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Gov. Quinn plays hardball with the cheeseheads

Thursday, Nov 11, 2010

* Now, this is what I call aggressive business recruitment

Gov. Pat Quinn says a Wisconsin trainmaker is welcome to move its jobs to Illinois.

Quinn is inviting Talgo Inc. to come to the state after Wisconsin’s newly elected Republican governor said he wanted to give back federal money for a proposed high-speed rail project or use it for something else.

Quinn sent a letter to the Milwaukee company Wednesday. He says Illinois will do whatever it can to lure them.

* The company is interested in moving here

A Spanish-owned train company would seriously consider moving its plant from Milwaukee to Illinois in 2012 if Governor-elect Scott Walker follows through on his vow to kill a planned high-speed rail line, a company executive said Wednesday night. […]

“If Wisconsin is losing its enthusiasm for its rail program and others are not, we could go to Illinois and manufacture world-class trains there,” said Nora Friend, Talgo vice president for public affairs and business development. “We certainly appreciate Gov. Quinn reaching out to us. We will consider very seriously states that want to grow their rail program.”

* The federal government has allocated $810 million to Wisconsin to build the high-speed train line. Gov. Quinn had this to say several days ago about the Wisconsin governor-elect’s campaign promise to halt the Milwaukee to Chicago project

I just heard from Ray LaHood today, he called and said, ‘Well, Wisconsin might not want the money for high speed rail.’ We’re here, here we are. We’ll be happy to take it. You know, anything we can grab hold of

* Governor-elect Walker wants to use the money for roads instead, but Transportation Secretary LaHood has said they can’t, and it doesn’t look like Wisconsin will have a legal leg to stand on

Walker, meanwhile, made another pitch to use the stimulus money for roads instead. He wrote U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, saying that voters across the country chose new governors who are against using transportation money for passenger trains. And the Republican Walker said, quote, “I believe it would be unwise for the Obama administration to ignore the will of the voters.” LaHood said on Monday that the $810-million would have to be spent on trains – or else it would go to another state for its trains.

But House Republican Tom Petri of Fond du Lac said Congress probably wouldn’t be much help to Walker. He said the law would have to be changed to use the money for roads – and states like Illinois that want the train funding would never vote for that. Walker is against having Wisconsin pay the train’s operating costs once its built.

From Secretary LaHood’s letter

“None of the money provided to Wisconsin may be used for road and highway projects, or anything other than high-speed rail. Consequently, unless you change your position, we plan to engage in an orderly transition to wind down Wisconsin’s project so that we do not waste taxpayers’ money,” wrote LaHood.

Oof.

* And despite potentially losing jobs and nearly a billion dollars in transportation money, the Wisconsin governor-elect is not backing down

“Gov.-elect Scott Walker is going to fulfill his campaign promise to stop the construction of the Madison-Milwaukee train line,” Walker spokesman John Hiller said in a statement. “He will also fulfill his campaign promise to create an economic environment that allows the private-sector to create 250,000 new jobs.”

Yeah, well, that Wisconsin project would’ve created 5,500 construction jobs over the next three years. And then there are all those Talgo jobs.

* And then there’s this

If Illinois receives the money, it could “add insult to injury” because Wisconsinites would still be burdened with the Illinois tolls while traveling to Chicago, but the toll payoffs would not be returned, [Jay Heck, executive director for Common Cause in Wisconsin] said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

59 Comments
  1. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 10:37 am:

    $810 million? That’s a lot of cheese. Go Quinn go!


  2. - shore - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 10:38 am:

    a preview of the brady era that illinois passed on.hmm.


  3. - soccermom - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 10:39 am:

    Yay, Ray! (Ooh la la, LaHood?) Whatever — nicely played. Let’s hope the folks in DC stand tough — and let’s hope this brings those Talgo jobs here to Illinois!


  4. - Rahm's Parking Meter - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 10:40 am:

    Go Governor Quinn. Gov.-Elect Walker is maybe up there in the most stubborn people I have seen in Government. He is killing jobs, in the name of keeping and creating jobs? Nice to have it both ways…..


  5. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 10:40 am:

    shore, Brady was and is very much in favor of rail projects.


  6. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 10:46 am:

    This incoming Wisconsin governor has some interesting economic development ideas.

    The Trib has a story on his plan to travel to Sedonia, AZ and Naples, FL to persuade Cheesehead Snowbirds to return.

    I’ve been to Naples. If you can retire there, the chance you’ll uproot and return to Kenosha is remote.


  7. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 10:46 am:

    Next step for Quinn: Lure some of those stem cell researchers in Madison across the border with their conservative governor ending support for stem cell research.


  8. - Amalia - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 10:49 am:

    keep at it PQ!


  9. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 10:49 am:

    How will Quinn address the ongoing maintenance costs which was the root cause to Walker rejecting the federal capital funding in the first place? With a new “railroad surcharge?” LOL


  10. - Leroy - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 10:51 am:

    How much of a subsidy is Illinois going to have to give them to get them here?


  11. - roger - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 10:51 am:

    Perhaps a state could have a better idea of what their needs are and what may be the best way to spend this “free” money?Perhaps our Federal planners in Washington may not have this best idea for every state? Perhaps?


  12. - Nick42 - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 10:52 am:

    “How will Quinn address the ongoing maintenance costs which was the root cause to Walker rejecting the federal capital funding in the first place? With a new “railroad surcharge?” LOL ”

    I don’t think you need to create a surcharge to find $7.5 million a year….


  13. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 10:53 am:

    We need an Elgin to Aurora to Joliet high speed River Boat Express with free rides for all seniors willing to spend their retiremnt savings at the casinos.


  14. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 10:53 am:

    Anon,

    We don’t know what they will do with the $810 million that was going to go for Wisconsin’s high-speed rail. Maybe some of that can go to maintenance costs for states actually going forward with their high speed rail projects.


  15. - Gregor - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 10:54 am:

    Can we put Talgo in Pullman, for old time’s sake? :-)

    Wisconsin is missing a bet, not developing the rail connection. The natural evolution of a business corridor from Milwaukee thru Chicago into Gary is inevitable, and letting people and commerce flow back and forth over that corridor helps everyone. The little town in the middle, perhaps a bit more, but still… they need to think further ahead.


  16. - Nick42 - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 10:55 am:

    “Perhaps a state could have a better idea of what their needs are and what may be the best way to spend this “free” money?Perhaps our Federal planners in Washington may not have this best idea for every state? Perhaps? ”

    Roger - the State of Wisconsin ASKED for the grant. During a competition.

    That’s why they got it. If Governor Walker doesn’t want the grant anymore, then Secretary LaHood made it clear that he wouldn’t give it to him. Federal “planners” are deferring to the states here.


  17. - Commonsense in Illinois - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 10:58 am:

    Does anyone remember about four or five years ago the Wisconsin governor traveled to Chicago and set up a recruiting effort at a loop hotel to woo Illinois businesses? HELLOOO GOVERNOR…would it be a nice touch to turn the tables (maybe even travel to Wisconsin by rail)?


  18. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 10:59 am:

    Nick42 is right. This Wisconsin money didn’t just fall from the sky without any requests.

    All future commenters on this post take heed.


  19. - Dooley Dudright - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 11:00 am:

    MEMORANDUM

    To: Citizens of Wisconsin
    From: Citizens of Baja Wisconsin
    Subject: Riding the Railroad

    Let’s call it even. After all, Brett Favre single-handedly inflicted oh, about $810 million in damage on us.

    DD


  20. - Wensicia - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 11:06 am:

    Well, the new governor of Wisconsin seems to be living up to his state’s unofficial motto of ‘cheesehead’. I applaud Quinn for jumping on this as a way to attract money and jobs to Illinois.


  21. - grand old partisan - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 11:07 am:

    Will building a M-M high speed rail line dramatically increase the number of people traveling between those two cities? Or will it largely replace the existing auto traffic? No one knows for sure, but Walker is being wisely cautious to bet on the later. Why, you might ask? Because if that’s what heppens, there will be less gasoline tax collected by people making essentially the same trip. On the other hand, even if it does generate new traffic, the rail line will still be heavily subsidized, and might still be a net drain on the state’s transportation funding.


  22. - cleanairguy - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 11:12 am:

    Given all the excitement about Metra passengers sucking in massive amounts of diesel soot (Tribune Sunday front page, Durbins press conference, etc.), what about slicing some of the $800M Wisconsin doesn’t want and cleaning up and replacing some of Metra’s disco era locomotives. It would clean up the air 250,000 people breathe every single day! total no brainer.


  23. - Northsider - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 11:13 am:

    Outstanding news! Go Pat, go!

    Here is a move that should unite the state’s politicians. Grab an extra $810 million and Talgo America for Illinois, and I’ll gladly applaud you all as you all take credit for it.

    And, perhaps, a premature thanks to the fools who voted for Scott “Jobs Killer” Walker. The money and the manufacturing jobs will be much appreciated down here. And your soon-to-be noseless, spited faces can watch our tail lights speed into the future with 21st Century transportation technology while you become an economic backwater.


  24. - cassandra - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 11:17 am:

    I have family in Wisconsin so I would love to see expansion of high-speed rail there. But I wouldn’t be too sure it’s over on the 800 million, even though LaHood says it would have to be re-allocated if not used for its original purpose.

    We are heading into a period of intensive horse training at the federal level—witness Axelrod’s recent signals about postponing the elimination of tax cuts for the rich, supposedly an unshakeable commitment of the national Dems for this year. I would bet that absolutely everything is on the table going into the next seesion of Congress and then 2011.


  25. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 11:22 am:

    ===supposedly an unshakeable commitment of the national Dems for this year===

    If that was so unshakeable it would’ve passed already.


  26. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 11:24 am:

    shore, I doubt there will be new lobsters employed by this. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but thanks.


  27. - Northsider - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 11:27 am:

    Grand Old @11:07:

    It’s not just Madison-Milwaukee. That segment, once restored, will host/would have hosted an extension of Amtrak’s current Chicago-Milwaukee “Hiawatha” service. Plans call for not only more Chicago-Milwaukee trains, but Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison trains.

    That’s why Talgo America located in Milwaukee linking Madison to Chicago; they’re already building two trainsets for the expansion of Chicag0-Milwaukee service, and are/were primed to build many more for the new through service.

    Moreover, restoration of the Madison-Milwaukee segment along with upgrades to the existing Chicago-Milwaukee route are the first steps in a long-term upgrade of the entire Chicago-Twin Cities route to higher-speed service.


  28. - D.P. Gumby - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 12:01 pm:

    Ah, the t-bagging of American. Gee, I wonder what Shimkus’ Bible tells us about high speed rail? “You cheesehead! Removeth the high speed railroad tie from your own state before ye seek to removeth retirees from those warmereth states.”


  29. - Liandro - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 12:06 pm:

    Everybody wants to talk about tough decisions and asks where and how we can possibly cut spending. When it comes to trying to grab more for ourselves with money we don’t have, though, everybody raises their hands. The federal government shouldn’t be handing out this money in the first place. SMH.


  30. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 12:35 pm:

    High speed rail is socialism. Haven’t you heard?


  31. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 12:52 pm:

    wordslinger, Naples is, indeed a nice place. But there’s no harm in trying, I suppose.


  32. - UISer - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 12:55 pm:

    Making a Tea Partier stand up to his campaign promises… Priceless

    Keep it up Pat!

    We’ll welcome any jobs and money the Tea Party would like to throw our way.


  33. - S - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 1:06 pm:

    The new, improved, steadfast PQ! Great! Just need to get 1,000 new jobs out of Talgo and we can offset the ones Olin moves to Mississippi!

    Hopefully Gov. Quinn finds a way to bring those jobs and even some of the stimulus funds here. Perhaps he’s got some bold moves in store for the state now that he has a full term of his own. One can hope!


  34. - Far Northsider - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 1:18 pm:

    Excellent, Gov Quinn! High speed rail is going to be ever more important and it would be wonderful to have the jobs and investment here in Illinois!


  35. - Liandro - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 1:20 pm:

    @Yellow Dog Democrat:

    Depending on how it is paid for, yes, it could be socialism. And that, by itself, is not always a bad thing. Most roads are socialized, and conservatives don’t have a problem with that (as far as I can tell not even many libertarians do, but I digress…). The problem is when the *federal* government hands out money it *doesn’t have* and picks winners and losers in the economy…especially when when funds will or may be directly going to or aiding private companies or entities.

    I know it is much easier for you to throw out bombs like socialism comment, and to mock another viewpoint without having to explain why that view is so clearly worthy of contempt. But, quite frankly, it makes you look small and petty.

    At the federal level we’re closing in on $500 billion/yr in JUST interest payments, and scheduled to hit over $700 billion/yr before the end of Obama (depending on rates, of course). I ask you, even as a yellow dog democrat: how much infrastructure could $700 billion/yr put up? How much education aid, how much state aid, how much tax relief, how much social care, how much entitlement reform? Somewhere, deep down, you have to wish you had those extra hundreds of billions a year.

    We need a spending freeze, and for every critical or incredible or emergency expense we have, policy makers should have to cut an equal amount of funds from somewhere else, plus some. We just don’t have working governing and spending models right now. Save the false promises of no layoffs, free high speed rail, and everything else until we are on a sustainable budget.


  36. - Joe Blow - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 1:21 pm:

    The subsidy would be a that Illinois would receive no state income tax from any of the employees for 10 years. The employees would pay their income taxes and then Illinois would give a 3% state income tax credit back to the company for 10 for each employee. The state would also give $1000 or more for each employee and probably work on clearing up some money for a Large Business Grant to pay for construction or building costs and/or machinery and equipment.


  37. - Joe Blow - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 1:21 pm:

    The subsidy would be a that Illinois would receive no state income tax from any of the employees for 10 years. The employees would pay their income taxes and then Illinois would give a 3% state income tax credit back to the company for 10 for each employee. The state would also give $1000 or more for each employee and probably work on clearing up some money for a Large Business Grant to pay for construction or building costs and/or machinery and equipment.


  38. - Liandro - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 1:31 pm:

    Btw, some quick research and math. This years federal interest payments are projected at $413,954,825,362.17; a 1/50th portion of that would be roughly $8.38 billion. An even better method would be to match Illinois’ portion of the debt loss to its population, which would give Illinois 17.5 billion dollars JUST THIS YEAR. Think that might help us close our budget gap? And I haven’t even touched the amount Illinois is losing to debt loss at the state and local level.

    I’m all for a governing model that works, even if we have to make some sacrifices to get back to it.


  39. - Ghost of John Brown - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 1:54 pm:

    Before everyone gets all excited about additional funds from high speed rail, you need to look at the fairbox recovery rate. Most rail systems get less than a 50% fairbox recovery (meaning only 50% of the operating funds come from actual users - the rest comes from government subsidies).

    While there might be a net gain of initial jobs for the capital expenditures, the cost of operating costs may not be something that we really want later on.


  40. - Truthseeker - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 2:01 pm:

    Rich, a little additional information on this story. Milwaukee needs about $40 million in start up costs. It appears that most of the jobs will be in Spain. It would be more productive to move the Spanish plants to Illinois.

    Talgo plant will create 125 jobs
    The Business Journal
    Date: Tuesday, March 2, 2010, 11:46am CST - Last Modified: Tuesday, March 2, 2010, 4:44pm CST

    Talgo will occupy a portion of this building at the former Tower Automotive site in Milwaukee.

    Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle announces Talgo’s decision to locate its U.S. plant in Milwaukee at a press conference Tuesday morning.

    Spanish train manufacturer Talgo Inc. is expected to create up to 125 jobs after converting the former Tower Automotive plant on Milwaukee’s north side into a train set assembly factory.

    In addition, locating the Talgo plant in Milwaukee will indirectly create another 450 jobs through vendors throughout the Midwest, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle said in announcing the project at a press conference Tuesday morning.

    As expected, Talgo announced that it has selected the Tower Automotive site for its plant to assemble trains and coach cars in the United States. The company has two manufacturing sites in Spain — one in Madrid and one in the Basque region of Alava. Those plants will manufacture the components for the trains and coach cars to be assembled in Milwaukee.

    Milwaukee officials plan to spend up to $35 million making improvements to the Tower Automotive sites, which the city purchased last year for $4.5 million from a Milwaukee investors group.


  41. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 2:22 pm:

    So what is the State going to use as a revenue source to support the operating costs of the choo-choo?

    Metra supports each and every commuter with an annual subsidy ranging from 1,500 to 4,000 depending on distance travelled. This money is collected via a sales tax collected in 6 county area. That does not cover the costs for the capital side of the budget. I’m sure those lawyers and commodity traders appreciate the subsidy because otherwise they could not afford to get… to work…..?

    What new tax will you institute to pay the capital costs and operating cost subsidy? Illinois has no money to shuffle around, so a new revenue source is needed. What percentage of the residents of the state will use the service? Will everyone have to contribute for a service that only a few folks will benefit from?

    This is why taxes continue to rise out of control. Cute idea, short term boost in construction jobs, ribbon cutting ceremony, long term permanent subsidy, limited number of potential customers, much crying when service has to be reduced.

    Scott Walker is smart to walk away from this fools gold .


  42. - phocion - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 2:38 pm:

    Liandro said “Most roads are socialized.”

    WRONG. Most roads are paid for through user fees - namely a gas tax. Roads are uniquely paid for in this manner, and most people understand this. The federal gas tax, by the way, also does subsidize transit.

    If both federal and state government would merely increase the user fee and index it (last increased, and capped, 19 years ago), fuel efficiency and transit use would be incentivized, no general revenues would be impacted, people who don’t want to pay the tax could avoid it by finding alternate means of transportation, congestion would be relieved, the economy would function more efficiently, goods would be cheaper. Oh, and millions would be put back to work.

    When transportation funding referenda are put to voters, they succeed 70 percent of the time. Politicians would be wise to understand that voters support increased transportation funding - for roads, bridges, and transit.


  43. - Liandro - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 3:00 pm:

    @phocion:

    Um, you’re saying that the various levels of government charge taxes that are then used to pay for the roads…and you cite this as evidence that the roads are NOT socialized? I’m not sure that word means what you think it means. I do love how you capitalized WRONG, though. Makes up for the lack of logic, I guess? Not to mention you’re ignoring the fact that Congress has had to infuse debt money into the system to keep it afloat, such as here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/14/AR2008091401657.html

    And all of this has nothing to do with my main point, which was that the gov’t is spending far too much money it doesn’t have and building up economy-stagnating interest payments that could be going to far better things.


  44. - Liandro - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 3:10 pm:

    Pluto and Ghost are on the right track as to others ways this kind of “investment” can be far more costly then advertised. Yes, it looks all wonderful at the ribbon cutting ceremony…but only because it is oh-so-easy to suppress the mid- and long-term costs.


  45. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 3:11 pm:

    What is going to be the next big thing if high speed rail is some kind of salvation? High speed canals? Bike expressways?

    There is not enough demand to waste a billion dollars of our money in building this albatross - if there was then we would see it being built.

    Without a market, there is no future. How many white elephants do we need in the land of lincoln?


  46. - phocion - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 3:14 pm:

    Yes, Liandro, a few years ago, for the first time Congress has had to infuse money from GRF into the trust fund because the gas tax hasn’t been increased in almost 20 years.

    But thank you for your ad hominem attacks. As an expert in transportation funding, I’m heartened that a layman such as you can link to a two year old newspaper article about the highway trust fund. I can assure you that I understand in great depth how transportation is funded, the current status of the HTF, that the tollway is not subsidized by general revenues (they’re also called user fees, and I don’t suspect you would call that “socialism”), and pretty much any public policy issue pertaining to the topic.

    I’d appreciate if you would keep your own ad hominem arguments to yourself, such as throwing around the term “socialism” when providing your critique of how transportation is funded. Clearly your knowledge of the topic is severely limited, and your outbursts merely illustrate your own ignorance.


  47. - Ghost of John Brown - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 3:28 pm:

    Liandro,

    While there have been infusions as phocian has talked about, you also have to look at what has been “paid for” from the federal gas tax. We tax motorists via fuel charges when they drive on the roadways. We then take a significant chunk of that and build bicycle paths (which generate no gas tax) and we build subways (which generate no gas tax), and occassionally, a Congresscritter puts in an earmark for a museum or something (which generates no gas tax). There is probably not a good way to exactly quantify it, but in GENERAL, roads are paid for via user fees (mainly gas tax) so the motorists pay for the roads that they drive on.

    You can do an interesting history (I have done the research myself) on private roadways at the beginning of the 1900’s, and they were largely paid for by private investment. While they were somewhat workable, they were disconnected and did not function well. Government construction of roadways via gas tax has been one of the functions of government that has been done well.

    All of the diversions from roadway construction into other areas have not been helpful. Unfortunately, the Stimulus Bill from last year was largely touted as a construction bill (”shovel ready projects”), and then the vast majority of the spending had little to do with construction. Tricks like this have not helped gaining voter trust in funding additional roadway construction. If you put out a bill that is STRICTLY roadway construction without a single diversion and ask the voters to support it, it would have good support. The City of Rockford has put out ballot measures for years this way and they have been very successful and well received.


  48. - JustaJoe - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 3:45 pm:

    A few notes of caution:
    There needs to be a NEED (demand) that will be adequate to support ongoing costs.
    Fed money usually requires a state share…got one?
    To lead, the rail needs to be truly high speed, not just a-little-faster-than-slow rail (as has been most discussion of IL HS rail)….there must be real advantages over driving and a way to have it operate without subsidies.
    Safety is an issue, like no at-grade crossings…so there are roadways to be addressed.
    Cost over-runs will be inevitable.
    Utility for the users, at both ends, needs to be addressed, otherwise there are practical obstacles to use.
    Planners like to dream about this kind of thing, but a market need that gets satisfied is a key to success….Governor Christie in Pennsylvania had the foresight to reject federal funds for a project his state could not afford. Perhaps Illinois should tread lightly.


  49. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 3:47 pm:

    –What is going to be the next big thing if high speed rail is some kind of salvation?–

    VMan, I think you’re looking for salvation in the wrong places

    But commerce and freedom necessitate the best in communication options, including mass transit. That’s how you “grow” an economy.

    Communication — of ideas and goods, are Illinois’ bread and butter.

    We have natural advantages. If the Cheeseheads want to leave nearly a billion dollars on the table, I’ll pick it up.

    What governor would not?


  50. - Liandro - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 3:56 pm:

    Phocian, as an expert, can you tell me how many times a city or state has infused something besides “use” taxes into local roads? How many times patch jobs have come from more general funds? How many times a any state, city, township, or county has used any funds besides “use” taxes to salt, repair, build, sign, or otherwise work with our vast roadway system? Can you tell me how many millions of gallons of gas are used for non-road engines, but still go to pay for those roads?

    Expert that you may be, I attend city and county board meetings at times, and I have a moderate understanding of how township, city, and county tax systems work, and how they may or may not spend their money. I’m no expert, but I’m not blind either.

    All of this ignores the basic premise of what you are arguing: that the government has the power to plot out, build, and maintain roads, and that it does this via taxing the people. Or, to put it more simply, the government owns the roads. I don’t have a problem with that, but I call it like I see it. That they choose to levy “use” taxes versus any other sort of tax, while important, doesn’t change who owns the roads. The roads are socialized, and that’s not a bad thing. Call it like it is.

    And, again, none of this had to do with my main point. I am far more interested in reducing our annual interest payments then I am in privatizing road systems (which, as I’ve already stated, I’m not in favor of at all). Maybe we’re just arguing the semantics of what “socialism” is, but if the various levels of government own the roads, then they’re socialized. And on a side-note, saying something is “socialized” is not an ad hominem. Were I to call you, personally, a “socialist”, that would be a ad hominem…and I didn’t do that.


  51. - Liandro - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 3:59 pm:

    @Ghost:

    I agree that the government has, by and large, done well by roadways. I think I said that in every post I made related to the matter. In fact my initial post mentioned that I didn’t think it was “a bad thing” that roads have been socialized vs privatized. I know it’s popular to complain about the roads, but I don’t really jump on that bandwagon very often. =P


  52. - Pioneer P. - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 4:23 pm:

    Doesn’t Wisconsin already have legendary nice roads?


  53. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 6:36 pm:

    ==offset the ones Olin moves to Mississippi==
    Olin workers were given the opportunity–twice–to vote whether to keep those jobs in Illinois. The workers chose not to…


  54. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 8:59 pm:

    JustaJoe,

    Christie is the governor of NEW JERSEY not Pennsylvania.

    Also, I’d love to hear how turning down federal funds (when millions have already been expended and digging has already begun) shows that much foresight when the project he rejected was one DECADES in the making and meant to relieve congestion in a 100-year-old tunnel.

    I mean what is wrong with this country that we can’t find a way to invest in public works any more? Walking around Chicago it’s amazing how many bridges you see the construction date of the 1930s. Somehow America found a way to build a ton of infrastructure during the depths of the Great Depression, yet we can’t find a way to build things now? Really?


  55. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Nov 11, 10 @ 11:41 pm:

    Illinois and Wisconsin has had different state governments for almost 150 years. Many times Wisconsin has chosen liberal governments while Illinois went traditional, and it isn’t unusual to see this flip.

    But what we have seen is Wisconsin enjoying better government and ex-governors who don’t end up in jail. Wisconsin has done very well for itself so it is rather incredible for Illinoisans to denounce it’s neighbor to it’s north over this current difference.

    Those of you pounding the bar with laughter as Wisconsin decides to leave the saloon really doesn’t mean more beer for you. It is that the folks in Wisconsin decided to walk away from a state government that lives beyond it’s means. Furthermore, a difference of only 20,000 votes would mean Illinois electing a man with similar beliefs. So, I have no idea why you guys feel so full of yourselves enough to denounce Wisconsin government as cheeseheaded or teabaggerish.

    As far as I can see, Wisconsin has joined half the other states including the fastest growining ones, in a lifeboat and paddling away from the sinking ship that is Kenysian economics, while Illinois, New York and California sit sloshed at the ship’s bar laughing that with fewer states at the bar there would be more for them.

    You guys don’t get it - obviously. The money you think you got coming free, isn’t. The idea that you think it will help create a future for Illinois, shows obsolete thinking as well as an inability to see the reality that so far, all this debt spending has been a waste.

    Oh, and the water rising at your waists is the result of global warming right? The ship we are on really isn’t sinking right? The folks on the lifeboats are just worry-warts with big government fears, not folks with brains, right?

    Get over yourselves, you are so 2008.


  56. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 12, 10 @ 12:40 am:

    ===But what we have seen is Wisconsin enjoying better government and ex-governors who don’t end up in jail.===

    I don’t think any Illinois Senate Majority Leader and House Speaker have ever both been indicted on the same day on felony extortion charges.


  57. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 12, 10 @ 6:32 am:

    Gee, Rich, way to ruin a VMan fairy tale.

    Wisconsin wants the money. They just want to spend it on something other than for what it was appropriated.


  58. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 12, 10 @ 7:15 am:

    –As far as I can see, Wisconsin has joined half the other states including the fastest growining ones, in a lifeboat and paddling away from the sinking ship that is Kenysian economics, while Illinois, New York and California sit sloshed at the ship’s bar laughing that with fewer states at the bar there would be more for them.–

    What a bunch of gas. Illinois, California and New York support the rest of the country with their taxes.–

    It’s the rugged individualists of the South and West that take more out of the federal government than they pay in taxes.

    http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/266.html

    ==So, I have no idea why you guys feel so full of yourselves enough to denounce Wisconsin government as cheeseheaded or teabaggerish.–

    Wisconsin is definitely full of Cheeseheads and has it’s share of Tea Partiers (I don’t use the naughty word that you do), but the conditions are unrelated.


  59. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 12, 10 @ 7:32 am:

    ===Wisconsin wants the money. They just want to spend it on something other than for what it was appropriated.===

    An excellent point. VMan, try to stick to reality, please. Your comment made zero sense when put up next to actual facts.

    You are so October.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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