In this week's Land and Space video, reporter Tom Daykin reports how two boutique hotels, the Clarke and Delafield, are both facing challenges.
Friends, an important issue that I plan on advocating for during the upcoming budget process is that of ending the marriage penalty Wisconsin taxpayers are subject to. Just after Christmas I submitted a commentary piece to the Racine Journal Times on this issue and would like to share that piece with you.
Wisconsin Should Divorce Marriage Penalty
By State Representative David Craig
Wisconsin faces many serious challenges in the upcoming biennium, chief of which is how the state tackles policy focused on helping job creators expand the state’s economy. One of the best ways that the legislature can help job creators is by reforming and simplifying our state’s unnecessarily complex tax code. Mindful that approximately 90% of businesses in Wisconsin are taxed as individual taxpayers, lawmakers also need to focus on inequities under the current code. One of the main inequities under current law is Wisconsin’s “marriage penalty” tax which negatively impacts approximately 49% of our state’s married couples.
If you are married, you may have noticed this inequity when you were filing your 2011 taxes this year. The penalty can affect a married couple’s net income in one of four ways; 1) as joint filers they are not able to double the School Property Tax Credit; 2) they must file under the narrow tax brackets for joint filers; 3) they are not able to double the standard deduction as joint filers; and 4) their retirement income is not included in the Married Couple Credit (MCC) calculation.
Here is how it works. When a couple that is not married files separately, their tax brackets are calculated using their respective, separate incomes and their standard deductions and credits are calculated separately. A married couple, however, files jointly, meaning their tax bracket is calculated using their combined income total, and their standard deductions and credits are calculated for one filing instead of each individual receiving their own deductions and credits if they had filed separately. This inequity only increases if the married couple is separated but not divorced. In addition, retired, married couples are not able to include retirement income when calculating the MCC.
While joint filing may seem to reduce paperwork for couples and the state, the net result is that married couples and separated married couples are economically disadvantaged by the tax code. Because fixing this inequity would require changing a complicated tax code, previous lawmakers created the MCC as a “quick fix” to offset these penalties. However, simple calculations show that creating yet another tax credit instead of addressing the underlying issue was insufficient and further complicated the already onerous task of filing.
The end result is that our tax code effectively penalizes married couples and creates an economic incentive for couples not to marry, or possibly to divorce if they are separated. Given the many benefits of marriage for families and for society as a whole: socio-economic benefits, stable families, etc. — it does not make sense for the state to economically disincentivize marriage in the tax code.
It is clear that real tax code reform and simplification are necessary for aiding businesses still ailing from a struggling economy. However, as we consider how to reform our tax code, our mantra should be to “first, do no harm” by correcting this anti-family tax policy. We have several options to address this disparity in the tax code and I look forward to working with Governor Walker and my legislative colleagues to enact an effective solution. Doing so will fulfill our moral obligation to address the marriage penalty and fix this tragic inequity. Clearly, it is not in the best interest of the state or our employers to penalize the most important and fundamental institution in our society; the family.
If you are arrested for a felony or select misdemeanors should you automatically be subjected to having the police take a sample of your DNA?
An Inspector Calls
A mysterious inspector investigates a young girl’s suicide, exposing a wealthy family’s secrets.8:00 pm, Waukesha Civic Theatre, 262-547-0708, http://waukeshacivictheatre.org/56thSeason/AnInspectorCalls.html
Daddy Daughter Dance
Dads and their sweetheart daughters can come to celebrate Valentine's Day-- 1:30-3 pm, Avalon Manor, 262/524-3737, www.ci.waukesha.wi.us
A 23-year-old woman from Delafield was charged with resisting arrest and battery after allegedly biting a police officer during a Feb. 1 arrest in Waukesha for drunken driving.
Breanna K. Vetterman, N6 W31610 Huckleberry Way S in Delafield, was charged on Feb. 1 in Waukesha County Circuit Court with battery of a peace officer, resisting an officer and causing soft tissue injury, operating while intoxicated, second offense, and operating while revoked.
My mom's birthday got me thinking about this year's Harley 110th Anniversary.
Saturday I wandered the same streets looking for that special gift that once were open only to cycles and thousands of pedestrians. Sounds of loud music competed with Milwaukee Iron four-strokes as hordes of concert-goers gathered at Cutler Park for the free concerts Labor Day Weekend five years ago.
City of Waukesha - A 30-year-old man was charged after allegedly smashing a pint glass on a man’s head, causing a skull fracture, at a wedding at the Country Springs Hotel last August.
Randy S. Lunda of Racine was charged on Feb. 4 in Waukesha County Circuit Court with a felony aggravated battery, repeater.
If you're looking to do something with your special someone on Valentine's Day, you don't have to look further because WCT is celebrating Love American Style.
"From silly to sentimental to sappy to sassy, you and your loved ones are sure to enjoy this comic cabaret. Sit back and let some of WCT's favorite familiar faces show you the many different faces of love."
You’ve just been convicted of a crime. Now what?
If rain is snowman blood, then many of the thousand or so snowmen, women and monsters added to Waukesha lawns in the last few days are in desperate danger of bleeding out. Last I checked it was 37 and raining.
photo credit: James LaPaz via Waukesha Patch
Comedy Tonight Love American Style
From silly to sentimental to sappy to sassy, you and your loved ones are sure to enjoy this musical cabaret. Sit back and let some of WCT’s favorite familiar faces show you the many different faces of love.-- 7:00 pm, Waukesha Civic Theatre, 262-547-0708, http://waukeshacivictheatre.org/56thSeason/ComedyTonight-LoveAmericanStyle.html
Concert Reading – “The Vagina Monologues” by Eve Ensler
Carroll student reading of dramatic monologues.-- 7 p.m., Otteson Theatre, Carroll University, 262-524-7302, www.carrollu.edu
As you may have heard, the State Assembly is beginning a massive endeavor this session. That endeavor is a complete review of our state’s 11,764 pages of administrative rules. Dubbed “Right the Rules”, this program is the next step in lifting the burden our state has put on our job creators and taxpayers. Below are several helpful resources to explain this program, as well as contact information for you to submit your own ideas on which rules need to be changed.
Right the Rules website - http://righttherules.legis.wisconsin.gov
Wisconsin’s 1,768 chapters of administrative code - https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/code/prefaces/toc
To submit your ideas - firstname.lastname@example.org
The case really wasn’t surprising, given the times in which we live. But it was highly disappointing, to say the least.
This past Wednesday the Assembly Committee on Financial Institutions, which I chair, held its first meeting on the state of Wisconsin’s financial institutions. Invited guests included Department of Financial Institutions’ Secretary Peter Bildsten, the Wisconsin Bankers Association, the Wisconsin Credit Union League and the Community Bankers of Wisconsin. Those present at the meeting were optimistic about the role the committee will be taking in the Right the Rules project, and testified to the strength of Wisconsin’s banking system. However, it quickly became apparent that there was an 800 pound gorilla in the room - THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. Below is a picture of just a small fraction of the new rules created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the federal law that Nobel Laureate economist Gary Becker described as a “complex, disorderly, politically motivated, and not well thought out reaction to the financial crisis”. As the Wisconsin Bankers Association pointed out, the federal government is only halfway through creating their rules to enforce Dodd-Frank, and yet Wisconsin’s financial institutions are already feeling the pinch.
We in the Assembly Committee on Financial Institutions will be addressing our regulatory burden this coming session. Should President Obama be serious about creating jobs, he would be wise to do the same.
Lunch and Learn:“Traveling to Make You Laugh!”
Enjoy lunch, then a performance by the Waukesha Civic Theater Senior Players. The performance will feature several comedic skits, monologues, and musical numbers that will be sure to make you smile, laugh, and maybe even sing along! RSVP-- 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Waukesha County Museum, (262) 521-2859, www.waukeshacountymuseum.org
School's Out Day Camp: "Food Scientists"
Do you like to play with your food? Campers will explore the science of foods and cooking chemistry. Activities include playing with invisible ink, a chopsticks relay race and making edible slime. Cost is $45.00 per day. RSVP 262-521-2859, Ext. 246 -- 9:00 am - 4:00 pm, Waukesha County Museum, (262) 521-2859, www.waukeshacountymuseum.org
When we talk about termination of parental rights, we need to be clear that this typically occurs when a third party, the state or the county believes that a parent no longer has good decision-making abilities regarding their child. Everyone who has a child has a constitutional right to be in their kids’ lives.
Clearly, other factors such as divorce, custody and placement issues come into play. However, being a parent and being associated with your children and making decisions about them remains a constitutional right.
Waukesha was featured in MPTV's Around the Corner With John McGivern this week. The rainy President's Day premier at the Civic Theater was standing room only with overflow in the hallway.
John McGivern and John Gurda were here last summer to talk history and interview residents and business owners. With less than half an hour to work with I thought they did a fair job of highlighting Waukesha's past and present. More time could've been spent on GuitarTown, but all in all I thought the end result was something positive and good for the city.
Museum Vault Tours
Join Waukesha County Museum staff as they take you on a behind-the-scenes vault tour of their facility. Discover how the vaults and learn why they were built, what the vaults originally contained, and how they are used today. Fee $12. RSVP-- 11:00 am - 11:45 am, Waukesha County Museum, (262) 521-2859, www.waukeshacountymuseum.org
Youth Wind Orchestra of Wisconsin
Concert by talented high school student orchestra.-- 8 p.m., Shattuck Music Center, Carroll University, 262-524-7182, www.carrollu.edu
Well, I was going to mention my interesting Sunday morning hot air balloon flight. I heard on the radio that 19 people perished this morning from a propane explosion in a balloon over Luxor, Egypt. I was having second thoughts about saying anything.
It'll take a while to sort out what happened. One person said the drop line knocked the valve off the tank, which would be highly unlikely. The pilot jumped out and survives, so maybe that'll help get answers.
Earlier this month I discovered that a bill drafted by four Democrats from Milwaukee would ban the type of ammunition required for hunting deer and bear in Wisconsin, as well as ban the ammunition used by most for self-defense purposes. Here is my press release highlighting the Democrat proposal and also the Media Trackers story outlining the folly of this legislation.
As an ardent defender of the 2nd Amendment, and the rest of the Wisconsin and U.S. Constitutions, I believe it is important that we legislators take seriously our duty to introduce proposals in a serious manner. Whether or not authors of legislation had a specific intent, or just did not do their homework, we should be concerned at attempts to thwart constitutional rights.