July 30, 2014

Senators differ on efforts to combat outsourcing

With job outsourcing a hot political topic right now, there is support from some members of both parties to give businesses incentives and tax breaks for bringing jobs home instead of sending them overseas. But Wisconsin’s U.S. Senators are on opposite sides of the debate over legislation aimed at accomplishing that.

Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin is hoping the Bring Jobs Home Act can get enough support to remove the tax code that rewards businesses for exporting jobs. “This measure repeals that perverse tax incentive, and in its place says let’s actually send the right message. Let’s say if you bring jobs back that there’s a tax credit,” said Baldwin.

Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson was one of seven Senators who recently voted against bringing the bill to the floor for a vote, arguing it’s the wrong approach. “It would actually make America a less attractive place (for business),” Johnson said. “The reason people are doing these corporate inversions is that we have the highest business tax rate in the developed world.”

Baldwin said over the last decade, 2.4 million jobs were shipped overseas because of a loophole that allows businesses to deduct the cost of moving personnel and components to other countries when filing taxes. “This is in something that has been sort of out of whack in our tax code for many years, it’s high time we fix it.”

“There are no special loopholes for corporations that move from location to location,” said Johnson, who has argued that the tax code is in need of drastic revision. “What we should do is scrap the current tax code, and then write something that is pretty simple, that raises the revenue we need, and does no economic harm,” Johnson said.

WSAU contributed to this report


‘Do not call’ list gets more consumer friendly

WIDNC_Vert_4cYou may not notice the difference immediately, but big changes are just around the bend for Wisconsin’s Do Not Call list. Beginning August 1, consumers will no longer be required to register their phone numbers every two years to receive protection from unwanted telemarketing calls and text messages, and new registrations will be active the following day rather than the next quarter.

“Consumers can sign up once and not have to worry about whether their registrations will lapse or whether there will be a three-month delay before they are protected under the program,” said Sandy Chalmers, Division Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection.

Changes in the state’s Do Not Call law will make numbers on the Wisconsin Do Not Call Registry permanent, moving the registration process to the Federal Trade Commission’s nationwide list. Phone numbers on the previous Wisconsin list will automatically be transferred to the federal list. If a Wisconsin consumer has previously registered their number to the federal list, they do not need to re-register for protection under the new law.

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will continue to enforce the state’s Do Not Call laws, protecting Wisconsin residents registered on the federal list.

GOP letter: no ‘border children’ here

Reps. Nygren, Vos  WRN file photo

Reps. Nygren, Vos WRN file photo

The federal government’s placement of 50 unaccompanied minors in Wisconsin has drawn a rebuke from four members of the state legislature. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Republican colleagues, Representatives David Craig, Joel Kleefisch and John Nygren, forwarded the letter on Thursday, after the Office of Refugee Resettlement released a state-by-state breakdown showing where some of the children have been sent.

“While we understand this situation requires compassion, we believe it is in the best interest of the minors to be relocated near our nation’s southern border, allowing for prompt reunification of families.”

“As elected officials in Wisconsin, we are beyond frustrated that the administration is neglecting its obligation to uphold the law while failing to provide adequate information to state officials.”

“Another concern is that the “temporary” relocation is actually a permanent one that will undoubtedly cause a significant drain on local and state budgets impacting public education and public health systems.”

The specific locations of the children were not disclosed, however the federal government had asked Catholic Charities for assistance if any children were placed in Milwaukee. Also, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin indicated earlier this month that his office had been contacted about any available space. All of the thousands of children intercepted at the U.S. southern border are eventually to receive hearings, which will determine whether they will be deported or allowed to remain in the country.

READ: Letter to Secretary Jeh Johnson

Home found for Sheboygan alligator



Still no word on how an alligator ended up in Sheboygan. Michael Clutter is a Department of Natural Resources Warden who found a placement for the four-foot long reptile after the animal was captured by sheriff’s deputies last Sunday, after a motorist spotted it near the Sheboygan River.

Small Scale Reptile Rescue is a Milwaukee area organization that works with shelters and animal control agencies to assist in the rehabilitation and finding suitable homes for abandoned and seized reptiles. The organization sends alligators to alligator farms but will not allow the general public to receive them. The organization transported the animal to the Chicago Herpetological Society this past Tuesday evening.

Clutter said media attention may help generate some leads, but so far they don’t know who had the gator or whether it escaped or was deliberately released. He speculates that it just became too much, for whoever had it. “They get too big and people don’t know what to do with them. So they cut them loose and they become everybody’s problem,” he said.

Anyone with information on the alligator should contact the DNR Tip Line – 1-800-TIP-WDNR. State law regulates the introduction, stocking and release of wild animals, and violators can face a forfeiture of $539 for the release of a wild animal.

Clutter said the gator would likely be a goner eventually: the reptiles can’t survive anywhere temperatures routinely get below freezing for extended periods.

Walker ad goes after Burke on outsourcing



Governor Scott Walker’s newest campaign ad focuses on outsourcing of Wisconsin jobs by Trek Bicycle, the firm owned by the family of opponent Mary Burke. Walker criticized the Democrat during a campaign stop in Wausau on Wednesday.

“They’ve taken state taxpayers dollars to in turn ship jobs overseas. When she’s talking about that, criticizing that of other companies, I think voters need to know that that’s something that Mary Burke has profited from a company, her own family company, that’s taken the taxpayers money and done just exactly that,” the Republican governor said.

The Walker campaign ad features a grandmother reading a bedtime story – one which features images of Burke holding bags of money. Burke has said she had nothing to do with Trek’s decision to create manufacturing jobs in China, although she still owns stock in the company.

“Scott Walker should be ashamed of himself,” said Burke campaign spokesman Joe Zepecki. “Attacking a great Wisconsin company, that his own flagship economic agency held up as an example of a model business just last year, for political purposes is despicable. Trek makes more bikes in the US than any of its competitors, employs nearly 1,000 people right here in Wisconsin. It’s payroll has doubled over the last 20 years and it injects almost $100 million into the state economy every year.”