Stoughton Forward: Stoughton’s fight against corporate welfare needs help

For Immediate Release Friday, 1-30-15

Contact: Buzz Davis, Treasurer, Stoughton Forward, 608-239-5354, former Stoughton alder, Dane Co. board member, union activist, retired state government planner, former Amy officer and VISTA Volunteer and senior activist.

Stoughton Forward, Buzz Davis, Treas.

1021 Riverview Dr., Stoughton, WI 53589

608-239-5354 cell# [email protected]

Stoughton’s Fight Against Corporate Welfare
Needs Help – This Weekend!

Progressives, liberals, socialists, thinking Democrats and Republicans have been crushed by the corrupt money in politics. Many are in the fetal position crying don’t bother me, leave me alone, I quit.

Government at the national level, most state levels and many local levels is broken. Government works for the 1%ers but few others.

Citizens must fight back in order to regain their sense of confidence. We need to win something. And we can win at the local level if we work together. We may not be able to stop a USA that is determined to lumber from war to war looting our own treasury and murdering millions of civilians across the world.

But we can stop an off track city council at home.

In Stoughton a group of Dems, Republicans and progressives has been fighting back against city corporate welfare, secrecy and law breaking for over a year.

They have been collecting signatures door to door since Dec. 20th to place three referendum questions on the April 7th city ballot.

We say “Let the People Speak!”

Do the citizens of Stoughton think the city made the right decision to borrow $5.1 million to give to the Forward Development Group to build a new Stoughton downtown in a corn field which will likely destroy the present Downtown?

WalMart wants to build a new SuperCenter in that development. It’ll get low cost land from the developer.

Thus our own city is using our tax dollars to subsidize one of the richest corporations in the world! That SuperCenter will then gobble up local businesses in Stoughton, McFarland, Oregon, Evansville and Edgerton.

We say that question should be on the April ballot.

A second question is: should our city focus on re-developing our Downtown instead of farm fields?

The third question, if it passes, would require the city to conduct a referendum every time it wanted to borrow more than $1 million for a TIF district. This is a direct legislation question. By law we have to get the petitions to the city of Stoughton, the clerk needs to review the signatures, validate the petition to the council and the council has to take action by Feb. 24 to send the referenda questions to the county clerk so he can place the questions on the April ballot.

We need to get over 900 signatures in the next few days.

Referenda questions are:

Question #1: “Do you agree with the City of Stoughton’s decision to borrow an approximate amount of $5.1 million in Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) funding to be used to subsidize the developer of the Kettle Park West development?” Yes No

Question #2: “Should the City of Stoughton focus on re-developing the Downtown area to create new retail stores, office buildings and housing to revitalize the Downtown and Yahara Riverfront area? Yes No

Question #3: Should the City of Stoughton adopt the proposed ordinance requiring the City to conduct a referendum when the City proposes borrowing more than $1 million for a proposed or approved Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) district? Yes No

As of Friday, 1-30-15 we have nearly 325 signatures. We need 866 valid signatures. We need an addition cushion of 100 signatures.

A volunteer walking door to door can gather up to 15 or more signatures in 3 hours or so.

We need 50 volunteers from the half million people in Dane county to come help us this weekend.

Come to the Stoughton Forward Headquarters, 343 E. Main St. next to City Hall (clock tower on top) between 9AM and Noon, Saturday, Jan. 31 and Sun. Feb. 1st to gets map, instruction, a bit of training, clip board with petitions and WORK.

Talk to citizens at their door about signing the petitions so The People Can Speak at the Ballot box on the issue of Corporate Welfare! Try it you’ll like it!

Do Citizens Want the Proposed WalMart SuperCenter & Corporate Welfare Funded by City Tax Dollars?
Answer: Absolutely NOT!

The city has refused to conduct any sort of survey to gauge public opinion.

So Stoughton Forward spent a good deal of money and effort and sent a survey to all the 9,000 households and businesses in the city of Stoughton and surrounding townships.

Nearly 450 responses were received and analyzed. The survey has a + or – 5% margin of error and a confidence level of 95%.

Major Survey Findings:

· 73% of city & township citizens DO NOT want the proposed WalMart SuperCenter.

· 63% DO NOT FAVOR the city encouraging construction of Big Box stores.

· 77% DO NOT support giving the developer & WalMart a $5.1million corporate subsidy.

· 65% DO NOT believe it is fair to subsidize WalMart which will then compete against local businesses.

· 78% SUPPORT an ordinance requiring a referendum if city proposes TIF borrowing of more than $2 million.

· 63% THINK city should build & spend city money on a river walk along the Yahara to attract people & businesses to the Downtown.

· 63% THINK city should work with local artists & businesses to encourage more artists to live & work in Stoughton with the goal of drawing visitors & future residents to Stoughton as an “art/cultural destination.

Major Conclusions: A significant majority of the community DOES NOT want the Kettle Park West project NOR the corporate subsidies, WANTS the right to vote on TIF borrowing & WANTS our city to work on Downtown re-development.