Lining Up a Strong Finish

Capitol insiders agree that time is running short for proposals to move through the legislative process before the session is expected to end in March. The League continues working to advance several initiatives through both houses before the session ends. The Following three sections detail some of the bills we are supporting that have had recent Legislative action.

Floor Votes

  • SB-396 - Interest on claims of excessive assessment and for recovery of unlawful property taxes. By Senator Petrowski (R- Marathon). SB 396 passed the Senate on a voice vote and now heads to the Assembly for concurrence and then off to the Governor's desk.
  • SB-518 - Environmental pollution in an environmental remediation tax incremental district. By Senator Cowles (R- Green Bay). SB 518 passed the Assembly last week and will be forwarded to the Governor's desk.

Public Hearings

Bill to Advance Supplemental Payments for Ambulance Services

Battling against ever-rising care costs, numerous pockets of unserved population, and the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic, ambulance providers across the state are faced with additional costs, workforce shortages, and underfunded services not currently covered by health insurance payors. AB 874 requires the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to submit a state plan amendment to the federal government to allow supplemental reimbursements under the Medical Assistance program to be paid to municipal ambulance service providers providing emergency medical transportation to Medicaid patients. The supplemental payment opportunities for public EMS providers is known as a certified public expenditure (CPE) program. If approved by the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), these supplemental payments could help reduce the amount of uncompensated costs municipalities incur when providing ambulance services to Medicaid patients.

Land Use Compromise Bill is Moving Through Legislature

With time waning in the session, this week the League and Wisconsin Towns Association will testify together at a public hearing in support of AB 894, a compromise incorporation and annexation bill. Once this hearing is concluded the League will work with authors and committee chairs to have the bill and its companion SB 835 voted out of committee so both bills can be placed on the full Assembly and Senate calendars for February.

The League worked with the Towns Association to draft AB 894, which accomplishes the following:

  • Closes a loophole in the incorporation process by limiting a newly incorporated city or village from immediately adding the remaining town territory by annexation or a boundary agreement, except when adding territory by unanimous approval annexation.
  • Restores the ability of cities and villages to annex town territory across county lines by unanimous approval.

  • Limits municipal extraterritorial zoning powers, including reducing the duration of zoning freezes from 24 to 18 months within the extraterritorial jurisdiction.

  • Prohibits municipalities and towns from using condemnation to acquire blighted properties located outside a community’s borders for the purpose of transferring the property to third-party developers.  

Surplus Projected for the State

We have an unprecedented opportunity in the state! Based on a January 25th Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis, the closing, net general fund balance at the end of this biennium (June 30, 2023) is projected to be $3,812.3 million. This is $2,881.7 million above the net balance that was projected at the time of enactment of the 2021-23 biennial budget.

Wisconsin’s cities and villages are home to 72% of the state’s population, 90% of the state’s commercial value, 87% of the state’s manufacturing value and most of the small businesses created in Wisconsin get their start in cities and villages. However, in the last two decades, under both political parties, the state’s financial commitment to cities and villages has been on a steady downward trend. While we are thankful for transportation increases, the largest state aid program for municipalities, called shared revenue, has been cut incrementally by $94 million since 2003, a 12.3% reduction. At the same time, the state tightly controls the ability of municipalities to raise their own revenues to fund the services people and businesses expect. Meanwhile, the cost of providing police, fire, ambulance, road maintenance and repair, parks, water, sewer, stormwater, and other community services has increased substantially since 2003.

Now is the perfect time to begin a conversation in earnest to plan how to strategically fund municipalities moving into the future. The League welcomes this opportunity and looks forward to working with Legislators on a municipal financing package for the next state budget.

Wed. Feb. 2 - Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) 2022 Application Training

The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources (DEHCR) will be conducting Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) 2022 Application Training for the Public Facilities (PF) and Planning (PLNG) Program grants.

2022 Public Facilities (PF) & Planning (PLNG) Application Training Session:
February 2, 2022, 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Microsoft Teams Webinar, Join on your computer or mobile device:
Or call in (audio only):
(608) 571-2209
Phone Conference ID: 815 412 195#
No pre-registration is required. Join the training at the time of the session.