Dear Editor: We have seen the results of the smoke-and-mirrors partisan legislative actions in Madison directed by the power of the purse of the special interests — many who are not even from Wisconsin.
A vivid example is the political payback and personal political gain legislation of the $100 million property tax cut over two years passed and touted by Gov. Walker, which provides an average tax cut of a whopping $13 on a median-valued home of $148,000. While it was designated for school aid for public schools, because of mandated revenue limits since 1993 the money could not be applied to the increased costs in our schools.
But in a nonpartisan action by a small group of concerned citizens, "Project 13" was born here in Eau Claire. People were asked to take what amounts to 25 cents per week or a little more than 3 cents a day — "pocket change" — and apply it for real "change" in public education and to send a message that communities and the state should be "investing" this money in our children!
It has been a rousing success — not only for the money being raised but for the symbolic gesture that people of all backgrounds and ages believe in the value of a strong public education — and that we are in this together. The funds collected go to a special fund for student services. The goal is to collect $1 for each student in the district — $10,500. We're about halfway there.
If anyone wishes to start a Project 13 in your school district, simply contact school board officials in Eau Claire, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I assure you they will tell you the power of seeing hundreds of fellow residents of this city coming forward to provide "pocket change" along with a reminder of what can be done when people come together for the common good.