Thumbs up to declining state tax burden. Republicans who ran the Capitol over the past decade can take a bow for the findings in a new Wisconsin Policy Forum report. The percentage of Wisconsin residents' income going to state and local taxes fell from 13.4% in 1994 to 10.3% last year. Income growth and legislative efforts to hold down property taxes reduced the state's tax burden to its lowest level in 50 years, according to the report. While unpopular with local government officials, state-imposed property tax limits have forced city councils and school boards to find ways to balance budgets without relying solely on tax increases. Whether the trend continues depends not only on tax rates but also on future economic growth, the report states.
Thumbs down to unfinished legislative business. The pathetic thing about the gridlock between Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and the Republican-controlled Legislature is that some languishing initiatives have bipartisan support. Last week, Evers gave the Legislature a list of proposals he wanted passed, but Republicans balked, complaining they didn't like Evers' tone. Hurt feelings have brought the Legislature to a standstill, apparently. In particular, a bipartisan package to combat homelessness still needs Senate approval. It passed the Assembly, but Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald appears determined to do the opposite of whatever Evers asks. Perhaps Evers should oppose the homelessness package, which then might prompt Fitzgerald to pass it. Seriously, it's become that petty.
Thumbs down to the millennial lifestyle. A new study shows Gen Xers are healthier than millennials, which is quite the feat. Generation X is, after all, the group that earned the "slacker" moniker, signified in pop culture by the 1990 movie under the same name. Sporting ugly flannels and torn denim, Gen Xers were characterized as unmotivated and nihilistic. But at least they got exercise in those mosh pits. Millennials, on the other hand, have become slackers in the literal sense. Many of them just sit there, moving their thumbs over screens while absorbing social media feeds. Based on current trends, the Blue Cross Blue Shield study predicts "the millennial mortality rate could increase by more than 40% compared with that of Generation X at the same age." The doctor's advice for millennials: Move around.
Thumbs down to Mike McCarthy heading to Dallas. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones believes McCarthy can return the Cowboys to Super Bowl glory, and maybe he can. But the former Packers coach should beware: Don't get in the way of Jones' ego. This owner is notorious for wanting to claim credit for the team's successes and dump blame on others for the team's failures. Either way, McCarthy is likely to regret signing up for this job. McCarthy didn't like how the Packers handled his firing in 2018, but his exit from Green Bay will look graceful compared to what will happen to McCarthy should he fail to live up to Jones' expectations. Jones is one of the few NFL owners who can make a job coaching the Cleveland Browns seem appealing.