2017-18, No.1
January 3, 2017

In this Issue:

New Session Begins

Initial Focus is on State Budget

Dave Ross Named Sec. of DOT

Transportation Fund Solvency Report
League of Wisconsin Municipalities
Ph:  (608) 267-2380
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The New Session Begins Today 

The 2017-2018 legislative session begins today with the swearing in of the new Legislature.  Governor Walker is scheduled to give his State of the State address next week at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 10.

The League's Legislative Agenda for the 2017-2018 Session.  The League's Board of Directors has adopted an aggressive agenda for this session. Take a look here.

An article previewing the challenges and opportunities we anticipate for municipalities in the 2017-2018 legislative session was published in the January 2017 issue of the Municipality magazine and is posted on the League's web site, here.

Session CalendarThe tentative 2017-2018 Legislative Session floor calendar has been announced. Both houses will officially adopt the calendar as a joint resolution later today.

View the proposed calendar  here.  

Under the proposed calendar, the Legislature is on the floor 27 days between January and May .
Senate and Assembly Committees. Last month Senate and Assembly leadership announced their committee appointments for the 2017-2019 session. 

A list of Assembly Committees and their GOP members is available here.  The Democrat's committee appointments are listed here.
Rep. Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg) chairs the Assembly Committee on Local Government again this session. Rep. Brooks is serving his fifth term in the Assembly. He is also a Town Chairman.

Speaker Vos has created a new Assembly Committee relevant to municipalities called the Committee on Urban Revitalization.   Rep. Bob Gannon (R-West Bend) is the chair of the committee.  
A list of Senate Committees and their GOP members is available here.
Newly elected Senator Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) has been appointed chair of the Senate Committee on E conomic Development, Commerce and Local Government. 
Legislature's Initial Focus is on Passing a State Budget 

For the first six months of the new session the Legislature will concentrate on passing the 2017-2019 state budget by July 1.  Governor Walker is expected to introduce his state budget proposal in mid-February. 

Going into the next state budget projections show a $693 million gap between anticipated state revenues and spending requests by state agencies. That is far smaller than the $2.2 billion gap that existed between expected revenues and agency spending requests in advance of the current state budget two years ago at this time.  

Whether and how to fix the looming shortfall in the state's transportation fund in the next budget is the issue that has received the most attention from state policymakers. Assembly Republican leaders have said they are open to increasing the gas tax, vehicle registration fees, or exploring other revenue options to meet the state's transportation spending needs. Governor Walker has made it clear that he would veto any gas tax or registration fee increases not accompanied by an equal decrease in other taxes and fees. 

The League is urging the Legislature and the Governor to pass a budget that includes a long-term, sustainable revenue source for the state's transportation needs.   
Dave Ross to Replace Mark Gottlieb as Secretary of Transportation 

On December 27th Governor Walker announced that Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) Secretary Dave Ross will serve as the next Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb offered his resignation to Governor Walker with an effective date of January 6, 2017.

League staff enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Secretary Gottlieb and we will miss the former legislator and mayor of Port Washington. We wish him well in his retirement.  

The League has an equally strong relationship with Secretary Ross, and we look forward to working with Dave in his new position heading DOT.  Secretary Ross served as mayor of Superior for two terms and during that time served on the League's Board of Directors. 
DOT Releases Transportation Fund Solvency Report 

On December 29th DOT released a Transportation Fund Solvency Report. The report was required by the 2015-17 state budget, and includes five major portions: efficiency results of WisDOT, current revenue source descriptions, current expenditure descriptions, future expenditure scenarios compared to revenues, and potentials for new revenue - including tolling. 

The full report, which includes an executive summary, is posted on DOT's website here