Email date: 5/15/08
In this update:
1. Bigwigs squeeze out citizens
2. Action Alert: Contact Senator Kohl on media consolidation
3. The GAAP gap
4. Renaming campaign finance reform
The polar bear is now officially a threatened species. If you watch the YouTube video embedded in our latest Big Money Blog, you have to wonder if citizens don’t belong on that list too.
Attacks on Internet freedom like those being launched by cable giant Comcast are among the biggest threats to the well-being of citizens. So is consolidation of media ownership. Five conglomerates now control most of what Americans read, see and hear every day. And the Federal Communications Commission recently tried to make it easier for big media corporations to get even bigger. But there is a resolution in Congress aimed at blocking the FCC’s new rules.
The word from Capitol Hill is that Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl is on the fence about whether to support the resolution. You know the media conglomerates are working overtime to defeat it. It’s critically important that regular folks act right now to counter big media’s lobbying push. Please take a few minutes to contact Senator Kohl and urge him to veto the FCC. Better yet, make a personal phone call to Kohl’s office. For help in making that call, go here.
The Legislature passed and sent to the governor a compromise plan lawmakers claim puts the state budget back into balance. It doesn’t.
They did what they’ve done for years . . . delay major state payments that effectively puts those expenses on a credit card and use other fiscal sleight of hand to make the budget appear balanced. But if Generally Accepted Accounting Principles are applied, there remains a hefty deficit. A report issued in January had the GAAP deficit at over $2.4 billion. The new budget deal barely puts a dent in the GAAP gap.
Until yesterday, the Legislature had three special sessions going simultaneously. Legislators dispensed with the one on the state budget when they approved their budget repair bill. They also took care of another when they finally approved the much-delayed Great Lakes Compact. Which leaves one remaining special session . . . the one on campaign finance reform.
That was the subject of an editorial in yesterday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The newspaper suggested that maybe campaign finance reform isn’t sexy enough and, in the interest of capturing the imagination, a name change might be in order. Several new monikers are offered for consideration, but one stands out: The Government Without Legal Bribery Act.
Sounds about right to us.