Government and Political News: Dems introduce bill to preserve Badger Care's fundingWisconsin News
-- Wisconsin Democrats introduced a bill yesterday to preserve Badger Care’s funding and eligibility requirements by closing a corporate tax loophole.
Wisconsin Democrats introduced a bill yesterday to preserve Badger Care’s funding and eligibility requirements by closing a corporate tax loophole. The measure doesn’t have much of a chance, given that the Legislature will adjourn for the year two weeks from tomorrow – and majority Republicans have made business tax breaks a hallmark of the current session. But Assembly Democrat Jon Richards of Milwaukee says the recall efforts against Governor Scott Walker and five other Republicans are changing the political climate in the State Capitol. And Richards says he thinks the G-O-P is quote, “starting to listen to what their constituents are saying.” Twenty groups say they support the Democrats’ efforts to prevent things like higher premiums and income eligibility requirements for Badger-Care, the state’s tax-funded health care program for low-income residents. Senate Democrat Jon Erpenbach of Middleton has joined Richards as the chief sponsors of the new bill. It seeks to raise 40-million-dollars in corporate taxes, by no longer letting multi-state corporations retroactively claim business losses in their subsidiaries – thus cutting their Wisconsin tax liability for up to 20 years. Erpenbach says Democrats are trying to stop companies from getting tax breaks if they let their lower-paid employees go on Badger Care by not offering adequate coverage themselves. Erpenbach calls that corporate “double dipping.” The Republicans’ Badger Care changes are awaiting the approval of a federal waiver aimed at cutting a large deficit in Wisconsin’s Medicaid programs. Without the waiver, officials say they’ll have to cut 53-thousand childless adults from Badger-Care.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he will approve a payment of two-million-dollars to Frank Jude – the man who was brutally beaten by a dozen police officers in 2004. The Common Council voted unanimously yesterday to make the payment. It settles a federal lawsuit Jude filed in 2006, in which he sought 30-million dollars. He was at an officer’s house-warming party when the host accused Jude of stealing his police badge. The off-duty officers then kicked and beat Jude outside the home. A jury acquitted three of the officers in state court, but seven officers were later convicted in federal court of violating Jude’s civil rights. Former Milwaukee Police Chief Nan Hegerty fired a total of nine officers. She suspended three others and demoted one. And the police department later changed its hiring and training practices. Barrett said Milwaukee has taken a long time to recover from the incident, and it’s important to bring it to a close. The city will borrow the two-million to pay Jude. Unlike many other cities, Milwaukee is self-insured – which means that settlements come from the city treasury instead of a private insurance carrier.
A physical therapist from Rhinelander is the latest candidate for the U-S Senate. Kip Smith has announced his Republican bid. He plans to run in the September primary against former Governor Tommy Thompson, former Congressman Mark Neumann, and state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald. Smith says voters need to send quote, “common-sense Americans” to Washington. He says he’s just the man who can help end the divisiveness in Congress. Madison Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin is the only Democrat running so far for a Senate seat to be vacated this year by Democrat Herb Kohl.
Almost a-thousand Wisconsin tourist operators and officials are gearing up for the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism which starts on Sunday in Green Bay. They’ll discuss a variety of things like economic forecasts, customer service, and using social media to bring in visitors. Miss America, Laura Kaeppeler, will speak at the conference along with Packers’ kicker Mason Crosby and Governor Scott Walker. It’s also when we normally learn how much business Wisconsin visitors generated during the previous year. The tourism conference runs from Sunday through next Tuesday at Green Bay’s K-I Convention Center.