Everything you need to know for the week ahead.
APRIL 16, 2018


Thanks for reading another WPT Weekly Insider. We hope you had as enjoyable a weekend as possible with the massive snowstorm finally moving its way out of Wisconsin. Unfortunately, for some parts of the state, more snow is in the forecast before a moderate warm-up.

Please take a moment to check on your senior or disabled neighbors, and offer them a helping hand if they are in need.

As always, this week will bring you our weekly Property Taxpayer of the Week, News from the Capitol and around Wisconsin, circulating legislation, your weekly poll responses, and an all new Weekly Member Poll.

We hope you find this weekly report to be interesting and informative. If there are ever any issues that you would like to see included, or if you ever have any questions or comments, please reach out to us at info@wptonline.org.

Have a great week,

WPT, Inc.

Our Property Taxpayer of the Week for April 16th comes to you from Fond du Lac, where we are proud to introduce Weekly Insider readers to Sandy Osborn of Osborn & Son Trucking Co.

Dean Osborn, Sandy's husband, is the fourth generation in this local family company.

"Osborn & Son Trucking Co., Inc. has been in business since 1898," Sandy shared, who has also been with the company for over 34 years. She and Dean have owned the business for the past 28 years, and have three children who also work for the company.

According to their website, which has a lengthy and info-packed description on the company's history, "Osborn & Son Trucking has 20 tractors and 37 trailers, hauling cheese, spice, and liquor between Wisconsin and New York/New Jersey."

We asked Sandy what her industry's biggest challenge is these days.

"The biggest challenge is finding qualified drivers. Being in the transportation industry, the FMSCA/DOT is continuously updating and changing rules and regulations," she explained.

That can't be easy with 26 employees to manage.

"We love a good looking truck and trailer," Sandy said when we asked about her biggest source of pride when it comes to her company. "We are constantly complimented on our fleet. Not only do we take pride in our equipment but we haven't forgotten about true customer service. We have several customers we have been doing business with for over 40 years now."

Sandy said she has been paying close attention to the property tax situation in Wisconsin, and that she likes voicing her opinion to her lawmakers even if she only receives a generic response.

"I'm very proud of WPT and the work they have done to eliminate a great portion of our property tax," she said.

She said that despite Wisconsin cracking down on unemployment benefit fraud and abuse, most rights are still given to the employee or claimant.

"We deal with Wisconsin, Illinois and New Jersey unemployment situations," she said. "And by far, we feel Wisconsin is the most anti-employer state."

We hope the state begins to continue trending in the right direction, but for now, we are glad Sandy doesn't mind voicing her opinion to her elected officials.

Sandy attended Goodrich High School, and has been with her high school sweetheart for 38 years now. She also attended Moraine Park Technical College. When she is not working, she loves spending time with her six grandkids, and also loves to garden and get her hands dirty.

"Favorite spot in [Wisconsin] would have to be in or around the Wisconsin Dells area," she tells us.

We thank Sandy and Dean for sharing a bit about themselves, and for their commitment to their company, employees, and community.

For more information on Obsorn & Son Trucking, visit www.osborntrucking.com.

Last week, we learned that Wisconsin Congressman and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan would not seek re-election.

While that shocked many people in the state and around the country, it comes as no surprise that an individual would want to give up this post to spend more time with his family. This is easily one of the hardest jobs in American government, next to the presidency. With the sole responsibility of moving the sludge through the pipes of Congress, and with growing factions within the ranks of both parties, it becomes increasingly difficult to achieve anything substantive while maintaining any type of personal relationships. We credit Paul Ryan for his ability to move several pieces of monumental legislation through Congress, including a tax reform package that has benefited people from many walks of life, all across America. We wish he and his family all the best with their future endeavors.

Back on the state level, we learned that Rep. Tom Weatherston (R-Caledonia) and Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) will also not seek re-election this fall.

Many people are focused on a so-called 'blue wave' this fall. If it happens, it's not likely to drastically change the make-up of the Wisconsin legislature too much. But regardless, in mid-term election years, the party that is in the White House generally loses seats both on the federal and state levels, so it's possible. But for the most part, the retirements we have seen on the state level so far are mostly those seeking a higher office, or retiring to spend time with family. WPT will continue to keep you up to date if more legislative movement is announced.

So far, here is the list:

  • Andre Jacque (R) - AD-2, running for SD-1.
  • Dale Kooyenga (R) - AD-14, running for SD-5
  • Adam Jarchow (R) - Not seeking re-election to AD-28
  • Jesse Kremer (R) - Not seeking re-election to AD-59
  • Tom Weatherston (R) - Not seeking re-election to AD-62.
  • Kathy Bernier (R) - AD-68, running for SD-23.
  • Terese Berceau (D) - Not seeking re-election to AD-77
  • Eric Genrich (D) - AD-90, running for Mayor of Green Bay
  • Dana Wachs (D) - AD-91, running for Governor
  • Lee Nerison (R) - Not seeking re-election to AD-96
  • Leah Vukmir (R) - SD-5, running for U.S. Senate.
  • Terry Moulton (R) - Not seeking re-election to SD-23.
  • Kathleen Vinehout (D) - SD-31, running for Governor

Governor Walker late last week signed into law several new measures into law, designed to get people into work and off of state programs.

Nine pieces in total were signed. Among which was a bill to require parents with children between the ages of 6 and 18 to work, go through job training, or risk losing their FoodShare benefits within three months.

Other legislation signed increase work or training requirements for all able-bodied FoodShare participants from 20 hours per week to 30 hours per week.The bills also require a pay-for-performance standard for the private groups that help administer the state's Foodshare and W-2 programs.

Additionally, individuals with homes valued at $321,000 or more, or personal vehicles worth more than 20,000 would also see new limits on FoodShare and W-2. A new fund would also create health savings accounts for Medicaid recipients, and implement work requirements and drug testing for all public housing programs in the state.

All told, the changes are expected to cost taxpayers roughly $80 million.

Last week, Governor Walker announced that the Public Service Commission has awarded the largest round of Broadband Expansion Grants in state history, with $7.68 million in total awards leveraged to $19.46 million private matching funds.

46 total new grants have been awarded extend high-speed internet access to as many as 1,600 business locations, and 18,000 residential locations throughout the state.

"Broadband has endless potential to help Wisconsin communities," Governor Walker said. "Years ago, electricity revolutionized farming for my grandparents. Today, broadband is revolutionizing education, health care, and business, and improving the quality of life for Wisconsin's rural residents."

This past budget, Governor Walker increased total broadband investments by $35 million and created a permanent Broadband Expansion Grant Program. Three new projects, including the TV White Space technology proposed by Packerland Broadband and Microsoft Corporation. Additional projects will also create improved internet service for work at home in Buffalo and Walworth Counties. To see a full list of grant recipients, click here.

Following the repeal of the state's moratorium on sulfide mining, or mining for gold, copper, and other metals, Marathon County has become the first county in Wisconsin to pass ordinances that regulate that type of mining within the county.

Counties have until 7/1 to come up with their own local regulations, at which point, gold and copper mining in the state will become much easier to begin.

Public hearings in Marathon County saw dozens of residents and groups express their concerns over the environmental impacts, particularly in the Eau Claire River, and the Dells of the Eau Claire County Park. County officials said that those comments are what triggered the drafted ordinance.

The ordinance itself now requires a mining company to pay a $50,000 deposit, and a $15,000 cash bond for each well that could potentially cause environmental pollution in the area. They would also need to follow setback guidelines up to 800 feet. The board passed the ordinance unanimously 35-0.
After comments from the White House on their willingness and perhaps intentions to rejoin the TPP, which President Trump withdrew the United States from by executive order, and campaigned heavily against, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson (R) is urging the president to take the steps necessary to rejoin the NAFTA-like legislation that would commit America to trade policies with Asian and Pacific nations.

Sen. Johnson said that the countries involved in TPP are important allies of the United States, "as China aggressively seeks to expand its influence." He also said that joining the TPP would increase America's leverage over China and give US manufacturing and agriculture markets more access to trading and markets.  
Assembly Bill 745, which would open the door for graduating high school seniors to gain valuable professional qualifications and experience through registered apprenticeship programs during their final year of school, was signed into law last week, marking yet another pro-workforce development bill by Governor Walker and legislative Republicans.

The bill allows high school seniors to enter into an apprentice contract if they attend a qualifying school. In order to qualify, the student must be on track to graduate no later than the end of that school year, the student must have sufficient time to complete their requirements for graduation, and the school district agrees to award high school credit to the student for hours of related instruction and on-the-job training the student completes during their apprenticeship.

"By increasing apprenticeship opportunities for high school students, we are opening the door for high school seniors to get a head start on their career in high demand areas," Governor Walker said. "Through these on-the-job training programs, we are providing the future of Wisconsin's workforce with needed skips to have rewarding careers. Investing in these apprenticeships is investing in our state's future."

The State of Wisconsin investment board last week announced that pension fund managers and those who work directly with the state's investments will receive about $11.6 million in personal bonuses, down from $14 million last year.

The highest bonus was about $530,000, and went to the managing director. Next up was the chief investment officers, who received $507,500. The investment board director was paid $450,000.

The investment board employs 161 people, and all but 10 of them will receive bonuses. According to their spokesperson, bonuses follow a pay-for-performance model, which is based on the individual's contribution and their fund performance.

China has issued tariffs on cranberries from the United States, as one of many retaliatory tariffs they are issuing in response to President Trump's tariffs on aluminum and steel. This could impact Wisconsin's economy, as more than half of the world's cranberries come from our state. Generally speaking, do you support the President's tariffs, even if they result in impacts on the local economy?
We need to protect our countries manufacturers and intellectual property

They haven't worked in the past and won't work now. Tarrifs cause inflation. When business have to pay more, the customer pays more.

farmers always lose in a trade war, find another way Mr President

I realize that our tarrif will directly hurt Wi's economy but letting other countries rape our economy and workers on the price of their products isn't right either.

X-dairy farm wife, know the trouble this will cause for Dairy also

We must do something about our massive trade deficit and the theft of intellectual property.

Right now it's all posturing. The devil is in the details later.

I have a very good knowledge of China workings. I have seen first hand their people running around taking close up pictures for thier own design. Also the quality of their steel does meet the stanards of our steel. And you talk about air pollution in this country, go to China and its hard to see the sky above you.

Its about time the trade imbalance is addressed, Trump is correct when he says the push for globalization has led to unfair trade deals for the US, we can no longer continue to "make" more service orientated jobs, which our government has done for the last 25 years through more and more regulations, creating the need for more and more paper pushers.

even tho the tariffs are hitting home and causing some problems with businesses, if they are kept in place long enough i think things will even out

In the last 4 administrations, 2 of them did a lot to degrade America's status as a world leader in just about EVERY field. The lack of tariffs on aluminum and steel are issues that go all the way back to WWII. After the war, Europe and other nations more heavily damaged during the war (China, Russia, Japan, etc) got brand new infrastructure. USA didn't. They built brand new state of the art steel mills, USA did not. This trend continued... Tariffs are an equalizer to make the field more level. It works.

cost of doing business, lets call it a tax, pass it along

China has been playing the U.S. for years, its time they are on a level playing field with the rest of the world.

China is playing chess while Trump is playing Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Farm exports from Wisconsin will be hurt in these negotiations.

The UW System will be taking a "transition year" as it merges its two-year and four-year schools. Do you support the original plan for these mergers?
Yes, Eau Claire.

My son is a UW madison student. He wants to take a summer class at UWC Rock county but only one of three credits will transfer to Madison. Apparently the schools do not honor each others classes. Thats plain DUMB

Yes, Farm and Industry Short Course in Madison, great program

Not sure why it's taken this long to come around as our local UW 2 year campus was in fact part of a four year UW school decades ago

I attended UW-LaCrosse, UWC-Fond du Lac and UW-Oshkosh. The two year schools serve a purpose, and having them linked to a 4 year campus is a great idea. This will hopefully help with transferring credits from a 2 year to a 4 year campus. Personally I feel the 2 year campuses allow those students who are not sure if they should attend college the opportunity to explore classes at a lower cost by living at home.

don't see the point in this

I think they need to drop their tuition again. I see what it cost me in the lat 90's to go to technical college, and what it is now... I could vomit... and where is this money going? I see lavish overspending... piss poor.

West Bend

Also all credits should be transferable between any UW school. My daughter was required to take several classes over because of a transfer and it is an unnecessary cost to families.
Multiple Wisconsin communities saw a referendum on their ballots last week, asking whether or not corporations are people, and if money is free speech. How do you feel about this issue?  

If NO organizations are people including unions, fraternal/civic organizations, then it's not so bad. But if unions are still "people" then YES Corporations are still people. Interestingly, Corporations pay substantial taxes - how do they have a voice?

I own a C Corporation. My corporation is neutral in all things. I am my own person, and as a PERSON, I get to voice my opinions. The Constitution did not say that all corporations are created equal, but all MEN are. Let's get corporations out of this, and get purchases politicians out of the system.

lets stop the corruption


The US is in a sad state.

Governor Walker said, if requested, he would send Wisconsin National Guard troops to the border with Mexico to assist the federal government in combating illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Good idea or bad idea?
STOP illegal immigration!

they are called "National " Guard

You can't watch the news or read the paper today without hearing about the opiod epidemic. If we can stop some of the drugs from entering our country I say use every resource we have.

Probably need combat training enhanced at border for them. Farmers and border patrol have lost lives there with guerilla tactics.

IWe need to do whatever is necessary to stop illegal immigration,drug traffic and criminals who come here illegally. It's a "no brainer"!

Our Congress and Senate don't seem to solve the problem

Its time to call it what it is...ILLEGAL, ie breaking the law. That goes for the employers that knowly hire illegal workers as well, they too are law breakers. I do not feel sorry the businesses that are crying about the fact they need these workers in order to make their operations run, like dairy farms. They were breaking the law by hiring these workers and illegally grew their operations. Their greed has destroyed the family farms.

lets declare war on drugs for real this time


a very good idea

Illegal border crossing are at a 46 year low. Taking Guard members away from their families for political purposes is moronic.

The National Guard is required to do many things. A military presence is only a band aid effort to a complicated problem. People come here many out of desperation and wanting to avoid thugs in their home countries.

Taxes are due on April 17th. Did you file yet?   
receiving a refund, use money to pay down debt
Need to pay and will pay when due.
got back this year what I paid in last year, 1 of the joys of farming
I pay....
I file as soon as I can every year.
all working people pay 365 days a year
Already paid. We have paid in for many years from farming. We file by the last day of February.
REceived a Small refund... Under $250.00.... Althoughthe Fed wasable to use that $$ interest free... I would prefer to plan for a small refund than get caught owing a Boat-Load. ...Withholding to little can result in a penalty.
I'll do my taxes tomorrow, I promise.

AB-745 Apprenticeship Participation (Quinn, Romaine) Participation in an apprenticeship program by a high school senior and granting rule-making authority. Signed ( Act 273)

AB-825  Officer of the Court Battery (Snyder, Patrick) Battery of an officer of the court and providing a criminal penalty. Signed ( Act 272)

JR8 AB1  FoodShare Hours of Participation (Vos, Robin) Required hours of participation in the FoodShare employment and training program. Signed ( Act 263)

JR8 AB2  FoodShare Employment (Vos, Robin) Statewide FoodShare employment and training program requirement for able-bodied adults. Signed ( Act 264)

JR8 AB3  FoodShare Asset Restrictions (Vos, Robin) Asset restrictions on eligibility for FoodShare, Wisconsin Works, and Wisconsin Shares. Signed ( Act 269)

JR8 AB4  Employment Screening (Vos, Robin) Employment screening of and employability plans for residents in public housing. Signed ( Act 265)

JR8 AB5  Earned Income Periodic Payments (Vos, Robin) Creating a pilot and permanent program for making periodic payments to eligible recipients of the earned income tax credit and making an appropriation. Signed ( Act 270)

JR8 AB6  Wisconsin Works Performance Payment (Vos, Robin) Payments based on performance for Wisconsin Works and FoodShare employment and training program contractors. Signed ( Act 266)

JR8 AB7  Success Contracting (Vos, Robin) Pay for success contracting, establishment of pay for success trust fund, and making an appropriation. Signed ( Act 267)

JR8 AB8  MA Child Support Compliance (Vos, Robin) Requiring child support compliance in the Medical Assistance program. Signed ( Act 268)

JR8 AB9  MA Savings Account (Vos, Robin) Creation of a savings account program in the Medical Assistance program. Signed ( Act 271)

AB-906  Drug Trafficking Response Program (Nygren, John) Creating a law enforcement agency drug trafficking response grant program; positions to assist in prosecuting drug-related offenses; evidence-based programs for substance abuse prevention services for at-risk youth; victim impact panels; funding for family treatment courts; grants for county jails to provide nonnarcotic treatment before offender reentry; and making appropriations. Signed ( Act 261)

AB-907  Controlled Substance Continuing Ed (Nygren, John) Continuing education in prescribing controlled substances for certain health care practitioners; maintenance and detoxification treatment provided by physician assistants and advanced practice nurse prescribers; requiring school boards to provide instruction about drug abuse awareness and prevention; graduate training of psychiatric nurses; training materials for social services workers handling substance abuse-related cases; substance abuse counseling and modifying and creating administrative rules related to substance abuse counseling; granting rule-making authority; and making appropriations. Signed ( Act 262)

No bills to report.