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Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

The Summer of Recovery hits a brick wall


The nation’s economy continues to sputter in the wrong direction.  The latest ADP (
Automatic Data Processing) National Employment Report released this week has stunning news that private sector jobs declined by 10,000 from July to August of this year. The decline was seen throughout major employment sectors, a sign the projected economic recovery is in the pause mode. Prior to the August decline, there had been employment increases from February through July.

The ADP National Employment Report calculates employment using an anonymous subset of approximately 500,000 U.S. business clients. You can read the August 2010  ADP National Employment Report here. 

The erosion of private sector jobs is placing incredible hardships on American families. New figures from the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) show the number of consumer bankruptcies filed during August 2010 declined nationwide by eight percent.  However, the August 2010 filings are six percent higher than the filings made one year ago, and the total number of bankruptcies is now the highest it has been since 2005. The ABI indicates consumer bankruptcy filings could surpass 1.6 million this year.

These developments are a clear signal that Washington’s spending frenzy exacerbated the economic crisis gripping America. Families are being forced to tighten their belts, and soon they will not have belts to tighten.  Government at all levels is obligated to heed the actions of the American public and act likewise. Placing a greater financial burden on the shrinking workforce and shrinking incomes is fiscally irresponsible.

Rising veteran's home rates under review

Veterans issues

The Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) completed the first phase of its evaluation of Wisconsin veteran’s homes.

The state currently maintains two facilities for veterans in need of nursing home or assisted living care: the Wisconsin Veteran’s Home at King, and the Wisconsin Veteran’s Home at Union Grove.  King provides nursing home care for up to 721 eligible veterans.  Union Grove provides nursing home care for up to 120 veterans and assisted living care for up to 123 eligible veterans and spouses.

Expenditures for the two facilities increased from $54.6 million during 2004-05 to $89.7 million during 2008-09, a 64 percent increase in four years. During the same period, revenues increased by 49.4 percent, resulting in operational deficits that are paid using a one-time $20 million federal payment to King during 2005.

Both facilities receive Medical Assistance payments for the majority of nursing home patients. During January, 2010, King received an average of $199.86 per nursing home resident per day, while Union Grove received an average of $252.

This discrepancy occurs in private pay rates as well.  Since offering nursing home care for the first time during 2007, rates have been significantly higher at Union Grove than at King, with the exception of a period during 2007 and 2008 that the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) required Union Grove to set its rates at the same level as King. 

Since then, private pay rates for King residents rose 17.5 percent, while private pay rates at Union Grove rose 45.8 percent.

Since 2007, DVA has attempted to keep Union Grove’s rates from rising so much faster than King’s, first by simply requiring that Union Grove’s rates be the same as King’s, and then by deliberately setting rates lower to “limit the size of the rate increase.”

According to the LAB, these rate limitations are part of the reason Union Grove has an operations deficit in recent years.  They are also part of the reason Union Grove’s rates have risen since 2009, to make up for the gap between revenues and expenses.

The LAB identifies vagueness in the rules regarding rate-setting as a culprit.  DVA staff members used varying methods of calculating rates.  However, the vague rules do not explain higher costs at Union Grove taking in more money per patient every year and recording deficits unlike King. It could simply be that King, a much larger facility with far more residents, has an economy of scale advantage.

An effect that must be considered is the higher rates rise, the fewer residents will be able to afford the rates.  LAB estimates that at least 12 residents left Union Grove during 2010 due to rate increases.

The LAB is recommending the Board of Veterans Affairs develop a formula to determine private pay rates for nursing home and assisted living care at the Wisconsin Veterans Homes, that the Board of Veterans Affairs formally review and approve all rate-setting proposals developed by DVA staff, and DVA report back to the Legislative Audit Committee during January 2011.  

This was the first phase of the LAB’s examination of veteran’s home operations.  I look forward to the next audit release and commend the best state government auditors in the country for another outstanding analysis on behalf of Wisconsin taxpayers.

Wisconsin government keeps growing


While the private sector struggles across the state and country, state and local government in Wisconsin is growing.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data obtained by the Wheeler Report, state employment accounted for 70,457 full time employees during 2009, up from 69,019 during  2008. Local government employment was 222,214 during 2009, up from 214,332 during 2008.


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Who’s really running the medical marijuana business?

During the previous general legislative session, there was a push by legislative democrats to legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin. As a member of the Senate Health Committee, I heard plenty of testimony that caused me great concern.

At a December 2009 hearing
, Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Kevin St. John said, “Compassion centers (medical marijuana dispensaries) become targets for criminal activity.” AAG St. John noted crimes including homicides have been associated with dispensaries. Drug dealers are known to congregate outside the facilities, offering marijuana for lower prices.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca tells the Los Angeles Times that criminals have actually taken over the medical marijuana industry. An illegal sale of medical marijuana in West Hollywood that went bad resulted in a triple murder. One of the three men killed in the deal had not brought enough money to purchase the marijuana. Police have a man in custody who confessed to the murders.

Sheriff Baca is heading up a campaign to defeat a medical marijuana provision on the November ballot in California, tells the LA Times,
“The medicinal marijuana program that voters authorized years ago has been hijacked by underground drug dealing criminals who are resorting to violence in order to control their piece of the action. There are predators armed and seeking easy dollars in sales of marijuana.”

Wisconsin AAG Kevin St. John was right. Medical marijuana in Wisconsin? No thanks.

Puppy Mill Law - State wants public input about dog seller licensing regulations


A new state law creates a system of regulation of dog breeders, dealers, and certain animal shelters. A person involved in any of these activities is required to secure a license from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) by June 1, 2011. DATCP is required to inspect the premises where activities are conducted before issuing a license. License holders must adhere to specific procedures outlined in the new law that was approved by the state Senate, 32-0 and the state Assembly, 96-0.

This month, state officials are holding five public hearings about proposed regulation designed to protect dogs and dog buyers. A hearing in Milwaukee is scheduled September 30.

Here is a Legislative Council memo about the new law and a news release about the public hearings.

Identity Theft-Part Three

News you can use

“Identity theft is a crime. Someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain.”

The U.S. Justice Department

“Every 3 seconds another identity is stolen.”
Javelin Strategy and Research

Identity theft victimizes about ten million people annually, blasting our economy with a $50 billion hit according to Laurie Green of the Milwaukee Post Office. Green spoke at a special summit at the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department Training Academy in Franklin and delivered a disturbing message about identity theft: no one is safe.

Internet use and identity theft correlate. Your personal ID is at greater risk the more you surf the Net. Lost or stolen wallets loaded with credit cards and checks are gold mines to identity thieves who could be co-workers, friends, or even family members.

The keys to your ID that thieves desire are name, address, date of birth, driver’s license, Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, and any account numbers. Credit cards, financial transactions, stolen mail, and computer information are common targets. However, identity thieves have become quite sophisticated.

Special Agent Wayne Ivey of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was the main presenter at the Franklin summit. Ivey told attendees Albert Gonzalez pulled off the largest identity heist in the United States through a technique called “wardriving.” By driving through different locations armed with a laptop computer, Gonzalez was able to literally intercept retailers’ wireless Internet signals. He claimed 130 million victims. Earlier this year, Gonzalez was sent to prison for 20 years, the longest identity theft sentence ever imposed.

An increasing number of identity thieves are funding terrorists in other countries.
Remember, the September 11, 2001 hijackers used phony IDs to board planes. Thieves forge military IDs, threatening national security. They pile up traffic tickets in a victim’s name without intending to pay. They obtain passports in attempts to bring people into the country illegally.

The typical victim according to Ivey spends 400 hours straightening out a case, 
a period of 12.7 months transpires before an investigation even starts. By that time, all critical evidence could be gone.

Ivey told me at the summit he is very impressed with Wisconsin’s identity theft law, calling it one of the best in the nation. The state Legislature approved identity theft legislation during the 1997 regular session, Governor Tommy Thompson signed it into law, and it went into effect April 28, 1998. Wisconsin Statute 943.201 contains great detail and important language that if an individual reports identity theft to a law enforcement agency, “the agency shall prepare a report on the alleged violation.”
Violators are subject to a class H felony including up to six years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

If you are a victim:

1) Call the police.

2) Check your bank accounts

3) Contact the credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

4) Work with your creditors.

5) Report your case to the Federal Trade Commission.

To prevent identity theft:

  • Don’t put outgoing mail, especially bill payments, in personal curbside mailboxes
  • Make sure no one is standing right behind you when you’re using an ATM machine.
  • Pay your bills online using a secure site if available.
  • Don’t give out your credit card number on the Internet unless it is encrypted on a secure site.
  • If you have to give out personal or financial information from a public phone or by cell phone, make sure no one is listening or wait until you’re in a more secure location.
  • Shred all financial statements, billing statements, and preapproved credit card offers and the like before tossing in the trash. Use scissors to cut documents if you don’t have a shredder.
  • Examine all of your bank and credit card statements each month for mistakes or unfamiliar charges.  
  • Pick up new checks at the bank.
  • Commit all computer passwords to memory.  
  • Don’t give out your financial or personal information over the phone or Internet, unless you have initiated the contact.
  • Don’t exchange personal information for “prizes.”
  • Destroy the hard drive of your computer if you are selling it, giving it to charity, or otherwise disposing of it. Physically remove it.
  • Keep your wallet in your front pocket so a pickpocket can’t take it. Hold your purse close against your body through its straps.

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Nine years ago today

Survivors of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks make their way through smoke, dust & debris on Fulton St. (© Gulnara Samoilova/AP)

Survivors of the World Trade Center terrrorist attacks make their way through smoke, debris, and rubble. AP photo 

New York firefighters William Eisengrein, George Johnson & Daniel McWilliams plant an American flag at Ground Zero on Sept. 11, 2001 (© Thomas E. Franklin/The Record-Bergen County, NJ)

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Congratulations Claudia Felske!

Good news from Senate District 28

East Troy High School English teacher Claudia Felske has been named Wisconsin High School Teacher of the Year by state Superintendent Tony Evers. The announcement was made during a special surprise ceremony at East Troy High School  Wednesday.

A news release states, “Using music as a bridge to poetry, Felske has her students analyze popular songs to tease out layers of meaning in the lyrics with the goal moving even reluctant learners to use interpretive skills independently. She revamped the entire sophomore English term paper unit to make it more meaningful to students and correct historic learning and performance problems.”

Congratulations to Claudia Felske for this prestigious honor! You can read more about it here.

Good luck, John Hushek!

Good news from Senate District 28

John Hushek of Hales Corners, a sixth-grade teacher at the Indian Community School of Hales Corners, is one of three Wisconsin finalists for the 2010 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Hushek represents Wisconsin’s science finalist.

Award winners receive $10,000 and a citation signed by the president.

Congratulations to John Huskek and the other Wisconsin finalists for their classroom excellence and dedication.

Here is more information from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. 

Last year, Karen Nesbit, a teacher at Prairie View Elementary School in Franklin, won a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Remember to vote for only one party Tuesday

News you can use

During Tuesday’s primary election, voters are not allowed to split the ticket. Voters must choose candidates from a single political party. Here are details in a memo I received from the Legislative Reference Bureau:


To: Senator Mary Lazich

From: Legislative Reference Bureau, Reference Section

Subject: Primary Elections

The Legislative Reference Bureau has received multiple requests for information, both from legislative offices and the general public, regarding Wisconsin’s primary election. Many of the questions relate to “crossover” voting, and particularly why electors are not allowed to vote for candidates in more than one party.

Below is a brief discussion of the issue, mainly excerpted from the 2009-2010 Wisconsin Blue Book, page 885. We hope this information may be useful in answering inquiries from constituents or the media.

Primary Elections. Until 1905, Wisconsin candidates for public office were selected through caucuses or conventions composed of delegates, eligible voters, or members of a political party. Since then, candidates have been chosen in primary elections, but the nominating caucus remains an optional method of selecting candidates for town and village offices. Aspirants must file a declaration of candidacy to run in a primary election, and they usually are required to file nomination papers signed by a specified number of persons eligible to vote in the jurisdiction or district in which they seek office.

Partisan September Primary. The purpose of the September partisan primary is to select a party’s nominees for the general election in November. In a partisan primary, the voter may vote on the ballot of only one political party (unlike the general election where it is possible to select any party’s candidate for a particular office). Some voters express frustration that their choices are limited because they are not permitted to vote for candidates of more than one party. It is important to remember that the primary is a nominating device for the political parties; its purpose is to nominate the candidates that one political party will support against the nominees of the other parties in the general election.

Most states have a closed primary system that requires voters to publicly declare their party affiliation before they can receive the primary ballot of that party. Wisconsin’s “open primary” law does not require voters to make a public declaration of their party preference. Instead, the voter is given the primary ballots of all parties but, once inside the voting booth, may cast only one party’s ballot.

Candidates must appear on the primary ballot, even if unopposed, in order to be nominated by their respective parties. The candidate receiving the largest number of party votes for an office becomes the party’s nominee in the November election. (In the case of a special election, which is held at a time other than the general election to fill a vacated partisan office, a primary is not held if there is no more than one candidate for
a party’s nomination.)

Audit Committee gets updates about Emergency Management


’s Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) issued a review of Wisconsin Emergency Management during May 2010.  The LAB found the following:


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Property values go down, property taxes go up


is following a national trend among states that have increased state and local property taxes despite a drop in home values that hit during the start of the recession during December 2007.

According to the National Tax Foundation in Washington D.C., Wisconsin’s 2008 per capita property tax collections were $1,573, a 4.6 percent increase from the 2007 per capita property tax collections of $1,503.

Forty-six states increased their property tax collections. Four states, Michigan, South Carolina, Texas, and Vermont cut their collections. Three states, Florida, Indiana, and New Mexico increased their collections by greater than 10 percent.

Read the report here. 

Mosquitoes… November?

Seems hard to believe, and also cruel after the bumper summer crop.

State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt says, "The threat of mosquito-borne diseases remains until we get a good hard frost. The National Weather Service is predicting above normal temperatures for Wisconsin through November.”

Dr. Ehlenfeldt is recommending horse owners, and there are a number in Senate District 28, consider vaccinating their animals again, even if they did so in the spring.

Here are more details.

Your child might not be safe in a booster seat

Car booster seats, mandated in Wisconsin, reportedly are getting safer. However, a national agency claims too many seats are not providing adequate protection.

Read more from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and watch this NBC report:

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Act Now, Avoid Property Tax Sticker Shock


Many Wisconsinites reserve great disdain for local property taxes. The largest source of combined state and local tax revenue is the heavily relied upon property tax.

Property tax bills that arrive mid-December fuel heated emotions.  Consideration of tax bills should begin months earlier at the time the property tax timetable begins. Keep in mind that state government administers tax laws. Local districts are responsible for valuation and tax collection.

Property assessments are typically completed by the second Monday during May. Local assessors inform property owners in writing at least 15 days prior to the meeting of the Board of Review or Board of Assessors. The written notice includes the amount of the assessment and the time, date, and location of the local Board of Review or Board of Assessors meeting. The notice also includes information about the procedures used to object to the assessment. The Board must meet during the 30-day period beginning with the second Monday during May. 

If you object to your assessment and do not agree with the Board’s decision, you may appeal to the Circuit Court, the state Department of Revenue (DOR), or the municipality. Complete details about the appeal process can be found on the DOR’s website.  

School districts in Wisconsin are classified as common, union high, unified, and first class city (Milwaukee). Common and union high districts are required to hold an annual meeting.  A majority of electors present approve the school district's property tax levy. Typically, annual meetings are held in late summer. The local school board has the authority to adjust the school property tax levy at a later date. Every year on October 15, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) provides school districts an estimate of their general school aid payment for the current school year.

Other units of government including municipalities, counties, technical colleges, and special purpose districts, for example, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District determine their property tax levies during fall. The levies are calculated by budgeting for expenditures and then reducing the total by anticipated revenue. The remainder is the property tax levy. After each unit determines its levy, it provides the information to the municipality that acts as the billing and collection agency.

Three state credits can reduce the total tax levy: a school levy credit, a lottery and gaming credit, and a first dollar credit. DOR informs municipalities about tax credits by December 1, well after most budgets have been adopted and approved. Municipalities prepare their tax bills after receiving tax credit notices from DOR.

Property tax bills must be mailed by the third Monday during December. This year, the bills must be mailed by December 20 and are required to display the assessed and full market values of the property. Also included on the bill are the amount of school taxes, the sum of the tax amounts for each taxing jurisdiction, the lottery and gaming credit, the first dollar credit, the net property tax due, the net tax rate after distribution of the school levy tax credit, a description of the property shown on the tax roll, any delinquent taxes due, any tax credits available, the estimated state aid payments to the various taxing jurisdictions, and an explanation of the tax payment due date and location to pay the taxes.

Property tax bills mailed during December are not payable until the next year. However, for income tax purposes, many homeowners pay their property taxes by December 31.

Your property tax bill arrives and you are not happy about the price tag.  What do you do?   You take action prior to your tax bill arriving in the mail. 

Now is the time to take action by becoming observant and participatory in determining the amount of your tax bill.  Local units of government plan their spending and taxing budgets during fall.  Contact your local government officials including your city, village, or town representative, your county board representative, your school board members, and get involved with your technical college budget process.  To avoid property tax sticker shock during the Christmas Season, take action now. 

Special committee looking into plastics


A special Wisconsin Legislative Council Study Committee on Single-use Plastics has begun its work. At its first meeting last month, Brad Wolbert of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources told the committee that from 2002 through 2009, there was an 18 percent increase in the pounds per person per day in plastics going into Wisconsin landfills. Far more than any other material, plastics stand out for increases seen in our landfills with grocery and garbage bags up substantially.

When asked by a committee member, paper or plastic, Wolbert replied the choice is paper because it’s better for the landfill and the environment. Drainage problems are caused by garbage and produce bags and plastic film packaging.

Generally, after a Legislative Council Study Committee completes its extensive work, the committee recommends a large, comprehensive omnibus bill for consideration during the subsequent legislative session. Conceivably, this committee might be considering restrictions on plastics.

Even California is rejecting calls to ban plastic shopping bags.

Soaking the suburbs

With unemployment still high in the metropolitan Milwaukee area and continued filings for foreclosures, it seems inconceivable that customers in Milwaukee and surrounding suburbs could be subject to water rate increases.  It is especially inconceivable that increases of 30, 40 and 50 percent are even being proposed.  

How many individuals and companies forced to pay water bills are receiving income increases of comparable amounts? Individuals I represent are losing jobs, experiencing pay and work hour reductions, and losing their homes. However, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) is considering approving water rates at levels that could severely impact businesses, large and small, potentially killing jobs.

Milwaukee Water Works (MWW) asked for water rate increases in addition to a 3.8 percent increase that went into effect September 1, 2009.  In response to MWW, PSC staff developed an initial set of proposed rate increases. After the percentages were roundly criticized, PSC staff put forth a revised rate schedule.

First and foremost, the rate increases are ridiculously high. The numbers, supported by MWW, seem to suggest a gross abuse of rate payers by a monopoly operation.  How else does one explain these eye-popping percentage increases calculated by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

52.7 percent, County Institutions Grounds in Wauwatosa

47.3 percent, Mequon

38.9 percent, New Berlin

23.1 percent, West Allis

20.4 percent, Menomonee Falls

These rate increases soar well beyond the current rate of inflation of 1.1 percent. How can we responsibly, morally, or ethically demand consumers pay these kinds of increases?  Combine the thought of rate increases with so many rate payers unemployed, under-employed, or losing their homes.

The same people being threatened with exorbitant rate increases are the same people asked to be more conscious by conserving water. They listened and complied, and are about to be punished for the crime of being good stewards.

The revised rate increases are unfair to all involved communities.  Consider New Berlin. Desperate for water, the City of New Berlin literally begged Milwaukee for help and entered into water sale negotiations during December 2007. Subsequently, New Berlin made a good faith, one-time payment of $1.5 million to extend Milwaukee water service from the eastern part of New Berlin to the central part of the city. The $1.5 million payment had nothing to do with the cost of water service.  The written agreement stipulates the $1.5 million go to Milwaukee's general fund, not the water utility. In essence, New Berlin is subsidizing Milwaukee programs and services.  As part of the agreement, the city of New Berlin further agreed that it would not offer economic incentives to any business to move from the city of Milwaukee to the city of New Berlin. Apparently it was not quite good enough.  Milwaukee now wants to soak New Berlin even further by convincing the PSC to grant water rate increases that come as an absolute shock to rate payers.

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) writes about the rates in its 2009 informational paper, Taxation and Regulation of Public Utilities:

“In what has traditionally been a monopoly market, the rate-setting process attempts to establish prices at levels that would occur naturally under competitive market forces. While a utility's natural interest is to set prices at levels that maximize profits, the regulatory process provides a balance so that services are provided at prices that are reasonable both to ratepayers and to utility owners.”

Unfortunately for consumers, the PSC policy is not being followed.
Strong consideration must be given to eliminating, or at least downsizing the rate increases to the rate of inflation.  Massive water rate increases will hurt businesses making them less competitive resulting in job losses, a prospect that our area and the entire state simply cannot afford.  Foregoing rate increases may give us a competitive acknowledgement we desperately need to strengthen our local economy. Consideration must also be given to those paying the bills and their ability to pay, especially during these troubled economic times. 

PSC staff is quick to say only a portion of the New Berlin bill will go up 38.9%.  Rate increases of this magnitude are grossly unfair and unreasonable and need to be scaled back dramatically.  I turn to the PSC with a plea and expectation that it exercise the task necessary to control this monopoly. Consumers believe there must be a payment structure that does not equate to highway robbery.

Fishing season is far from over

News you can use

Fall is a fantastic time to fish in Wisconsin. Here is music to the ears of fishermen from Brian Brecka, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fisheries biologist:

“Many species tend to congregate more as winter approaches.”

The DNR has come up with seven reasons to keep the rod and reel out this fall:


  1. The Mississippi River.
  2. Lake Michigan tributaries.
  3. Lake Superior.
  4. Bigger muskies later.
  5. The bugs are going, going, gone.
  6. The days are cooler and the fishing more comfortable.
  7. Less competition for fish.

Read more

Protect yourself against identity theft

News you can use

Here is a link to my three-part series about identity theft.

One of the key points of the series was made by a special law enforcement agent that served as the main presenter at a special seminar held in  Senate District 28. He warned there is not immunity from identity theft.

One of the main ways identity thieves strike is through computers. CNET News reports cyber crime victimizes two out of every three Internet users worldwide and three out of every four in the United States. Over 7,000 adults in 14 countries were interviewed for a study by security software maker Norton. One-quarter of the respondents believe they will be a victim of online crime. However,  ".......only half said they would change their behavior if they became a victim." 

Norton calls cyber crime, The Silent Epidemic.

Read more from CNET that has a link to the Norton study.

Congratulations John Krahn!

Good news from Senate District 28

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission has named its latest recipients of the prestigious CARNEGIE MEDAL. The Commission says, “The medal is given throughout the United States and Canada to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.”

One of the recipients John Krahn, Muskego, was awarded for
saving Monica L. Ensley-Partenfelder, and attempting to save Mackale J. Partenfelder from being struck by a train at Elm Grove May 25, 2009.

You can read more from the Commission and
the original story about Krahn’s heroism by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

I extend my heartfelt congratulations and appreciation to John Krahn for this outstanding award and his heroic actions!

Time running out to extend the Bush tax cuts


It appears Congress will wrap up its work this week without taking a vote before the November elections on extending the Bush-era tax cuts.
The tax cuts are scheduled to expire December 31, 2010.  Without a vote to extend the tax cuts, rates would increase on income taxes, estate taxes, capital gains and dividends.

Approval of an extension of the tax cuts is critical.
Pete Sepp, Executive Vice President of the National Taxpayers Union and National Taxpayers Union Foundation has compiled ten reasons tax relief needs to be approved for American taxpayers:

1) Failure to extend the tax cuts will result in the worst tax increase in our history.

2)  Extending the tax cuts preserves the progressive tax system.

3) The potential tax increases would not be imposed on just the wealthy.

4) Those who wish to end the tax cuts are not sincere about cutting the deficit.

5)  Without the tax cuts, a complex tax system would become even more complex.

6)  Tax increases have already hurt our middle class.

7) Jobs depend on the tax cuts.

8) Small businesses depend on the tax cuts.

9) Claims of revenue losses from the tax cuts are speculative.

10) America needs certainty about the tax code.

The National Taxpayers Union provides more detail about the significance of this issue here.

A new record for the Wisconsin No Call List

News you can use

One of the best pieces of legislation approved by the state Legislature in recent years was the creation of the Wisconsin No Call List.  The updated list taking effect October 1, 2010 will have, according to the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), more than 2.28 million phone numbers.  Originally, the program had one million landline numbers during 2003.

DATCP reports almost half of the numbers on the No call List are from cell phones.  I issue a cautionary note that r
egistering your cell phone is unnecessary and may be a bad idea.  Cell phone numbers are unpublished. If, for example, you provide your cell phone number to the No Call List, suddenly, it becomes a published number.  The lists of numbers must be purchased by telemarketers so they can comply with the registry. It would be extremely easy for unscrupulous entities and foreign, international entities to get their hands on the numbers.  Your best bet is to avoid registering your cell phone.  If you freely provide your cell phone number to many individuals and entities, you may find listing your cell phone number on the No Call list beneficial.  

If you missed the latest opportunity to register for the No Call List, the next
quarterly deadline is November 30, 2010.

Here are more details.


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