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.

BREAKING NEWS: State budget in massive deficit

Governor Doyle will announce this afternoon that the state budget deficit is worse than expected. The deficit is $5.4 billion. More details later.

UPDATE from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

UPDATE: Help send movies to our soldiers

News you can use

Two weeks ago, I blogged about a great program run out of New Berlin that helps send movie kits to our soldiers. OPERATION Take a Soldier to the Movies needs your help. 

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a nice feature article about the program in Sunday’s edition. You can read the article here.

Hunters will be asked for deer heads

News you can use

State wildlife biologists will be in 17 northern counties collecting deer heads during this year’s deer hunt. Officials are hoping to collect as many as 500 to test Wisconsin deer for chronic wasting disease.

Here’s how the program will work. Biologists will ask successful hunters for a tissue sample or possibly the entire deer head to be tested. The DNR is specifically looking for samples from Polk, Barron, Washburn, Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Iron, Rusk, Taylor, Sawyer, Price, Lincoln, Langlade, Oneida, Vilas, Forest, and Florence counties.

Here is more information from the Department of Natural Resources.

The New Economy: Wisconsin needs to catch up

Business, Taxes

Whenever a new economic report surfaces about Wisconsin, the news usually isn’t very good, whether it be about taxes, our business climate, per-capita income, or Tax Freedom Day. I have blogged extensively about these reports and the latest also shows some critical shortcomings.

The “2008 State New Economy Index” has been released  by the nonpartisan groups, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

According to,  The groups used 29 indicators to rank each state on how well its economy is structured to compete regionally, as well as globally. States at the top of the list tend to have a high concentration of workers in ‘knowledge jobs’ that require at least a two-year college degree, are at the forefront of the information technology and Internet revolutions and have institutions and residents that embrace the digital economy.”

When it comes to the New Economy, Wisconsin ranks number 33 among the states. The report defines the New Economy as, “
a global, entrepreneurial, and
knowledge-based economy in which the keys to success lie in the extent to which knowledge, technology, and innovation are embedded in products and services.”

More specifically, the New Ecomony is:

Knowledge-dependent.  Knowledge workers have become the largest
occupational category.

Global. More goods and services are being traded and exported.

Entrepreneurial. Most, if not all of the job growth in America is derived from companies that are less than five years old.

Rooted in information technologies. IT’s are every where, the most important technology engineering our economy, a key component in almost every sector.

Driven by innovation. Competition is heavily based on the ability to create and adopt new products and business models. As the report states, “Innovative capacity (derived through universities, Research & Development investments, scientists and engineers, and entrepreneurial drive) is increasingly what drives competitive success in the New Economy.”

The Midwest has failed to catch on to the New Economy with the exception of some our neighbors: Illinois (rank number 16), Michigan (rank number 17), and Minnesota (rank number 14).

Why is the
2008 State New Economy Index” important?  The report says, “How closely do high scores correlate with economic growth? States that score higher appear to create jobs at a slightly faster rate than lower-ranking states. Higher New Economy scores were positively correlated with higher growth in state per-capita incomes between 2002 and 2006….states that embrace the New Economy can expect to sustain greater per-capita income growth for the foreseeable future.”

Solutions?  We must keep our best and brightest here in Wisconsin 
and we must dramatically improve our business climate. 

Here is the complete “2008 State New Economy Index.”

And so it begins

State budget, Taxes

Reports indicate the state is headed for a disastrous $5 billion state budget deficit. The worst way to get out of a hole is to keep digging, i.e., increasing taxes and fees. And yet, it seems Wisconsin will continue its fiscally irresponsible practice of increasing taxes and fees at a time when they are least affordable.

Case in point: The Wisconsin Division of Emergency Management wants to increase the fees for businesses that are required to file emergency planning notifications or that store hazardous chemicals by a whopping 35 percent. Wisconsin hasn’t increased the fees since they were first implemented in 1990 and now is not a good time to start.

More than 7,000 facilities in Wisconsin would be affected by the fee increases. Currently, the emergency planning notification fee is $800 per facility and would increase to $1,080 under the proposed rule. The inventory form fee would increase across all levels of reporting requirements, ranging from $205 to $1540. The emergency planning notification fee is a one-time fee. The inventory form fee is an annual fee.

The additional fees are expected to increase revenues by $471,000; however, there is a larger issue to consider. If this is any indication how the state, in general, is going to address its fiscal crisis, as compared to other states that are cutting rather than increasing taxing and spending, Wisconsin’s economic problems will only become more severe.

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