Welcome back to another edition of the WPT Weekly Insider.
This week will bring you news from the Capitol and around Wisconsin, circulating legislation, your weekly poll responses, an all new Weekly Member Poll, and more.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great week,
Last week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reached out to our organization for a comment regarding our plans to offer our members an association health insurance plan, given the changes enacted on the federal level by President Trump's administration. You may have seen the article.
We are hard at work on the details, and will be announcing much more in the coming months.
We were overwhelmed by the information and surveys that you completed on our website, in person, and over the phone. We have heard you loud and clear, and we are proud to be on the forefront of something new and exciting in Wisconsin. At the very least, we are putting our best feet forward as an organization on your behalf.
As you can imagine, there are many legal and benefit specifics that need to be worked out before we can say more, so bear with us as we continue through the final stages. If you have any questions, please reach out to us at any time at email@example.com.
Again, here is the article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in which WPT is referenced and quoted.
NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL
AND AROUND WISCONSIN
VUKMIR, EVERS WIN PRIMARY, BEGIN FINAL PUSH TO NOVEMBER
With a strong turnout in last Tuesday's primary election day, Wisconsin has chosen State Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) to challenge Democrat incumbent U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin in November. On the Democrat ticket, with eight viable candidates to choose from, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction won the nomination handily and will square off with Governor Scott Walker eleven weeks from tomorrow.
Two longtime Milwaukee lawmakers were also kicked out of office by their fellow Democrats last week, as immigration attorney Marisabel Cabrera defeated incumbent State Representative Josh Zepnick for the party's nomination. Zepnick has been embattled since last year when multiple women said he kissed them against their will. Also unseating a decades-long lawmaker, Milwaukee Public Schools teacher Lakeisha Myers ousted Representative Fred Kessler from his seat. Kessler was first elected to his seat in 1960, but then left to serve as a judge in the 70s and 80s before returning to the legislature.
Since neither seat have a Republican on the ballot, it's now presumed these individuals are the winners, and will serve in the Assembly beginning in January.
For a complete and comprehensive breakdown of Tuesday's elections, click here.
WISCONSIN ADDS 38,500 JOBS OVER YEAR
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) last week released the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) numbers for June 2018 and preliminary numbers of July, showing that the state added a significant 38,500 jobs from July 2017 to July 2018.
The state's historically low unemployment remained at 2.9 percent, and was the sixth consecutive month that the state's unemployment rate remained below 3 percent.
From June to July of this year, the state added 9,100 private sector jobs, and 8,700 total non-farm jobs. Jobs gains were significant in durable goods and Health Care and Social Assistance. The state's labor force participation rate was six points higher than the national average, at 68.9 percent.
AG SCHIMEL COMPLETES FIRST ROUND OF SCHOOL SAFETY GRANTS
Attorney General Brad Schimel announced last week 60 schools and school districts that will receive the remaining $2,559,666 from the first round of the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) School Safety Grant program.
The grant application period for the second round of grant funding is now open, and 688 schools and school districts report that they intend to apply by the end of the month. Around $50 million are still available for a second round of school safety grant funding, according to the DOJ website, of which, approximately $3 million are reserved for projects that will be announced at a different time.
The Attorney General's office is reminding schools that the application period for the second round opened on August 15th and is closed on the 30th of the month. The second round will be based on a per-student basis, with each school receiving an estimated $55.21 per child. No awardee will receive less than $10,000, or receive more than $2.5 million.
UW SYSTEM REQUESTING OVER $100 MILLION MORE IN ADDITIONAL FUNDING NEXT BUDGET
As the next state budget gets closer, and the unknown of which governor will be serving in office grows wider, the UW System is making their priorities known early on, and plan to ask regents to request $107 million additional dollars in the next budget.
According to UW System officials, over $80 million of those dollars would be utilized to meet "performance-based goals," including student success, student progress toward graduation, workforce contributions, and increased efficiency. The remainder of the money, about $25 million, would be used for providing increased access to programs in high demand science, engineering, health care, and business fields.
While the request seems large, officials have not indicated hikes in either tuition or fees for students, though Governor Walker has said he plans to extend the tuition freeze again. The vote on the plan will take place later this week.
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE REPORT SHOWS FOUR PERCENT INCREASE IN PROPERTY VALUE
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) last week released its annual Equalized Value Report, which shows the state's total statewide equalized property value as of January 1st of this year. That number was $549 billion, which was a four percent increase from 2017.
Residential property was valued at $388 billion as of January 1st, an increase of 5.1 percent, or $18.9 billion, which marked the greatest one-year increase in residential values since 2007.
Construction activity continues to trend upward, as well, with the addition of $8.5 billion in new construction during 2017, and $4.2 billion of that in residential, $3.7 billion in commercial, and $437 million in manufacturing.
Commercial property values topped out at $109 billion, an increase of 6.8 percent, or $7 billion. Manufacturing properties equaled $15 billion, an increase of 4.5 percent, or $652 million. Agricultural land was value at $2 billion, an increase of 2.5 percent from 2017. The value of personal property decreased by 27.3 percent, or $9.4 billion.
STATE WARNING RESIDENTS ABOUT IRS SCAM
Early last week, the state's Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), released a consumer alert after seeing a surge in reports from the public about fake IRS phone calls. According to DATCP, on some days in recent weeks, the Consumer Protection Hotline has received at least four times as many calls about the scam as on a normal day.
The scammers are reported to be threatening arrest if the call recipient does not make an immediate payment for phony taxes, and many callers have been distressed by the aggressive nature of the scammers' demands, DATCP said.
The agency is warning Wisconsin residents to hang up the phone immediately and take no further action, as the IRS will never call and demand payment over the phone or threaten arrest for back taxes.
If you or anybody you know has received these or similar calls, DATCP is asking that it be reported to the Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-422-7128, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or that local law enforcement is contacted immediately. They have also provided a scam fact sheet, which you can view by
STATE FAIR ATTENDANCE SETS NEW RECORD
With a one percent surge in attendance from the 2017 State Fair, the state's official celebration of itself has set a new record on its 167th anniversary, with 1,037,982 people walking through the turnstiles, up from 1,028,049 last year.
The Wisconsin State Fair is actually one of the top ten state fairs in the United States Some of the highlights from this year were; more than 3,000 exhibitors participated, 400,000 consumed cream puffs, 55,000 grilled cheese sandwiches, 40,000 baked potatoes, and 16,000 pork sandwiches.
One of the mainstays of the Wisconsin State Fair is the Giant Slide, which had 120,000 riders this year alone.
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
It appears as though the $100 million tax incentive deal for Kimberly-Clark does not have enough votes in the Senate to pass. If you were a State Senator and this vote came before you, how would you vote?
Want them to stay in Wisconsin
how often can large corps come to a well that is going dry
I stand with Arkansas, we could learn from them
Those 600 or so employees that might lose their job will have no problem finding a new job right now. $100M is just simply too much for that number of jobs. Especially because ther are many jobs available and more coming with Foxconn
Just the beginning of a landslide.
600 jobs for $109 million? You do the math...
Let them walk. Large corporate greed is killing the economy
We have an existing employer, I would like to see what Corporate management and unions are putting into the game!
It's like one of the folks said in their comments - over $166,000 per employee? Of OUR tax dollars? Wow... And we have jobs right in our back yard that we can't fill, and have dozens of them, and can't find workers... We have homes for sale, we have all sorts of reasons to move here... Hmm.... Maybe we let Kimberly Clark go, and instead...
let the big companies figure out how to make money - maybe getting rid of unions - tail wagging the dog, time to be accountable
No, we should not save failing companies.
If you give it to them, when will the next corporation come for it's ransom tax incentive?
We should not be giving these large incentives to corporations out of tax payer money!
I am tired of corporations threating the State we will leave if you do not give a tax incentive. A problem is the unions an stockholders not getting a return on their money
Governor Walker has said that he sees "no value" in visiting a Wisconsin prison, though the two previous governors of the state did so. Do you think there is value in a sitting Wisconsin governor visiting a prison?
I think he should,, to see what is going on in the prison.
Maybe see for themselves how things operate
there is professional staff that monitor prisons and reports as the system is suppose to work
Most inmates will one day be released. They have value
Do you really think people in prison want to see the governor? I don't think so.
Governor Walker's answer was that he relies on people who have contact with and understand the prisons. His visiting would be a media show and he'd never see the real prison system.
Visiting a prison is a feel good maneuver by the politicians. He should not waste his time on the prisons
Maybe for moral of the prison workers otherwise a waste of time!
if Walker is making decision for the prisons, he should at least visit. Due diligence
Why? Prisoners are there for a reason and he has people in charge to report to him.
The value is firsthand knowledge and feedback from employees as it is easier to recommend solutions with insight that comes from visits.
Rather see him visit inner city schools to encourage student scholastic abilities as apposed to visiting prisons.
No real value, no. But it's a PR mistake not to visit. Stop by, say hello, express your sympathy for the kids, go back home and the story is over.
There is value in all institutions; All public servants need on the ground experiences to help them understand first hand what conditioners are to help them make sensible reasonable decisions.
He is not going to know what is really going on because the institution will cover up the bad things.
Not enough facts to make a decision!
He has prison officials that understand the system far better then him to advise him and the same goes with me
The state's Natural Resources Board has enacted an emergency rule that requires all deer farmers to install additional fencing. After reading the article; good idea or bad idea?
Got to find a way to stop this from spreading
Plenty of deer in thw woods & swamps.... I see several in a week. Nearly hit 10 already this summer.
some extreme costly measures for farms, natures intent to control deer populations
We need to protect our wild game.
I don't know what a deer farm is for? Do they raise deer and release them somewhere?
Question: Is this another over reach by DNR they make a rule because they can!
You know, the Government is NOT supposed to tell the PEOPLE what they have to spend their money on. Ever read the Constitution? Or maybe read the Declaration of Independence? Or some of our other foundational papers?
Go one step further and ban all deer farms
The Governor needs to lead on solutions for CWD to protect our multi-million dollar hunting / outdoor heritage in Wisconsin. Lead by being involved with outdoor groups, sportsmen and women!
Another expense for the farmer
All deer herds with CWD should be wiped out...to protect the states deer herd for the long run
I said in the middle. That's a lot of dough.
I think we need to put a stop to making new laws. We have plenty already that are confusing or people aren't aware of till it is too late!
I feel they are on the right track
Gov. Walker has requested that the legislature officially name the newly-completed HWY I-41/US-10/WIS-441 after the late Senator Mike Ellis. Good idea or bad idea?
I have no idea about this
Can't wait for the [ ahem ] 'pavement heaves' ;-}
renaming roads does not fix or maintain them any better
Don't care one way or the other but good business for companies that print signs. Too many signs on the highways now.
Wasted money on signage. It is the peoples highway right?
Who cares - I never heard of the guy! Why confuse people by changing the names of a highway.
I think it's good to commemorate Sen. Ellis, but spending money on a mess of road signs kind of stinks. When the road needs to be re-done it'll turn into a smear of the Senator's name.
Nothing should ever be named after a politician.
Do not made any what name you put on a road, it still has to be maintain by the DOT
Yesterday was the last day of the Wisconsin State Fair. Did you attend the fair? When is the last time you attended? With just over one month to go until autumn officially arrives, do you have any fun summer plans in the works?
Haven't attend the fair for years. lot of walking.
Did not attend, Have not for several years, Have little desire to attend in the future.
Sad to say, I haven't been in maybe 20 years
Didn't go to the fair. Haven't been there in 20 years. Too crowded and too many drunk people. Not a fun place for kids.
Never have attended but know people who love the exhibition halls.
I have never been to the WI State fair. I cant' afford it. Maybe folks should shop in more small businesses and tell big companies to go take a hike so folks who run them can live above the poverty line.
Did not attend, have never attended. No plans
No did not get there this year, part of the time was on vacation, the other working then camping. It's been 3 years. Hopefully next year. Our big end of summer bash is Labor Day weekend with all of the Harley dealers and we will end with a large picnic at our home
Wi. State Fair last year. Work, get ready for winter.
No, did not attend. Miss the baked potatoes as well as cream puffs.
Yes, we had free tickets to the Fair and went yesterday. Never quite understand why farmers go through all the trouble of exhibiting at the Fair. As for summer plans, we just got back from taking the kids to Europe for their first visit.
Minnesota State Fair for those of us in Western Wisconsin. Otherwise, if I could get enough employees I might be able to something fun, but alas...
No Attended about forty years ago.
Showed cattle their,not as nice as it once was for exhibitors. Lots of people there which is good for acquainting city folks with a little bit of agriculture.
Went last year. Skipped this year. Still hoping to get to Door County for a weekend.
Never been there! Camping and fishing for next 4 weeks!
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.