The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) reports there is a great source citizens can tap for information about civics: The Internet.
Here are some examples.
A grand opening celebration will be held for Greenfield High School's new swimming pool starting at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Events kick off with a dedication ceremony with members of the Greenfield High girls swim team. Tours of the high school facilities will be conducted after the dedication ceremony, and refreshments will be served.
The editors of WaukeshaNOW invited me to submit a 2010 wish list for
Tax cuts and reduced spending
Jobs for every
The utmost safety for
Far less government intervention
Operating hours at all Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) customer service centers changed beginning January 4, 2010.
You can read the changes here.
Here are some excerpts from a new WISTAX report.
“According to its just-released financial statements, state government closed its 2008-09
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has released its annual forecast of the top ten top policy issues states will confront during 2010.
Here they are, starting with Issue #10:
Issue #10 – Expanding Broadband Access
Issue #9 – Examining Sex Offender Registration
Issue #8 – Developing Clean Energy Alternatives
Issue #7 - Balancing and Managing State Government
Issue #6 – Maintaining Transportation and Infrastructure
Issue #5 – Analyzing Sentencing and Corrections Costs
Issue #4 - Affording Higher Education
Issue #3 – Lowering Unemployment Rates
Issue #2 - Managing Health Costs and Coverage
Care to guess what Issue #1 is according to the NCSL?
Former WTMJ meteorologist, state Representative Jim Ott (R-Mequon) has been keeping very close tabs on Governor Doyle’s Global Warming Task Force. Representative Ott has published a brief list of provisions in proposed legislation by Democrats based on the Task Force’s recommendations.
Here are some that Representative Ott lists:
“Enhanced Renewable Portfolio Standard
Several important changes to Wisconsin traffic laws went into effect on January 1, 2010.
Making a u-turn at a controlled intersection is now LEGAL in Wisconsin.
During the debate about the Great Lakes Compact in September 2008,
Take, for instance,
Since then, the amount of water in the
With that history in mind, I am not surprised at
Writing in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, freelance columnist Mike Nichols has a more blunt assessment. Nichols writes;
“Once upon a time, many years ago,
It was so polluted in the late 1800s, it has been written, that chickens could run across the scum that formed on top of the rivers.
The smell and the disease were too much even for Chicagoans to bear. So they did something about it.
Nichols reports that the same canal
You can read Nichols’ column here.
You can see and hear them on Fox 6 News Milwaukee and Wisconsin Public Radio.
Here is the Fox 6 News report.
A report from the Wisconsin Taxpayer Alliance (WISTAX) certainly sounds like good news. WISTAX reports, “Over the past 15 years,
A WISTAX headline reads, “State Tax Rank Out of Top 10 for Second Consecutive Year.”
WISTAX provides its usual thorough and comprehensive analysis. However, I would urge caution before any champagne corks are popped.
WISTAX also reports, “The study was based on Census Bureau figures from 1993 to 2007, the most recent year for which data are available.” That means data from 2008, 2009 and the 2009-11 state budget when
My guess is when the fine folks at WISTAX crunch those numbers, kiss the rosy headlines goodbye.
During May 2008, I blogged about the phenomenon of voting by mail:
“The number of people who prefer not to vote in-person on Election Day and would rather mail in their vote is increasing. In fact, the state of
One of the reasons for the increase in mail voting is the relative ease of obtaining an absentee ballot. All a voter need do in many states is request an absentee ballot. No reason or explanation is necessary.
Governing Magazine goes so far as to say, ‘The traditional precinct election, where everyone shows up on the appointed day, is in the process of decline’.”
Prior to the November elections, the Associated Press reported that nationwide, about a third of the electorate was expected to vote before Election Day, November 4, 2008. In
Changes in the popular early voting system are coming to
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection Secretary Rod Nilsestuen have issued the following joint press release.
"I don't really see the private sector hiring much in the next few months.”
Brian Bethune, an economist at Global Insight made that grim statement to CNBC. The reason for this pessimism? Business owners fear they will simply be unable to take on more workers due to a wave of increased taxes and new business regulations.
This comes as little surprise. Last year,
High taxes kill jobs. The national Tax Foundation in
“Taxes matter to business. Business taxes affect business decisions, job creation and retention, plant location, competitiveness, the transparency of the tax system, and the long-term health of a state's economy. Most importantly, taxes diminish profits. If taxes take a larger portion of profits, that cost is passed along to either consumers (through higher prices), workers (through lower wages or fewer jobs), or shareholders (through lower dividends or share value). Thus, a state with lower tax costs will be more attractive to business investment, and more likely to experience economic growth.
States do not enact tax changes (increase or cuts) in a vacuum. Every tax law will in some way change a state's competitive position relative to its immediate neighbors, its geographic region, and even globally. Ultimately it will affect the state's national standing as a place to live and to do business. Entrepreneurial states can take advantage of the tax increases of their neighbors to lure businesses out of high-tax states.
The ideal tax system, whether at the local, state or federal level, is simple, transparent, stable, neutral to business activity, and pro-growth. In such an ideal system, individuals and businesses would spend a minimum amount of resources to comply with the tax system, understand the true cost of the tax system, base their economic decisions solely on the merits of the transactions, without regard to tax implications, and not have the tax system impede their growth and prosperity.”
Businesspeople are anything but confident. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in its
writes:“The ‘job generating machine’ remains in reverse, jobs are being lost and new hiring is very weak. Ten percent of the owners increased employment, but 22 percent reduced employment (seasonally adjusted). While the trend for increased employment is going in the right direction, there is no indication that job growth will be strong enough to dramatically reduce the unemployment rate. Ten percent (seasonally adjusted) reported unfilled job openings, up two points from November, a good sign. Over the next three months, 15 percent plan to reduce employment (down two points), and eight percent plan to create new jobs (up one point), yielding a seasonally adjusted net negative two percent of owners planning to create new jobs, a one point improvement from November.”
The NFIB concludes, “There is little hope and the change that is being delivered is far from encouraging.
It is high time we start to listen and adhere to the expertise of the people who create the jobs that drive our nation’s economy, and do it fast.
Read more from CNBC.
Over four months ago, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that 86 percent of phone calls to a special Department of Workforce Development hotline designed to handle inquiries about unemployment compensation were dropped.
Problems persist months later as evidenced by this Fox 6 News investigation.
Perhaps the well-respected Legislative Audit Bureau needs to begin a thorough review of what’s wrong with this user-unfriendly service.
Few stories have shocked us over the past year as those involving
First was the story about rampant fraud in the taxpayer subsidized Wisconsin Shares program. A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter toiled over 2,500 records and documents and uncovered, “a trail of phony companies, fake reports and shoddy oversight,” finding a system that could be scammed without difficulty and lacking accountability by parents and child-care providers, “capitalizing on children for public cash.”
With limited access to child care cases, Journal Sentinel reporters still pinpointed $750,000 in suspicious child-care disbursements.
A December 14, 2009, Journal Sentinel article reveals that the same Journal Sentinel reporter, Raquel Rutledge, found that drug dealing and other criminal links with child care providers are common. Raquel Rutledge wrote:
"More than a dozen
The newspaper identified 16 child-care centers with recent connections to drug operations, and the number is likely much higher. Those 16 alone have collected more than $8.5 million in public subsidies since 2006.
Records show many of those centers have been used to stash and transport drugs, launder dirty cash and provide fake employment for criminals - at taxpayers' expense."
I am one of 45 state legislators to sign a letter to Governor Doyle requesting that he immediately stop his early release of felons. Our letter to Governor Doyle reads in part:
“In the interest of public safety and in light of the suspension of a similar program in
Chief among our concerns is the threat this program poses for compromising public safety. Out of the 21 offenders who were released this week, many of them have a history of serious felony convictions. Most could be classified as career criminals who have been in and out of the corrections system their entire life.
Furthermore, the fact that this program does not rely on judges, prosecutors, or law enforcement to determine whether these inmates are safe for release makes it even more likely that new crimes will be committed.
A three-judge panel in
During July 2009, I wrote about my opposition to efforts by legislative Democrats to expand felon voting rights in
The Racine Journal Times Editorial Board has also weighed in on the subject:
“Handing all of them (felons) the keys to the nation’s greatest privilege removes one of the stains from their records.
Freedom and voting are a package deal, and committing a major offense costs you both.”
You can read the editorial here.
We have all heard the Knock Knock jokes but the knock knock at your door might not be funny. The Milwaukee County area has had a rash of incidences in which home visitors are not who they claim to be. The visitors have claimed to be police officers, cable repairmen, utilities workers, and home inspectors. The ploy is to get into your home to steal from you. They may be working with other people or alone and want to distract you long enough to get at your valuables.
Whenever you have unsolicited visitors at your door, ask who it is prior to opening the door. If it is someone you do not want at your residence ask them to leave without opening the door. If they persist; CALL THE POLICE! If you determine the visitors may have a legitimate purpose for being there, ask for identification. This may seem like an uncomfortable request but legitimate visitors will have identification and have been asked for it many times in the past. If someone is hesitant to show identification; DON'T LET THEM IN and call the police! If you receive identification and you still feel uncomfortable then have the visitor wait outside and call the company that supposedly sent the visitor. I recommend finding the number in the phone book as opposed to the number on the identification card. The number on the identification may not be legit. If the company has not sent the visitor; CALL THE POLICE! If you are getting flustered and the visitor is pressuring you to let them in, CALL THE POLICE!