Author

Erik Gunn

Erik Gunn

Senior Reporter Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.

Penzey's spices ... and messages (Photo: Melanie Conklin)

Spicing up the political discourse

By: - February 26, 2020

Bill Penzey’s ongoing campaign against President Donald Trump and the Republican Party has taken a new turn, as the famously outspoken Wisconsin spice purveyor is urging CEOs to climb on board the anti-Trump train. Since Trump’s election in 2016, the founder and CEO of Penzeys Spices hasn’t been shy about expressing his dismay, not just […]

Close-up of American Dollar banknotes with stethoscope

Report blames gerrymandering for blocking Medicaid expansion

By: - February 25, 2020

Partisan gerrymandering of legislative districts has been blamed for many things — polarization, voter suppression and more. A new report issued Monday by the liberal group Center for American Progress links it to another issue: stalled legislation that would expand health care coverage, primarily accepting federally subsidized Medicaid expansion offered under the Affordable Care Act […]

Wisconsin dairy cows in large animal feeding operation

How a fast-tracked bill got stopped in its tracks

By: - February 25, 2020

A fast-tracked bill that would have given farm groups a virtual veto power over changes to a Wisconsin rule governing large livestock farms has run aground over a one-word change. The bill, AB-894 in the Assembly and SB-808 in the Senate, was introduced on Feb. 10 and the subject of a joint Assembly-Senate public hearing […]

CAMBRIDGE, WI - APRIL 25: Cows walk from a barn after being milked on Hinchley's Dairy Farm on April 25, 2017 near Cambridge, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Farm relief bills clear Assembly, head for Senate

By: - February 21, 2020

The state Assembly passed seven bills targeted for farm relief Thursday, sending them to the state Senate to take up when it reconvenes early next month. The measures include five bills authored by Legislature Republicans and two authored by Gov. Tony Evers — one of which the Republicans heavily rewrote before advancing it. All seven […]

Gov. Tony Evers gets sparse applause from the Republican side of the aisle during his State of the State address. Photo by Melanie Conklin

Battle of the taxes

By: - February 21, 2020

Split along party lines, the state Senate and the Assembly on Thursday passed a Republican measure eliminating the personal property business tax for manufacturers and raising the standard deduction on income taxes. The measure, SB-821, also directs $100 million to pay down state debt. Voting 19-14, the Senate acted in a last-minute extended session early […]

Outlook on manufacturing jobs murky but losses appear stemmed

By: - February 21, 2020

Donald Trump’s vow in 2016 to revive Rust Belt manufacturing may get some of the credit for his razor-thin surprise victory in Wisconsin, but four years later, the real impact has been murky at best. On the one hand, manufacturing in the Dairy State appears to be holding up better than in many of its […]

Open folder with tax documents inside it

Divided budget committee passes Republican tax cut

By: - February 18, 2020

On a party-line vote, the Wisconsin Legislature’s Joint Finance committee on Monday advanced a $250 million tax cut proposal that Republicans introduced Friday after learning in January that state revenue projections were $452 million ahead of budget. The committee unanimously recommended two other tax-cutting measures that were part of a Republican-authored package introduced Feb. 10 […]

Small white, older kitchen

Home is where the heart is — and lungs, and mind, too

By: - February 18, 2020

To improve the health of families in poverty, improve their homes and help them stay there. That’s the thinking behind a new report released today by the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute in Milwaukee that makes 32 policy recommendations to make housing more affordable, improve the quality of rental housing and increase housing stability for […]

Housing costs saving piggy bank under magnifying glass

Appropriations Committee member Rep. Pocan holds forth on Trump budget

By: - February 17, 2020

It’s a Friday morning media ritual that U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan indulges in from time to time when he’s back in Wisconsin: The Democratic 2nd District congressman holds forth in an informal, open-ended news chat with local reporters, riffing on all things Washington in his Madison office just off the Capitol Square. Last Friday offered […]

Wisconsin dairy cows in large animal feeding operation

Livestock bill ‘streamlines’ permitting process

By: - February 14, 2020

Legislation that would make a sweeping change to the process for municipalities to weigh in on large livestock operations ran into resistance Thursday as lawmakers conducted a public hearing on the measure. Advocates for AB-894 in the Assembly and SB-808 in the Senate — the result of collaboration between some farm lobbying groups and the […]

Janesville GM assembly plant

Telling the story of Janesville and General Motors

By: - February 12, 2020

When Tim Cullen was going to college at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the early 1960s, he spent his summers working at the Janesville General Motors plant. “I got paid $3.25 an hour,” the former Democratic state senator recalls. His college tuition was $110 a semester. “After two weeks I would have enough to pay […]

Wisconsin farm cornfield and landscape -- Image by David Mark free use from Pixabay

Hurry up and wait for farm crisis package

By: - February 12, 2020

A package of bills aimed at relieving the dairy farm crisis ended the day Tuesday all dressed up with no place to go. Meeting at 8:30 on Tuesday morning, the Assembly Agriculture Committee took the unusual step of holding a vote immediately after public hearings on seven bills — acting on the apparent assumption that […]