- Associated Press - Friday, February 6, 2015
UW campuses ask alumni to push back against Walker cuts

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker is fond of comparing his proposed $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System to Act 10, his signature legislation that restricted collective bargaining for public workers and sparked massive protests.

Opposition to the UW cuts doesn’t look to flare that intensely, but system leaders have no plans to go quietly into the budget cut night. Despite their president’s call for calm, campus heads are ratcheting up warnings about how the cuts would cripple the system and starting to mobilize tens of thousands of alumni in an effort to convince Walker and legislators to scale the reduction back.

“I realize this may make you feel helpless,” UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer wrote on that school’s website. “However, the beauty of democracy is that we all have a voice. I would encourage you to use that voice…. We simply cannot allow the UW System, one of the state’s greatest assets and economic drivers, to be weakened in this way.”

A Walker spokeswoman didn’t immediately return an email Friday.

The Republican governor’s two-year budget plan calls for cutting the system by $300 million while keeping a tuition freeze in place for in-state students. In exchange Walker would give the system more freedom from state oversight and laws on building projects, procurement and tuition increases when the freeze expires in 2017.

Walker, who is grappling with a $2 billion deficit while pondering a 2016 run for president, has said less oversight would give the system the flexibility to absorb the cut, much like he said Act 10 helped government employers absorb budget cuts in 2011.

The depth of the cut coupled with the inability to raise tuition to offset it has left chancellors stunned. A Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimate shows UW-Madison next year would lose $57.7 million, nearly 12 percent of its current annual budget. UW-Whitewater would take the biggest percentage cut at nearly 19 percent.

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Wrong-way driver on I-94 was 3-times over alcohol limit

MILWAUKEE (AP) - A 32-year-old man who died last month when he drove the wrong way on Interstate 94 and crashed into a car had a blood-alcohol content that more than three times the legal limit.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office says Marcos Cortez of Wauwatosa had a blood alcohol level of .282. The legal limit in Wisconsin is .08.

Authorities say Cortez entered the freeway on the night of Jan. 23 and was travelling westbound in the eastbound lanes without headlights on when he crashed into another car.

Cortez was not wearing his seatbelt and was ejected from his car. He died at the scene.

Four other vehicles were involved in secondary crashes and a total of five people were injured.

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About 120 laid off at Janesville’s Data Dimensions

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) - A data processing and management company in Janesville has laid off 120 employees.

Data Dimensions CEO Jon Boumstein says third shift workers were terminated Friday. Boumstein says the layoffs are the result of a contract’s ebb and flow. He says there just isn’t enough work to support the number of employees.

WISC-TV (https://bit.ly/18UHIZKhttps://bit.ly/18UHIZK ) reports nearly 400 people remain employed at the Janesville location.

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Information from: WISC-TV, https://www.channel3000.comhttps://www.channel3000.com

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Taxpayers may be asked to take identity quiz

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin revenue officials say some taxpayers may be asked to take a short quiz to verify their identity.

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue estimates the four-question quiz launched last year helped to save nearly $50 million in fraudulent or inappropriately filed claims.

The department will review more than 60,000 returns filed over the weekend and earlier this week.

Taxpayers are selected for review based on analytics. Those selected have 20 days to take the quiz online or by phone. If they fail to answer the questions correctly, they will be offered the chance to take it again. After a second failure, taxpayers will be obligated to mail documentation to the Department of Revenue to prove their identity.


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