April 23, 2014

Mone tapped as UWM interim chancellor

PHOTO via UWM website

PHOTO via UWM website

University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross announced Tuesday that Mark Mone will serve as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee interim chancellor following the departure of Chancellor Michael Lovell next month. Lovell announced on March 26 that he had been named the first lay president of Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Mone is a professor of management within the UWM Lubar School of Business and for the past two years has served as the Chancellor’s Designee for Strategic Planning and Campus Climate. He has been a member of the UWM faculty since 1989, serving for more than 15 years as the Lubar School of Business Associate Dean for Executive Education and Business Engagement.

“Mark’s academic credentials, leadership experiences, industry background, and long-term tenure with UW-Milwaukee make him an excellent choice for interim chancellor,” said Cross. Cross will work with the Board of Regents and the UW-Milwaukee community to begin a national search for the university’s next chancellor, aiming to have a permanent appointment made by January 1, 2015.

Leibham and Harris enter race for 6th CD

There are two more candidates in the race to succeed retiring 6th District congressman Tom Petri. State Senator Joe Leibham, a Sheboygan Republican, made his official announcement Tuesday. And Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris is the first Democrat to enter the race, telling the Oshkosh Northwestern that he’ll run.

Leibham, 43, was first elected to the state Senate in 2002 following a term in the Assembly. He is the third Republican in the race. He’ll face a primary against fellow state Senator Glenn Grothman of West Bend and state Representative Duey Stroebel of Saukville. He made his announcement at his home in Sheboygan.

“The future of the nation we know and love is at risk and our federal government needs to be reformed. Just in the area of taxation alone, our national policies need to be reformed. Today, April 22, is Tax Freedom Day here in Wisconsin. What that means is that the average Wisconsin taxpayer has worked every day from Jan. 1 through today to pay off their tax burden. Tomorrow you finally get to keep the money you have worked hard to earn instead of sending it to the government.”

Harris, 58, would become the first Democrat to represent the district since Fond du Lac Democrat John Race defeated incumbent William Van Pelt in 1964. The district currently leans heavily Republican, but in an interview with Oshkosh Northwestern Media Harris said he’s a “fiscally conservative progressive,” who can bring together Democrats, moderate Republicans and centrists.



Roth will seek state Senate seat

A former Wisconsin lawmaker has officially announced he will seek the state Senate seat being vacated by Mike Ellis. Roger Roth issued this statement Monday:

“I am encouraged by the tremendous outpouring of support from my friends, family and neighbors across the Fox Valley and I know that I can once again be a strong voice in Madison. I have always believed that it is an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Wisconsin and I greatly look forward to doing my part as a citizen legislator to continue moving our great state forward.” 

Roth, who lost in a 2010 primary for the 8th Congressional District to eventual winner Reid Ribble (R-Shorewood), gave up his Appleton-area seat in the Wisconsin Assembly. The military veteran is the lone Republican to enter the 19th state Senate district race. Appleton’s Penny Bernard Schaber is the only Democrat that has announced a bid for that seat. Ellis chose not to seek re-election in the wake of an undercover video showed him making some controversial comments.


Tax Freedom Day in Wisconsin

It’s Tax Freedom Day in Wisconsin, the day on which Badger State taxpayers have collectively earned enough income to pay off their total federal, state, and local tax bill. Wisconsin is the 37th state to reach Tax Freedom Day. According to the annual report from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, national Tax Freedom Day falls on April 21, three days later than last year.

The states with the earliest Tax Freedom Days are Louisiana (Mar 30), Mississippi (Apr 2), and South Dakota (Apr 4). The latest dates fall in New Jersey (May 9), Connecticut (May 9), and New York (May 4).

The study’s key findings include:

  •  The national Tax Freedom Day is three days later than last year due mainly to the continuing economic recovery, which will boost federal tax revenue collected through the corporate, payroll, and individual income tax.
  •  Americans will spend more on taxes in 2014 than they will on food, clothing, and housing combined.
  •  Americans will spend 42 days working to pay off income taxes, 15 days for excise taxes, and 11 days for property taxes.
  •  Americans will pay $3 trillion in federal taxes and $1.5 trillion in state and local taxes, for a total bill of more than $4.5 trillion, or 30.2 percent of the nation’s income.
  •  If you include annual federal borrowing, which represents future taxes owed, Tax Freedom Day would occur on May 6, 15 days later.

Tax Freedom Day is a significant date for taxpayers and lawmakers because it represents how long Americans as a whole have to work in order to pay the nation’s tax burden. Tax Foundation Economist Kyle Pomerleau said Tax Freedom Day provides “a vivid representation of how much we pay for the goods and services provided by governments at all levels.”

Historically, the date for Tax Freedom Day has fluctuated significantly. The latest-ever nationwide Tax Freedom Day was May 1, 2000. In 1900, Tax Freedom Day came on January 22.


DPI will not revoke license of Andrew Harris

andrewharrsA middle school teacher accused of sharing explicit emails will not have his license revoked by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Andrew Harris was a seventh-grade teacher at Glacier Creek Middle School when he was accused of sending and receiving the emails while on the job.

Arbitrators ruled the Middleton Cross Plains School District wrongly terminated Harris in 2010, and that he should be reinstated. He returned to the classroom in January, over the protests of some parents. Governor Scott Walker also asked the DPI to review the case and revoke Harris’ license, shortly after her returned to teaching.

DPI Director of Education Information Services John W. Johnson released a letter which stated that the accusations against Harris occurred prior to a 2011 change in state law which redefined immoral conduct.

While Andrew Harris’s conduct was highly inappropriate for an educator, it does not meet the legal definition of immoral conduct contained in the 2008-09 law. Specifically, the Department’s investigation confirmed the school district’s public statements that Andrew Harris’s conduct did not involve children in any manner. Similarly, the arbitrator who oversaw 18 days of hearings on this matter also determined that no students were involved and that no students could have seen the images. The arbitrator’s decision was upheld by the circuit court and Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Therefore, there is no probable cause that Andrew Harris violated the 2008-09 law, and the Department cannot pursue a revocation of Andrew Harris’s license at this time. 

The governor disagreed with DPI’s decision. “Governor Walker is disappointed by DPI’s decision. We believe the Department of Public Instruction does indeed have the legal authority to revoke his license under prior law and Governor Walker thinks they should do so,” said Laurel Patrick, the governor’s press secretary.