Skilled Construction Trades and Respected Contractors
Building Wisconsin Together ®
Welcome to Construction Business Group's Industry Updates.  This monthly e-newsletter will help us communicate the important initiatives that we have underway and relevant updates on issues that impact Wisconsin's construction industry.  
Message from Executive Director  Robb Kahl

2019-A Whole New World?
As you no doubt know, Tony Evers defeated Scott Walker in the November 6 election to become the 46th Wisconsin Governor. Democrat Josh Kaul defeated Republican Brad Schimel to become the 45th Wisconsin Attorney General. With two of the most powerful offices in the State changing party hands, many people have asked whether the construction industry should expect dramatic changes. Will the right-to-work law be repealed? Will state prevailing wage laws be resurrected? Surely transportation needs will be fully funded, right?
My response to the first two questions has consistently been - probably not; and to the third - maybe.
Republicans still control, by very comfortable margins, the State Senate and Assembly. There are many excellent elected officials in both the Senate and Assembly: people willing to pursue bipartisan solutions to address the needs of Wisconsin. However, there are growing factions in both the Senate and the Assembly that have no interest in bipartisanship or serving the best interests of Wisconsin. This is true of both Democrats and Republicans. These factions attempt to advance policy agendas dictated to them by out-of-state third-party interest groups. They also seek to implement litmus tests to weed out those in their own party that are not "pure" enough, leaving a government, here and in Washington D.C., that is dysfunctional and devoid of bipartisanship.

Building Wisconsin Together ®
Record numbers attend November 14th externship

Thank you to all that participated in the November 14th externship at the training center.  This event, held during National Apprenticeship Week, introduced more than 550 students, teachers and parents from 60 school districts to the exciting career pathway of an Operating Engineer.
Onalaska School District attended the event for the first time and shared the following:

Just a quick note of thanks for the awesome opportunity you provide d for so many high school students.  We have never brought students before, but the day was very well organized.  It takes a great deal of effort and planning to prepare for such a large event.   The students I brought were very appreciative of all they learned and saw.  I brought six, but should have brought more.  Thanks again" 

The day wrapped up with special guest Governor-Elect Tony Evers commending the Wisconsin Operating Engineers for their commitment to training, emphasizing the need to focus on infrastructure investment and reminding students that apprenticeship is a valuable way to start a career that offers family-sustaining wages and many opportunities to contribute to the State of Wisconsin.
As the largest event held in the state during this celebration week, the head of DWD's Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards, Karen Morgan also attended the closing session to recognize the success of this crucial outreach event. 
Watch for details on the Spring 2019 event! 

For more information, please contact Laura Cataldo at 608-616-2835 or .
Upcoming Events

Winter Conference


February 6-7, 2019

Kalahari Resort

Wisconsin Dells, WI


Click here for more information




Don't forget to register for our Winter Conference.


Book your hotel room ASAP (limited availability) by calling 877-525-2427.


Industry News and Updates
From the News Stand
Gubernatorial Transition Underway

The transition from the Walker Administration to the Evers Administration has begun.
Governor-elect Evers has appointed Maggie Gau to serve as his Chief of Staff. She formerly served as Chief of Staff for State Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) and State Senator Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville). 
JoAnne Anton, Director of Charitable Giving for Herb Kohl Philanthropies, will serve as the Transition Director and the Transition Team members are: 
  • Chuck Pruitt - Partner and Co-Managing Director of the Milwaukee-based A.B. Data Group;
  • Amy Traynor - Instructional Coach in the Eau Claire Area School District; 
  • Jan Allman - President, CEO & General Manager of the Marinette Marine Corporation; 
  • Veronica Gunn - CEO of Genesis Health Consulting and a Board-Certified Pediatrician; and 
  • Kevin Conroy - Chairman and CEO of Madison-based Exact Sciences.
The legislature's Joint Committee on Finance unanimously approved a request from Governor-elect Evers for $94,600 to be used for hiring staff and equipping an office to perform the duties of transition.
Recently, the Governor-elect launched the official Transition website. On this site, residents can share their ideas, comments, concerns and suggestions for the new Administration. We encourage members to offer their input.

State UI Taxes Projected to Decline in 2019

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development's (DWD) is projecting that Wisconsin employers who are covered by the state's UI program will experience a reduction of $45 million in UI taxes for tax year 2019 when compared to tax year 2018. The DWD attributes this projected tax reduction to a combination of tax schedule changes and better experience ratings for employers.
Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits are financed through a payroll tax assessed on the first $14,000 of an employee's earnings. The tax rate an employer pays is determined by two factors: 
  • the UI tax schedule in effect for a given rate year which is determined by the balance in the UI Trust Fund. As the Trust Fund balance increases, schedules with lower rates apply. Currently, Schedule D, the lowest rate schedule is in effect; and 
  • an employer's experience which is based on the degree that employees of a given employer use the UI program. The more an employer's current or former employees receive in UI benefits, the higher the tax rate an employer pays.

State Ends Fiscal Year with $588 Million Surplus

The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) is required to publish a comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) which provides a full accounting of incoming state tax revenues and the expenditure of those revenues for each fiscal year.
The DOA published its 2018 CAFR for the fiscal year which ended on June 30, 2018. The highlights from the report were: 
  • The State of Wisconsin ended the fiscal year with a $588.5 million budget surplus; 
  • The balance in the state's "Rainy Day" fund was $320.1 million; 
  • State tax collections were $16.14 billion - a 4% increase from the previous year; and 
  • State tax expenditures fell below allocated levels by $174 million.
The State of Wisconsin is well-positioned to address near-term fluctuations in tax revenue growth and\or state government agency spending. 

WCAC Calls for Member Input on Worker's Comp Reform

Every two years, the Worker's Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) is required to submit its recommended changes to Wisconsin's Worker's Compensation law for legislative review and consideration. The starting point for this biennial process is public input.
The WCAC is accepting public comments on suggested reforms to the Wisconsin's Worker's Compensation law through December 3, 2018. We encourage members to share their concerns, ideas and suggestions.
Member input may be submitted by e-mail or mail to:
Worker's Compensation Advisory Council
Attn: Frank Lasee, Chair
201 East Washington Avenue, Room C100
Madison, Wisconsin 53703


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