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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.

You Still Have Time To Enroll In Medicare Part D Drug Program

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The opportunity to enroll in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program continues through December 31, 2008. Those now eligible for Medicare along with current beneficiaries considering changes to their Medicare Part D plan may enroll now through the end of the year.

The Medicare Part D prescription drug program is designed to assist with the high cost of medications. The program is available to all Medicare beneficiaries and is completely voluntary. Beneficiaries with low incomes could be eligible for extra help in 2009 amounting to as much as $3900.  You must provide your income, the value of your savings, investments and real estate (other than the home you live in) to Social Security to determine if you are eligible for additional assistance
.

The Social Security Administration says in order to be eligible, you must be receiving Medicare and also have:

• Income limited to $15,600 for an individual or $21,000 for a married couple living together.

• Resources limited to $11,990 for an individual or $23,970 for a married couple living together. Resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks and bonds. Your car and house are not counted as resources.

To complete an easy online application for yourself or someone you care about, click here.You may also call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 for help or to have an application mailed to you.

More information on the Medicare Part D prescription drug program can be found here. 

Help New Berlin TOYS for TOTS effort


I am very pleased that one of the fine businesses in the state Senate district that I represent,
Ament Industrial Truck is teaming up again this year with the New Berlin Chamber of Commerce, the Marines, and the Salvation Army to help make Christmas merry for needy youngsters. Dave Ament has issued the following press release.


Once again this year Ament Industrial Truck and The New Berlin Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau will be working closely with The United States Marine Corps Reserve, the Marine Corps League Badger Detachment and The Salvation Army in their TOYS for TOTS Program for 2008.

Each year, the generosity of individuals, families and businesses make it possible to serve thousands of needy children in Southeastern Wisconsin. For most of these kids it’s the one bright spot in their holiday.

So, while you’re out Christmas shopping this year pick up some extra toys for children who need your help. We are all feeling the financial crunch this year but even the smallest gift or donation will help brighten up a child’s Christmas.

Starting November 20thth you can drop off the NEW toys, unwrapped, at our office located at 2140 South Calhoun Road, New Berlin. Our office hours are weekdays from 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM. We ask that all donations be dropped off by December 18th so we have time to deliver them to the Toys for Tots distribution center. If you cannot drop off your donation, please feel free to contact us at 262-785-9890 and we will be happy to pick them up. So please do it soon. 

To make a monetary contribution, make your check payable to “Marine Toys for Tots Foundation”

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Could the airport be the new home for the Milwaukee USO?

Veterans issues


I have sent the following letter to Jessica Stice, Executive Director of the USO of Wisconsin-Southeastern Region, with copies to Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and members of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors about the possible closing of the Milwaukee USO office:

Dear Jessica:

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State Audit: The Wisconsin Lottery

Audits


As required by state statute, the highly acclaimed Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) has completed a review of the Wisconsin Lottery, based on an examination of trends in lottery sales, operating revenues and operating expenses, the development and management of instant games, and the Lottery’s oversight of its contracts with private firms.

There has been a dramatic decline in the sale of pull-tab tickets. Pull-tab ticket sales totaled about $25.3 million during fiscal year 1988-89. However, by fiscal year 2007-08, sales had dropped to $3.2 million. The Wisconsin Lottery says the decline is due, in part, to private pull-tab vendors operating illegally or under a loophole in state law allowing any business to offer a game of chance with its products as part of a promotion. Pull-tab ticket sales are not expected to increase until or unless private illegal games are stopped or if the exemption for private vendors is modified. Wisconsin Department of revenue Secretary Roger Ervin, in a letter to auditors, says Lottery staff has conducted a market analysis showing the Lottery could generate an additional $23 million per year in revenue if statutes were changed to allow Lottery-only games.

Another noteworthy item in the audit involves the contract for product information services, a term that simply means advertising. Milwaukee public relations firm Hoffman York is contracted by the Wisconsin Lottery to publicize lottery games. Almost all funds appropriated in the state budget for product information go to Hoffman York. The 2007-09 state budget increased the annual product information budget from $4.6 million to $7.5 million. Hoffman York received $7.2 million during fiscal year 2007-08 and used it to buy radio and TV time to publicize games.

The Wisconsin Lottery is required by its contract to formally review and evaluate Hoffman York’s performance each year. The LAB discovered the Lottery “has not done so. Instead, agency officials provide ongoing verbal feedback and conduct quarterly surveys of Wisconsin residents to gauge their awareness and opinions of the Wisconsin Lottery.”

While the audit was being conducted, the Lottery started to make an evaluation form for its product information contractor. The audit reports says:

“To measure the effectiveness of Hoffman York’s product information services, the Wisconsin Lottery compared initial 12-week ticket sales for 16 publicized scratch-off games with average 12-week sales data for comparable unpublicized scratch-off games that were introduced during the same period.”

Following a 2005 LAB recommendation, the Lottery began using an evaluation tool to determine each instant game’s first 12-week ticket sales and overall sales. During fiscal year 2007-08, 113 instant scratch-off games were available for purchase at some time. The LAB audit is recommending the Lottery include product information costs in its evaluation tool for instant games and require Hoffman York to consistently report amounts spent to advertise individual games.

In his response to the audit, Wisconsin Department of Revue Secretary Roger Ervin wrote that despite the challenge of precisely determining the effect of lottery advertising, it works. Ervin says the Lottery stopped advertising during 1993 and it lost about $19.5 million in instant ticket sales, a loss of at least $25 for every $1 of advertising not spent.

Other notes from the audit:

During fiscal year 2007-08, Wisconsin Lottery ticket sales totaled $494.7 million.

The Wisconsin Lottery provided taxpayers with $146.5 million in property tax relief during fiscal year 2007-08.

During fiscal year 2003-04 through fiscal year 2007-08, ticket sales increased 2.4 percent.

Once again, I commend the LAB for their consistently outstanding work. Here’s the audit report.

The deadline to sign up for the Wisconsin No Call List is Sunday

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