have to do now.
The state agriculture department has justified its hiring of an environmental investigator who was disciplined for fudging payroll records when he was a West Bend police officer. Andrew Adee beat out 12 other candidates for a 48-thousand-dollar-a-year job to investigate violations of laws dealing the use of farm chemicals. Ag Department spokesman Jim Dick tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that his agency knew about the West Bend incident before hiring Adee – and it had nothing to do with what the state job requires. The 38-year-old Adee was suspended for 60 days in 2006, after he reportedly filed payroll reports showing that he worked 126 hours when he didn’t. Two other officers were given lesser suspensions, and all three kept their jobs. Dick said the agriculture department considered Adee’s experience and knowledge as well as his punishment in West Bend – and they found him to be the most qualified candidate for his current job. Adee is a licensed pesticide applicator, and officials say that’s also a plus in his investigative post. He was hired in mid-July.
A Madison think tank is calling on the federal government to cut off corporate tax loopholes more completely. The Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group says Americans are paying 150-billion dollars a year for tax breaks and credits that corporations get. Program associate Joe Rasmussen says some firms don’t pay taxes – and they’re making money by shuffling funds to various places. The Government Accountability Office says at least 83 of the nation’s 100 top publicly-owned firms use tax havens. Rasmussen says the money can be better spent keeping the country from going over the fiscal cliff. He says that if Washington can get an extra 150-billion in business taxes, it would cover three-eighths of the congressional debt reduction goal of four-trillion dollars over the next decade. But it’s a sensitive issue in Wisconsin. Some Democratic lawmakers used to make constant pleas to end the loopholes. But former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle walked on egg-shells, saying that the state’s businesses would never go for large-scale changes. And the calls for a crackdown were all but silenced after voters chose Republicans to run both the governor’s office and the state Legislature in 2010. Lawmakers of both parties then granted millions in new tax breaks in exchange for adding jobs.