Morning Headlines - Wednesday, Mar. 1, 2023

U.S. & World and Wisconsin trending headlines, and the meme of the day.

Morning Headlines - Wednesday, Mar. 1, 2023

U.S. and World Headlines

Biden Says 'I'm Gonna Raise Some Taxes' In March Budget Proposal

President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that his March 9 budget proposal to the U.S. Congress will include some higher taxes, including on billionaires, but will not violate his pledge not to raise rates on Americans making less than $400,000 a year.

"On March the 9th, I'm going to lay down in detail every single thing, every tax that's out there that I'm proposing, and no one ... making less than $400,000 is going to pay a penny more in taxes," Biden told an audience in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

"I want to make it clear. I'm gonna raise some taxes," the Democratic president added, before suggesting that "billionaires" would be called upon to pay more.

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Loses Reelection Bid; Challengers Advance To Runoff

Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson will meet in a runoff to be the next mayor of Chicago after voters on Tuesday denied incumbent Lori Lightfoot a second term, issuing a rebuke to a leader who made history as head of the nation's third-largest city.

Lightfoot, the first Black woman and first openly gay person to lead the city, failed in her fight for reelection after four tumultuous years in office.

It was the first time in 40 years that an incumbent Chicago mayor was defeated after one term, when Jane Byrne lost to Harold Washington.

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Drugmaker Eli Lilly Caps The Cost Of Insulin At $35 A Month, Bringing Relief For Millions

Eli Lilly will cap the out-of-pocket cost of its insulin at $35 a month, the drugmaker said Wednesday. The move, experts say, could prompt other insulin makers in the U.S. to follow suit.

The change, which Eli Lilly said takes effect immediately, puts the drugmaker in line with a rovision in the Inflation Reduction Act, which last month imposed a $35 monthly cap on the out-of-pocket cost of insulin for seniors enrolled in Medicare.

Insulin makers continue to face pressure from members of Congress and advocacy groups to lower the cost of the lifesaving medication. Insulin costs in the U.S. are notoriously high compared to the costs in other countries; the Rand Corporation, a public policy think tank, estimated that in 2018, the average list price for one vial of insulin in the U.S. was $98.70.

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Top Takeaways From Student Loan Forgiveness Arguments At The Supreme Court

The debate over President Biden’s student loan relief for millions of Americans came to a head on Tuesday as Supreme Court justices grilled the administration and its challengers during oral arguments.

As thousands outside the court were advocating for Biden’s plan for up to $20,000 in forgiveness, the conservative-leaning court spent more than three hours listening to two different challenges to the program.

The main focus in both cases was the standing of the challengers, meaning their legal right to sue, and the scope of the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (HEROES) Act.

The questioning from the justices highlighted the split between the liberal and conservative sides of the court, casting doubt that the plan, a major campaign promise for Biden, will be able to succeed.

Here are the top takeaways from Tuesday’s arguments.

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FBI Chief Christopher Wray Says China Lab Leak Most Likely

FBI Director Christopher Wray has said that the bureau believes Covid-19 most likely originated in a Chinese government-controlled lab.

"The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident," he told Fox News.

It is the first public confirmation of the FBI's classified judgement of how the pandemic virus emerged.

Many scientists point out there is no evidence that it leaked from a lab.

And other US government agencies have drawn differing conclusions to the FBI's.

Some of them have said - but with a low level of certainty - that the virus did not start in a lab but instead jumped from animals to humans.

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Wisconsin Headlines

Republican Budget Chairs Say Flat Income Tax Unlikely, While Evers Expects Some Cuts

Wisconsin Republicans are unlikely to include their plan for a flat 3.25% income tax rate in the state budget, heads of the Republican-controlled Legislature's powerful budget committee said Feb. 28.

Rep. Mark Born and Sen. Howard Marklein, co-chairs of the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee, said they plan to cut taxes in the budget, but it's unlikely they will go as far as sending a flat-tax proposal to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who has promised to veto the flat tax plan.

"That's a long-term goal," Marklein said Feb. 28 at a WisPolitics.com forum. "I support the concept, and it's not going to happen overnight. I doubt if it will happen in this budget."

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Evers Proposes $3.8B In State Building Projects

Gov. Tony Evers proposed a $3.8 billion dollar capital budget Tuesday, with the largest chunk of the money— nearly $1.8 billion — going toward building projects in the University of Wisconsin System.

While the proposal would be the largest state government building plan in at least a decade, it would also borrow far less than in recent years, relying instead on a share of the state's surplus to pay for new projects up-front. Along the way, it would fund upgrades for institutions ranging from the state Capitol to the State Fair's Cream Puff Pavilion.

"Our historic surplus means we have historic opportunity and responsibility—to invest in key projects that have long been neglected while still staying well within our means," Evers said in a statement announcing the capital budget.

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Kohl's Swings To Surprise Loss And Issues Bleak Outlook

Kohl's swung to a surprise fourth quarter loss and sales slumped as the department store's customers pulled back on spending with inflation squeezing family budgets.

The retailer also issued an annual outlook Wednesday that fell well below Wall Street expectations, sending shares tumbling 10% in premarket trading.

The company reported a loss of $273 million, or $2.49 per share for the quarter ended Jan. 28. Industry analysts had projected per-share profits of 97 cents, according to a poll by FactSet.

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Wisconsin’s Supreme Court Race Already Most Expensive In U.S. History

Wisconsin’s state Supreme Court race has already become the most expensive in U.S. history, with a group backing conservative Daniel Kelly going up with its first post-primary buy and liberal Janet Protasiewicz’s campaign dramatically upping its spending.

The campaign of Protasiewicz, who placed first in the four-way primary on Feb. 21, told WisPolitics.com last week it was reserving more than $2 million through the April 4 election. Monday, the campaign said it has now reserved more than $6.5 million on broadcast, cable and satellite TV.

That’s on top of the $1.25 million in paid media Protasiewicz’s campaign said she spent ahead of the primary.

Meanwhile, Fair Courts America, which spent nearly $2.4 million supporting Kelly ahead of the primary, is going up on the air. Two sources tracking media buys told WisPolitics.com the initial buy is for $1 million starting tomorrow.

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Rodgers Watch Continues

The wait continues. Packers GM Brian Gutekunst telling reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday that he has not had any conversations with Aaron Rodgers since their end of season discussions over a month ago, but they have exchanged some texts.

The 4-time MVP apparently is still mulling over his options, while the GM said all options are on the table. If Rodgers returns, the team will restructure his contract. But whether Rodgers returns, retires, or desires to be traded, it will have large cap ramifications for the team. Yet Gutekunst maintains it is still business as usual.

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Last Update: Mar 01, 2023 9:00 am CST

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