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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.

Snowbirds take note


Many Wisconsinites spend a great portion of each year living in Florida, attracted by good weather and a favorable tax climate.

These snowbirds need to be aware that they might be targeted for tax increases.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

“Florida voters in January amended the state's constitution to further limit property taxes. The state has long protected "homesteaders," or Floridians who live in their houses for more than six months of the year, by limiting the increase in the assessed value of their homes to 3% annually. In January, voters built on those limits. Over time, the difference between the assessed value and the market value of homesteaders' properties becomes substantial; the new measure ensures that homesteaders who move to a new home won't lose the tax benefits they've built up in their old home.

Such changes are already putting the squeeze on Florida school jurisdictions, which may tap "snowbirds" -- retirees who live in the state only part of the year -- to make up lost revenues. Those out-of-state property owners aren't eligible for most of Florida's property-tax protections.

Mr. Calabro (Dominic M. Calabro, president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch) is most critical of a Florida proposal on the ballot this November that would further roll back property taxes and increase state sales taxes to do so. With no state income tax, Florida relies on its 6% sales tax to a larger degree than any state save two -- Washington and Tennessee.”

The Wall Street Journal reports Florida is one of several states looking to curb property taxes.

Read the entire article.

Congratulations Brandon Koster!

Eagle Scouts

Brandon Koster's Eagle Scout ceremony took place on Sunday, June 8, 2008.

My office prepared a state citation that was presented to Brandon Koster at the special ceremony. It reads:

Whereas, Brandon G. Koster is a member of the Boy Scouts of America Troop 19, and through dedication and commitment, attained the rank of Eagle Scout; and

Whereas, Brandon G Koster’s Eagle Scout project included renovating and updating the astronomy tower at Muskego High School;  and 

Whereas, Brandon G. Koster served his troop in the numerous leadership positions, attended Junior Leadership Training, Order of the Arrow Ordeal campout, and traveled to England in 2005; and 

Whereas, Brandon G. Koster  is a 2008 graduate of Muskego High School, graduated in the top three percent, and was a member Astronomy Club, Science Club, Bowling Team, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band 1, Marching Band, and Pep Band; and 

Whereas, Brandon G. Koster plans to attend Carroll College in Waukesha majoring in history and education; now 

Therefore, the members of the Wisconsin State Senate on the motion of Senator Mary Lazich, commend Brandon G. Koster for outstanding dedication and service to scouting.  Brandon G. Koster is further commended for successfully completing the requirements necessary to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honorable rank awarded by the Boy Scouts of America.

The use of a tape recording in case of abused boy on school bus is upheld

I am very pleased to learn that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled a tape recording capturing Milwaukee Public Schools bus driver Brian Duchow’s statements as he abused a boy with Down syndrome could be used in court. The boy’s parents, suspecting he was being threatened and abused, placed a tape recorder in their son’s backpack.

Duchow’s conviction in a Milwaukee County Circuit Court was overturned by an appellate court that ruled the tape recording should have been inadmissible. The state Supreme Court has now ruled the tape recording was allowable.

I have been very close to this case, working with the boy’s parents on a bill I authored on school bus safety that became law in 2004. 

Here is more background from the Attorney General’s office and an article about the case from the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel.

After flooding, state issues warning about food safety

News you can use

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has issued a warning about food safety after massive flooding in many parts of the state.

DATCP is the state agency responsible for food safety, animal and plant health, protecting water and soil and monitoring fair and safe business practices.

Read their warning here.

Flood victims may be eligible for tax relief

News you can use

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says flood victims in five Wisconsin counties, including Milwaukee County could receive tax relief.

Here is more information from the IRS.

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