- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Wisconsin ranked as 12th highest taxed

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A new analysis finds that Wisconsin is the 12th highest taxed state in the country and third highest in the upper Midwest.

The nonpartisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance said that was based on Census data on tax collections Tuesday. It analyzed the tax data as a percentage of personal income.

The data shows that Wisconsin moved from 13th worst in 2011 up one spot to 12th in 2012, the most recent year available.

Taxes as a percentage of personal income in Wisconsin were 11.4 percent in 2012. That compares with 10.5 percent for the national average.

Illinois was the highest taxed state in the upper Midwest at 11.7 percent of personal income and ninth highest nationwide. Minnesota was 10th highest nationwide and second highest in the upper Midwest at 11.6 percent.


Walker says he wants schools to have Common Core choice

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker is backing off his call for the Legislature to repeal Common Core academic standards, saying he simply wants to insure there is no mandate they be used.

Walker in July during his re-election campaign called on the Legislature to repeal the standards covering what students should know in the subjects of math and English. Walker said then he wanted them replaced with something Wisconsin-specific.

But Walker said Tuesday his goal now is to remove “any mandate or requirement that requires a school district to abide by Common Core standards.” He says he wants schools to have maximum flexibility.

Under current state law, school districts can adopt their own standards but most have stuck with Common Core since that is what statewide tests are based on.


Walker to review using hunting fees for mine costs

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker says he wants to review whether hunting and fishing fees collected by the state should be used to pay for costs related to sighting an open pit iron ore mine near Lake Superior.

Walker was asked about the issue Tuesday following a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the state has spent nearly $260,000 to pay for expenses related to the mine that will not be recovered from mining company Gogebic Taconite.

Money to pay for that has come from landfill tipping fees and hunting and fishing license fees.

Walker says he would prefer that fees collected for anything to do with hunting, fishing and trapping “stay in those particular areas.” He says he wants to review the issue across state government.


Walker says he’s open to ideas on changing elections board

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker says he’s open to making changes to the nonpartisan board that oversees elections, campaign finance, ethics and lobbying laws in Wisconsin.

But he says he doesn’t know whether the best approach is modifying the current setup, creating something entirely new, or reverting back to the separate elections and ethics boards that were made up of partisan appointees.

Walker was asked about the issue Tuesday. An audit that found problems with the Government Accountability Board was released last week, fueling calls from Republican legislative leaders for changes.

Walker says he wants to work with lawmakers in both parties to address what he calls “serious questions” about how the board operates.

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