December 21 2011
Yesterday the House GOP rejected the 2-month payroll tax cut, which was backed by President Obama. Now Republicans controlling the Chamber are demanding immediate talks with the Senate on a year-long plan. If Congress doesn’t pass a bill by January 1st, payroll taxes will go up for over 160 million workers and almost 2 million could lose unemployment benefits in January as well.
Governor Walker recently signed an executive order on child abuse reporting. It basically states that University of Wisconsin System employees can be penalized if they don’t report child abuse or neglect. This action comes after the Penn State University scandal. Walker said “employees should know simply that you have to report it” and believes this rule will make it “crystal clear.”
Layton Boulevard West Neighbors received a $112,000 national grant as part of Wells Fargo’s “Leading the Way Home Program”. The initiative helps communities understand and stabilize their current housing situation while advancing home ownership. LBWN plans on using the grant to buy vacant foreclosed homes and renovate them with energy efficiency and restoration. Right now their 6th home is being renovated.
With holiday travel right around the corner, there’s good news for prices at the pump. Prices nationwide fell more than 5 cents over the past two weeks, and down 24 cents over the past six weeks. Here in southeastern Wisconsin, the average is about $3.12. Fuel experts say the warm month has eased the demand on home heating oil, which helped drop crude oil prices.
The ACLU is still not happy with the Capitol access policy and is demanding further revisions otherwise it’s prepared to sue the Walker Administration. ACLU members say the policy takes away free speech rights by requiring groups of four or more demonstrators to get a permit and be liable for the cost of police and clean up. Walker’s Administration says that it’s trying to minimize disruptions and expense at the statehouse. So far no changes have been made to the policy.
WE Energies just completed the state’s largest wind farm outside of Madison. With over 90 turbines, the project is expected to generate 160 megawatts of power or enough over a year’s time to power 45,000 homes. Project officials say that the completion of the wind farm was “achieved largely through the talents of Wisconsin companies and Wisconsin labor.”