Everything you need to know for the week ahead.
APRIL 2, 2019

According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, if Governor Evers has his way, the state would be left with a $2 billion budget deficit before beginning its next budget cycle in two years.

The deficit would be the largest since the budget passed by former Governor Jim Doyle immediately following the Great Recession, and more than double the projected structural deficit in Governor Walker's final budget, which amounted to $865 million. Due to economic growth, that deficit turned into a surplus.

Co-Chairs of the state's Joint Committee on Finance, the powerful committee tasked with writing, amending, and passing the biennium every two years, issued a statement following the release of the fiscal bureau report.

"Governor Evers' taxing, spending, and borrowing is not taking our state in a new direction, but moving us backward. Over the last eight years Wisconsin has seen tremendous growth, it is disappointing that Governor Evers is choosing this path," the statement said.

The statement also noted that even the Governor's near-$2 billion in projected new taxes and revenues would not cover the deficit that this budget will create.

Evers' office said that the budget written by the first term governor focuses on areas that have "been neglected by Republicans," such as infrastructure, health care, public safety, and schools. A spokeswoman said that the budget puts people first, and addresses the needs of the community.

On Tuesday, a second Dane County judge blocked portions of the laws passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Walker in December, which opponents claim limit the powers of newly-inaugurated Governor Evers.

The judge temporarily blocked some of the laws, because he felt that it was likely unions and liberal groups that originally filed the suit would prove that the state constitution's "separation of powers" had been violated.

On Wednesday, a Wisconsin appeals court ruled in favor of the GOP bills, striking down the first Dane County ruling, therefore reinstating some of the provisions that had been blocked. Republican leaders in the legislature praised the decision as an upholding of the rule of law.

Last week, WPT reported that following the first Dane County ruling, Governor Evers rescinded the appointments of 82 appointees of Governor Walker's. Once the appellate court struck down that ruling, Governor Evers and legislative Republicans initiated a back-and-forth on whether or not those appointees should be able to continue to serve in the positions to which they were appointed.

Facing scrutiny, Evers eventually reinstated 67 of those positions, but left "vacant" 15 positions, including former Governor Walker's picks for the UW System Board of Regents, and the commissioner of the Public Service Commission. That commissioner, Ellen Nowak, tried to return to work after the appellate court ruling, but was blocked from entering the building by a security guard.

Attorneys for legislative Republicans warned Evers' attorneys that it would be a legal violation should all 82 appointments not be reinstated. Legislative Republican leaders are now seeking an appeal in the second Dane County suit, which could be ruled on this week.

The co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance last week announced the public hearing dates for the state budget bill introduced by Governor Tony Evers.

As always, WPT members wishing to attend a public hearing may request more in-depth information on the budget, or assistance with the process by calling our Madison office at 608-255-7473, or e-mailing info@wptonline.org. WPT staff can assist with drafting public testimony, and provide tips for testifying in front of the committee.

"We highly encourage the public to attended these public hearings. Hearing comments, concerns, and opinions from Wisconsin citizens is key for us to craft the best possible budget for our state," the Co-Chairs' statement said.

Written comments can be e-mailed to the committee directly at budgetcomments@legis.wisconsin.gov.

Friday, April 5 (10AM-5PM)
Pontiac Convention Center
2809 North Pontiac Drive
Janesville, WI
Wednesday, April 10 (10AM-5PM)
Oak Creek Community Center
8580 South Howell Avenue
Oak Creek, WI
Monday, April 15 (10AM-5PM)
UW-River Falls, University Center
Riverview Ballroom #260
500 Wild Rose Avenue
River Falls, WI
Wednesday, April 24 (10AM-5PM)
UW-Green Bay Union
Phoenix Room
2430 Campus Court
Green Bay, WI

Last Wednesday's $768.4 million Powerball jackpot-winning ticket was sold in Wisconsin and is the largest int he state's Lottery history, according to the Wisconsin Lottery. The jackpot was the third-largest in U.S. Lottery history and Powerball's second-highest all-time.

The winning numbers were 16, 20, 37, 44, 62, and the Powerball was 12. The state retailer which sold the ticket will receive a $100,000 payout.

"This is an amazing milestone moment for Wisconsin," said Wisconsin Lottery Director Cindy Polzin. "It is truly incredible to think that the winning ticket for this historic jackpot was sold in our own backyard. I am extremely excited for the winners and for our state. This event puts us in the national spotlight and turns Wisconsin into WINsconsin."

Since 1988, the Wisconsin Lottery has generated more than $4.3 billion in funding for property tax credits to eligible Wisconsin homeowners.

The Department of Workforce Development last week released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates of unemployment and employment statistics for Wisconsin metropolitan areas, major cities and counties in Wisconsin for the month of February.

The non-seasonally adjusted data for Wisconsin showed:
  • In metropolitan statistical areas, numbers for February unemployment rates declined in all 12 metro areas over the year. The Green Bay metro area declined by 0.6 percent, the largest over the year decrease of all 12 metro areas.
  • In municipalities, unemployment rates declined over the year in all of the state's 33 largest cities. The largest decrease occurred in Greenfield, Manitowoc, and West Allis by 0.8 percent.
  • In counties, unemployment rates declined or stayed the same over the year in 68 of Wisconsin's 72 counties. Douglas, Iron, Door, and Vilas counties experienced a 0.8 percent decrease, which tied for the largest decrease in the state.

The Chinese technology manufacturer set to receive unprecedented tax dollar subsidies in the billions over the coming decades has awarded $34 million to five Wisconsin-based sub-contractors, "who are set to immediately commence construction at its Gen6 advanced manufacturing facility campus located in the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park in Racine..."

"Foxconn is proud to announced these successful Wisconsin-based subcontractors who will help make the Gen6 facility a reality," said. Dr. Woo. "This investment will continue to provide new economic development to the local community and throughout the state."

The companies receiving the contracts were Giles Engineering Associates, Inc. in Waukesha; Staff Electrical Company, Inc. in Menomonee Falls; Hoffman Construction Company in Black River Falls; A.W. Oakes & Sons, Inc. in Racine; and, Payne & Dolan, Inc. in Waukesha.

Wisconsin taxpayers will provide $7.5 million in tax credits in order to support Amazon's $200 million fulfillment center development in Oak Creek.

The award was announced Monday by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, who assured the public that those credits would only be awarded based on the number of jobs Amazon creates, and the capital investments in makes in the state through 2024.

The plan, which is also receiving support from a TIF district in Oak Creek worth $16.9 million, was announced last year and is expected to employ 1,500 individuals. The facility has been described as a "first-of-its-kind" sorting center for Amazon, as it relies heavily on robotics and automation.

To date, Amazon has employed over 4,000 people in Kenosha, and has invested $175 million in its facilities in Wisconsin.

In the 2015 state budget, former Governor Scott Walker fully eliminated state support for the Wisconsin State Park system. The parks were directed to rely on user and program fees to support their operations.

Governor Tony Evers is proposing to reverse course, instead spending an additional $2.8 million from the state's conservation fund to assist the State Parks over the coming two years. According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, about $930,000 per year would be used to increase seasonal park workers' wages by $1.50 per hour, and another $500,000 per year would be used for maintenance and other costs.

The Department of Workforce Development last week said that Shopko is planning to lay off another 1,715 employees spanning across 39 of its stores around the state. The total number of employees who will lose a job due to the closure sits at 2,496, according to DWD's numbers.

The company filed for bankruptcy protection in January, and since it was unable to find a buyer, the company announced it will close permanently. At the time of its bankruptcy filing, there were 360 Shopko stores in 26 states, including 52 in Wisconsin alone.

A logistics company, Spectrum Transportation Services and Spectrum America Supply Chain Solutions, Inc., would also be impacted, as Shopko was those companies' only client. Those closures will result in 225 additional layoffs.

The Department of Workforce Development is offering employment, resume, and interviewing workshops to employees who are affected by the closures.


A Dane County Judge has blocked the 'lame duck' laws that were passed in December and signed into law by then-Governor Scott Walker. The judge said that extraordinary sessions are unlawful, despite language in the Wisconsin Constitution that explicitly states that each house of the legislature shall decide for themselves the rules of their meetings.  
Good ruling or bad ruling?  
Look, it's not fair that the democrats control anything in Wisconsin. Our judges will overturn this.

Affordable Care Act lawsuit is a waste of taxpayer money and the new gov should be allowed to appoint whomever he wants.

Interesting that now the appellate court has said the laws are legal

tit for tat. Unfortunately its become that even at the State level where we should all be trying to make Wisconsin a better place for all of us. Jesus people, can you not find some middle ground?

He campaigned on being a political outsider but his actions show that was a lie

Evers is a IDIOT

Wrong. This was done in past when a Democrat Govr left office, no reason not to allow now.

Evers is trying hard to block everything that Walker did, not surprising. I'm not a fan of what Walker did in his 'lame duck', but the law made sense.

Political games, it will never end. I think I need to take off from work and get a bunch of my friends to do the same and start a protest in the state capitol building.

Bad move

A liberal Dane County judge has a say on now our State Goverment,

Making Evers look like a bad governor, he wants more power.

This has been going on for how long? Now that the Dems are on the short end they cry!!

Found some lib**** judge to rule his way, then immediately pulled the trigger on all his bs. This is exactly how this guy is going to run his entire term. RECALL

Bad move Health insurance costs are killing small businesses

Partisan political bickering. BAD for Wisconsin. Should have left it be, because it meant that no one man (IE the governor) could have so much power... Bad, bad, bad move...

Tit for Tat. What the GOP did prior to Evers' seating is apalling.

I think taxpayers need to form a recall, Governor Evers campaigned he can work with legislators there is no indication this will happen recall, Governor Evers is trying to split the state ask Illinois how that worked

Evers is trying to wreck this State.

People don't get it ,Government doesn't PAY FOR IT, TAXPAYER DOES !DO

Dems always run to their liberal Dane county judges

Governor Evers is even more of an idiot t than what I originally thought

Evers is proving to be a wingnut. How in the world did he get elected?


Governor Evers would like to raise unemployment benefits from $370 per week to $406 per week. He would also like to eliminate a rule that disqualifies individuals from receiving unemployment benefits who have deemed at "substantial fault" for their job loss.

What do you think of Gov. Evers' new plans for Unemployment Insurance in Wisconsin?
This is a bad PR move by Evers. Stupid, unforced error.
I support the raise but not any other changes
So lets see I can quit my job for no reason and claim unemployment. What a socialist move Mr Evers
I was fired for a relatively minor "Rule Violation" .... had 25+ years of service in. Some employers want to 'eliminate' older workers.
So, if I choose to just not show up for a week or two and get fired without officially quitting, I can collect benefits? See you next week, maybe!!
Let's not make it easier too not work
Why get a job if you can paid $406 per week, that's $10.15 per hour at a 40 hour job. I thought Wisconsin elected Evers as Governor, not Bernie Sander.
The unemployment benefits are greater than someone working already. They should apply themselves to their jobs. They should continue to be expected to go out and apply for jobs. No free meal here even if they want to take it.
As long as you are paying into it, I'm fine. If you are not, then I'm not. I pay in and have no way to ever receive these benefits.
Employers already pay too much into this program
Again a other bad idea to cost tax payers more money and take away the work requiement, so more people justsit on their butts
Evers want to look good as Governor, the unemployment is down right now, what happens when it goes up and money not there for these people?
Even if deemed "substantial fault"! No end to giving!
The rules keep the unemployed looking for work
I'm really sick of the abuse that occurs in the Unemployment sector. We have people every week who walk in and tell us "OH by the way, we used you for saying we were looking for work, and said we checked here." and leave. We are NOT looking for help, and I find THAT to be dishonest and unlawful abuse. Those people are just milking the system, and if we have dozens a month in the middle of nowhere where I live, how many are there per square mile in Milwaukee? NOPE. Leave it low.
Save the increase for the next recession. Most people can find a job today.
will this cost the employer more? Of course, just like the employee...but they get to benefit from monies deducted from their pay.
As an Employer, all welfare and unemployment should be eliminated when unemployment rates are below 5 percent, get a job, they are every where, every town
Why support those who refused to work!
another Evers giveaway
Eliminating "substanial fault" fosters irresponsible conduct.
Anyone who is terminated from their jobs should not be eligible for unemployment. There are plenty of jobs,no one in our state should be on unemployment
Evers is proving himself to be a wingnut. How in the world did he get elected?
What a lib****! Let's give all the drug users more money to leech of the system!

The State Building Commission last week, in an unprecedented move, rejected all of Governor Evers' $2.5 billion capital budget for publicly-funded state construction projects.

Do you support the commission's decision?  

Taxpayers shouldn't be paying for maintaining buildings or new ones. Especially buildings in the UW system. We do not need more educated young people.

The legislature should decide not a commission

Due to amount of borrowing what about using some of surplus

People get all excited about political moves. Sit back and take a deep breath. It will all get taken care of.

Is this tit for tat again? Was there nothing in the whole budget that was worth saving? Middle ground, people. Middle ground!

Tony, we are paying to much in taxes already!

It's going to be gridlock, I cannot believe this guy got elected.

We need better roads first, then worry about buildings

I am happy the commission seen this was going to cost the tqx payers alot of money

Evers ideas of spending are getting out of hand.

There has to be push-back against this lunatic!

Evers is on a spending train that is going to wreck this state. STOP HIM!!!

Evers has to bring a reasonable plan to the table.

Governor Evers needs to learn art of compromise and plan long term, his current plans are once and done

Have to stop Evers any way we can.

Time Government lives within it's means

How would "Taxin Tony "pay for them?

Evers is proving himself to be a wingnut. How in the world did he get elected?

The Palmyra-Eagle Area School District has issued an ultimatum to voters: pass a $11.5 million referendum or the school district will close its doors.

Do you think this is a good strategy for winning support for a referendum?
I hope it fails and the people of Palmyra-Eagle have no where to educate their children. Education is expensive and over-rated.

It would make me vote no.

Wow! I am going to take my ball and go home. Naner naner

Chose in the middle because I do not know the particulars.

I'm not sure if its strategy or the school board forcing voters to make the tough choice the board will be faced with

If it's the truth, then why not tell the truth.

If the small districts are going to survive, they are going to have put out to make it happen


All small rural schools are suffering from poor funding from the Stare

This is not right, Palmyra should not be closing their doors, because they don't get what they want.

No! It would actually turn me away!

Maybe they need to join another district

I would be saying "Goodbye school district" if it were me. That is a poor approach. That's like holding the district's citizens at gunpoint.

Not living there, I,m not familiar with their situation, but most citizens do not like to lose their local schools.

play stoopid games, win stoopid prizes.

Close the doors and merge with neighboring school district


Wouldn't sway my vote.

Poor management is what got Palmyra into this pickle.

This childish tactic would guarantee a "NO" vote from me.

If you didn't have to worry about work or prior obligations, and you woke up tomorrow morning with an all-inclusive trip for two to anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why did you choose this place? Who would you bring with?
Australia sounds nice.

Australia. I would bring my wife

Alaska. I would bring my wife. Natural beauty compelling.

The ISS, my wife.

Australia. At my age it would represent my last chance to see that continent.

I'd bring my wife (she reads this). And where ever she wants, probably Alaska

I'd stay in the good old U.S.A. It's safer here than in most parts of the World.

I would take my husband to where there is no winter, but moderate climate to retire. I love Wisconsin, but winter is hard when you are older. We recently visited Indio, CA, dry but nice climate. Lots to see within 100 miles. Arkansas is not bad for winter either. But they get real humid in summer.

WWII tour in Europe

I'd have to bring the wife, and I'd let her choose where to go.

Holstein, Germany, because my Danish ancestors came from there and would like to see the church they were married and baptize in. I would bring my husband & a brother.

I would spend my time at home with family. How wonderful that would be.

Italy for a month. I'd take my wife and six children. I actually have had this trip in mind for years, knowing it's a dream of sorts. But i'd love to spend a full month in Italy, just wandering around with no schedule and doing as we saw fit.

I would go to England to view the pretty English countryside and I would go to pubs to talk to people about Brexit. I would bring my wife of course.

virgin Islands, British or US.

My wife and I would travel to California to visit family.

I would stay in Wisconsin.


I'd see the USA!

A trip to the White House. Would like to share thoughts with President Trump . I would take Tony Evers.

Hawaii,sounds like a very interesting place. my wife

I would take my lovely wife on a trip to Glacier Nat'l Park (although I'd have to wait a few months for the snow in the mountain passes to melt). I would also love to take our four children along. It is my dream to be the first one to introduce them to this beautiful National Park. Sadly, unless things pick up in our dairy economy, it will not happen.

Ireland, wife, friends, ride the castle's by horse!! Always wanted to do this.

Alaska with my husband


It is the policy of WPT, Inc. to publish all comments that are submitted by members each week, often including broad differences of opinion within the weekly responses. Our organization values our role in fostering dialogue within our membership each week, but does not take responsibility for the individual views and opinions expressed herein.     
No bills to report.

LRB-2553  Memo Vehicle Weight Limits (Jacque, Andre ) Weight limits for certain vehicles transporting maple sap or syrup. Deadline: Friday, March 29, 5 pm

LRB-1219  Memo Title Transfer Fee (Wanggaard, Van ) Fee for certain motor vehicle certificate of title transfers. Deadline: Thursday, April 4, 5 pm

LRB-2446  Memo Abortion Providers (Jacque, Andre ) Certification of abortion providers in the Medical Assistance program. Deadline: Tuesday, April 9

LRB-0960  Memo Nurse Aide Grants (Brostoff, Jonathan ) Grants to technical college districts for nurse aide training and making an appropriation. Deadline: Friday, April 19, 5 pm

LRB-0981  Memo Medical Assistance Reimbursement (Subeck, Lisa ) Increasing reimbursement for personal care services under the Medical Assistance program, Medicaid expansion and eligibility for BadgerCare Plus and BadgerCare Plus Core, and making an appropriation. Deadline: Friday, April 19, 5 pm

LRB-2460  Memo CNA Tax Credit (Brostoff, Jonathan ) Creating an individual income tax credit for certified nursing assistant training costs. Deadline: Friday, April 19, 5 pm

LRB-2579  Memo UWSP Hockey (Shankland, Katrina ) Congratulating the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point men's hockey team for winning the 2019 NCAA Division III National Championship title. Deadline: Wednesday, March 27, Noon

LRB-2566  Memo Workers' Memorial Day (Nass, Steve ) Proclaiming April 28, 2019, Workers' Memorial Day in Wisconsin. Deadline: Monday, April 1, Noon

LRB-2337  Memo Cesar Chavez Day (Zamarrippa, JoCasta ) Proclaiming March 31, 2019, as Cesar Chavez Day in the state of Wisconsin. Deadline: Monday, April 1, Noon

LRB-2513  Memo Excess Tax Distribution (Carpenter, Tim ) The distribution of excess sales tax revenue collected by a local professional baseball park district and making an appropriation. Deadline: Wednesday, April 10, 5 pm

LRB-2151  Memo Temporary Stand Operation (Horlacher, Cody ) Allowing minors to operate temporary stands without a permit or license. Deadline: Thursday, April 4, 5pm

LRB-2151  Memo Temporary Stand Operation (Horlacher, Cody) Allowing minors to operate temporary stands without a permit or license. Deadline: Thursday, April 4, 5pm

LRB-2153  Memo Lodging Marketplace (Kitchens, Joel ) Requiring a lodging marketplace and owners of short-term rentals to provide to local governments certain information about room tax collections. Deadline: Monday, April 15, 5 pm