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Entries in Wisconsin (3)

Tuesday
May152012

37-Cent Gasoline? It Almost Happened in Wisconsin

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(PLOVER, Wis.) -- With gas prices across most of the country hovering near $4 a gallon for regular unleaded, drivers in Plover, Wis., were thrilled when they saw a local BP station advertising gas at 37-cents a gallon.

But when hundreds of cars lined up, the gas station realized its mistake and shut down the pumps.

“I was very disappointed,” Plover resident Adam Clussman, one of the many who was hoping for a cheap fill up, said. “I was really hoping that we could get in and get a couple of gas cans and fill them up, get some cheap gas.”

Disappointed, too, was local Patricia Peckham.

“I was excited,” she said, recalling her reaction to what she thought was 37-cent per gallon gasoline. “I have a big Durango, so I had to fill up pretty good…so I'm still stuck at a quarter tank right now.”

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in Wisconsin sits at $3.74, according to GasBuddy.com

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar022011

States in the Red Try Creative Ways to Balance Budgets

Photo Courtesy - Stephen Chernin/ Getty Images(HARTFORD, Conn.) -- From Connecticut to Wisconsin, states across the country are trying to fill budget gaps with new taxes and cuts in spending.

In Connecticut, Gov. Dan Malloy is even going after coupon clippers.  As part of $1.5 billion in new taxes in Connecticut, Malloy proposes a sales tax on the original price of something -- never mind whether you get a big discount when you buy it.

Larry Dorman, spokesman for the Connecticut State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition, said the coupon tax and the governor's other budget proposals "hit the middle class disproportionately."  He said he is also concerned about the possible repeal of a $500 property tax credit and an increase in the income tax on middle-income wage earners.

Ben Barnes the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management in Connecticut's budget office, said that the taxes were not preferred solutions to balance the budget.  He said they were painful but necessary features of a budget proposal.  He also said Gov. Malloy's budget proposal was a "good mix of revenue, spending cuts and concessions from state employees" to balance the budget.

Dorman said the state employees union has been "constructively engaged" with the governor and "hopes to continue that process."

"This isn't Chris Christie or Scott Walker," said Dorman, referring to the governors of New Jersey and Wisconsin who have played tough with labor unions.  "So there's some reason for optimism at this early stage."

Many states are also feeling the pinch and getting creative to find financial solutions.  In January, Illinois approved an increase in the sales tax and corporate tax rates, to the dismay of businesses there.

Jimmy Patronis, a Florida state legislator, said some companies in Illinois have expressed interest in moving south.

"We have been very frugal with how we've been doing business," said Patronis.  "The cost of doing business here is very reasonable.  It has made us a little bit of a safe haven."

But Florida has a budget deficit of its own.  Florida's state legislature will begin to try to fill a $3 billion budget shortfall when it convenes on Mar. 8.  Its spring lawmaking session will last 60 days.

Patronis, in his fifth year as a representative of Panama City, said Florida will have to make a number of tough decisions to constitutionally balance the budget.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb222011

Firing Up Big Labor in the Midwest?

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- As Republican governors seek to rein in organized labor as part of efforts to address budget crises, they’re sparking intense backlashes in the states as organized labor rallies to preserve rights and benefits for unionized workers.

Former Rep. Martin Frost, D-Texas, told ABC News on Tuesday that the battles in states including Wisconsin, Ohio, and Iowa could wind up benefiting President Obama politically, particularly since the battles are being waged in critical presidential battleground states.

“He's somehow got to show that he's with the workers, that he's with people who are concerned about their jobs,” Frost said. “And what Republicans have done is give him a golden opportunity to show them that he is on the side of the working men and women. The labor movement had been kind of on the sidelines until recently. Now he may be able to motivate his base. This may actually long-term help him in the election” in 2012.

The fights could serve to remind voters of the importance of labor unions, Frost said.

“Motivating labor is something that the Republicans may have made a mistake on, because if labor gets fired up in the 2012 election, Obama will carry those Midwestern states that he needs to win.”

Frost also said that Republicans in Congress are “playing with dynamite” by potentially risking a government shutdown in their standoff with Democrats over spending, though he acknowledged that a repeat of the 1995 shutdown is unlikely.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐







ABC News Radio