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
Bidder Database Partnership Expands
When local governments competitively bid public works, the award must go to the “lowest responsible bidder.” However, determining whether a bidder is “responsible” can be a difficult task unless the local government has an extensive contractor pre-qualification process, which is beyond the resources of most municipalities.
As previously reported, to assist local governments, other project owners and general contractors, CBG developed a free, online database, which now contains over 11,000 construction companies known to work in Wisconsin. For each contractor, the database has links to verifiable, reliable public information, such as judgments, tax liens, debarment records, OSHA violations, and more. You may register for the database at

Last summer, we announced that the League of Wisconsin Municipalities (League) and CBG had entered into a Memorandum of Agreement that made the bidder database an even more powerful tool. Local government officials now have exclusive access to a project evaluation form that may be completed for public works projects. The evaluation asks three main objective questions: was the project on time, on budget and was it built to specifications? Each project evaluation is connected to the contractor (or subcontractor) that was evaluated and available to view by all registered users of the database. 

In January 2021, the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) joined the effort, and just this month, Wisconsin Towns Association (WTA) joined this cooperative effort. The fact that all three major local government associations are working together to help their members select only responsible bidders for their public works projects demonstrates the need for tools such as the bidder database.

CBG appreciates the partnership that has developed with the League, WCA and WTA, and we look forward to working together for many years to come.

Building Wisconsin Together®
Youth Apprenticeship Modernization
Thank you for Representing the Industry!

In Fall of 2020, DWD and the Wisconsin Operating Engineers launched a pilot for an Operating Engineers' Youth Apprenticeship (YA) program. Youth apprenticeship is a blend of classroom instruction (provided by the online courses through Destinations Career Academy) and 450 hours of paid work experience.
In 2021, DWD began the process of modernizing all youth apprenticeship programs to ensure the programs align with industry needs. Even though the Operating Engineers' program is new, they are required to complete the review.
Thank you to the following individuals that committed time this spring to meet with DWD and review the Youth Apprentice framework:
  • Brad Diener, Walbec Group
  • Tracey Griffith; Payne & Dolan (Walbec Group)
  • Robert J. Hackel; Buteyn-Peterson Construction Co.
  • Danielle Hertel; River View Construction, Inc.
  • Erin Salm; Miron Construction
  • Dan Sperberg, Local 139 Training Director
If you are interested in learning more about YA or employing a Youth Apprentice for the fall, please contact Laura Cataldo at or 608-616-2835.  
Save the Date
Externship Day returns on November 8-9th!

The Wisconsin Operating Engineers' Externship Day is an opportunity for students, parents and educators to: 

  • Tour the training center, including the indoor training arena
  • Test their skill on equipment simulators
  • Gain hands-on experience with mini-excavators
  • Learn about apprenticeship opportunities
  • Interact with current apprentices and Operators
  • Hear from employers about opportunities that exist and what they are seeking in employees
Watch for details soon on the November dates!
Seeking Volunteers in Janesville/Beloit for Youth Program
Hendricks Careertek: July 29, 2021

Wisconsin Operating Engineers are hosting the first Equipment Operator Summer Academy at Hendrick's Careertek in Beloit on July 29th from 9am-3pm. We are seeking volunteers willing to attend a portion of the day to engage with students. If you are interested in assisting or for more information, please contact Laura Cataldo at or 608-616-2835
Building Wisconsin Together®
From the News Stand
Excavator Fined More Than $40,000 for Puncturing High-Pressure Gas Line
Wisconsin regulators have fined a Delaware contractor more than $40,000 for violating state pipeline safety rules after excavators punctured a high pressure gas line in a residential area of Marathon County.

According to a Public Service Commission investigation, Sunnyworld LLC was drilling near an apartment complex in Weston on Sept. 11, 2019, when a boring tool struck a TC Energy gas line.

No one was injured, but firefighters had to evacuate nearby homes while utility workers shut off the pipeline.

The PSC determined that TC Energy marked the pipeline location 13 days earlier with flags mounted on six-foot plastic poles and warned the contractor to stay at least 25 feet away. Sunnyworld claimed there were no flags or markings when its workers arrived.

State law requires pipeline operators to mark locations in a “reasonable manner” but does not specify the method.

An administrative law judge determined Sunnyworld, which is not registered to do business in Wisconsin, violated pipeline safety laws by digging too close to the unmarked line and “demonstrated callous disregard for the one-call system enforcement process” by failing to respond to violation notices.

However the judge noted that TC Energy could have done more to mark its pipeline and recommended the fine be cut in half.

The PSC voted unanimously Thursday to approve the $37,500 penalty plus a $3,750 surcharge. Sunnyworld did not respond to a request for comment Thursday. 
OSHA Issues Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare and Updated Guidance for All Industries for Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced it will issue an emergency temporary standard to protect healthcare workers from contracting coronavirus. The standard focuses on healthcare workers most likely to have contact with someone infected with the virus. OSHA announced the new standard alongside new general industry guidance, both of which are aligned with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. Full OSHA Press Release
In addition, the following link contains an executive summary put out by OSHA June 15th on Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace.
Wisconsin to Receive an Unprecedented $4.4 Billion in Additional Tax Collections over three years, New Report Shows
Wisconsin officials learned Tuesday they would take in a game-changing sum over three years — $4.4 billion more than previously projected — but they may not be able to agree on what to do with it.

The windfall would allow Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Republican lawmakers to cut taxes, slash borrowing, greatly increase funding for schools, boost spending on other programs or enact a combination of all those ideas. 

To do that, they would need to cut a deal — something that has often eluded them. The governor and legislative leaders have rarely talked during the two years that they have shared power.

"The increase in general fund tax collections in 2021, particularly in the months of April and May, is unprecedented," Bob Lang, the director of the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, wrote in a memo published June 8th.

Evers called for investing more in public schools and higher education, while Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester said he wanted nearly all the new money to go toward tax cuts.
Wisconsin Republicans Approve $1.5Billion for State Building Projects
Republicans approved $1.5 billion for state building projects over the next two years, removing about $810 million in projects that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers requested.

A little less than half of the GOP proposal, or nearly $629 million, is earmarked for the University of Wisconsin System. Evers had asked for about $1 billion for UW campuses.

The Joint Finance Committee on Tuesday voted 11-4 along party lines to support the plan, which will now head to the Assembly and Senate for a vote expected later this month.
Unprecedented State Tax Revenue Growth Clears the Way for Substantial Tax Relief
Yesterday, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) issued a new report on year-to-date tax collections and current economic forecasts. According to their report:
  • The State of Wisconsin will end the 2020-2021 fiscal year (June 30, 2021) with a $2.6 billion surplus and nearly $1.6 billion set aside in the “Rainy Day” Fund;
  • State tax collections will be higher than previous estimates by $1.45 billion in 2020-21, $1.54 billion in 2021-22 and $1.43 billion in 2022-23. The three-year increase is $4.43 billion; and
  • State tax collections in 2021, particularly in the months of April and May, is unprecedented. Year-over-year state sales tax collections grew by more than 36% in April and 32% in May, the highest rate of growth over a two-month period in more than 35 years.
The LFB attributes this unprecedented state tax revenue growth to the $1.9 trillion federal stimulus bill enacted in March, the substantial decline in the number of COVID-19 cases and the widespread vaccination of eligible Wisconsin residents.
The Republican-led Legislature is currently working on a plan to return approximately $4 billion of the $4.43 billion budget surplus back to Wisconsin taxpayers. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said their tax relief plan would “lower the income and property tax burden on Wisconsin businesses and families.” Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu ((R-Oostburg) said their plan would “consider ways to significantly reduce the tax burden on workers and main street businesses.”
While we are awaiting further details, we are lobbying state lawmakers to include the eliminate the personal property tax in the tax relief plan. 
Bill to End Wisconsin's Personal Property Tax on Track for Final Legislative Approval
A little more than a week ago, the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) began the three-step process of ending the personal property tax once and for all. We are pleased to report considerable progress.
On June 17, the JFC set aside $202 million in its version of the 2021-2023 state budget for the express purpose of reimbursing Wisconsin municipalities for the loss of revenue due to the elimination of the personal property tax. This “hold harmless” payment ensures local municipalities will not shift the tax burden to other classes of property (residential, commercial, manufacturing, and agricultural) if the personal property tax is eliminated.
Last Wednesday, the JFC recommended passage of 2021 Assembly Bill (AB) 191 as amended. The amended version:
  • exempts all business and manufacturing personal property from property tax assessments, beginning with tax assessments as of January 1, 2022; and
  • requires that buildings, improvements, and fixtures on certain types of lands, such as leased lands and forest lands, be assessed as real property, beginning with the property tax assessments as of January 1, 2022.
The Wisconsin State Legislature is expected to approve AB 191 as amended before the end of this week thereby completing the second step in the three-step process. Governor Evers will have the final say. To help secure his support, we are actively lobbying legislative Democrats to support the bill.
State Legislature's Biennial Budget Plan Holds Local Property Taxes in Check
On Friday, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) issued a memorandum in which the agency compared estimated property tax levels under current law, the 2021-2023 budget recommendations submitted by Governor Evers and the version of the 2021-23 budget approved by the JFC.
According to the LFB, statewide gross property tax levels are estimated to increase by 2.1% in 2021(22) and by 2.2% in 2022(23) under the Governor’s biennial budget proposal. Under the 2021-2023 state budget approved by the JFC, statewide gross property tax levies are estimated to increase by only 0.3% in 2021(22) and by 0.5% in 2022(23). Property tax impacts on individual municipalities and property owners may vary.
The JFC version of 2021-2023 state budget allocated a portion of the state’s projected $4.4 billion budget surplus for more state aid to K-12 school districts ($408 million) and technical college district ($72 million). This additional state funding helped to “buy down” local property tax levies.
Before the end of this week, the Wisconsin State Legislature is expected to approve the 2021-2023 state budget plan recommended by the JFC and send it along to Governor Evers for final review and consideration. 
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