Hearing this Week on Legislation Ensuring Personal Property Aid Payments to TIF Districts Continue After TID Closes
The Senate Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection will hold a public hearing on SB 561 tomorrow at 1:00. The League worked with Sen. Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) and Rep. Steffens (R-Howard) to introduce this bill, which specifies that personal property aid payments made to a TIF District transfer to the other taxing jurisdictions after the TID closes. DOR interprets current law to say that such aid payments terminate when a TID closes.

ACTION STEP: Help the League advance this corrective legislation through both houses of the Legislature before the session ends in March. Contact your state legislators and urge them to support SB 561/AB 620. 

Read the League's memo in support of the bill here.
League Priorities for Remainder of the Session
With 10 weeks left in the 2019-2020 Legislative session the League is focusing on advancing the following bills through both houses before the session ends:

SB 71/ AB 64, Creating a new state aid program to reimburse municipalities for certain costs of conducting special elections for state or federal office. The Senate unanimously passed SB 71 in October. The Assembly has so far declined to take it up. Speaker Vos is not a fan of the bill.

SB 105/ AB 90, Exempting local governments from the Fair Dealership Act. The League initiated this bill. The Senate passed SB 105 by voice vote in May 2019. The Assembly has declined to hold a public hearing on the bill. Speaker Vos opposes the bill.

SB 291/ AB 310, Enabling municipalities to conduct referendums to exceed levy limits earlier in the year than November, which is the only time such referendums may be conducted under current law. The bill is available to be scheduled for a floor vote in both houses.

SB 561/ AB 620, Clarifying that personal property aid payments made to a TIF District transfer to the other taxing jurisdictions after the TID closes. DOR interprets current law to say that such aid payments terminate when a TID closes. The League initiated this corrective legislation. A public hearing was held in the Assembly in December and a hearing is being held in the Senate tomorrow.

Applications for $75 million in transportation grants exceed $1.4 billion in total project value
"The needs are unquestionable, and while we realize this one-time grant program is not a long-term answer to more than a billion dollars of reported local community needs, it is a significant step in the right direction," League of Wisconsin Municipalities Executive Director Jerry Deschane said in a statement. "We have to start chipping away at these lists of projects." Read the story... Comment on this story on the League's Facebook page...

Special election reimbursement bill has support of GOP-led Senate, Tony Evers
Under the bill, the state would reimburse local clerks for the cost of conducting special elections, which can include printing ballots and paying poll workers. Local entities still would pay for regularly scheduled elections such as the spring primary or general election. Read the story... Read more about what it takes to put on an election in the League's January The Municipality magazine...

Tax Burden Falls Again
Incomes outpace state and local taxes
Our annual review of state and local taxes shows that the state’s tax burden – defined as the total of those taxes as a share of state residents’ income – dropped once again in 2019. This extends a long-running trend that is attributed both to limited growth in taxes and relatively strong growth in income.

State and local taxes as a share of income fell in 2019 for the eighth consecutive year in Wisconsin, as growth in taxes was countered by stronger growth in the income of state residents. The tax burden in the state dropped to 10.3%, down from 10.4% in 2018, reaching its lowest level in Wisconsin Policy Forum records that date back to 1970.   Read the Wisconsin Policy Forum Report...

Board Set to Order DNR to Develop New Water Standards
The state Department of Natural Resources board is set to vote this month on whether to allow the agency to begin drafting new water quality standards for a host of pollutants.

The DNR has proposed creating standards for 16 substances that are currently unregulated in groundwater, including E. coli bacteria and glyphosate, a herbicide that studies have shown can inflame animals' gastrointestinal systems. The department also wants to revise standards for five substances already regulated, including boron and trichloroethylene, a solvent used to clean metal that can cause nausea and liver damage. Read the story...

As Rains Intensify, Sewage Surges Into Wisconsin Waters
Climate Change Brings Heavier Rains, Makes It Tougher To Keep Untreated Sewage, Stormwater Out Of Great Lakes

Wisconsin in 2018 saw its most overflow events since 2010, with increasing volumes of discharged waste, state Department of Natural Resources data show.

Experts say the problem plagues communities across the Great Lakes, a drinking water source for 48 million people in the United States and Canada — including about 867,000 residents in Milwaukee and the surrounding region.

Driving the spike: intensifying rainfall due to climate change.

Investment at all levels of government has fallen short in addressing aging sewer systems overwhelmed by the increasing flows.

"We’ve got a lot of work to do," said Joel Brammeier, president and CEO of the nonprofit Alliance for the Great Lakes. "Combine that with the fact that we’re seeing more extreme storms across the Great Lakes region, and you’ve got a recipe for some serious problems." Read the story...

Slip-sliding away: Racine studying countywide lakefront erosion - Read the story...

Floodwaters threaten Pleasant Prairie homes after winter storm, high winds - Read the story...

High Winds, Flooding Cause Major Damage at Port Milwaukee - Read the story...

The LocalGovMatters Podcast is coming back as a partnership between the League and the Wisconsin Counties Association. Episodes will be available every two weeks beginning with the inaugural episode on January 15. Listen to this short introduction to the podcast here...

The League's Local Perspective - Tim Hanna, Local Govt Institute
Jerry talked with Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna about his plans for his new role as Director of the Local Government Institute of Wisconsin. Watch the show on the League's YouTube Channel here...

AB 721/ SB 637, Regulation of nonconforming Buildings in a Floodplain. Under this bill, if modifications made to a nonconforming building bring the building into conformity with federal standards under federal laws relating to floodplain land use, the Department of Natural Resources may not prohibit further modifications based on the 50% of value cost rule. By Rep. Pronshcinske (R-Mondovi) & Sen. Marklein (R-Spring Green) The League supports this bill. Comment to the League about this bill.

AB 723, Notice to the public upon release of a violent offender. Under this bill, if a person is serving a sentence for certain crimes against life and bodily security or crimes against a child, the Department of Corrections is required to provide certain identifying information about the person in the notice that goes to the local police and county sheriff and, upon request, to certain community organizations. Also under the bill, the local police chief and county sheriff are required to release the information to the public, unless the person who is the subject of the notice is a child. By Rep. Ohnstad (D-Kenosha). The League has not taken a position on this bill. Comment to the League about this bill

AB 733/ SB 663, Allowing Housing Authorities to undertake certain mixed developments and increasing the bidding threshold for housing authority projects. By Rep. Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin) and Sen. Darling (R-River Hills). The League supports this bill. Comment to the League about this bill.

SB 665, Increases the amount of funding for emergency medical services assistance. By Sen. Marklein (R-Spring Green). The League supports this bill. Comment to the League about this bill.

SB 673, Makes various changes to the worker's compensation law as recommended by the Worker's Compensation Advisory Council. This bill makes changes to the conditions of liability for worker's compensation benefits for a law enforcement officer or a fire fighter who is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. By Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform. The League is neutral on this bill. Comment to the League about this bill.

SB 561Ensuring that Personal Property Aid payments made to a TIF District transfer to the other taxing jurisdictions after the TID closes. By Senate Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection, on Tuesday, January 14, at 1:00 p.m. in room 201 Southeast. The League initiated this legislation.

AB 538, Authorizing two or more municipalities to create a single multi-jurisdictional Business Improvement District. By Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy, on Wednesday, January 15, at 10:00 a.m. in room 417 North. The League supports this bill, which was initiated by the City of Milwaukee.

SB 574, Authorizing the canvassing of absentee ballots on the Monday before an election. By Senate Committee on Elections, Ethics and Rural Issues, on Wednesday, January 15, at 1:00 p.m in room 411 South. The League is neutral on this bill.

AB 701, Creating a general permit for hydrologic restoration projects. By Assembly Committee on Environment, on Thursday, January 16, at 10:00 a.m. in room 415 Northwest. The League supports this bill.