photo by Bill Campbell; Moore is kneeling left of the children
I want to show you a flyer that Sen. Harsdorf is sending out to constituents and requesting their feedback. In it, she provides only two choices to solve the budget crisis: admittedly “painful” cuts in wages/ benefits/ services OR massive layoffs. What other options would you provide for District 10 constituents?
If I were going to circulate information telling people about property taxes, first of all I’d actually have some information on there. My source would not be The Governor’s Budget in Brief. My source would be the Independent Legislative Fiscal Bureau. This is an independent entity which actually researches and studies our tax structure and does it in a non-partisan way.
Sen. Harsdorf’s flyer is so clearly partisan jargon and is just offensive. It is so slanted, and you, as a tax payer, paid for it. [Campaign finance laws allow sitting Senators to use tax-payer money to distribute “information." This has become controversial because Harsdorf's flyers are promoting her recall election campaign instead.] My literature would give people more space on the paper to provide answers. And I would make sure that there are some options provided that are actually opposite of each other…I mean the goal should be to hear from everybody not just the people who agree with you.
And I think, to me, this is a good example of how truly heinous Sen. Harsdorf has been in her absolutely outlandish propaganda.
I used to fill these out all of the time. And I recently found out that Sen. Harsdorf is now using one of these flyers I once filled out against me…because I circled one of her options. My guess is that she circulated something that asked which you would prefer – raising the gas tax or decreasing funding to education. Apparently, according to her, I support an increase in the gas tax. Not in a million years would I support that, because it disproportionately hurts the lowest income people. My guess is that she circulated one of these constituent surveys 5 or 6 years ago [when Shelly was a private citizen] and stored the information and is now using that against me.
Sen. Harsdorf’s biggest assertion about you is that you are going to raise property taxes. Middle and working class people want to know the answer to a direct question – are you going to raise their taxes?
No. I’m going to change taxes.
I love to talk about taxes because it is one of those things that is absolutely fascinating. And what has happened over the years is not so much that taxes have increased – but shifted.
To most of us it feels like our taxes have increased!
Your taxes have gone up – because other people aren’t paying their fair share. So, what I’ve always said is, ‘let’s go back to Reagan era taxes,’ because corporations would be paying significantly higher percentage than they are paying right now. Most of our corporations aren’t paying any taxes. So, it would be a much more fair system.
When Ronald Reagan was elected, the top 1% was paying a significantly higher rate in personal income taxes than the lower part did. Reagan actually reversed that, so that the percentage was the same for the lowest part and the highest part. Even if we went back to that tax code it would single handedly solve the budget crisis in every single state. Every single state. We know this to be true: our tax burden has shifted away from the top income earners and toward the lower and middle class. Now let’s figure out why and what we need to do to fix it.
Step one, we need to sit down and study our tax structure. We have not done that since 2004 and we need to start to look at the tax percentages and populations and where they are coming from. This is an easy thing to do and this should be a priority in our government.
Step two, If 2/3 of WI corporations are not paying income taxes – then we need to make sure that they are paying their fair share. But, there are a lot of great small businesses, like your local diner, that also happen to be incorporated. It really is a matter of making sure that we are not doing things that are detrimental to small businesses too.
[A quick check of Shelly’s statistics appear to be true. According to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Walker’s plan to give $250 million dollars to certain companies while not requiring repayment, has been called one of the “biggest corporate giveaways” of tax payer money in nearly 20 years. Furthermore, according the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, the share of corporate tax revenue funding the state government has fallen by half since 1981; 2/3 of WI corporations pay no taxes.]
So do you feel that you could be under a special kind of attack because you are willing to change the tax code for big, powerful corporations?
I AM under attack because of that. The other side consistently says that I am listening to special interests. Well, the special interests that I listen to are people. I don’t have a bunch of big money coming into me. I don’t. I think they got confused, and they are talking about their own campaign. Seriously – you can look at my donor list, it is a public record. It is almost all from working people in WI, and the bulk of that is from people in senate district 10. So, it is bold-faced lies, that’s what it is.
Senator Harsdorf has no interest in talking about the issues. I released a statement that I wanted to talk about the issues, and they come back at me with this “tax and spend” thing. It is really sad. And that is why I’ve started accepting money on ActBlue where it is people over dollars. Because to me – if you can get 1000 people to give $10 – that’s shared sacrifice… to give up something small to give to a cause. Because there is no way I’ll have the kind of money that she has. No way.
[Checking Moore’s assertions, I have not been able to uncover one powerful “thug”funding her campaign. On the other hand, Gov. Walker is admittedly friends with powerful men such as the Koch brothers who advised him to eliminate collective bargaining for WI workers. According to Madison.com, these corporate bosses are worth over $43 billion and provide funding for the groups Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party, and bus tours, and “Stand with” websites for Walkerand others.]
I know that you’ve read the other interviews in “WI Voices”. How would you answer the people if they were your constituents? Frank is losing BadgerCare, Meagan is losing services she once used to provide to children, and Tami is losing her independence as a result of budgetary cuts.
I would do what I could to try to remove the caps on BadgerCare. It is a phenomenal program that’s been highly successful, that has saved the state money in the long run. In preventative care and other areas it has been lauded by other states, recognized and exceeds federal health mandates. What has happened is that as people have lost their jobs, or their income has decreased, or taken jobs with less money (or benefits), they’ve needed BadgerCare. Now BadgerCare has a couple of tiers to it – but we are talking about people wanting something in place – just in case. That’s the kind of peace of mind we should be able to maintain in an educated state that looks out for its citizens. I just don’t think that is too much to ask.
Budget cuts at the state level mean that the county is going to have to pick those up. So Megan is going to have even more work to do – and even more cases…it is this continuous bait and switch thing – we’re going to save you money , but what it is really doing is forcing the county to do its legal requirement (with less).
And Tami, the Governor basically said to certain populations (like seniors, veterans, the poor, and disabled) ‘I don’t hear you, I don’t want to see you’. They don’t care about the people. They care about staying in office and having power. They care about the corporations that are giving them money and promising them who knows what. That’s what they care about. You can’t cut schools by a billion dollars and tell a second grader ‘well, that’s just the way it is going to be….by the way you are also not going to have clean drinking water and the bus that you and your parents used to take to the city library? We are getting rid of both of those things too. By the way, we are going to put phosphorus in your lakes and we’re not going to protect any of the environment that you’ve grown up with. You can’t possibly take all of these things from people and look at them with a straight face and say, ‘I’m worried about your taxes.’
And the truth of the matter is – that service that you provided to that child could be the difference between them getting a job or going to college and getting a future – which also supports the state of WI by bringing in money. Besides the humanity of it – it’s also a fiscal thing.
[The initial interview took place over a week ago. After news broke, I submitted new questions for Shelly. She sent her written responses.]
How do you feel about the possibility of a “fake” democrat running against you forcing a primary on July 12 and pushing the election day back to Aug 9?
I think it’s very unethical. If I were Senator Harsdorf and really believed in my actions, I would relish any opportunity to discuss my votes. By not standing up to this tactic, she illustrates that she is scared and not willing to talk with her constituents.
[Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald fully supports the idea of fake democrats; furthermore, he asserts that all 6 Republicans under recall attempts knew of the plan. District 10 Senator Sheila Harsdorf denies it. According to JSOnline, the burden on WI tax payers will surpass $400,000.]
Is the Democratic Party considering doing the same? How would you feel about that?
Not that I am aware of. I am opposed to any action which serves to confuse the voters and undermine democracy.
Senator Harsdorf, recently interviewed by The River Falls Journal, was quoted as saying, “I have no physical bruises,’ she laughed, adding that she hasn’t lost sleep or her appetite either” over the turmoil in her own district. Unfortunately, interviewees on WI Voices: Frank, Megan, and Tami – aren’t laughing or so lucky. They worry about how people like themselves will get medical attention, protect society’s children, or remain autonomous individuals. It makes me wonder how long people are willing to follow a leader who is seemingly out of touch with the reality of life for so many of her constituents. Then there’s Shelly Moore. She is offering to keep doing what she’s always done – help people. Though she is given limited time in the press and dodges attacks from powerful corporate interest groups, she seems undaunted. “The special interests that I listen to – are people.”