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February 2013

Emancipation after 162 years

02/25/13

Emancipation after 162 years

In a recent court decision, four children were officially freed, 162 years after being forced into slavery. In 1850, a gang from Kentucky crossed the Ohio River and kidnapped eight free black children from the Polly family in Lawrence County, Ohio. They took the children back across the river. Four of the children were soon liberated and returned to Ohio. Four were sold into Wayne County, Va., where they were enslaved by William Ratcliff on his large farm on the Virginia-Kentucky border.

Posted at 10:59 AM | Permalink | Comments: 1

Act 10 is still the law

02/19/13

Act 10 is still the law

There has been considerable confusion regarding the impact of litigation regarding Act 10. A recent decision by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in WEAC v. Walker upheld the law in its entirety. In September 2012, in Madison Teachers v. Walker, Judge Juan Colas of the Dane County Circuit Court declared Act 10 to be “null and void.” That decision has been appealed but the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has not yet ruled. What does this all mean?

Posted at 08:38 AM | Permalink | Comments: 1

The HIPAA omnibus rule: A checklist for compliance

02/11/13

The HIPAA omnibus rule: A checklist for compliance

After months of waiting, the federal Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights posted the final rules regarding many of the provisions created in the HITECH Act of 2009. Two primary provisions of HITECH include the expansion of HIPAA compliance to business associates (BAs) and subcontractors of BAs, as well as the Notice of Breach rules.

Posted at 12:34 PM | Permalink | Comments: 2

Raising taxes not the way to close transportation funding gap

02/11/13

Raising taxes not the way to close transportation funding gap

Whether we’re gathering up the kids to visit family for the holidays or just driving to work in the morning, we all rely on our system of roads and bridges. As you may have already heard, the Wisconsin Transportation Finance and Policy Commission suggested that Wisconsin increase its spending on transportation by $480 million a year for 10 years to keep up the quality of the roads and maintain our bridges. How will this all be paid for? With $6.8 billion in new revenue (taxes and fees) over the next 10 years?

Posted at 11:58 AM | Permalink | Comments: 5

To stay in sync with the digital world, follow the data

02/11/13

To stay in sync with the digital world, follow the data

In the popular television program Sing Along with Mitch, the late Mitch Miller encouraged his audience to sing along as a “bouncing ball” kept rhythm with the lyrics scrolling across the screen. “Follow the bouncing ball” became a popular mantra that was used in many television programs over the years to keep viewers in sync with the program. Fast-forward to the age of iTunes, cloud computing, and ecommerce. The digital age has spawned an explosion in data creation, collection, storage, and analysis. To stay in sync with the new digital world, businesses of all sizes must now keep their eyes on a different ball – data. To understand your market, your competitors, and your customers, a business owner must “follow the data.”

Posted at 11:25 AM | Permalink | Comments

Use your social media presence to build trust with your customers

02/04/13

Use your social media presence to build trust with your customers

If you’ve been beefing up your social media skills, your online presence probably includes “likes,” “tweets,” “pin its,” and more. But a key component of any social media effort needs to include one very important ingredient: trust. Trust can build confidence among your customers and distinguish your company as a “good guy” in the marketplace.

Posted at 11:11 AM | Permalink | Comments

After the cliff: Q&A on estate and gift taxes

02/04/13

After the cliff: Q&A on estate and gift taxes

Since the fiscal cliff was averted, there has been widespread confusion about the effect on estate planning under the tax law passed by Congress. In short, Congress made permanent the system that has been in effect for the past two years. That was an important achievement: Without any action on their part, the tax-free amount would have automatically reverted to $1 million per person, and the rate for most estates would have gone up to 55%. But at the end of the day, the only thing lawmakers actually changed was the gift and estate tax rate, which has gone up to a top rate of 40% (it was 35% before 2013).

Posted at 10:44 AM | Permalink | Comments

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