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Author: Jon Peacock

Wisconsin’s TANF financial assistance program is failing to help enough people climb out of poverty

The law creating the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program (TANF) turned 23 years old on August 22, and it has not improved with age. At the national level and here in Wisconsin, TANF is now serving only a very small fraction of the families who are living in poverty and may be eligible for assistance. In Wisconsin, if we compare the share of families with income below the federal poverty level who got direct cash support in 2017 to the ratio in 1996 when TANF began, 52,000 fewer families are now getting that assistance. The erosion of direct...

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Refusal by Legislators to expand Medicaid budget is costing Wisconsin money and lives

The Medicaid budget approved by the legislature this week will cost state tax taxpayers far more than the budget recommended by the governor, yet will accomplish far less to improve access to health care. Ideological opposition to expanding Medicaid is costing Wisconsin a lot of money. The legislature’s budget reduces total Medicaid spending from all sources by almost $1 billion, compared to the governor’s budget. Even though it adds more than $320 million of state general purpose revenue, state tax dollars, to the Medicaid increase proposed by the Governor, the legislature’s budget captures almost $1.3 billion less from federal...

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Reducing the Risk: Ideas to improve Foxconn contract so taxpayers actually see a benefit

Governor Evers and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) should sit down with Foxconn and talk about options for making the contract better for all involved. Whether they can and should actually sign a new contract is a much harder question to answer and will depend on the negotiations. A new deal is worth pursuing because it could potentially reduce the risk that Foxconn will drop its plans for a manufacturing facility in Racine County. As someone who thinks the original deal was far too expensive, a year or so ago I might not have been bothered if Foxconn...

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An Economic Tug-of-War: How Wisconsin can win its treasury battles without fighting other states

Economic skirmishes among the states are taking a heavy toll on state and local treasuries. Halting the interstate war over jobs can and should be a cause that attracts conservatives as well as liberals. Inspired by the withdrawal of Amazon.com’s plans for a 2nd headquarters in New York City, and by the potential debacle of Foxconn’s broken promises in Wisconsin, Good Jobs First is proposing a way to end the economic war among the states. What is this war? It is a battle where states and local governments bid against each other for economic development projects in a way...

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Health care ruling from federal judge puts Wisconsin’s ACA opponents in hot seat

New polling helps explain why very few Republican lawmakers have been celebrating publicly after a federal judge issued an opinion on December 14, declaring that all of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional. The latest polling results from the Kaiser Family Foundation show that many parts of the health care law enjoy very strong support among both Democrats and Republicans. If the ruling of the conservative federal judge is not overturned by higher courts, it will mean that all of the ACA has essentially been repealed without a replacement plan. That would cause turmoil in the health care...

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Wisconsin legislators follow national trend to discard democracy for one-party rule

“This isn’t a bill. This is a coup.” – Randy Bryce (a.k.a. the “Iron Stache”) The rushed enactment of bills being considered in the Wisconsin Legislature on Tuesday would leave a dark and long-lasting stain on our state’s reputation for being a home of good government, clean politics and thoughtful policymaking. Enacting the proposed bills would be the first time in Wisconsin’s 160-year history that a lame duck session was ever used to sharply reduce the power of a newly-elected Governor and a newly elected Attorney General. And it would make Wisconsin one of just a small number of...

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