Let’s Do the Math

From a Better Mount Pleasant: https://www.facebook.com/abettermtpleasant/

MESSAGE FROM VILLAGE PRESIDENT
Seasons Greetings!

This year, we’ve continued our work to move the transformational Foxconn project forward and have celebrated numerous milestones. Site preparation and utility and road work is underway, as is vertical construction on the first of many buildings on what is becoming the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park. We are already seeing the positive results of Foxconn’s investment in our community, including new jobs and business for local companies, increased opportunities for area residents who have been connected with employment and training and the announcement of significant new developments right here in Mount Pleasant.

The medical segment has certainly taken notice of us with expansion announcements from Ascension, Aurora and Froedert South. The Lake Park bluff erosion project was completed and will go a long ways towards protecting vulnerable residents as well as Village infrastructure. The Pike River pathway is nearly completed, which is a wonderful quality-of-life enhancer.

Many thanks go to our incredibly talented Village staff for the amazing work they have done this past year. This is the first full year on the job for Administrator Murphy, and we recently extended her contract. With her help, we have changed the face of Mount Pleasant. We have filled key staff positions of Finance Director and a new Accountant. Our books are balanced and our budget was approved with a drop in the Village tax rate portion of our tax bill. The goal is always to balance the needs of the Village with what our taxpayers can afford. We have added a new Human Resources Director, and adopted a pay plan and performance review process. We have bolstered the ranks of our protective services with new hires.

On behalf of the Village Board, best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2019.

David DeGroot
Village President

So according to MTP Village President, along with many other SE Wisconsin and Racine County Residents – Foxconn will employ 13,000 people being paid an average of $53,000 per year.

13,000 employees times $53,000 = $689,000,000 – per year!

So what is the price point which Foxconn must sell those LCD TV’s at  to at least break even? (This does not take into consideration WI tax credits or Pollution credits) Foxconn’s  actual cost to produce LCD TV’s is not able to be determined at this time – so we will have to deal with raw numbers – based upon projections provided by MTP Village President David DeGroot…..

Let us assume a price point of $250 per LCD TV – does that sound reasonable?

So we have 13,000 employees times $53,000 = $689,000,000 – per year divided by $250 LCD TV’s sold annually. Remember that this amount does not allow for profit – or consider what is the actual price point at which Consumers can afford to purchase the LCD TV’s in the quantity required to be produced…..

Which comes to: 2,756,000 TV’s which must be sold annually. But we still haven’t actually determined the cost to manufacture the LCD TV’s due to the cost of raw materials and production. Along with distribution and handling.

While producing 2,756,000 TV’s in 12 months = 645 LCD TV’s per day – if the factory is operating 7 days a week. Working anything less only increases demands for increased productivity per hour/day . At what point is the Worker – “over worked”? What happens when a bathroom break interferes with production?

Raising the price point only increases the demand for less wages to be paid with hopes for increased efficiency and less cost for labor/materials per unit.

The bigger question is – what will it actually cost to manufacture a LCD TV to sell in large enough quantities to make the Foxconn WI Valley project profitable, pay on the debt and associated costs, while allowing base level workers to thrive and other Businesses to prosper? The most likely answer is that: IT CAN’T FEASIBLY BE DONE.

In Asia, workers usually labor 12 hours a day, 7 days a week – so $53,000 per year comes to 365 X 12 divided by $53,000 =  $12.10 per hour. Which is way far more than Foxconn pays it’s Chinese and Indian Workers! And Foxconn has already stated that it didn’t take into account the higher US wage requirements, which it won’t pay….

Workers in Asia and India sleep in shifts at Company owned dorms – often only earning $2.50 day Compare that with taxpayer subsidized section 8 housing in Racine – which starts at $460/month. Who says Republicans hate State sponsored taxpayer funded welfare – they are it’s biggest beneficiaries. Take from the productive – to give back to “US” – your Rulers, Overlords, Landlords and Taxing Authorities.

TROUBLING INDEED!

In addition, every Consumer of the Foxconn manufactured product must be able to afford the cost of the (usually) subscribed TV service. While in areas where subscribed TV service is unavailable – the LCD TV will be….. worthless.

And what happens when the technology becomes obsolete? Residents will have to live with the consequences – which usually means abandoned buildings and polluted areas – ala Machinery Row…

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker pauses as he speaks at a news conference Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, in Madison, Wis., where he announced that he is suspending his Republican presidential campaign. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Maybe Snotty Scottie Walker will express his sympathy and condolences for the left behind workers of SE WI. *HEY* Good Luck!

*BONUS* say goodbye to Lordstown….

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors will lay off 14,700 factory and white-collar workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure as it restructures to cut costs and focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles.

The reduction includes 8,100 white-collar workers, some of whom will take buyouts and others who will be laid off. Most of the affected factories build cars that won’t be sold in the U.S. after next year. They could close or they could get different vehicles to build. They will be part of contract talks with the United Auto Workers union next year.

Plants without products include assembly plants in Detroit; Lordstown, Ohio; and Oshawa, Ontario. Also affected are transmission factories in Warren, Michigan, as well as Baltimore.

More than 6,000 factory workers could lose jobs in the U.S. and Canada, although some could transfer to truck and SUV plants.

https://www.cleveland.com/business/2018/11/gm-to-slash-14700-jobs-in-north-america-lordstown-plant-faces-closure.html

While Collapse is stalking the land….

The Christmas present nobody wants sits under the tree: a worldwide finance crisis along with an establishment that appears to be coming apart at the seams.

The status quo is unraveling from all sides, at the top especially, where managers cannot conceal their panic:

steve from virginia @econundertow

When the captain of the ship starts taking the covers off the lifeboats there is a problem. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/12/23/treasury-secretary-makes-unusual-pre-christmas-call-top-bank-ceos-amid-market-mayhem/ 

Treasury secretary startles Wall Street with unusual pre-Christmas calls to top bank CEOs

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called the heads of the biggest U.S. banks on Sunday to confirm they are financially sound and not experiencing excessive financial stress, a highly unusual outreach…

washingtonpost.com

Oops!

“Every banker knows that if he must prove he is worthy of credit, however good might be his arguments, in fact his credit is gone.”

— Walter Bagehot

https://www.economic-undertow.com/2018/12/25/collapse-something-or-other/

OOPS – Indeed. Color me pissed off – Yellow Vests!

If French president Emmanuel Macron is hoping for some holiday respite from the anti-government pro citizen/anti elite protests which have rocked France, he might want to avoid the presidential retreat along the Mediterranean coast.

Around 40 “yellow vest” demonstrators on Thursday tried to storm the medieval fort of Bregancon that serves as Mr Macron’s summer retreat before being turned back by police, the mayor of nearby Bormes-les-Mimosas, Francois Arizzi, told AFP on Friday.

https://www.news.com.au/world/europe/yellow-vest-protesters-target-macrons-vacation-hideaway/news-story/8461b95521d038445cfcc6bc76a06b03

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Will Foxconn Lift Up SE WI or Lead to Its Collapse?

A lesson from history, as it seems to repeat. The WPA is reborn  via Foxconn, Amazon, and other large scale Corporate interests as governments borrow money to finance private ventures with the hopes of employment for the masses and a future payout so that they can maintain the status quo for grossly overpaid/compensated Bureaucrats, and those fortunate enough to be employed in taxpayer financed public/private ventures and non-profits.

The Works Progress Administration (WPA; renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration) was the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. In a much smaller project, Federal Project Number One, the WPA employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects.

Almost every community in the United States had a new park, bridge, or school that was constructed by the agency. The WPA’s initial appropriation in 1935 was for $4.9 billion (about 6.7 percent of the 1935 GDP).

Headed by Harry Hopkins, the WPA provided jobs and income to the unemployed during the Great Depression in the United States, while developing infrastructure to support the current and future society. At its peak in 1938, it provided paid jobs for three million unemployed men and women, as well as youth in a separate division, the National Youth Administration. Between 1935 and 1943, when the agency was disbanded, the WPA employed 8.5 million people. Most people who needed a job were eligible for employment in some capacity. Hourly wages were typically set to the prevailing wages in each area.Full employment, which was reached in 1942 and emerged as a long-term national goal around 1944, was not the goal of the WPA; rather, it tried to provide one paid job for all families in which the breadwinner suffered long-term unemployment.

BAU (Business As Usual) must continue at all costs – residents, environment, resources, and basic decency will not be allowed to interfere with progress.  The battle for the radical change of learning to live with less and create truly Sustainable Communities, recognizing that resources on Planet Earth are finite,  has been lost.

by Ugo Bardi

About 2,000 years ago, the Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca wrote to his friend Licilius noting that “growth is slow, but ruin is rapid”. It was an apparently obvious observation, but one of those observations that turns out to be not obvious at all if you just think a little about it.

Understanding the real message that LTG sent to us in 1972, and that it is still sending, takes a certain effort. First, you have to free your mind from the layers of legends that have accumulated around it over four decades, but that is not enough. You have to free yourself also from the common attitude that prevents us from understanding how complex systems behave. There is no fixed future for systems such as the world’s economic system, only trends. But these systems still obey physical laws: the limits of natural resources, the finiteness of the world system, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. And there are the constants of human behavior: mainly our tendency of preferring immediate satisfaction to a future one, a phenomenon known as “discounting the future.

All together, these factors push the world system to follow a well defined path. We cannot determine exactly what the future will be, but we can produce a “fan” of trajectories that show to us where the system is heading to. The original 1972 LTG study had already identified the main factors that have been dominating the behavior of the world’s economy. The combined effects of resource depletion and pollution accumulation (seen today mainly in terms of climate change) have been gradually reducing the ability of the industrial system of accumulating capital and of fuelling growth. These factors will, eventually, cause the world’s industrial and agricultural systems to start a decline that could be defined as “collapse” which, later on, will involve also the collapse of the world’s population.

Reality has been transcended by television programming and the smartphone – a phone for dumb people; which is why it is the smartphone.
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IF Foxconn could readily employ 13,000 at a minimum of $53G each, as the Politicans of WI claim, then why can’t other local private Employers?
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If being paid $53G – and does that include the non-taxable fringe? – is such a great thing – then why are the halls of local government filled with Bureaucrats making $100G plus a year, Tax -free fringes well in excess of $25G, and early retirements, providing opportunities for a second double dipping career in the non-productive World of Management? The only thing Bureaucrats farm is TAXES!
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From Journal Times:

Proposal to review city positions paying over $100,000 stalls

RACINE – A proposal to review vacant high-paying city positions in hopes of finding cost-saving opportunities failed to move past the Finance and Personnel Committee on Monday.

Under the proposal, any position vacant due to retirement or resignation that typically pays more than $100,000 in salary and benefits would be reviewed by the committee and City Council before any hire, said Alderman Eric Marcus, who proposed the idea.

In some cases, he said, the responsibilities of a currently unfilled position may be divided among other employees or the committee could decide to reduce a position’s salary.

“I think it’s an opportunity to see if there is some way we can combine positions in an era of real fiscal responsibility,” Marcus said.

There are about 150 city positions that are paid, through salaries and benefits, more than $100,000 a year.

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Too often, these same Bureaucrats then flee Racine County, even the State of Wisconsin, to establish residence in a State without income tax and lower property tax rates! They become tax-evading Snow-Birds! But still they demand more yearly increases while they avoid paying the taxes which fund their retirements, benefits, and increases!

Tax planning is a cornerstone of retirement planning. But by focusing on Uncle Sam, many retirees overlook the state-tax bite. States vary across the map on how they tax everything from retirement income to retail purchases. If you’re thinking of relocating, be sure to know how potential retirement destinations compare with your current state when it comes to taxes.

ERoEI for Beginners

See: http://euanmearns.com/eroei-for-beginners/

The Energy Return on Energy Invested (ERoEI or EROI) of any energy gathering system is a measure of that system’s efficiency. The concept was originally derived in ecology and has been transferred to analyse human industrial society. In today’s energy mix, hydroelectric power ± nuclear power have values > 50. At the other end of the scale, solar PV and biofuels have values <5.

It is assumed that ERoEI >5 to 7 is required for modern society to function. This marks the edge of The Net Energy Cliff and it is clear that new Green technologies designed to save humanity from CO2 may kill humanity through energy starvation instead. Fossil fuels remain comfortably away from the cliff edge but march closer to it for every year that passes.

But in the end, Industrial Civilization, predicated upon a civilization dependent upon an infinite supply of cheap petroleum, will spectacularly fail because there are limits to growth on a finite Planet.
By Gail Tverberg:

The world economy seems to be seriously ill. The problem is not overly high oil prices, but that does not rule out energy as being a major underlying problem.

Two of the symptoms of the economy’s malaise are slow wage growth and increasing wage disparity. Tariffs are being used as solutions to these issues. Radical leaders are increasingly being elected. The Bank for International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund have raised concerns about the world’s aggregate debt levels. The IMF has even suggested that a second Great Depression might be ahead if major banks should fail in the manner that Lehman Brothers did in 2008.

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The above graph courtesy of: https://beforethecollapse.com/2018/06/25/the-cost-of-civilization/

Essentially, this is the Cost of our Civilization, and it is on an exponential curvature;

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And an exponential curve works like this…… a doubling every time…… 1 to 2 to 4 to 8 to 16 to 32 to 64 to 128 to 256 to 512 to 1024…. to infinity.

Politicians LIE for a living.

Politicians have to lie, because it is their only means of support.

They justify endless wars, instill fear, demand endless tribute, and bully the productive. Their ranks multiply until they become a unstoppable swarm whose insatiable demands exceed the capacity of the productive, rapes the land, and creates societal collapse. Soon to be coming to SE WI and beyond.

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*UPDATED* – Oily Stuff Blog sends:

There Appears To Be No End To US LTO Growth

ALL OF THIS GROWTH WILL OCCUR ON DEFERRED DEBT, OR NEW DEBT. MOST, IF NOT ALL OF THIS NEW GROWTH WILL GET EXPORTED TO FOREIGN  COUNTIES. MORE LTO PRODUCTION = LOWER PRICES (now down 18% in <5 weeks),  NO PROFIT… AND WILL FURTHER REDUCE THE SHALE OIL INDUSTRY’S ABILITY TO PAY BACK DEBT OR REFINANCE DEBT AS MATURITIES LOOM.

 

While SRSrocco Reports:

The situation at Canada’s Alberta Tar Sands Operations has gone from bad to worse as the super-low oil price is now costing the industry billions of dollars each month. Unbelievably, the price for the Western Canadian Select heavy oil fell to a gut-wrenching $14.65 yesterday down from a high of $58 in May. Tar sands oil is now selling at an amazing $40 discount to U.S. West Texas Oil which is trading at $56.

In a recent article from EnergySkeptic.com titled, Why tar sands, a toxic ecosystem-destroying asphalt, can’t fill in for declining conventional oil, a review of the book, Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent, stated the following four important points:

Many “energy experts” have said that a Manhattan tar sands project could prevent oil decline in the future. But that’s not likely. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Reaching 5 Mb/d will get increasingly (energy) expensive, because there’s only enough natural gas to mine 29% of tar sands (and limited water as well). Using the energy of the tar sand bitumen itself would greatly reduce the amount that could be produced and dramatically increase the cost and energy to mine it.
  2. Since there isn’t enough natural gas, many hope that nuclear reactors will replace natural gas. That would take a lot of time. Kjell Aleklett estimates it would take at least 7 years before a candu nuclear reactor could be built, and the Canadian Parliament estimates it would take 20 nuclear reactors to replace natural gas as a fuel source.
  3. Mined oil sands have been estimated to have an energy returned on invested of EROI of 5.5–6 for mined tar sands (perhaps 10% of the 170 billion barrels), with in situ processing much lower at 3.5–4 (Brandt 2013). Right now, 90% of the reserves being developed are via higher-EROI mining, yet 80% of remaining oil sands reserves are in situ, so the remaining reserves will be much less profitable.
  4. Counting on tar sands to replace declining conventional oil, with an EROI as high as 30 will be hard to accomplish, especially if it turns out to be the case that an EROI of 7 to 14 is required to maintain civilization as we know it (Lambert et al. 2014; Murphy 2011; Mearns 2008; Weissbach et al. 2013)

I believe the biggest problem with the sustainability of tar sands if we ignore the nasty environmental issues, is the low EROI – Energy Returned On Invested.  As point (4) states, a minimum of 7-14 EROI is needed to maintain civilization.  However, I believe the realistic range of a minimum EROI to sustain our modern societies is likely 10-12 EROI.  So, shale oil at an EROI of 5/1 or less (probably much less) and tar sands at 4-6/1, these are not sustainable energy sources.

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Impoverishing the masses is merely conservation by other means.

Everything You Need To Know About the Fox-Scam Grand Illusion In a Simple Paragraph

“There are more questions than answers right now,” said Haas. “Right now, if they don’t even know what they want to make … they don’t really know what to tell me.

Full Comic available at the following link: https://progressive.org/dispatches/don-t-be-conned-by-foxconn-181020/

From the JT:

Water use and Foxconn discussed at community meeting

“There are more questions than answers right now,” said Haas. “Right now, if they don’t even know what they want to make … they don’t really know what to tell me.”

“There are more questions than answers right now,” said Haas. “Right now, if they don’t even know what they want to make … they don’t really know what to tell me.”

“There are more questions than answers right now,” said Haas. “Right now, if they don’t even know what they want to make … they don’t really know what to tell me.”

The only thing Governor Scott Walker and the Republican Party of WI desires is for the citizens of SE Wisconsin to continue voting for the Republican Criminals who have turned a blind eye to the plight of the Common Citizen and have offered them the false hope of future employment at a fraction of the wages and benefits which the Politicos who rule SE WI reward themselves with!

“There are more questions than answers right now,” said Haas. “Right now, if they don’t even know what they want to make … they don’t really know what to tell me.”

As William Catton so succinctly observed:

The Industrial Revolution made us precariously dependent on nature’s dwindling legacy of non-renewable resources, even though we did not at first recognize this fact. Many major events of modern history were unforeseen results of actions taken with inadequate awareness of ecological mechanisms. Peoples and governments never intended some of the outcomes their actions would incur.

To see where we are now headed, when our destiny has departed so radically from our aspirations, we must examine some historic indices that point to the conclusion that even the concept of succession (as explored in previous chapters) understates the ultimate consequences of our own exuberance. We can begin by taking a fresh look at the Great Depression of the 1930s, an episode people saw largely in the shallower terms of economics and politics when they were living through it. [1] From an ecologically informed perspective, what else can we now see in it?

The Great Depression, looked at ecologically, was a preview of the fate toward which mankind has been drawn by the kinds of progress that have depended on consuming exhaustible resources. We need to see why it was not recognized for the preview it was; this will help us to grasp at last the meaning missed earlier.

We did not know we were watching a preview because, when the world economy fell apart in 1929-32, it was not from exhaustion of essential fuels or materials. From the very definition of carrying capacity—the maximum indefinitely supportable ecological load—we can now see that non-renewable resources provide no real carrying capacity; they provide only phantom carrying capacity. If coming to depend on phantom carrying capacity is a Faustian bargain that mortgages the future of Homo colossus as the price of an exuberant present, that mortgage was not yet being foreclosed in the Great Depression. Even so, much of the suffering that befell so much of mankind in the 1930s does need to be seen as the result of a carrying capacity deficit. The fact that the deficit did not stem from resource exhaustion in that instance makes it no less indicative of the kinds of grief entailed by resource depletion. Accordingly, we need to understand what did bring on a carrying capacity deficit in the 1930s.

 

“There are more questions than answers right now,” said Haas. “Right now, if they don’t even know what they want to make … they don’t really know what to tell me.”

Please join Cindy and I is JUST SAYING NO to allowing Wisconsin’s very own Gang of Four, Governor Scott Walker, Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave,  City of Racine Mayor Cory Mason & MTP President David DeGroot to violate the Wisconsin Constitution (and their Oath of Office) by granting special rights to Corporate interests, stealing people’s property, destroying multi-generational Farms alongside an entire long established Community, loosening environmental protections, permitting heavy metals water pollution, instituting slave labor wages, providing taxpayer subsidies to multi-billionaire Corporations, and politician overreach.

“There are more questions than answers right now,” said Haas. “Right now, if they don’t even know what they want to make … they don’t really know what to tell me.”

“There are more questions than answers right now,” said Haas. “Right now, if they don’t even know what they want to make … they don’t really know what to tell me.”

Foxconn Abandons it’s $12 Billion Investment in Brazil, Shutting Down Operations and Selling Off Equipment Due to Costs

Dazed and Confused Politicians in SE Wisconsin simply don’t understand that Foxconn is in the business of making money, while keeping their labor costs low, so profits are maximized. Politicians never have to worry about labor costs or selling price points because they have the power of taxation – imposing the collection of taxes at the point of a gun, versus the private sector, which must sell consumers a manufactured product.  Which in Wisconsin Foxconn’s case is a LCD TV.

SE Wisconsin residents need to be particularly concerned as Foxconn has recently decided to discontinue it’s $12 Billion investment in Brazil!

Foxconn angers Brazilian officials with slow manufacturing ramp-up

While some believed that Foxconn’s 2011 expansion to Brazil would bring as many as 100,000 jobs and $12 billion in capital investment, the company currently has fewer than 10,000 employees in its 5 Brazilian factories, according to Reuters. One of those facilities is reportedly dedicated to production of Apple’s iPhone 5s.

Despite a public commitment to invest at least $325 million in a new industrial park in Itu, outside of São Paulo, the site is not yet operational, though Foxconn did say it should come online by the end of 2015. The lack of headway has been cause for consternation among city officials.

“People are really frustrated,” Itu city councilor Givanildo Soares da Silva said. “We were expecting all these jobs by now and it’s still just empty promises.”

Of the jobs that Foxconn has brought, many pay little more than minimum wage. Acceptance testers at the Brazilian iPhone plant, for example, bring home just $80 per week and lack access to the same training and advancement opportunities that their counterparts in Foxconn’s Chinese facilities receive.

Workers have held at least three strikes at the iPhone factory, and a union representative said they were planning another. Such labor flare-ups have angered Foxconn founder Terry Guo, who infamously slammed Brazilian labor in 2010.

“Brazilian workers’ wages are very high. But Brazilians, as soon as they hear ‘soccer,’ they stop working. And there’s all the dancing. It’s crazy,” he said at the time.

Manufacturing Apple devices in Brazil also has not had the desired effect of lowering local prices, which are inflated by as much as 30 percent on imported goods thanks to various taxes and tariffs. iPhones and iPads routinely sell for twice as much in Brazil as they do in the U.S., which does not surprise local residents.

“If we’re buying it at that price, then why would they bring it down?” one shopper told Reuters. “I don’t even know what the next iPad does, but I know I need it.”

Meanwhile, ZD Net reports that  Foxconn, in addition to ceasing it’s manufacturing operations in Brazil,  is closing it’s facilities, and selling off the manufacturing equipment.

Foxconn set to discontinue Brazil manufacturing operations

The firm appears to be giving up on the country following promises of $12bn investment.

DOJ Validates Concerns Regarding Mt. Pleasant Open Meetings and Free Speech Violations

Press Release: DOJ Validates Concerns Regarding Mt. Pleasant Open Meetings and Free Speech Violations

From: A BETTER MT. PLEASANT·MONDAY, JULY 16, 2018

“​Community group files complaint for censoring residents living in Foxconn area at two public meetings.”

MT. PLEASANT, WI JULY 16, 2018 – During a publicly noticed meeting of the Mt. Pleasant Community Development Authority (CDA) on April 17, 2018, village residents were prevented from speaking during public comment about the redevelopment plan for Foxconn, the only item on the agenda and one which affects the land and homes where these same residents live.

When the public comment period began, CDA Chairman Rob Richardson announced that no public comments would be heard regarding items listed on the meeting agenda. Richardson asked each of the dozen or more residents who had signed up to speak (by filling out forms provided by the village which said they could speak on “any item”) if they had something to say about a subject NOT on the agenda.

Visibly confused and upset, members of the public challenged Richardson’s actions, saying he could not restrict what people had to say in a publicly noticed public comment period. Richardson replied that he had been “told” he could. Chairman Richardson continued to restrict comment topics in spite of challenges by the public.

“I have never seen anything like it in a public meeting. Governmental bodies are warned not to engage in discussions during public comment about items not on the agenda,” says Kelly Gallaher, spokesperson for the local grassroots organization A Better Mt. Pleasant. “This was the exact opposite. They were trying to stop the public from commenting about things they were preparing to debate.”

A Better Mt. Pleasant wrote to Mt. Pleasant Village Administrator Maureen Murphy the following day to express concern and ask under what authority did Mr. Richardson have to restrict the topic on which the public wished to speak.

“We received a reply the next day from Chris Smith, the newly hired village attorney. He said that since governmental bodies in Wisconsin are not required to have a public comment period, the actions of the CDA Chairman were appropriate and legal.” Gallaher says, “Mr. Smith’s opinion was not just disappointing, we felt it was wholly incorrect.”

On May 9, 2018, in the next CDA meeting, the chairman did it again. When the public comment period began, Mr. Richardson and special village legal counsel, Alan Marcuvitz, announced the CDA would hear no comments regarding items listed on the meeting agenda. Any such comments would be ruled out of order.
“Chairman Richardson read through the list of people who signed up to speak and asked each of them if they had something to say about topics not on the agenda. It was a nauseating display – with the village president sitting right beside him,” Gallaher said. “They were violating the free speech of their own neighbors – again – and not a single member of the CDA spoke up in opposition.”

On behalf of A Better Mt. Pleasant, Gallaher filed a formal request for opinion with the Wisconsin Office of Open Government and collaborated with Wisconsin State Representative Peter Barca, who contacted Attorney General Brad Schimel for guidance

On July 13, 2018 the Department of Justice forwarded their guidance to Rep. Barca, Village Attorney Smith and the Mt. Pleasant CDA.

The DOJ guidance said the actions of the CDA do not appear to comport with the policies of the open meetings law, that governmental bodies are to receive information from the public on any item during publicly noticed public comment periods, and, most importantly, governmental bodies who act to restrict topics offered by the public in public meetings may face First Amendment liability damages.

“The CDA was wrong. The village attorney was wrong,” says Gallaher. “It took months of correspondence and research, the actions of a state representative and the attorney general’s office, to tell the Village of Mt. Pleasant what any reasonable person already knew – they were illegally and inappropriately trying to censor the public. They failed at every level of public responsibility and duty.”

On Monday, July 16, 2018, Kelly Gallaher filed a formal municipal complaint with the village on behalf of A Better Mt. Pleasant.

“The DOJ guidance made it very clear it is unlikely the actions of Mt. Pleasant would be upheld in a court of law or by the Attorney General, but village officials were cautioned against restricting public comment about agenda items during a publicly noticed comment period,” Gallaher continued. “We expect a formal apology to the residents who had the right to speak and were denied. We also expect change.”

“Mt. Pleasant has an embarrassing history of violating state policies on meeting notifications, failing to approve and publish minutes of official actions, and operating with little to no accountability. This behavior must end. We are absolutely willing to take this village to court in order to bring about real institutional change.” Gallaher concludes, “it’s their choice, they can continue to be an embarrassing example of how local government should not work or they can learn to be better.”

A Better Mt. Pleasant is a nonpartisan, community organization dedicated to advancing a fair, accountable and transparent local government in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Department of Justice Guidance – July 2018
CDA Municipal Complaint – July 2018
Press Release: Mt. Pleasant Village Officials Threaten and Censor Foxconn Area Residents
Press Release: Village of Mt. Pleasant to certify blight resolution in illegal meeting
A Better Mt. Pleasant shared their post.

A brief comment about the note we published this morning and the municipal complaint which was forwarded today to the village.

We don’t care if the residents who wished to speak were Democrats or Republicans – their rights were violated for no purpose whatsoever. The arrogance displayed by the CDA, village attorney’s, and the village president who sat there and let it all happen, illustrates exactly how local government should NOT behave.

We expect apologies to these people and we expect change. If they offer neither, we are absolutely prepared to take them to court

WI Governor Scott Walker Has Promised 13,000 + Jobs Paying $53G + Bennies At Foxconn! I’m Betting Scott Walker’s Claim *FAILS*!

Ok – Guvnor Walker, State Rep Robin Vos, and City of Racine Mayor Cory Mason – I’ll take that bet – and claim that not only do you fall short – but the only way SE WI. will be able to avoid Bankruptcy, is to implement higher property taxes in accordance with Chicago Federal Reserve Bank Policies!

How Should the State of Illinois Pay for its Unfunded Pension Liability? The Case for a Statewide Residential Property Tax

The views expressed in this post are our own and do not reflect those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago or the Federal Reserve System.

Note: This post is based on previous work presented by the same authors at the forum “Navigating Pension Reform in Illinois: What Lies Ahead”, held on April 17, 2018 at the Chicago Fed. The original presentation is available here.

The State of Illinois has a very large unfunded pension liability and will likely have to pay much of it off by raising taxes. The Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability estimated the state’s unfunded liability at $129.1 billion in mid-2017,[1] which was about 19% of state personal income.[2] Benefits to public employees are protected under the Illinois Constitution, and a recent attempt to reduce the unfunded liability by reducing retirees’ benefits was struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court.[3] So, assuming that the state can’t reduce its current pension obligations and that it wants to maintain its current level of services, Illinois residents are going to have to pay higher taxes. What’s the best way to do it?

Because the debt is so large, it’s unrealistic to think that new taxes (such as a tax on legalized marijuana or financial transactions) or increases that affect only a narrow segment of the population will be enough.

Illinois will have to find additional revenues from already existing tax bases, either by increasing rates, expanding the definition of what is taxable, or a combination of the two.[4] Illinois state and local governments have three primary tax revenue sources—income, sales, and property—and each presents a unique set of tradeoffs in terms of how it affects the economy and who pays it.

In our view, Illinois’s best option is to impose a statewide residential property tax that expires when its unfunded pension liability is paid off. In our baseline scenario, we estimate that the tax rate required to pay off the pension debt over 30 years would be about 1%. This means that homeowners with homes worth $250,000 would pay an additional $2,500 per year in property taxes, those with homes worth $500,000 would pay an additional $5,000, and those with homes worth $1 million would pay an additional $10,000.

WHOA HORSIE!

There are several good reasons to pay off Illinois’s pension debt through a statewide residential property tax:

  • Fairness: Illinois residents who have benefited most from the past services of governmental employees are more likely to be homeowners, so it seems reasonable that they should pay a larger share of the costs.
  • Efficiency: Standard economic theory predicts that home values go down in response to new property taxes (that is, they are “capitalized” into home values). Current homeowners would not be happy about this, but it would be a good result for the Illinois economy. That’s because the new taxes wouldn’t affect people thinking of moving to Illinois. While they would have to pay higher property taxes, that would be offset by not having to pay as much for their new homes. In addition, current homeowners would not be able to avoid the new tax by selling their homes and moving because home prices should reflect the new tax burden quickly. (We included this “tax penalty” effect in our calculations below.)
  • Transparency: The payment amounts and duration of the tax would be known in advance.
  • Certainty: The property tax would be dedicated solely to paying for the state’s unfunded pension liability.
  • Equity: Wealthier people would pay more. The plan could also be modified so that the tax rate is graduated rather than flat (for example, by exempting the first $50,000 of home value or exempting households with incomes below a certain threshold).

To Consider – the Counter-Claims of Governor Scott Walker,  Boss Vos, and Cory “The TIC” Mason, who plan to finance SE WI with Foxconn PLUS a multi – billion Taxpayer funded investment:

From WI State Journal:

Foxconn to build $10B plant in Wisconsin employing up to 13,000

In what’s being called the largest economic development project in state history, Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn plans to build a $10 billion plant in Wisconsin that would create liquid-crystal display panels and employ as many as 13,000 people.

The planned Wisconsin plant is expected to open in 2020 and be part of a 20 million-square-foot campus on at least 1,000 acres — a location Gov. Scott Walker has dubbed “Wisconn Valley.”

Estimated 22,000 additional jobs

The plant is intended to be one of the largest manufacturing campuses in the world, according to Walker’s office, and could draw 10,000 construction jobs over the next four years while the plant is built.

Walker’s office projected the project would create at least 22,000 “indirect and induced jobs” throughout Wisconsin and will generate an estimated $181 million in state and local tax revenues annually, including $60 million in local property taxes.

Walker said the Foxconn jobs will have an average annual salary of more than $53,000 plus benefits.

REALLY! Well, maybe NOT!

 

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker pauses as he speaks at a news conference Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, in Madison, Wis., where he announced that he is suspending his Republican presidential campaign. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Current Wisconsin Foxconn Employee Count = ? (close to ZERO )

Current Wisconsin Foxconn Operational Manufacturing Facilities = ZERO.

Current Otput of Foxconn LCD TV Screens  = ZERO.

While debt + interest incurred by local governments continues to increase, along with property taxes, debt service payments, and Racine County plans to impose a local sales tax.

” Racine Floating A Sales Tax” City of Racine commits-to-Paris-climate-accord while supporting Foxconn that exceeds the pollution standards. Then suggesting a .5 sales tax after Racine County spends millions on taking land from taxpayers to support Foxconn. We bring the perspective down to the local level to discuss issues that affect our own city of Racine, WI We’re about investigative reporting on topics that matter: corruption, conflicts of interest, broken systems, abuses by institutions and individuals with power, whether that’s government, nonprofits, or the press itself.

State, County, and Local Governments are investing $Billions$ in borrowed money; abusing eminent domain, “Blight” designations,  TIF guidelines, Pollution Control Standards, destroying the preservation of Farmland and  Wetlands, while redirecting the natural flows and purity of massive amounts of fresh water, along with a Healthy Environment, to an Entity which promises to produce LCD TV screens – employing 13,000 people at an average salary of $53K each + Bennies,  all to prop up the Failed (and Bankrupt) Governments of SE Wisconsin – which continue to loot and oppress the remaining, and largely poor, minority, under-educated,  criminal, and exploited underclass.

SCORE:

Walker = ZERO.

Concerned Residents = ONE

To be Continued!

Foxconn Uses Loophole To Drain 7 Million Gallons Of Water Per Day From Lake Michigan

via Zerohedge:

Taiwanese tech manufacturer Foxconn will siphon seven million gallons of water per day from Lake Michigan after their upcoming Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin plant was granted approval by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The $10 billion, 20 million square foot facility expected to provide around 13,000 jobs will use around 61% of the siphoned water to manufacture LCD screens, while around 2.7 million gallons will be lost in the process each day, due primarily to evaporation. The remaining water will be treated and returned to the lake.

While that may sound like a lot of water, Wisconsin’s DNR notes that the Foxconn plant will “only amount to a 0.07 percent increase in the total surface water withdrawals from Lake Michigan,” however as Gizmodo notes, “For environmentalists in the region, the issue is not so much the diversion for the Foxconn factory itself but rather the precedent it will set for how the lake water can be used.

If we allow this to happen, it’s going to happen all over the basin, with other states and then it’s going to be the thirsty states and nations to come,” Jennifer Giegerich, the government affairs director for the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, warned during a public hearing about the diversion, according to the Wisconsin Gazette. –Gizmodo

Approximately 20% of the world’s fresh water can be found in the Great Lakes, which has historically been used for public purposes such as water utilities and drinking water – and protected by the 2008 Great Lakes Compact agreement intended to preserve the resource.

The agreement states “In general, there is a ban on new diversions of water from the Basin but limited exceptions could be allowed in communities near the Basin when rigorous standards are met.

Exceptions to the compact can be granted if permission is received from all eight governors of states which surround the great lakes

Foxconn, however, did not receive permission for the water draw – instead using a loophole which allowed the nearby town of Racine, which falls inside the Great Lakes Basin, to request the additional water and pipe it to the Foxconn factory in Mount Pleasant – a city served by the Racine water utility.

The request from Racine was allowed because water utility serves a small percentage of residents in Mount Pleasant. That allowed the DNR to say the diversion qualified as being used for “public water supply purposes” and would not require the type of stringent review applied to other cases. The DNR did acknowledge that the diversion would “partially” include the Foxconn facility. –Gizmodo

This loophole has angered environmentalists, which executive director of the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, Kerry Schulmann, says is “a thinly veiled attempt to degrade the Great Lakes Compact, one of the finest conservation achievements in a generation.”

Meanwhile, the Compact Implementation Coalition – organized to ensure that the Great Lakes Compact is adhered to, slammed the decision. “The CIC feels it is unfortunate that DNR is ignoring not only the spirit, intent and plain language of the Great Lakes Compact, but also the voiced concerns of thousands of Wisconsin citizens,” said the group in a statement.

Several conservation groups plan to challenge the DNR’s decision and try to hold them – and Foxconn, accountable. As Gizmodo‘s AJ Dellinger notes, however, they have their work cut out for them. “Prior to the water diversion, the DNR also granted Foxconn permits that will allow the company to pump harmful pollutants into the air,” writes Dellinger.

While Foxconn has yet to break ground on the planned fabrication plant, they just took posession of the property. Republican governor Scott Walker was able to secure Foxconn’s business by handing them $3 billion in tax credits.

Please join Cindy and I is JUST SAYING NO to allowing Governor Scott Walker, Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave,  City of Racine Mayor Cory Mason & MTP President David DeGroot to violate the Wisconsin Constitution (and their Oath of Office) by granting special rights to Corporate interests, stealing people’s property, destroying multi-generational Farms alongside an entire long established Community, loosening environmental protections, permitting heavy metals water pollution, instituting slave labor wages, providing taxpayer subsidies to multi-billionaire Corporations, and politician overreach.