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This week will bring you news from the Capitol and around Wisconsin, your weekly poll responses, and an all new Weekly Member Poll.
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NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL
AND AROUND WISCONSIN
KIMBERLY-CLARK DEAL SHORT ON VOTES
Support among Wisconsin Senate Republicans for the tax incentive package aimed at keeping several Kimberly-Clark facilities open in Wisconsin is lacking, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions.
Since the deal already passed the State Assembly earlier this year, only the Senate needs to approve the legislation in order for it to head to Governor Walker's desk to become law. Without passage of the incentives, more than 600 jobs would be lost in the Fox Valley.
The deal's largest sponsor is Senate President Roger Roth, who represents a large portion of the region, while at least one of his colleagues, namely Senator Chris Kapenga of Delafield, opposes the package. As it stands, no democrats support the bill.
GOV. WALKER, LOCAL OFFICIALS REQUEST HIGHWAY 41/ US 10/WI 441 TO BE NAMED AFTER LATE SEN. MIKE ELLIS
Governor Walker last week long with at least one local official, Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, have called upon the State of Wisconsin to name the newly-constructed 41/10/441 interchange in the Fox Valley after the late Wisconsin Senate President Mike Ellis.
Nelson penned a letter to Governor Walker last week, requesting the new name, saying "A five-mile stretch of highway seems a fitting tribute to someone who dedicated nearly five decades to serving his state."
Governor Walker called on the legislature to act, and said that Mike Ellis was a "larger-than-life" personality, and lauded Ellis' passion for serving the people of Wisconsin.
GOV. WALKER SEES NO VALUE IN VISITING WISCONSIN PRISONS
In a comment that has many individuals upset, Governor Walker last week said that there is no value in his visiting a state prison.
The comment was in the context of visiting a prison if he is re-elected, given the upheaval at the juvenile facilities in the state, most notably the headlines surrounding Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake. Additionally, while on the campaign trail, Walker has said that Democrats' proposal to cut the state's prison population in half would create a more dangerous Wisconsin. The Governor said that he has not visited a facility in his time as Governor, and would not if re-elected, because he has contact with officials and individuals who understand the circumstances surrounding the system.
As the Milwaukee Journal pointed out, Walker's lack of prison visits is a bit out-of-the-ordinary for sitting governors of the state, as both Democrat Jim Doyle, and Republican Tommy Thompson aimed at boosting morale by visiting prisons, and connecting with employees and families of inmates.
NATURAL RESOURCES BOARD APPROVES NEW DEER FARM FENCING
A new emergency administrative rule is now in effect after the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Board unanimously voted to approve requiring deer farmers to upgrade their fences.
The move comes after Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been on the rise in the state, proliferating mainly from deer that have been traced back to deer farms. As of August, there have been 13 farms with CWD infections.
Specifically, the new rule would require deer farms within a year, that have had a positive CWD case on their farm to install a second perimeter fence or other solid barrier. For deer farms without CWD cases, electric fences are also an option, or a second fence or solid barrier. According to the DNR, farms will need to spend between $875,000 and $1.3 million to comply.
STUDENT DEBT ON THE RISE NATIONALLY, DOWN IN WISCONSIN
On average, student debt for the Class of 2017 hovers at $28,288, which is up about $300 from the class of 2016, but still below the $28,400 from 2015.
But in Wisconsin, a glimmer of debtors hope was seen in a recent report from organization LendEDU, which showed that Wisconsin's debt ranked 33 in the nation. The average was $29,569, which was a drop of nearly 1.2% from 2016. The report also showed that about 65% of students in this year's graduating class had student debt.
Also, according to the report, UW-Green Bay's graduating students had the lowest average debt among the state's public schools, at $22,664. UW-Milwaukee had the highest in the public school system at $37,131. Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) had the highest average student debt among all public and private schools at $38,421.
LA CROSSE MAYOR TALKS WHEEL TAX
La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat acknowledged that his residents aren't interested in "significantly increasing property tax," when responding to an increase in the miles of roads that the city needs to repair and maintain each year.
According to the Mayor, the city has dipped into reserve funds in order to fix eight miles of roads in 2018, but said that barring property tax increases, wheel taxes are an option, though he believes there should be a definitive sunset or end date attached to any new tax. The city estimates that over $11 million is needed to fix "Tier 1" roads.
The city also said that they have more than $41 million in unmet funding for road projects.
DARK STORES: WALMART SUES OVER PROPERTY TAXES
For the second year in a row, two municipalities in Sheboygan County were slapped with new "dark store" lawsuits last week, in an ongoing saga of large retail giants attempting to challenge their property tax bills.
In the Town of Sheboygan, Walmart claims its property is not worth more than $5.8 million, thought he town assessed the value of the property at $15.6 million. In the City of Plymouth, Walmart claims their property is worth no more than $8 million, though that city's assessment values the property at more than $11.6 million. Last year, Walmart also sued the City of Sheboygan, though they have not done so for the 2018 property tax year.
The corporation is seeking property tax refunds in court, as they did over their 2017 taxes. Both of the previous cases are still tied up the court system.
BUSINESSES SAW INCREASED SHOPPING DURING SALES TAX HOLIDAY
From August 1st through the 5th, shoppers across Wisconsin could take advantage of a "sales tax holiday," which was aimed at providing residents with relief during back to school shopping.
Some businesses are now saying that they saw increased shopping, including Shopko in Racine, whose manager said the increase in business was "incredible." But on the flip side, a University of Cincinnati-affiliated group known as the Economics Center have said that sales tax holidays have saved Ohio families an average of $38, but the lost tax revenue is "negligible."
The State of Wisconsin has not released any official numbers on the impacts or effects of the sales holiday.
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
Fiserv is the newly-announced naming sponsor for the new arena in Milwaukee, which was funded partially with $250 million in taxpayer dollars. But Fiserv last year accepted a deal for $12.5 million in tax incentives if they promised to stay in Wisconsin, and build their new headquarters here. Should the Fiserv tax credits be resciended?
Seriously does anyone have any common sense?
Yes another deal of corp welfare
If we offered them a deal,, we should get their tax incentives only if they stay in WI.
That was a great business move on behalf of Fiserv. Yes, it is our tax dollars. But, by naming the Bucks center after them we are pretty much guaranteed that they are in Wisconsin for the long haul!
That deal never should have happened. In other words, all of us taxpayers should have naming rights to the new arena.
There's enough money there for them to take care of their own bills. NO MORE HANDOUTS.
$12.5m? In light of the BILLIONS for Foxconn and $109m for Kimberly Clark, Fiserv's $12m deal is a bargain. Yay!
I am concerned for small businesses who don't get the big carrots, just the stick.
It's the new normal, pay to play. Putting Jack back in the box won't be easy.
Hand out millions to the Big dogs and squeeze out the little guy who has here years, thats B.S.
After removing the law enforcement credentials from the state's park rangers, the DNR is now reversing course, and re-implementing that position. Good idea or bad idea?
The thought behind the plan did not work so go to what we had orginally
This will put control of our parks and enforcement of the laws and regulations in the hands of the Rangers that are there every day. Saves money and makes the parks safer and more enjoyable. Whats wrong with that?
Why would they have changed it in the first place.
as long as the rangers use common sense & not overstep their power
Yes, they were always polite and courteous.
DNR rangers should be on the Deer Team, and shoot back at hunters, make it a fair fight.
Wisconsin's farm real estate values are still on the rise. Even if you don't own a farm or farmland, has your real estate value been on the rise, as well?
not much lately.Jefferson County
I really question this report of increase values
paid 600 per acre in 1994, just appraised for 3,000. per acre.We farm in Chetek.
Just like the price of a can of soup, everything goes up. Although on the farmers side, the price of a gallon of milk hasn't gone up since i can remember!
And my land rents have not went down in four years even though commodities have
Our village values education highly and our home's value has skyrocketed over the past 4-5 years. Live north of Milwaukee.
We shall see next bill comes around Dec 6. Fox Valley
The head of the Arkansas Economic Development Corporation said that Wisconsin is setting a "new bar" for retention packages for companies, and that the $100 million offered to Kimberly Clark is "unprecedented." He said ultimately Arkansas could not match the Wisconsin deal because they have a fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers.
Though it would retain over 600 jobs, do you think by offering $100 million to Kimberly-Clark, the State of Wisconsin is honoring its fiduciary obligation to taxpayers?
MORE Corporate Welfare !!! If my math is correct.... $100M for 600 jobs = about $166,666.67 EACH JOB
I am starting to feel that corps think that the State can solve their problems because again unions and stock holders need a big return
We give money to attract businesses on a local level with low or free industrial park land and TIF districts. I guess it's not unusual businesses would seek incentives from the state. Question is - where do you draw the line. Glad I don't have to make the decision.
Yes we should offer $100 million, want them to stay in Wisconsin.
I'd feel different if it were 6000 jobs or if there were more employees available than jobs. $100M seems like too much for just 600 jobs when there are many jobs available if KC did close up shop here.
Another broken deal for a broken system. Yeah I want to see the jobs stay, but is it worth $109 million? I don't know.
too much to keep a company here. they should have to make it on their own like most other companies do. you don't see too many small companies taking government handouts even tho they provide the majority of Wisconsin's jobs
No corporate welfare, ever.
I am also worried for Taxpayers as I am one.
Good for Arkansas standing up to the giants, but what happens if we lose KC?
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