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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.

Wisconsin school trends

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Pro-choice, but not about light bulbs

There is great concern about the safety of fluorescent light bulbs given that the United States is phasing out the use of traditional, incandescent light bulbs and mandating the use of fluorescent bulbs. Most Americans fail to realize their choice of light bulbs has already been made in Washington.

Part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 approved and signed into law last year calls for a phasing out of traditional light bulbs beginning in 2012 leading to an all-out ban in 2014 in favor of energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs or CFL’s. CFL’s contain dangerous mercury. When the bulbs are broken, the mercury escapes into surroundings and must be handled with extreme caution.

Blogger John Lott and others wrote about the story of a Maine woman and her terrible experience with a broken CFL. A Maine Department of Environmental Protection employee came out to her home to check for damage and then suggested to the woman that she call in a firm that turned out to be a clean-up process costing over $2,000.  

Since this well-publicized account, other stories have reported that it is unnecessary for an environmental clean-up firm to respond to a broken CFL. Even so, pray you never break one in your home. The measures to take suggested by the state of Maine, the site of the above-mentioned story, pose one hassle after another.

During March 2008, two dozen members of the House, including Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner introduced the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act. The act repeals the portions of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that mandate the use of CFL’s unless the comptroller general can offer a report that finds specific financial benefits of using the bulbs, environmental benefits achieved by their use, and evidence that addresses concerns of mercury threats from CFL’s.

On March 14, 2008, the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act was referred to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality. Seven months later, the committee, controlled by Democrats, including committee member Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), has yet to schedule a hearing.

I find it amazing pro-choice Democrats refuse to let Americans decide what kind of light bulbs they want in their own homes.

Your lottery property tax credit could be smaller this year

There will be less money available for the lottery property tax credit this year in Wisconsin. According to the Wheeler Report, the Department of Administration has informed the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee that $119,993,410 will be available for distribution to Wisconsin homeowners this December.  The figure is $9.6 million less than last year’s total.

The amount available for the lottery property tax credit is determined by the gross revenues from the state lottery including ticket sales, retailer fees, and other operating revenues.  The average credit for 2008 will be determined after November 1, 2008 by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

Last year’s average credit was $85. The largest credit was $167 during 1992-93 and the smallest credit was $52 during 1998-99.

Antlerless hunting season has begun

The four-day antlerless deer hunt is underway in Wisconsin. The Department of Natural Resources has a positive outlook, calling the herd “healthy and abundant.” 

Be safe, hunters!

Wisconsin incomes behind the rest of the nation

I have blogged extensively about taxes and their relationship to Wisconsin incomes, some of the lowest in the country. Wisconsin’s ability to compete continues to decline
 as hard-working residents pay more and more of their income to the government.

More grim news from the non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayer’s Alliance (WISTAX) demonstrates that this gloomy pattern continues. WISTAX reports, “Wisconsin’s economy has been lagging the nation for some time. A simple indicator of state economic performance is personal income, which includes wages, government payments, and investment earnings. During 2006, total state income rose 5.4% to $191.7 billion, while national growth was 7.1%. Reflecting the economic slowdown, 2008 personal income is estimated to increase 3.4% in Wisconsin vs. 4.3% nationally."

Here is the WISTAX release. 

Next year, the governor and the Legislature will conduct their most important piece of state government business: crafting and adopting the next biennial budget. With Wisconsin incomes struggling to keep pace with the nation as a whole during rough times, it is imperative the state holds the line on spending and rejects any tax increase proposals.

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