News of the Day

DATCP: Watch out for Fake AT and T Customer Service Calls

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has received a number of recent contacts from Wisconsin consumers about a robocall imposter scam that claims to come from AT&T.

The calls have been spoofed to show AT&T’s actual customer service phone number on recipients’ caller ID displays. The automated message in the calls warns recipients of an issue with their internet service related to a security breach. Call recipients are asked to press a button in order to speak to a representative about the situation.

Regardless of what your caller ID says, these calls are not from AT&T and are not legitimate. If you receive a similar call, hang up immediately and do not press any buttons. If you do press a button to speak with a “representative,” your number will likely be added to a future call list and you may be pressed for money or personal information from a scammer.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your AT&T service, contact the company directly by using the contact information listed on your monthly billing statement.

To read more about imposter scams, review DATCP’s imposter scams fact sheet.

For additional information on consumer protection issues, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau athttp://datcp.wi.gov, send an e-mail to datcphotline@wisconsin.gov or call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-422-7128.

Wisconsin’s Medical Malpractice Cap Goes Before State Supreme Court

Wisconsin’s cap on damages for pain and suffering is being challenged as unconstitutional. The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments Thursday in a medical malpractice case involving a woman who lost both her arms and legs.

In 2014, Ascaris Mayo was awarded a total of $25.3 million, $16.5 million of which was for non-economic damages, which Wisconsin caps at $750,000. Her attorney Daniel Rottier says the cap violates the state constitution’s equal protection clause because it hurts patients with the worst injuries the most — they are limited in what they can recover, no matter what a jury decides.

Kevin St. John, an attorney for the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund, disagreed. “Now a plaintiffs’ primary argument at the end of the day boils down to fairness. But ‘it’s not fair’ is not a constitutional argument,'” St. John told the state’s high court Thursday.

Proponents of the medical malpractice cap say it helps attract doctors to the state, curbs defensive medicine and protects a fund worth $1.4 billion used to compensate patients.

“The Legislature will always have a rationale for everything it does, that does not means its rational,” Rottier said. “And those reasons have to be examined in a meaningful way.”

Those arguing in favor of the cap told the court it’s “critical” to not only uphold the cap, but to make sure the cap has no exceptions based on an individual case.

“Now judicial second-guessing of the cap-specific level, as (a previous case, Ferdon v. Wisconsin Patients Compensation Fund) authorizes, places courts in the impossible position of making legislative, not judicial, judgments,” argued state Solicitor General Misha Tseytlin.

 

Governor Walker Seeks Federal Waiver for Reinsurance Program

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration filed a request with the federal government seeking a waiver that would allow Wisconsin to offer a $200 million reinsurance program designed to lower premiums and attract more providers to the private marketplace.

Walker said he was confident President Donald Trump’s administration would grant the waiver this summer.  “We feel very, very positive about our ability to get an approval and do so on a timely basis,” he said.

Under the reinsurance program, the government would provide money to health insurance providers to pay about 50 percent of medical claims costing between $50,000 and $200,000 starting in 2019. Deputy Wisconsin insurance commissioner J.P. Wieske said insurance providers will be required to file reports showing what rates would have been without the program so the savings could be calculated.

Rates are at least 20 percent lower this year in Alaska and Minnesota, and about 7 percent less in Oregon, the only three states with a reinsurance program. There was also a reinsurance program under the federal health care law for its first three years.

Walker originally said the state’s share under the 5-year program would be $50 million annually with the federal government picking up $150 million. But he said Wednesday the state’s share, to be taken from unspecified Medicaid savings, would actually be $34 million a year with the federal government paying the rest.

There were 227,000 people enrolled in an ACA plan through the private marketplace in Wisconsin in 2017, but that dropped to just over 202,000 this year. The decrease came at the same time premiums increased 44 percent from an average of $520 to $751 a month. They are projected to drop to $710 next year with the reinsurance program

Governor Signs Child Tax Rebate, Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday into Law

Yesterday, Governor Walker signed Wisconsin’s $100-per-child tax rebate and August sales tax holiday into law.

The bill creates a $100-per-child tax rebate for every dependent child living at home under the age of 18 as of December 31, 2017, and an August back-to-school sales tax holiday on school-related items. Governor Walker issued a partial veto to the legislation which expands the duration of the sales tax holiday from two days in August to five days in August, August 1 – 5, 2018.

Anyone who is a resident of the State of Wisconsin is eligible to receive $100 for every dependent child living at home under the age of 18 as of December 31, 2017. Beginning May 15, 2018, through July 2, 2018, eligible citizens can claim their $100-per-child tax rebate on a Department of Revenue website that will be announced prior to May 15.

Please note claims cannot be submitted prior to May 15. Those who claim the rebate will receive the money before school starts this fall and have the option to receive it through a check in the mail or direct deposit.

 

‘Tax Freedom’ Arrives Earlier

“Tax Freedom Day,” the day on which taxpayers have earned enough money to pay their total tax bill for the year, arrives on Thursday (April 19) for Badger State taxpayers, according to the Tax Foundation. Tax Freedom Day takes all federal, state, and local taxes and divides them by the nation’s income.

Last year, Wisconsin taxpayers didn’t break their government obligation chains until April 27, according to the Tax Foundation’s calculations. New York’s tax burden is the heaviest; the Empire State’s Tax Freedom Day arrives on May 14. Residents of Alaska and Louisiana tied for the earliest Tax Freedom Day, April 4.

National Tax Freedom Day also is Thursday, three days earlier than last year. The tax burden easing is thanks in large part to last year’s tax reform package pushed by President Trump and passed by the Republican-controlled congress.

Wisconsin taxpayers have seen an easing of their tax burden over the past seven-plus years. Gov. Scott Walker, backed by the Republican-controlled Legislature, has delivered north of $8 billion in tax cuts. The state’s property tax burden has declined by nearly 20 percent, according to economist Stephen Moore. And Walker has led several rounds of income tax cuts, although the state’s progressive tax system continues to diminish some of its tax relief gains.

Still, Wisconsin is faring better than some of its Midwest neighbors. Illinois and its massive public pension debt won’t celebrate Tax Freedom Day until April 29. Minnesota taxpayers are free, so to speak, on April 27, while the day arrives on April 24 in Michigan. Tax Freedom Day is April 18 in Iowa and April 10 in Indiana.

TPP Nations Welcome President Trump’s Interest

Ministers from Japan, Australia and Malaysia welcomed President Donald Trump directing officials to explore returning to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pact he withdrew from shortly after coming to office. But they also cautioned against making any significant changes.

“We welcome the U.S. coming back to the table but I don’t see any wholesale appetite for any material re-negotiation of the TPP-11,” Australia Trade Minister Steven Ciobo said Friday.

In a Twitter post on Thursday night, Trump said the U.S. “would only join TPP if the deal were substantially better than the deal offered to Pres. Obama. We already have BILATERAL deals with six of the eleven nations in TPP, and are working to make a deal with the biggest of those nations, Japan, who has hit us hard on trade for years!”

Trump withdrew the U.S. from the accord during his first week in office. The pact, which was conceived as a counterweight to China’s rising economic power in the region, had been negotiated under the Obama administration but never approved by Congress.

Senator Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican who participated in a meeting with Trump on Thursday where he spoke about rejoining the deal, said: “He multiple times reaffirmed the point that TPP might be easier to join now.”

The 11 remaining nations represent 13 percent of global output and include Japan and Canada. They finalized a revised version of the trade pact last month, renaming it the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership or CPTPP.

One of the White House officials said that while the president prefers negotiating bilateral trade deals, a multilateral deal with the TPP countries would counter Chinese competition and would be faster than negotiating one-on-one with each of the 11 other nations.

Wisconsin Grants Record $7.6 million for Broadband Expansion

The 2018 World Cup is fast approaching, with national sides making their final preparations ahead of this summer’s tournament.

We now know the groups after December’s draw. England have been put together with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama in Group G.

Gareth Southgate’s side were not among the top seeds, meaning they featured in pot two during the proceedings.

And with England’s route now mapped out, Southgate will be able to ramp up preparations for the 2018 tournament. 2018 World cup, football News ,Gaming ,Betscore ,Casino …..Sports.vin

U.S. Department of Treasury Approves Governor’s Economic Opportunity Zone Designations

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House Speaker Paul Ryan Says He is not Rrunning for Re-Election

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Spring School Referenda Raises Taxes $563 Million Statewide

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