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 of course, a new Property Taxpayer of the Week.
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,
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PROPERTY TAXPAYER OF THE WEEK
HUMPHREY FLORAL AND GIFT
TIM HUMPHREY | FORT ATKINSON
Today, we are proud to introduce WPT Weekly Insider readers to Tim Humphrey, a member of nearly 30 years, owner of Humphrey Floral and Gift in Fort Atkinson, and our new Property Taxpayer of the Week.
Tim told us he was born and raised in Burlington, but moved to Fort Atkinson at the age of 15. After graduating from high school, he attended UW-Whitewater, but ultimately transferred to UW-Oshkosh where he graduated from the School of Business.
"Upon graduation, after several years of hands-on retail floral experience, [I] became the retail manager of Hrnak's Flowerland in Oshkosh," he explained. "After five years, I decided it was time to step out on my own and opened Humphrey Floral and Gift in a prime downtown location in Fort Atkinson."
Tim explained that his first years in business, at times, were quite difficult.
"Humphrey Floral and Gift opened March 12, 1979 by a 26-year-old upstart, who was going to set the world on fire!" he said enthusiastically. "The interest rate on my first business note was 18.75% and went up to a mere 19.25% one year later. Thankfully, with the help of a supportive community, chamber of commerce, and family, I was able to survive those first challenging years."
Nowadays, the company employs three full-time employees and six part-time workers, who Tim refers to as passionate about pleasing their customers. And that passion has garnered Humphrey Floral and Gift some much-deserved attention.
"We are proud of the fact that we have been honored with the 'Best of the Area' accolades for best floral arrangements and store-front window displays twelve years in a row, as well as 'Best Small Town Business' five years in a row," Tim said.
But just like countless small businesses across Wisconsin, one of Tim's current challenges comes from the digital realm, where people want to make purchases fast, and over the phone or internet.
"Challenges in the 1970's and 1980's were far different than they are today. Because my business is a very artistic and creative profession, I am affected in a different way than traditional brick and mortar retailers," he explained. "
"A major challenge is getting customers to realize the benefits of talking directly to the person who is going to create the floral vision they have in mind. Order-takers in a cubicle thousands of miles away can't possibly offer the personal service and attention to detail that a shop like Humphrey Floral & Gift has to offer."
And Tim isn't the only person to notice the change. Customers have, as well.
"More and more we receive calls from people who have ordered online and later realized they were talking to someone thousands of miles away. We are always pushing for legislation for online order-takers to identify themselves and disclose where they are actually located. They can't possibly know what my inventory is and what types of arrangements I can create on any given day, especially given the fact that we deal with perishable products."
Likely not a shock to many readers, Tim enjoys gardening in his free time, along with restoring his "very old home, at the pace of a snail."
He also enjoys spending time with his family, including his 91-year-old mother, and his friends.
Tim has been a member of WPT for nearly 30 years, and said he applauds the organization's efforts, particularly those that have benefited the small business community.
"Thank you, and keep up the good work!"
NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL
AND AROUND WISCONSIN
FOXCONN TO INVEST $100 MILLION IN UW-MADISON
Foxconn Technology Group has announced that their corporation will invest $100 million in the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earmarked for establishing a new research facility for the College of Engineering. According to reports, that facility will collaborate with Foxconn's massive manufacturing site in Racine County.
The company's CEO, Terry Gou, alongside UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, made the announcement on campus yesterday, and explained that the university will need to raise an additional $100 million in order to receive the full amount.
The focus of the new facility- the Foxconn Institute for Research in Science and Technology- will be research that makes advances in the fields of engineering, human health, data and computer science.
This is the largest single pledge and gift in University of Wisconsin history.
USDA ANNOUNCES TARIFF AID FOR FARMERS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will take action to assist farmers in resposne to trade damage "from unjustified retaliation by foreign nations."
According to a statement from the USDA, "President Donald J. Trump directed Secretary Sonny Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agriculture producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the the long run to help American farmers to compete globally."
The USDA outlined three programs, which they said will assist agricultural producers meet the cost of disrupted markets.
To read a detailed description of each program, visit the USDA's announcement here.
- USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) will administer the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, and wheat producers starting September 4, 2018. An announcement about further payments will be made in the coming months, if warranted.
- USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will administer a Food Purchase and Distribution Program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation. USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will distribute these commodities through nutrition assistance programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and child nutrition programs.
- Through the Foreign Agricultural Service's (FAS) Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), $200 million will be made available to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The program will help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries' restrictions.
HEAVY RAIN SLAMS WISCONSIN, MORE ON THE WAY
A large part of the State of Wisconsin received torrential downpours, hail, damaging wind, and subsequent flooding due to a storm that passed over the state late yesterday. More of the same is on tap for many parts of the state as the day progresses on Tuesday.
The Coulee Region of the state endured evacuations, road closures, mudslides, and even rescue situations as the storm went through.
As the La Crosse Tribune reported, law enforcement agencies "throughout the three-state region" are telling travelers to rethink their plans, and to exercise caution due to debris, water, and mudslides still impacting roads. Experts are estimating that it could be an entire week before floodwater recedes in some areas, making some bridges and roads impassable until then.
WISCONSIN BANK PROFITS STILL ON THE RISE
There are 2018 federally-insured banks in Wisconsin, and they had a combined $696 million in net income for the first half of the year. That's up from $565 million in the first half of 2017.
Total assets of Wisconsin's banks were $114.7 billion, up from $110.3 billion in the first half of 2017, and total loans and leases were at $83.7 billion for the first half of the year, an increase from $80.3 billion in the first half of 2017.
STATE CORRECTIONS DEPARTMENT LACKING INFORMATION ON 3,000 SEX OFFENDERS
A recent state audit has uncovered a startling statistic- the state does not have current information for nearly 3,000 registered sex offenders, those convicted of sexual crimes.
There are more than 25,000 registered sex offenders in the State of Wisconsin, and 2,735 are currently non-compliant, meaning the information on their dwelling, employment, or other critical pieces of information are not up-to-date or have been falsified.
There are only "hundreds" of sex offenders who have intentionally stopped giving their information to the Department of Corrections, according to their spokesperson, who explained the several factors that deem somebody "non-compliant." Those include failure to mail back a registration, failure to update address, employment, schooling, or internet handles (screen names), providing false information, failure to have their photograph taken, or failure to notify the Department of Corrections of deportation.
Democrats chided Governor Walker and Republicans over the findings, though the Department of Corrections said these numbers are lower than years past, and the department is being proactive in its pursuit of non-compliant sex offenders.
UW SYSTEM REGENTS APPROVE SEVERAL BIG-TICKET ITEMS
The UW System Regents last week have approved a nearly $2 billion request for construction and maintenance costs on a 16-1 vote. That $1.96 billion request will now head to Governor Walker, who, should he be re-elected, would need to decide whether or not to include that amount in his next state budget.
Increases in student fees would fund four projects, a UW-Madison natatorium and recreational center, a new UW-Stevens Point student health center, and a new field house and soccer facility at UW-La Crosse. The lone vote against the plan was from Bryan Steil, a regent who is running to fill the vacancy left by Paul Ryan's retirement.
Regents also approved the name changes for the two-year campuses that will be merging with nearby four-year universities in the system.
UW-Barron County will now become "University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire- Barron County," for example. To read a full list of name changes,
STATE WARNING RESIDENTS OF YET ANOTHER SCAM
Imposter scammers are posing as local utility companies in order to demand money for supposed late payments or required upgrades, according to the State's Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).
Wisconsin residents should be on the lookout for threatening calls about their gas or electric accounts and hung up on anyone who demands an immediate payment on behalf of the local utility provider. DATCP says that the scammers threaten call recipients with disconnection of services unless an immediate payment is made, and some of the scammers mention a work order number, truck number, and phone number to make their story seem more legitimate. One caller reported being threatened with bodily harm.
Most of the calls have been from fake "WPS" representatives, though some of the imposters are claiming to be "WE Energies" employees.
Utility companies in Wisconsin will contact you by mail of your account is overdue, and might actually call you, but they will never demand immediate payment over the phone. If a caller demands a utility payment by prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer, it is most definitely a scam. Scammers can also manipulate caller ID displays to show the local utility company's name or number when they call.
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
Leah Vukmir and Tony Evers have advanced to the general election in November. After months of campaigning and advertisements for the primary election, were you surprised with the results?
I don't like either of them.
Never really heard much about Vukmir, she better get out there and start getting your name in front of the voters. Only saw negative ads about her. Probably good putting a woman up against Tammy Baldwin however. Baldwin has been doing many thing "right" to get re-elected after Ron Johnson defeated Russ Feingold. Some of her true colors are coming out in regard to healthcare (free things for anyone who is demanding FREE things) and wide open borders with the abolishment of ICE. Hope the voters see all sides of Tammy.
both seem to have legal troubles that plague them, can't we find anyone to elect that has morals?
Evers was going to win .. Vukmir was a tiny surprise, especially as one of the worst state legislators.
If you had to guess, who will win in November?
It's all about the economy stupid! :)
Hoping we see valuable contributors for all of WIsconsin people elected, not just wasting time in D.C.
Tammy Baldwin has been working to improve agriculture in Wisconsin. Scott Walker has been doing an adequate job as our Governor. There is always room for improvement in any position.
I feel Walker has done a good job for the State. But Evers as superintendent has done a poor job an his idea of common cord was a diaster.
The media in our state is trying to tell us it will Evers and Baldwin, but once again, I think the liberal media is going to be wrong. I feel many people in the state realize things have improved under Walker, and if Vukmir gets her message out to the people, they will see a better alternative to Baldwin.
Tammy Baldwin I feel has semi-retired - missed to many votes on senate floor.
Walker will win by less than a point because he's done a good job fooling voters. Baldwin will win because Vukmir is a bad candidate.
The UW System will request $107 million additional dollars in the next state budget. After reading the specifics of their request (in the article), good idea or bad idea?
investments in brick and mortar systems are not the future, virtual schools will dominate in higher education, restructure UW system is needed
Is any of this going towards salaries?
In the article it would have been nice to hear more specifics to carry out the goals that the money is needed for.
It seems that the UW can never lived in their means
Start showing some fiscal responsibility, people. I cannot believe the money WASTED in the UW system.
UW has proven time and time again they are not transparent and are poor stewards of taxpayer money.
If the UW System would use the extra dollars where they plan to use them, it isn't all bad. Just do not need to see tenured professors having their pockets padded anymore than they are all ready. That being said, I am a product of the UW System and found my educational experience to be rewarding and beneficial.
Keep building on a good system.
why do they need any grant money? universities charge plenty of money, they are the scholars, figure out their own budgets
In our area UW-Eau Cclaire, Stout and River Falls have added multi million dollar buildings in the past few years. Fancy builldings to not necessarily lead to better educaton.
If new programs are needed, non-performing programs should be discontinued to finance the new.
Every dollar spent in the UW system generates $24 in return. It's a good investment.
They are taking all the money out of the local extension offices and the kids are the one's who suffer. Maybe the top end should get pay cuts.
The state is warning Wisconsinites about an ongoing IRS scam phone call. Have you experienced this or anything like it?
The goverment should outlaw the sale /transfer of phone numbers and other personal information, it would start the slow down of the unwanted telemarketing down including political soliciting
I try and waste as much of their time as possible. One told me to go f%$# myself, and then said "Goodbye". Hahaha
Have not reported, but from talking with others it is widespread threat, and elderly are especially targeted and unprotected.
I don't answer the phone if I don't know who is calling. Learn to hang up immediately.
Very frequently I have voicemails left on my cell phone with crazy scam, just delete the message and block the caller. The most iritating scam call we get at least once a day at work is from Goggle telling us we cannot be found on the web.....I have pressed 2 to have us removed from their list, but they just keep calling. I now push 1 to talk to a representative and tell them to get a REAL JOB instead of harrassing me.
I just hang up the minute they say they are from the IRS.
Hello, my name is ****, can you hear me all right? This is to get you to say yes, which they will insert in a phone agreement for something you have no idea you bought into.
Funny story...I was being audited by the IRS at work and then I get a call at home. Asked caller to contact the person from the IRS I was dealing with to straighten out the duplication. Hmmm, he just hung up.
I am a CPA and my clients have been getting theese for years.
I get many calls per week. It's pointless to report it.
Labor Day is two weeks from today. So we can share your plans before the holiday weekend, tell us; do you celebrate Labor Day by doing anything special? A cookout? Parade? Visit family? Take a trip? Or is it business-as-usual on Labor Day?
Likely working. Crops to harvest.
Helping friends move but I wish I had a better plan...
Going out of state to visit family, my uncle turns 85 in Nebraska. NOt our normal sojourn, in past we would have stayed on farm with lots to do.
Our family usually does a cook out and visit family and neighbors.
Own a Small Business - business as usual. Hopeful I can take a few days off in maybe Feb.
Just another day off to relax.
Our business is open usual hours Labor Day
Visit friends in Minnesota.
I use to go to the county fair, can't walk very good, so staying home that day.
Family members come to farm to help us old folks ready for winter, i.e. splitting wood, checking equipment, and visiting and eating.
We have a birthday party on Saturday, visit son & family at his camper on Sunday, and hope to get other stuff done around the house if it's not too hot.
We have family reunion get together on Sunday. I will visit with family coming up from IL one I have never seen and one that came up in 2009.
Visit my cabin up north. Hopefully, boat one more time before storing for the winter and of course ride the ATV trails.
End of summer, didn't do my of the things we intended last spring
Go to the Shawano County Fair
I go to the Calumet County fair.
Our retail stores will be open for business.
On Labor Day, I try to teach my kids about the history and importance of labor unions, and how their recent downfall is one of the main reasons the middle class is shrinking.
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.