Democratic events in

Pierce County and beyond

May Meeting
Tuesday, May 21
6:30 PM Social  Time
7 PM Meeting Begins 

Join us at the office:
111 E Locust Street, River Falls


Agenda:

Donuts with Dems

10 am - 1 pm the 2nd and 4th Saturdays

On the second and fourth Saturdays, the Pierce Dems are hosting Donuts with Dems at the office at 111 E Locust Street in River Falls. Come visit the nicest office we've ever had, enjoy a donut and coffee, and find out how democrats are working to elect candidates who will work on your behalf. 👍

BONUS - An extra Donuts with Dems has been added to the calendar for Saturday, May 18!

Have a look at the NEW... 


May 15, 2024

Eric Hovde Said the Minimum Wage “Never Supposed to be a Living Wage” 


MADISON, Wis. — New reporting today from Up North News uncovered more comments from Eric Hovde disrespecting working Wisconsinites. In the newly revealed comments, Eric Hovde, a megamillionaire owner of a $3 billion California bank, says that “the minimum wage was never supposed to be a living wage” and questioned why people disliked people in the top one-percent of earners like himself.

Read more below:

Up North News: Eric Hovde in no hurry to raise pay for low-wage workers

By: Pat Kreitlow

The ugly truth right now for Wisconsin workers is that it has been nearly 5,500 days since that date when the minimum wage was increased at the lowest legal end of the pay scale. It’s at a $7.25/hour rate that is not likely to change if Republican Eric Hovde is elected to the US Senate, based on past statements.

▪️ “Guess what? Minimum wage was never supposed to be a living wage,” Hovde told a radio host in August 2017. “Minimum wage jobs were generally entry-level jobs that high school or college kids took. And it was a way to teach you at that age ‘I don’t want to be in this job the rest of my life. I better work hard in school or get a technical skill, be it electrician or a plumber or whatever it is, so I’m not stuck in this job in another five, ten years.”

▪️ It’s been 15 years since minimum wage workers got a raise from the state or federal governments, and there are now 1 million Americans working at jobs that pay $7.25 or less—some entry-level teenagers but also a number of adults with low-level skills who have to support a family on a pay rate that now hovers around the poverty level.

▪️ Expanding the lens a bit to include all low-wage workers (defined as making less than two-thirds of the median wage of workers in their prime working years of ages 25–54), there are 30 million Americans whose pay would likely be enhanced if the minimum wage were to increase. Women make up more than half of the low-wage workforce, made up largely of jobs in the areas of personal care, leisure and hospitality, and food prep and service.

▪️ It’s not easy to pin down Hovde on his alternative to working for low wages. Higher education is commonly seen as a path to better pay, but Hovde said in that same interview there are college graduates who are only qualified for some of those same low-wage jobs.

▪️ “I think one of the unfortunate things about this whole culture [of] ‘my child has to go to a four year college’ is we’ve diverted far too many people into a four-year college, getting a lot of degrees that they come out with that you really can’t do much with other than being a barista at Starbucks,” Hovde said dismissively. “Nothing against a history major or, you know, whatever it studies — that you get no skill to take and do that with.”

▪️ Hovde likened minimum pay raises with handouts that he claims lead to dependency and depression. His solution involved corporate tax reform—the Republican tax bill that would later provide large breaks to corporations and wealthy filers was in the drafting process at that time.

▪️ “We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world,” Hovde said. ”It hurts the working class guy who wants a good paying job.”

▪️ In reality, while the corporate tax rate prior to 2017 has been 35%, the “effective tax rate” (the amount actually paid after accounting for loopholes and other tax breaks) was estimated at 22%. And after the Trump tax law reduced the corporate tax rate to 21%, the effective rate fell to 13%.

▪️ A new report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy says the 296 “largest and consistently profitable US corporations” in their study paid $240 billion less in taxes from 2018 to 2021 than if they had continued to pay the effective rates they’d paid before the Trump tax law. That’s $240 billion that had to be made up by individual taxpayers and small businesses if federal costs stayed the same. And while profits for those companies rose by 44% after passage of the Trump tax law, their federal tax bills dropped by 16 percent.

▪️ Minimum wage workers, meanwhile, are still being paid the $7.25 an hour that took effect in July 2009.

▪️ Hovde sounded resentful when he told a radio host in 2012 how he thinks others expect him to feel about his wealth, starting with a company founded by his grandfather.

▪️ “I’m now supposed to feel guilty because I worked hard and succeeded in life and have done good and employed people and helped support their families, and given money away to people that are struggling, but now I’m bad because I’m the One Percent?”

May 15, 2024

Honoring Our Teachers

by Senator Jeff Smith

Last week we celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week. Summer is approaching as students and teachers look for a successful close to the school year. Now is the time to thank our teachers before everyone moves on to new summer adventures.

Wisconsin’s K-12 schools are the cornerstone of our communities. Our teachers are tasked with building up our kids so they can reach their full potential. It’s our responsibility to ensure teachers have the support to help all Wisconsin students.

Long before I served in the senate, my wife chose a career as a teacher. When our first child was born she let me know that I’d be responsible for volunteering in our daughter’s classroom when she reached school age. I understood the importance of our teachers as a former student, but little did I realize what an important job my wife and other teachers had day-in and day-out.

I volunteered as much as the school would allow. Gaining an understanding of the needs of our schools, kids and teachers, I helped organize as an active participant for the passage of an important referendum in the late 1990s.

It didn’t stop there. I created a parent advisory committee that’s still involved with the Eau Claire School District. My activism in education morphed into engagement in the Wisconsin Parent Teacher Association Board, the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools and an appointment to the Governor’s Task Force for Educational Excellence.

Years spent learning about how Wisconsin’s public schools prepare kids for the future has given me the perspective and appreciation for our teachers. As former students, each of us can see how teachers make a difference for our kids in the classroom and beyond. Our society as a whole depends on talented teachers rooted in our communities and serving families.

Challenges for teachers and our schools continue, especially when it comes to the recruitment and retention of quality teachers and staff. Finding teachers is hard, but keeping them is even harder. Housing, inflation and worker shortages are making a difficult job impossible for school administrators who are trying to piece together a crew of top-notch teachers.

I’ve seen the work and commitment my wife had outside of the classroom. Long hours preparing, bringing the challenges of individual students home with her and continually pushing students to be their best selves is the kind of work teachers don’t get paid for. It takes special people to go beyond. Acknowledging these difficulties deserves attention and appreciation for those who do it for our kids.

The conversation about how we fund our schools has fallen by the wayside as we’ve invested more into education, but we need to keep discussing the inequities that exist in our school funding formula. Some teachers get more and some teachers get less – it all depends on how much property value is within a school district. It should depend on how difficult it is to educate the students. It’s wrong to pump money into a broken system, especially into a failed voucher school program. We can’t lose focus of our constitutional requirement to fund our schools equitably.

Another significant challenge schools are facing is the cost of special education. Students with special needs often require extra attention and resources to ensure their success and make sure no student falls behind because of a disability. Working around and through these challenges to help students learn is as varied as each individual student. More focused and tailored education is required to get each cohort of students ready for the world as adults.

Special education is costly and schools are trying to absorb the costs. Teachers are the ones faced with the challenges, and they are the ones who lose when special education costs ratchet up each year. It’s unfair and we need to figure out solutions to help. It takes a village of dedicated people to confront these problems and keep our schools strong.

Our teachers deserve our respect and they need our help. If there’s one thing you can do before summer, it’s acknowledging the challenges facing our educators and thanking them for their dedication to their honorable profession.

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Senator Smith currently represents District 31 in the Wisconsin State Senate. The 31st Senate District currently includes all of Buffalo, Pepin and Trempealeau counties and portions of Pierce, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson and St. Croix counties.

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For more from Senator Smith, go to his website at:
https://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/31/smith/.

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