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Today's Opinion

There’s room to raise gasoline taxes

Last fall, Secretary of Transportation Mark Gottlieb introduced a variety of proposals to raise additional funds for building and maintaining Wisconsin’s transportation system. These included an increases in the gas tax and some new fees.

When Gov. Scott Walker introduced his budget in January, Gottlieb’s recommendations were ignored in favor of simply borrowing more money. We hope the Legislature doesn’t go along with that plan. Wisconsin already spends 20 percent of its budget every year on debt service, and that percentage would rise under Walker’s budget. That’s a big credit-card bill hanging over the Transportation Fund. In 1999, the state was only paying 7 percent of its transportation budget to service debt.

Keep the waiting period for handguns

Here’s a proposal from a legislator that seems particularly unhelpful, though it might have political appeal in some circles.

State Sen. Van Wangaarrd, R-Racine, has said he wants to repeal Wisconsin’s 48-hour waiting period for purchasing handguns.

DARTS & LAURELS: Walker errs in proposing UW System cuts

DART — To Gov. Scott Walker for proposing $300 million in cuts to the University of Wisconsin System. As legislators across the state grasp the impact of those cuts, there has been bipartisan pushback. House Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said last weekend that he expects the next state revenue forecast to show an increase in projected revenues. He’s committed to putting some of that money back into higher education. Wisconsin already has a lower percentage of college graduates than our neighboring states. Cutting higher education funding would be a step in the wrong direction.

Local Columnists

by Arthur I. Cyr

Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush has been making headlines.

Foreign policy is one important test for anyone seriously seeking the White House, and Bush has delivered an articulate speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He combined the address with fund raising events in Chicago and the wealthy suburb of Lake Forest.

LUND: If not a union, what?

By Steve Lund

Someday we’ll miss unions.

Perhaps something else will take their place as a way for individuals to magnify their bargaining power in the workplace, but unions as we know them appear headed for extinction.

WIRCH & LARSON: Right-to-work is the wrong path for Wisconsin

By Sen, Bob Wirchand Sen. Chris Larson

Would we allow someone to opt out of paying taxes and still use our public roads, schools, or other investments and infrastructure? Of course not; everyone has to pay their fair share. So why are Republicans in the state Legislature pushing to make this sort of freeloading legal in the workplace?

Republican leadership has fast-tracked so-called “right to work” legislation, announcing last Friday that the bill will have a hearing today and a Senate vote on Wednesday. RTW, however, has nothing to do with workers’ rights; instead, it shifts the balance of power in the workplace even further to the side of the employer and is taken, almost verbatim, from the right-wing think tank the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Syndicated Columnists

MICHAEL GERSON: Life’s greatest gift is fragile


At a health center here, a young woman is in the recovery room after a cesarean section. A nurse takes the newborn to a table for cleanup. We (a group organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies) are allowed to enter and see the child. But the newborn girl starts struggling for breath. Three more nurses enter. One briefly applies bag-and-mask ventilation. Yet her breathing grows weaker and weaker, as she turns a horrible shade of gray. 

The suddenness of this little girl’s death, so soon after her welcome to the world, made it seem particularly cruel. To the nurses, however, it was hardly unusual. Later I was told that Tanzanian mothers often do not name their babies until long after birth, trying to avoid emotional attachment in a place where neonatal, infant and child mortality rates are so high. 

E.J. DIONNE: Chicago’s Rahm-Chuy Show


The mayor is proud to tout his work expanding access to pre-kindergarten programs, raising the minimum wage, and making two years of community college available to everybody. He talks admiringly about his city’s ethnic diversity and stresses his commitment to making it a place where “every resident in every neighborhood has a fair shot at success.”

This is not a preview of the re-election campaign of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a hero to progressives around the country. It’s the actual platform of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. So it’s mildly ironic that the very sorts of left-of-center voters who elected de Blasio and other mayors blocked Emanuel’s re-election on Tuesday and forced him into a runoff campaign that will not be settled until April 7.

Beware of flatterers

By Catherine Rampell

Rudy Giuliani feels unloved. And he suggests you should feel that way, too, thanks to a compliment deficit from our cheerleader in chief.

As you’ve probably heard by now, last week Giuliani accused President Obama of not really loving his homeland, or its virtuous people. “I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” said the former New York mayor. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.”

Politics in Video

Voice of the People

Without unions, wages will go down
Klimisch is a good candidate for trustee
Casino customers should head south

Judge the candidate on overall qualifications
Unions have improved this nation
Cigarette butts ruin the view
Governor has a resemblance to Custer
Neither the governor nor the mayor is listening

Governor says he supports education and jobs, but ...
Disability income goes up $10, Medicaid gets cut

Seventy years ago, Marines fought on Iwo Jima
We should give drug tests to voters