We're beyond warning signs at this point. The following jaw dropping ad demonstrates the actual corrupting influence of money; a former state commerce secretary, now a consultant, is selling his companies lobbying expertise to businesses trying to influence legislation. And if that doesn't work, at least take their case to the state supreme court:
At least Capitol Consultants is upfront about their intentions.
A business group in Milwaukee, trying to get off the hook for converting a coal plant to natural gas (trying to get regular consumers to pay instead), is getting just what they want. And conservative "stand with Walker" voters and ratepayers will fork over more of their hard earned cash to big energy. jsonline:
Milwaukee's primary business booster group is pushing state lawmakers to cut funding for the Citizens Utility Board, a move that would cripple the group that represents consumers when utilities like We Energies seek state approval for rate increases.
Spearheaded by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce … If approved by the Legislature, it would eliminate a grant that provides $300,000 a year in utility ratepayer dollars to CUB, which was created by state law more than 35 years ago.
Last year alone, CUB — which has a total budget of $771,580 — helped persuade the Wisconsin Public Service Commission to reduce utilities' initial rate proposals enough to save customers a total of $161 million. So this cut would represent savings of less than a penny for every $100 that electric customers pay. "We are truly a bargain," said Kira Loehr, CUB's executive director and general counsel. "There is no other state agency or group in the country that does what we do on the budget we have."
Just so you weren't confused over the intentions of the MMAC big business partners:
The change would also limit funding for CUB and other groups to hire expert witnesses in utility cases. The Republican-dominated finance committee adopted on a 12-4 party-line vote … (saying) they can't see why ratepayers should fund advocacy groups...
...ah, because they saved ratepayers $161 million? What am I missing in this debate? And we as ratepayers have been taking it in shorts for years in Wisconsin, even with the help of CUB:
The move to cut funding for CUB and other groups that advocate at the PSC comes at a time when the state's utility rates have risen faster than the rate of inflation and rank second-highest in the Midwest.