It’s back to school time. Parents are cheering, kids are griping, and the Greenfield Police are going to help get those kids to school in a safe manner. It’s time to give yourself a little extra time to get to work because of school busses, school crossings, and school zone speed limits.
-School zone speed is 15mph
-Pedestrians have the right of way if they are in the crosswalk, especially if being escorted by a crossing guard
-You must stop 20ft from the front and rear of a stopped school bus displaying its’ flashing red lights and you may not proceed until the flashing red lights have stopped. If it is a divided highway, vehicles traveling in the opposite direction of the school bus do not have to stop.
Violations of these laws can not only be costly but can injure or kill. Every year kids are injured or killed by violators of these laws when they are trying to get to or from school. Let’s keep our kids and roads safe by following the laws and being attentive drivers.
I have written extensively about
In terms of average tax rate paid, filers in the low-income category paid an average rate of 1.75%, while middle-income filers paid 4.3%. Those in the high-income category paid the highest average rate at 5.52%. Filers at the very top ($200,000 or more) paid an average rate of 5.83%.“
Now is the worst time to consider and approve big increases in taxing and spending given the inability of
Read more from WISTAX.
After receiving angry complaints from constituents about the lack of grass mowing in some medians in
I received the following response from Secretary Frank Busalacchi:
August 10, 2009
The Honorable Mary Lazich
Room 109 S, State Capitol
Dear Senator Lazich:
Thank you for writing to share your concern about mowing efforts on state highways. The Governor has asked me to respond on his behalf.
The department has directed that changes be made in order to assure that those routine maintenance activities that are more directly related to safety needs are addressed more effectively and done ahead of those activities that, while still providing a valuable service, are less essential to achieving the higher priority safety responsibilities on the state highway system.
The department is obligated to use the very limited resources available for the day-to-day maintenance of the state highway system in a way that best serves first safety, and then mobility needs. There are many other responsibilities related to ride and comfort, stewardship, and aesthetics that cannot be fully. The appropriation that funds ongoing operation and maintenance of the state highway system is severely constrained. The department has few options but to severely limit a number of valuable, but non-essential services.
Mowing for safety purposes has not been curtailed. Our direction has been and will continue to be that mowing for vision at public road intersections is to continue as in the past. That element of the overall mowing activity is indeed a safety issue and will continue. Mowing that is done for aesthetics or stewardship purposes has been targeted as an area for reduction. We recognize and would prefer that the department were in a position to conform with local expectations placed on other property owners; however, the funding to make that commitment is not available.
The department is working with local governments who may be in a position to place a higher priority on mowing for aesthetics and are willing to step in and do the mowing on the state highway rights of way. Regional offices are prepared to issue permits for that work.
How much will the federal government in
How much will
And where does most of the money go?
The actual numbers are staggering.
Wisconsin native, UW-Madison graduate and Grover M. Hermann Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation, Brian Riedl, analyzed financial data from the Office of Management and Budget and applied it to
Now comes the sticker shock. Riedl found that during 2009,
Here is the breakdown on how $33,880 per household is spent in the nation’s capital:
Social Security/Medicare: $9,418. Employers and their workers split the payroll tax. Unless the number of workers can keep pace with the increasing number of baby boomer retirees, Riedl projects an increase in taxes per household of $12,000 to cover costs.
Financial Bailouts: $6,328. This includes stimulus expenditures and the rescue of financial institutions.
Defense: $5,850. Anything military falls under this category that saw a decrease in spending because Communism fell in the early 1990’s, only to increase again post 9/11.
Anti-poverty programs: $4,745. Half goes to state Medicaid programs. The rest is spent on food stamps, housing and child-care subsidies, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and low-income tax credits.
Interest on the federal debt: $1,210.
Federal employee retirement benefits: $982.
Unemployment benefits: $902. This category doubled this year.
Veterans' benefits: $819.
Health research/regulation: $699. Dollars go to the National Institute of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and grant programs for health providers.
Time Warner Cable customers no longer receive state government coverage from WisconsinEye. Time Warner dropped WisconsinEye at midnight Monday, Aug. 31, 2009.
The Green Bay Press Gazette is editorializing for the cable channel to return:
“The privately owned cable television station does a solid job of providing coverage of legislative action from a network of 70 video cameras around the State Capitol.
In fact, when Democratic leaders preparing the 2009-2011 budget were accused of late-night shenanigans and hiding from the public, they countered that interested citizens could have watched all of the debate from the comfort of their living rooms on WisconsinEye.
Now it's not available to a large group of cable subscribers. And that's a shame.”
Legislation has been proposed to restore voting rights to convicted felons that have not served their entire sentence. I oppose the legislation.
I am pleased that Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen also opposes the measure. Van Hollen says, “Voting by felons diminishes victims, the law and the sentences judges hand down. It erodes a fundamental right reserved for citizens not serving a sentence resulting from a felonious criminal conviction. The collision of voter rights and felons’ rights, in this matter, is not a pretty picture.”
Read more in Van Hollen’s news release.
Here is an update from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) for the I-94 NORTH-SOUTH freeway project:
Construction update September 8-September 14:
I-94 North-South Freeway Project update for
All closures are weather-dependent and subject to change.
Wisconsin Congressman James Sensenbrenner is now accepting applications for individuals wishing to enter any of the United States Service Academies during summer 2010.
Here is more information.
The Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) has completed a review of the state’s program allowing state employees to use purchasing cards for state business purposes. The audit findings are mixed. There was not evidence of rampant fraud; however compliance with requirements could be improved.
A total of 3,071 purchasing card transactions recorded during 2008 was reviewed by the LAB. The purchases were selected based on the potential risk of abuse or fraud including purchases from retailers selling luxury or high-priced consumer goods, electronics stores, online retailers, restaurants, gas stations, and purchases made on holidays and weekends. Under the state’s program, executive branch agencies and
Here are key findings of the LAB.
The state purchasing card program has grown dramatically. Total expenditures during 2005 amounted to
The Wisconsin Family Council has released a study demonstrating that Congress has the power and ability to raise revenue, increase employment, and stimulate the economy if it moves to repeal the estate or “death” tax. The death tax is a tax on the total worth of an estate and especially hurts small businesses when owners die.
Getting rid of the death tax costs taxpayers nothing. The study incorporates findings from Douglas Holtz-Eakin’s new study, Changing Views of the Estate Tax: Implications for Legislative Options that shows repealing the death tax would create 1.5 million jobs and reduce the unemployment rate by nearly a full percentage point over the next two years. The administration wants to create 3.5 million jobs during that time period. The death tax repeal would get the president about halfway to his goal.
The study says ending the death tax would increase workers’ income by $79 billion.
Holtz-Eakin estimates that
If Congress repeals the death tax, Holtz-Eakin says
According to the study, the
I concur with the study conclusion, “It is clear that all groups, and especially those most productive, would benefit from the permanent repeal of the death tax. Eliminating the estate tax would increase business capital, jobs for workers, and government revenue. A full repeal increases jobs and expands the economy. It also increases government revenue most. It is rare that such a win-win scenario on taxes and the economy presents itself so clearly to Congress. This scenario is made even more compelling by the present macroeconomic situation, one in which government is looking for many ways to improve the economy and is also seeking more sources of revenue. Eliminating the death tax does both. No other stimulus package can deliver so many patently clear benefits as simply ending the federal estate tax permanently.”
You can read the full study, “Repealing Death Tax Will Create Jobs and Boost Economy,” here.
Confronted with budget deficits of billions of dollars after continuous high levels of taxing and spending, the state in its 2009-11 state budget approved cuts in aid to local school districts. The cut of 2.7 percent during 2009-10, according to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) constitutes “the first aid reduction in modern memory.”
One school district,
The ramifications of the state budget dilemma are not good news for school districts or local taxpayers.
WISTAX calculates that only about one in nine school districts (48) are likely to cut property taxes this year, 181 could increase taxes by 10 percent or more, and 111 could increase taxes by 5 -10 percent.
If every school district raises its taxes to the revenue limit, the statewide increase this December would be 7.8 percent. When statewide increase started approaching that level and beyond during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, taxpayers revolted, and the Qualified Economic Offer (QEO) was born. Now the QEO has been repealed by Governor Doyle and Democrats that control both houses of the legislature, and WISTAX reports that could mean big compensation increases, cuts in school programs and staff, and large school tax increases.
Read more in this WISTAX release.
The final steel beam taken from the World Trade Center site is hoisted into place for permanent installation at the planned National September 11 Memorial & Museum August 24, 2009 in New York City. The 58-ton, 36-foot-tall 'Last Column' was delivered to the World Trade Center site this morning after being stored for seven years at a hangar at Kennedy International Airport. The column is famously etched with graffiti and first responder logos in tribute to those killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Photo: Getty Images
Jane Ford-Stewart of NewBerlinNOW provides some new data about the safety of roundabouts. Ford-Stewart writes:
“New figures from the city show that drivers were more likely to have a crash in the Moorland Road/Rock Ridge roundabout last year than at any other major intersection in
There were 2.08 crashes per 1 million vehicles through the intersection, the highest crash rate among the top 25
Those figures are based on accidents reported to the state - those that involve injuries or more than $1,000 in property damage. Eight of the city's top 25 intersections had crash rates more than 1 per 1 million vehicles in 2008, an indication that the intersection should be looked at for safety improvements, city officials say.”
My consistent view is that these roundabouts were installed too quickly and were not ready for prime time.
You can read Ford-Stewart’s article here.
Here are my previous blogs about roundabouts.
Here is an update from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) for the I-94 NORTH-SOUTH freeway project:
Listed below is the detailed closure schedule for activities on I-94 N-S Freeway between September 12th - 20th.
All closures are weather-dependent and subject to change.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently made arrests in an illegal deer shining case based on a tip. The helpful information came from an individual that saw a video of the shining on the popular website, Facebook.
The DNR says it’s the first time an arrest has been associated with Facebook. Even so, the agency says because monitoring of the various sites on the Internet is virtually impossible, informational tips from the public are still valuable.
Read more from the DNR and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Here is the calendar for the state Senate floor session scheduled for Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 12:00 noon:
First Order. Call of Roll.
Second Order. Chief clerk's entries.
Third Order. Introduction, first reading and reference of proposals.
Fourth Order. Report of committees.
Fifth Order. Petitions and communications.
Sixth Order. Referrals and receipt of committee reports concerning proposed administrative rules.
Seventh Order. Advice and consent of the Senate
QUESTION: Shall the appointment be confirmed?
Bitter, Alan, of
Boldt, Thomas, of
Castaneda, Michael, of
Colburn, Bruce, of
Davis, Stan, of Sun Prairie, as a member of the Wisconsin Technical College Ssytem Board, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2015. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Small Business, Emergency Preparedness,
Greenberg, Martin, of
Levit, Jr., William, of
McCabe, Jeff, of
Mulligan, Thomas, of
Staff, Katherine, of
Watson, Dwight, of
Watson, Dwight, of
Wozniak, Marion, of Edgerton, as a member of the Accounting Examining Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Economic Development, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Eighth Order. Messages from the Assembly.
Ninth Order. Special Orders.
Tenth Order. Consideration of motions, resolutions, and joint resolutions not requiring a third reading.
QUESTION: Shall the joint resolution be adopted?
Senate Joint Resolution 43. Relating to: the life and public service of Linda Farley. By Senators Erpenbach, Miller, Holperin, Carpenter, Vinehout, A. Lasee, Risser, Taylor, and Lehman; cosponsored by Representatives Pope-Roberts, Berceau, Kessler, Hintz, Sinicki, Hebl, Milroy, Black, Vruwink, Roys, Pasch, Benedict, Hilgenberg, Steinbrink, Cullen, Turner, Richards, Bernard Schaber, Mason, Pocan, Jorgensen, and Townsend.
QUESTION: Shall the joint resolution be concurred in?
Assembly Joint Resolution 61. Relating to: the life and public service of Ralph Houghton and honoring his many accomplishments. By Representatives Barca, Steinbrink, Turner, and Kerkman; cosponsored by Senator Wirch.
Eleventh Order. Second reading and amendments of senate joint resolutions and senate bills.
QUESTION: Shall the joint resolution be ordered to a third reading?
Senate Joint Resolution 11. Relating to: veto power of county executive over appropriations (first consideration). By Senators Carpenter, Lehman, and Harsdorf; cosponsored by Representatives Pasch, Van Akkeren, Lothian, and Townsend. (Report adoption recommended by committee on Ethics Reform and Government Operations, Ayes 4, Noes 1)
QUESTION: Shall the bill be ordered to a third reading?
Senate Bill 38. Relating to: issuing annual vehicle admission receipts for motor buses for entry to state parks and other vehicle admission areas under the jurisdiction of the Department of Natural Resources. (FE) By Senators A. Lasee and Grothman; cosponsored by Representatives Bies, Kaufert, Nygren, Spanbauer, Townsend, and A. Ott. (Report adoption of Senate Substitute Amendment 1, Ayes 7, Noes 0, passage as amended recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism, Forestry, and Natural Resources, Ayes 7, Noes 0)Senate Substitute Amendment 1 pending
Senate Bill 57. Relating to: composition of the board of directors of the Wisconsin Aerospace Authority. By Senators Leibham and Grothman; cosponsored by Representatives Van Akkeren, Gunderson, Kestell, LeMahieu, A. Ott, Spanbauer, Townsend, Ziegelbauer, and Zigmunt. (Report passage recommended by committee on Economic Development, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Senate Bill 160. Relating to: increasing the amount of the homestead exemption. By Senators Taylor, Holperin, Lehman, Miller, Decker, Erpenbach, Wirch, and Vinehout; cosponsored by Representatives Hebl, Black, Berceau, Pope-Roberts, Turner, A. Williams, Zepnick, Fields, Spanbauer, and Molepske Jr.. (Report passage recommended by committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing, Ayes 4, Noes 1)
Senate Bill 170. Relating to: making June 19, Juneteenth Day, a legal holiday. By Senators Coggs, Taylor, Sullivan, Miller, and Lassa; cosponsored by Representatives Grigsby, Young, A. Williams, Turner, Fields, Cullen, Kessler, Zepnick, Soletski, Berceau, Parisi, Hebl, A. Ott, Bernard Schaber, Mason, Pasch, Jorgensen, and Toles. (Report passage recommended by committee on Ethics Reform and Government Operations, Ayes 4, Noes 1)
Senate Bill 185. Relating to: regulation of wind energy systems and granting rule-making authority. (FE) By Senators Plale, Hopper, Hansen, Holperin, Kreitlow, Taylor, Sullivan, Miller, Risser, Wirch, and Coggs; cosponsored by Representatives Soletski, Montgomery, Parisi, Black, Mason, Spanbauer, Hilgenberg, Roys, Townsend, Richards, Suder, Honadel, Pocan, Clark, Wood, Smith, Pasch, Vruwink, Molepske Jr., and Stone. (Report introduction of Senate Substitute Amendment 1, Ayes 7, Noes 0, introduction and adoption of Senate Amendment 1 to Senate Substitute Amendment 1, Ayes 7, Noes 0, introduction and adoption of Senate Amendment 2 to Senate Substitute Amendment 1, Ayes 7, Noes 0, introduction and adoption of Senate Amendment 3 to Senate Substitute Amendment 1, Ayes 7, Noes 0, passage as amended, Ayes 6, Noes 1, adoption of Senate Substitute Amendment 1 recommended by committee on Commerce, Utilities, Energy, and Rail, Ayes 7, Noes 0) Senate Amendments 1, 2 and 3 to Senate Substitute Amendment 1, and Senate Substitute Amendment 1 pending
Senate Bill 195. Relating to: adding a member to the council on veterans programs. By Senators Sullivan, Hansen, Taylor, Lassa, Carpenter, and Coggs; cosponsored by Representatives Hilgenberg, Colon, Pasch, Turner, Bies, Townsend, Berceau, Petrowski, Zepnick, Petersen, Sinicki, Lothian, Spanbauer, Cullen, and Ripp. (Report passage recommended by committee on Veterans and Military Affairs, Biotechnology, and Financial Institutions, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Senate Bill 218. Relating to: penalties and private actions for violations of restrictions on telephone solicitations. (FE) By Senators Erpenbach, Taylor, Coggs, Hansen, and Vinehout; cosponsored by Representatives Roys, Schneider, Berceau, Black, A. Ott, Jorgensen, Pope-Roberts, Zepnick, Gunderson, and Hintz. (Report introduction of Senate Amendment 1, Ayes 5, Noes 0, passage recommended by committee on Small Business, Emergency Preparedness, Technical Colleges, and Consumer Protection, Ayes 5, Noes 0) Senate Amendment 1 pending
Twelfth Order. Second reading and amendments of assembly joint resolutions and assembly bills.
Thirteenth Order. Third reading of joint resolutions and bills.
Fourteenth Order. Motions may be offered.
Fifteenth Order. Announcements, adjournment honors, and remarks under special privilege.
Sixteenth Order. Adjournment.
Below are the results from the annual Labor Day 5K Run/Walk sponsored by the Greenfield Parks & Recreation Dept. held on Saturday, September 5th at Kulwicki Park.
Governor Doyle’s proposed 2009-11 state budget included a provision to do away with vehicle registration stickers. Many law enforcement agencies around the state objected, wanting to keep the stickers, with the exception of the City of
Police Chief Ed Flynn argued that eliminating the requirement would put an end to the rash of stickers being stolen in the
Vehicle registration stickers are still required. What can be done to prevent thefts that are likely to continue? The state of
Governing magazine reports that as part of a pilot program in
This is an excellent idea that should be considered in
The Greenfield Public Library is seeking volunteers of all ages, including students, to advise the Library Board on the selection of art for the new Library. If you would like to volunteer your expertise and time to enhance your community's beautiful new Library, please fill out an application at the Reference Desk or call the Library at (414) 321-9595 ext. 221.