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(AP) A conference committee has finalized a new tax policy bill with breaks for businesses, but less than they would have gotten in a tax bill vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton last week. The bill headed for a House floor vote Wednesday would cost the state about $46 million over the next year, but after that, only about half of what the vetoed bill would have cost. The bill would also draw less from the state's budget reserves than the previous bill. It includes a one-year property tax freeze for businesses and tax credits meant to encourage research and investment in start-up businesses. Some small businesses would get an upfront sales tax exemption for buying equipment but not as many as in the vetoed bill.
(AP) Authorities say they won't file charges in the suicide of a 13-year-old girl in southeastern Minnesota whose parents say she was bullied. The Dodge County sheriff's office says ``harassment and bullying were likely factors'' in the death of 13-year-old Rachel Ehmke of rural Mantorville last month. But the sheriff's office says in a statement that investigators found no specific incident or action by any particular student they believe is responsible for her death. And because of that, the county attorney's office has decided there's insufficient evidence to charge anyone. The sheriff's office says investigators also determined it was Rachel who sent a derogatory text message about herself to several students at Kasson-Mantorville Middle School two days before her death. The girl's parents did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.
(AP) Gov. Scott Walker says he will participate in two debates before the June 5 recall election even though his Democratic rival Tom Barrett wants him to do four. Walker said Wednesday he would participate in televised debates on May 25 and May 31. The first is sponsored by The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and the second will be hosted by Mike Gousha from WISN-TV in partnership with the Marquette University Law School, Wispolitics.com, and the WISN network of affiliates. Walker's campaign spokesman Ciara Matthews says the governor looks forward to the debates and having a ``robust'' discussion contrasting his record with Barrett. Barrett had asked Walker to hold four debates all focused on the issue of jobs. A spokeswoman for Barrett's campaign had no immediate response.
Worried about weeds taking over your neighbor's yard? Thinking it's time somebody did something about that old mattress in the alley? Want to give an attaboy for the fine job city of La Crosse employees are doing on a daily basis? There's now a central place to do all of that. The city has a link on its website for you to "report a concern." It's a service that's apparently been available for months but, the planning department tells us, the community apparently didn't know about it. The "report a concern" site is a link on the sidebar of the city's website, listed under "Interest Items."
Access to Bliss road again about to be a problem in La Crosse. Burlington Northern will shut down the railroad crossing at Main Street on Monday for a few days in order to reconstruct the crossing. Traffic will still be able to get up the bluff at Bliss road, getting there by a Cass street detour. Bliss road, the city's only direct access to Grandad Bluff Park, was shut down for more than a year after a washout in 2010. The road reopened to traffic last fall. No word yet on why Burlington Northern waited until this spring to do the crossing work.