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.
After the legislature finished with the budget, Governor Doyle used his budget veto authority to eliminate the levy limit placed on technical colleges and to relax the limit placed on local governments, signaling increases in property taxes.
We find that Tax Freedom Day in Wisconsin was May 2, 2007. That means Wisconsinites worked more than four months of the year before they earned enough money to pay this year's tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels.
The spending in the budget, the vetoes, and the date of Wisconsin's Tax Freedom Day set the stage for further doom and gloom to Wisconsin's fiscal and economic plight.
The 2007 Comprehensive Annual Fiscal Report (CAFR) about state government finances for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2007 shows a GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) deficit that has catapulted to $2.44 billion. The deficit has increased by over a billion dollars in the past five years. As Wisconsin continues to tax beyond its means, a financial crisis is likely to develop. If an economic decline takes place, the results could be very serious. Wisconsin tops the charts in taxation and is average to below average on the income charts, making for a disastrous combination.
My committee assignments this session are the Senate Committees on Education, Senate Committee on Health, Human Services, Insurance, and Job Creation, and Senate Committee on Judiciary, Corrections, and Housing. I am mindful during my committee work that the state provide quality education at a cost the taxpayers can afford, work to keep Wisconsinites safe from violent offenders, and strive to find alternatives to a costly government health care that would dramatically increase taxes and create a government board that would determine your healthcare.
In addition to the standing committee work, I served on a Great Lakes Compact special study committee. The committee did not find consensus on the Great Lakes Compact and disbanded, even though I had hoped we would continue. The compact has extensive broad language inviting years of costly court litigation at our expense. The compact stacks the deck against us in terms of safe drinking water, economic development, does not guarantee sound environmental application, and allows the Great Lakes Governors to change the rules after approval by the states. The committee work was fascinating and the Compact will be discussed more in the future.
From January through March of 2007, I held town hall meetings throughout the Senate district. It was a pleasure to meet and talk to many constituents. I will hold town halls again in the future and will post notices on my blog and website.
For more details on these and other issues, please visit my blogs at: http://blogs.newberlinnow.com/conserv_speaking/ and http://www.biztimes.com/blogs/milwaukee-biz-blog/authors/senator-mary-lazich and my website at: http://www.legis.state.wi.us/senate/sen28/news/. My blog is on all of the CNI newspaper websites in the communities that I represent. I update my blog often. You may look back at entries about various issues. At the website is an invitation to be a Legislative Advisor. Your advice, interest, and expertise are very helpful to me.
I have a limited number of 2007-2008 Wisconsin Blue Books available. As you may know, the Blue Book is printed every two years, and it is a valuable source of information about Wisconsin and our state government. If you would like a Blue Book, please contact me. If you have e-mail, please send me your email address. I will be sending e-newsletter updates during 2008. It is an honor and a pleasure to serve as a Wisconsin State Senator. If I can be of service to you at any time, you may reach me at (800) 334-1442, Sen.Lazich@legis.wisconsin.gov, Senator Mary Lazich, State Capitol, P.O. Box 7882 Madison, WI 53707, or at 414-425-9452.
Happy New Year!
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that throughout America, states are now going after former residents, attempting to lure them back to rejuvenate dwindling workforces. For example, South Dakota, aware of its harsh winters and open spaces, has instituted, “Dakota Roots,” a service that matches up former South Dakotans with businesses that need workers.
North Dakota unveiled a similar program last fall, and did so by announcing it an event in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Admittedly, these programs attract a limited number of people, but the states that utilize them claim they’re worth the investment. The feeling is that it is far easier to lure people that have already lived in a state than to attract strangers. Iowa has been able to recruit 2,200 workers to return.
The concept is new. Most states wish to lure new people to move in, with development efforts geared to offering companies tax breaks and incentives like less expensive real estate. Companies say their biggest concern about moving to a state is securing a well-trained workforce.
How do the programs get former residents to move back?
College alumni lists are used, along with Internet sites to track down graduates. Helping the cause is the fact ex-residents show a pattern of moving to other states that aren’t very far away. Great Plains residents tend to settle in Minneapolis.
The Wall Street Journal reports the cost of the programs is low especially when compared to the millions in tax breaks given to attract businesses. Intended for ex-residents, the programs are open to anyone looking for a job in the state. The states that do offer these programs share common characteristics of cold weather and a shortage of workers.
An obscure provision in a bill approved by Congress would remove the power of the President to call up National Guard troops during emergencies and return the authority to the nation’s governors.
President Bush reportedly will sign the measure into law. President Bush has not used his authority to call up state Guard units this year. However, Republican and Democrat governors have contended that the states are in a better position to decide if and when Guard units are to be called into service.
Here are more details from Stateline.org
You may have missed this from jsonline.com as you celebrated Christmas:
Wisconsin ranked 43rd among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in annual job growth rate through November, according to federal data released Friday.
A report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Wisconsin gaining 12,400 jobs since November 2006, an employment increase of 0.4%.
Only two states - Michigan and Ohio - had net losses for the 12-month period, according to preliminary payroll counts. Utah led all with a growth rate of 4.2%.
Nothing has changed since August 2007 when Americans For Prosperity issued its “Wisconsin Prosperity Report,” that provided the following gloomy details:
The “Wisconsin Prosperity Report” analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that from June 2006 to June 2007 Wisconsin experienced an anemic 0.28 percent job growth and 58 percent of jobs created were government jobs.The analysis also showed that government payrolls are growing more than eight times faster than private-sector payrolls. “Just in case our Governor and policymakers don’t get it by now, hopefully this data makes it crystal clear that our economy is struggling,” said AFPF Wisconsin Director Mark Block. “In order to address lackluster private-sector job growth, we have to recognize that Wisconsin has a problem, and huge tax hikes aren’t the solution. Policymakers should reflect on the well-known slogan: ‘Last business to leave Wisconsin, please turn off the lights.’”
Jacob Goldstein writes in the Wall Street Journal that, “Massachusetts’s universal health-care plan is turning out to be more expensive than predicted. Now the state is looking at cutting payments to docs and hospitals next year to make ends meet.”
Goldstein points out that in Massachusetts, everyone is required to purchase health insurance. A plan containing subsidies to the poor has been, not surprisingly, more popular than predicted, so popular that the costs are now 20 per cent higher than Massachusetts budgeted. The Boston Globe reports the price tag for government health care in Massachusetts could be as high as $619 million for the current fiscal year, $147 million over budget.
Because the cost is so high, a board that oversees the health plans has given its approval to cuts of three to five percent in reimbursements to health-care providers caring for those in the subsidized plan. The board has yet to decide whether it should raise co-pays and other out-of-pocket costs for those with income above the poverty level. The Boston Globe reports doctor visits, prescription drugs and hospital care cost much less for those with subsidized insurance than for those that have private insurance.
Hillary Clinton and John Edwards want such a plan for the entire country. Senate Democrats in Wisconsin want such a plan for our state that would impose the largest tax increase in the history of the United States.
The end result would be higher taxes, higher premiums, and health care rationing.
No thank you.