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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.

My reaction to Michael Gableman’s victory on Channel 12

Mary in the media

Channel 12’s Kent Wainscott interviewed me about Michael Gableman’s victory over Louis Butler in the state Supreme Court race and the call for change in high court elections.

You can see Kent Wainscott’s story here.

Haven’t done your taxes? File electronically

News you can use

With the April 15 deadline for filing income tax returns quickly approaching, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) is recommending that taxpayers file electronically.

E-filing will avoid a long wait for a refund.

The DOR offers these tips for taxpayers who choose the traditional method of filing on paper:

• Avoid using commas or cents, and follow examples on the form when printing numerals.
• Double check all math and review tax tables.
• Look over the entire return to ensure it is completely and accurately filled out.
• Sign the return, and include all necessary schedules and supporting documents.
• If tax is due, attach the payment check to the front of the return with a paper clip.

Here is more information from the DOR.

Wisconsin’s ability to compete continues to sag

Business, Taxes

Almost a year ago, on April 2, 2007, I blogged that the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported during 2006, the rate of growth in Wisconsin income ranked near the bottom compared to all other states. Wisconsin’s per-capita personal income grew 4.3 percent. The national average of per-capita personal income growth was higher at 5.2 percent. Our income growth ranking put us in the bottom 10 states.

I also blogged about a Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance study that found from 1999 to 2005, Wisconsin’s median household income fell 2.2 percent from $45,667 to $44,650, while the national median rose 13.8 percent from $40,696 to $46,326. Wisconsin ranked 50th in the nation in household income growth during the period. Meanwhile, spending by state and local governments in Wisconsin takes over 20 per cent of your personal income.

You can read my entire blog from a year ago

It’s disturbing that the downward spiral of Wisconsin income continues.

Competitive Wisconsin, Inc. (CWI), a nonpartisan group of state agriculture, business, education and labor leaders has released its tenth annual Benchmarks Survey, rating Wisconsin in 33 areas of interstate competitiveness.  Seventeen benchmarks changed this year, with eight improvements, and nine declines on some key areas, signaling reason to be concerned about Wisconsin’s ability to compete nationally.

Three benchmarks stand out:

    PER CAPITA INCOME: Wisconsin’s per capita income, $34,476, is below the national average of $36,629. As CWI reports, “Personal per capita income is often cited as a measure of a state’s relative economic health. Wisconsin’s per capita income also continues to significantly trail that of its neighbors, Illinois ($38,297) and Minnesota ($38,751).”

    JOB GROWTH: CWI reports, “In 2006, the number of Wisconsin jobs increased 0.7%, a drop from 1.1% in 2004 and 1.2% in 2005. Wisconsin trails the national average of 1.8%.”

    CREATION OF NEW PRIVATE BUSINESSES: Wisconsin lags behind the nation in this category as well. CWI reports, “The number of new private businesses in Wisconsin dropped 0.4% in 2006, while the number of businesses grew nationally 2.5%. Even more troubling is that all of Wisconsin’s neighbors had increases in 2006.”

The CWI study is the latest in a series of gloomy eye-opening reports clearly demonstrating Wisconsin’s fragile economy is headed in the wrong direction.

Incomes are down. Job opportunities are down. The number of new businesses opening that offer job opportunities is down.

Because hard-working families have less income, their ability to keep financing government’s whimsical spending habits is more difficult. Since families have less, it is imperative government refrain from taxing them more.

Wisconsin is struggling to resolve a $652 million revenue shortfall.  The wrong solution is to raise taxes. Wisconsin taxpayers have given so much for so long that they cannot give anymore.

When families have trouble making ends meet, the last thing they do is pull out the Visa card. State government should adopt the same common-sense policy. How many more abysmal reports do we have to read before we realize the time to stop taxing and spending arrived a long time ago?

Here is the CWI report and a CWI press release.

New law makes it easier to dispense high-quality drugs

A significant health care delivery bill that I co-sponsored has been signed into law by Governor Doyle.

Under previous Wisconsin law, a pharmacist could only dispense a drug or device at a pharmacy licensed by the Pharmacy Examining Board. 

Senate Bill 409 that was signed into law allows
pharmacists to dispense a prescribed drug or device at a health care facility or correctional facility that does not have a licensed pharmacy.  The new law is noteworthy because it makes it easier for pharmacists to dispense high-quality services in remote areas of the state. 

Here is a history of Senate Bill 409 with links to the history of the bill, a Legislative Council memo, and the new law.

Tax Freedom Day in Wisconsin is April 24


Think about all of the important expenditures your family makes in the course of a year. The list certainly would include food, clothing, and shelter.

Now think about the time you have to work to earn enough money to afford those necessities.

In calculating this year’s Tax Freedom Day, the non-partisan Tax Foundation in Washington D.C. says, “Americans will work longer to pay for government (113 days) than they will for food, clothing and housing combined (108 days). In fact, Americans will work longer to afford federal taxes alone (74 days) than they will to afford housing (60 days). As a group, Americans will also work longer to pay state and local taxes than they will to pay for food.”

Tax Freedom Day, the day that workers will have earned enough to pay all their federal, state and local taxes, comes on April 23, 2008. Wisconsin’s Tax Freedom day, the 14th latest in the country, arrives one day later, April 24, 2008.

Using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis in the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Tax Foundation determined America’s Tax Freedom Day by dividing the nation’s total tax payments$3,910 billion, by the nation’s income as projected by the Tax Foundation for 2008, $12,696 billion. The result, 30.8% is then multiplied by 365 days, equaling 113 days. The 113th day of the year (TheTax Foundation ignored Leap Day) is April 23.

The annual study also breaks down the burden of the various taxes Americans pay, beginning with the largest and most visible, individual income and payroll taxes.

All but 7 states, impose a state income tax on top of the federal income tax. Each American will have to work 42 days to pay off income taxes.

Americans will work, according to the Tax Foundation, another 28 days to afford their payroll taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare, deductions that are clearly designated on payroll stubs. To pay for other add-on taxes like sales and excise taxes, Americans will work another 16 days.

We cannot forget local property taxes. That adds on another 12 days of work.

The Tax Foundation also calculates Americans have to work 13 days to pay for corporate income taxes, figuring that taxes on businesses do get passed on to individuals in the form of increased prices, smaller wages and employment levels, and lower stockholder values.

Add in one more day for estate and gift taxes and one more day for other taxes and the total number of work days needed to afford the tax burden is 113.

Here is the bottom line: You work long and hard to afford essentials like food and clothing. Nothing you work so hard for is as expensive as government.

Here is more information on Tax Freedom Day.

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