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.
That is the assessment of the non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX).
A new report by WISTAX says:
“Unlike most states, which amassed major surpluses in recent years, Wisconsin has little with which to withstand a recession. While state governments around the country have combined 2007-08 surpluses of almost $46 billion, Wisconsin may be facing a $400-million revenue shortfall with only $124 million in reserve.”
Here are more details from WISTAX.
The state stopped collecting estate taxes as of January 1, 2008. However, because our state is entrenched in a tax and spend mentality, there are already efforts to do away with the repeal of the estate tax.
Proponents who want to revive the estate tax say there will be a loss of revenue to state coffers. That, of course, is true. Instead of going to the state that would spend the money on questionable programs, the money would go to hard-working families to save, invest, or spend the way they see fit.
A group that calls itself, progressive, One Wisconsin Now, has started a petition drive to urge state legislators to solve the $300 million budget crisis by “ending the $300 million estate tax break for the heirs and heiresses of Wisconsin’s largest fortunes.”
WTMJ radio reported today the group is arguing in an e-mail campaign that the revenues that we once collected from the estate tax should not go to Wisconsin’s next Paris Hilton. That certainly begs the question of who was Wisconsin’s last Paris Hilton?
The Heritage Foundation finds that the estate tax is bad for the economy for the following reasons:
Last week, President Bush signed the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act into law. Congress had taken away gubernatorial powers to call up National Guard troops in 2006 following Hurricane Katrina.
The debate on this issue has now shifted to this question: Should the nation’s governors have power to call up all U.S. military forces in their respective states during emergencies?
Stateline.org has the details.
Let’s focus on the 17-year old. Under current Wisconsin law, 1995 Wisconsin Act 27, 17-year olds alleged to have violated criminal law are subject to prosecution as adults. Certainly the 17-year old charged in connection with the murder of the Miller executive should be tried in adult court. Yet there are some in the Legislature that want to change the age of criminal court jurisdiction to 18, and return 17-year olds to the jurisdiction of juvenile courts.
Proponents of what would be a major and horrible change in our justice system point to a recent audit by the Legislative Audit Bureau. The audit found that 17-year olds were more likely to re-offend than juveniles or older adults, and that fewer than half of 17-year old offenders successfully completed probation.
Neither of those findings, that offenders often commit more crime and that probation can fail, is surprising.
What the proponents of sending 17-year olds back to juvenile court don’t mention is another key finding in the audit:
“If the age of criminal court jurisdiction is returned to 18, which it was before the enactment of 1995 Wisconsin Act 27, 17-year-olds would return to the juvenile justice system, which is primarily operated by counties. The fiscal effect for the counties is likely to be significant. We estimate returning 17-year-olds to the juvenile system could cost $53.5 million to $82.4 million annually.”
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker said in his “State of the County” address last month, “While juveniles who are not a public safety threat can be connected to people within the community, those who commit serious crimes must continue to be waived into adult court. State legislation that would raise the age in adult court from 17 to 18 would be a serious blow to fighting crime and it could cost our county (at least) $23 million.”
Should 17-year olds who are committing adult-like crimes be tried in juvenile courts? Does anyone truly believe that will make a significant difference in crimes committed by that age group? Tell that to the family of the Miller executive.
I am unconvinced changing Wisconsin law to try 17-year olds in juvenile court is a positive step. It would be extremely costly, and even worse, quite dangerous.
The American Farm Bureau Federation reports that by the end of this week, most Americans will have earned enough to pay for their food purchases for all of 2008.
The Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service figures that American families and individuals spend, on average, just 9.9 percent of their disposable personal income for food. Because most Americans will have earned enough for their food by the end of this week, they will have more disposable income for taxes, mortgage payments, savings, etc.
The American Farm Bureau Federation acknowledges Americans might feel more pinched at the grocery store or at their favorite restaurants, but contend the added costs are a result of higher energy prices that lead to higher costs for processing, producing and shipping food.
On average, the typical American worker needed 37 days to earn enough income to pay for this year’s food purchases. The National tax Foundation in Washington D.C. reports that in comparison to working 37 days to pay for food, Americans worked 77 days to pay their federal taxes, 62 days to pay for housing/household operation, and 52 days for health/medical care.