Everything you need to know for the week ahead.
FEBRUARY 1, 2019

Dave and Kelly Beggs, owners of Patrykus Farms, are longtime members of WPT. It's no secret that in the current agriculture economy, many farmers are cashing in on creativity, and that too is the case with this Wisconsin family.
Dave and Kelly's daughter-in-law Stephanie reached out to WPT to share a bit about the family's new venture: American Farmer Proud, an American Made apparel and products company.
The company and its catchy branding began when the family was preparing one of the semis to enter a local parade.
"We needed to express our true love for both America and farming," she said. "We are 'American Farmers, Proud To Be Both. It is simple and truthful."
American Farmers: Proud To Be Both was then trademarked in 2018.
"Farmers take a beating, yet they remain resilient," Stephanie told us regarding the company. "Although the types of farming are different, the fight is the same for all of us."
To understand the different between pride and proud, you must understand the American farmer, Stephanie told WPT.
"The farmer is a humble individual. The American Farmer isn't extravagant. We do back-breaking labor and we put in grueling hours. We fight mother nature, and many times we lose. We fight prices, interest rates, and oversees trade, but probably the worst fight we face are stereotypes we all endure from all types of people," she explained. "We are proud of what we do, and we have a unique purpose; we feed the world! It's not glamorous work but, it is soul-enriching to work as hard and as smart as you can and put for faith in God, that you are right where He intends you to be."
Their brand clearly nails the essence of the American Farmer, but the product goes one step farther by capturing quintessential patriotism that lives in the heartland.
Stephanie told us that the goal was to find American Made products to attach their logo to.
"Well, that proved to be a challenge!" she exclaimed.
"Our philosophy is to support the farmer and the flag. So, all of the products we offer with the
American Farmer Proud To Be Both logo on them are made in America. Yes, products would be cheaper if we put our logo on other countries' products, but that is not being true to ourselves or helping our fellow Americans."
Stephanie said the employees working at Patrykus Farms play a major role in the success of the business.
"With a shortage of farm labor these days, everyone on the farm wears many hats. We employ women, men, young and old, and we are constantly learning from each other. Patrykus Farms really is a family farm."
We invite you to visit the American Farmer Proud website at www.americanfarmerproud.com, to learn more about this incredible brand and their mission.
"We invite you to wear/use our American Made products in support of the American Farmer, and the hard work they do each and every day to put food on your table," Stephanie said in closing.


All within a day's time, Foxconn's plans for a complex manufacturing factory in Racine County were completely scrapped and then revived, sparking a flurry of political rhetoric and public statements from everyone from Wisconsin politicians to even the White House.

On Wednesday, a report surfaced that said Foxconn was planning to change the entire scope of the their future manufacturing facility in Racine County. In a statement from the Chinese electronics manufacturer, a company representative said, "the global market environment that existed when the project was first announced has changed."

Almost instantly, Democrats began with "we told you so" rhetoric, while Republicans brushed off concerns by citing legal provisions that Foxconn will not receive any public dollars unless it actually creates jobs. Since then, PolitiFact Wisconsin has rated their claim "mostly true."

Later in the day, Foxconn confirmed that it would be putting all construction of the factory on hold, as talks continued to progress with Evers administration.

Governor Evers administration said this report came as a surprise. In a statement, Republicans in the legislature said Foxconn's position came as no surprise since Evers has campaigned on removing key tax credits for job creators in Wisconsin, creating an air of uncertainty for the private sector in the state.

Foxconn then clarified, saying that all conversations with the Evers administration have been productive, and that after speaking with President Trump, the plans for an advanced manufacturing campus in Racine County would move forward as scheduled.

The roller coaster of public statements, reports, and political posturing left many people with real concerns over the fate of the 13,000 future jobs in Racine County and elsewhere in the state. Many questions were also raised about the fate of the private land that was seized from property owners in order to make way for the behemoth factory. But for now it seems, despite the conflicting reports and bizarre public relations journey that took place in a single day, the original plans will move forward.

Transportation Secretary-designee Craig Thompson says the state needs more money to fulfill its transportation needs, and he hinted at the gas tax as the place to find that cash.

Thompson told reporters last week that since registration fees and fuel taxes are both now constitutionally protected funds, they would naturally be the first place the Department of Transportation and a new transportation task force would look for the money. Thompson has been a proponent of raising the gas tax in the past, as well.

Governor Evers and Thompson have formed a "Transportation Stakeholder Task Force," which has now met two times, and consists of a bipartisan group of lawmakers, industries, and experts. Another year, another task force. For the last ten years, several task forces and study committees have convened to study and analyze the long-term needs of the state's transportation infrastructure.

Still, this group was formed and will "build off of" the studies of the past. According to the DOT: "the task force will plan an important role in helping Thompson understand what the people of Wisconsin prioritize as transportation needs."

In the latest meeting, members were brought up to speed on the current transportation budget, and also talked about "challenges impacting transit, bicycles, pedestrians," and other groups.

Co-Chair of the Joint Finance Committee, Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) also told reporters last week that he was open to a gas tax increase, as much as $340 million per year, as long as those tax increases were offset by a corresponding income tax cut. Nygren cited a similar proposal from former Governor Scott Walker.

According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the state is projected to bring in some substantial new revenues for the upcoming budget.

The report shows that the state will bring in $1.8 billion more dollars in new tax collections between July 2019 and July 2021. That's the timeframe of the next state biennium. Taking into account the current budget surplus, which is now projected at $79 million more than former Governor Scott Walker's administration projected initially, the total amount of new revenue will sit at $2.4 billion going into the next budget.

The aforementioned surplus from the current budget cycle is now expected to be $692 million.

Joint Finance Committee Co-Chairs, Senator Alberta Darling and Representative John Nygren issued a joint statement saying, "No amount of rhetoric or spin can change the facts." Many media outlets and politicians focused on the report showing that the projections were "$282 million less than expected.

The real rhetoric and spin will soon ensue as the fight on how to spend the $2.4 billion is expected to begin in just about a month when Governor Evers introduces his first two-year state budget.

While speaking at a WisPolitics luncheon, Governor Tony Evers' chief of staff Maggie Gau gave brief insights on the crafting of the next state budget. With a split government, many expect the budget to drag on until late summer or even autumn. The deadline for passing the budget is July 1st.

"This budget puts kids first," Gau told the packed crowd attending the luncheon. Gau said that Evers' budget would include the state funding two-thirds of the cost of public education, a longtime priority of WPT and its members. The less the state pays into K-12, the more the cost on property taxpayers rises.

Gau also said that the budget would provide additional resources for the University of Wisconsin System, referring to the state's colleges and universities as "the Hope Diamond."

"They're the economic driver of our communities," she said.

She was also asked about the governor's plans to accept federal funding under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid in Wisconsin. She was asked why the governor was advocating for the plan when GOP leadership in the legislature will not approve of it.

She told interviewers, "because that's what the people of Wisconsin want. I mean the will of the people is the law of the land."

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, or WILL for short, last week released their K-12 education reform agenda.

"Wisconsin's K-12 education system is not working," their release said. "Reading and math achievement has been stagnant for two decades while the rest of the country has experienced significant growth."

The report shows that 80% of Milwaukee Public Schools kids, a district with 77,000 students, are not proficient in English. Similar statistics are also seen in Green Bay, Madison, and Kenosha, with the largest achievement gap between black and white students in the United States.

Their plan, which was designed after two years of extensive research and interviews, consists of three major tenants; Incentivize high-performing public charter and private schools to expand; create more educational opportunities for students; and promote a state education funding system that is equitable, transparent, and takes control over how federal funds are spent.

You can read their full report here.


  Governor Evers will commit $31 million to assisting Marinette Marine with an expansion that is expected to help the corporation win a $10 billion defense contract from the federal government. The company said the money will also help them retain their workforce. What are your thoughts?  
Evers has more foresight than Walker on financing businesses?

Although I said I support this I really do not support corporate . This is how the game is playwelfareed

NOT a fan of corporate welfare or other iteration ofgovernment handouts with promises of employment

More corporate welfare

We need the jobs, but the corporate welfare is never ending. If we don't give in to the some other state, city, county or country for that matter will

"expected to help the corporations win.....defense contract"? Hmm

Again its corp welfare and when Gov wanted to support corp's then the liberals blew their minds

I support Evers' decsion but only if the company repays the money if/when they secure the contract.

Tax payer money should not be used to help one business and not another. All businesses in WI are important. Is this contract even guaranteed? What if they do not secure the contract?

It's OK as long as our taxes don't go up as a result.

Marinette Marine should get help, just as Foxcon did.

I support the decision, but have to laugh at the complete hypocrisy from those that support this because it was proposed by Events, but gave Walker h#ll for Foxcon.

The Libs were all lhowling about "corporate welfare for a company that was active in the State now the Libs want to throw $31 million at a company is EXPECTED to help win a 10 billion dollar contract. So the tax payers could cough up 31 million and hope that Marinette Marine gets a contract. Why don't we give me $31 million and I will go to the casino because I expect to win!! Where is the logic. Partisan politics!

Is the $31 million dependent upon Marinette Marine gettng the $10 billion contract?

The U.S. government has been re-opened, but only until February 15th. In the meantime, President Trump and Democrat members of Congress will need to come to an agreement on border security, or face another government shutdown. Do you think they will come to an agreement, or do you think we will see another shutdown?
Let Trump finance the "wall".
No impact at all. We need a border wall Tami Baldwin!
They had 5 weeks to agree, now 3 weeks. What has changed?
the liberals do not want to protect our borders
they should build the wall the shut would have the wall 1/2 build
Not at all
It did not impact our business, but there is no way they will come up with an agreement, they had months to come up with something prior to the shut down and they didn't. If Pelosi won't even come to the table then nothing will get accomplished.
No impact.
The Dems who had once said that we need to do something about the border have done a total flip-flop for political reasons. They really don't care about what is good for us.
It did not effect me.
I am a CPA yes it will affect me the IRS is back logged before the su=hut down. the normal lstuff is working but anything to do with collections or negotiations is way backed up.
`Can't say either way. The Government can't hurt me when it's idle.
Haven't noticed much except lack of usds reports that are phone anyway. Trump will build the wall without Democrats.
Did not affect me

The U.S. Postal Service has raised the cost of a stamp to $0.55. Do you often buy stamps or pay postage?  

Should be discounted postage for those of us who have to travel 1.5 miles to their rural boxes.

still cheap

I think $.50 was just fine. USPS needs to trim the fat.


Do not use post office like idid in thepast

Yes! Service has declined significantly in recent years.

Seems like enough, but what are they to do if they are losing money every year

For the service, I'd say yes


no, however they need to stop giving all the breaks to big companies like Amazon for shipping and the USPO should NEVER be paying employees to deliver Amazon deliveries on Sundays.

When you consider mileage rates and manpower, it seems like too little.


If it will stop them from going broke again.

I expected it to go up.. I bought a roll of stamps before it went up.

If I could get the post office to actually put my mail in my box and not someone elses it would be OK. It is a cost of my doing business. not an over riding cost. So my bottom line will lshrink a 3 to 4 hundred dollars. Just have to pass some on to my clients.

Goodness! It's getting to be as expensive as milk!

Part of my business. A few dollars more expense each week.

Two days to get a letter across town when it used to be next day-seems like service has deteriorated as cost has gone up.

Income tax season has officially begun. DO you file your income taxes immediately or closer to the deadline?
Account files online for us.

my account files on line

on line

We use an accountant

My Accountant files on line




Our accountant files online.

On line.

It' all filed online

Our accountant does it online.

I am a CPA we e-file everything!

Usually get an extension and file in summer when my CPA has more time.

File online

An Alberta clipper system storm passed over Wisconsin on Sunday night and much of Monday, causing many schools, local governments, and businesses to close. Governor Tony Evers declared a State of Emergency across Wisconsin, as the state braces for some of the coldest temperatures on record. Did you get snow? Where do you live and how much? How are you bracing for the cold? Can you think of the worst snowstorm you have lived through? Did you ever have a "snow day" as a kid?
Yipes, the COLD temps the worst. We had "no coal" days in the Chicago burbs. WWII caused coal shortages.

4 inches of snow. Getting all cattle waterers extra heat so they do not freeze up. 12/3/1990 and ground hog day 2011 got about 18 inches both times. Yes we had snow days

I remember a winter when I was a child that we had so much snow, that I could walk above our apple trees because of the amount of snow and the coldness made the snow so hard in our orchard.

About 4 inches snow. Bloomer. Staying inside. Some 16 inches snow, County Highway F needed to be opened with a motor grader with a V Plow & wing. Had several snow days.... Though 40 years ago it was typical for buses to operate on plowed roads only.

Osceola area, we've had many worse storms over the years

Sauk County area saw about 8". This is not the worst snowstorm that I've endured.

We got about 10-12 inches in FDL. Live outside of town and the wind keeps blocking the driveway. Snow snow go away! It's too cold to enjoy it.

in the 1980's 15 days below zero

yes, west central, 6in.

Worst storm was in 1978. Plan to stay inside as much as possible during the cold.

Yes we got snow. Spent three hours on the tractor plowing out us and our neighbor.Got about 5-6 inches where we live halfway between Milw. & Mad. Bracing for the cold by wearing heavy stuff and giving extra hay to our beef cow herd.Too many "worst snowstorms to remember. Wisconsin winter-Bah Humbug!!!Makes more work and costs more money.

Yes got snow.. 12 inches of it. not looking forward to the cold.

Received a little over 6" and with the cold not looking forward to paying for three days of daycare while there's no school.

Live in Bloomer got about 5 inches of snow. The worst snow year on the family farm was winter of 69 - 70 had to get a Cat D-8 to push the snow so milk truck could get in and we could get out. Had a 20 foot tall snow pile of the north west corner of the barn.

Trying to keep the tractors and equipment operating through the cold. Make the animals as comfortable as possible. Might even wear some long underpants!

40 years ago (before global warming) it used to get this cold every year. -30 really isn't that uncommon over all.

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-1327  Memo  Terminology Changes (Jagler, John ) Terminology changes for those with an intellectual disability in administrative rules. Deadline: Friday, January 25

LRB-0150  Memo  Condemnation Authority (Risser, Fred ) Condemnation authority for recreational trails. Deadline: Thursday, January 31

LRB-1371  Memo  Certificates of Qualification (Darling, Alberta ) Creating a procedure for granting certificates of qualification for employment for persons convicted of a crime and making an appropriation. Deadline: Friday, February 1, 5 pm

LRB-1140  Memo  Deer Poaching Surcharge (Petrowski, Jerry) A higher wild animal protection surcharge for the unlawful taking of deer. Deadline: Thursday, January 31, Noon

LRB-0947  Memo  DA Private Practice (Horlacher, Cody ) Allowing district attorneys, deputy district attorneys, and assistant district attorneys to engage in the private practice of law for certain civil purposes. Deadline: Friday, February 1, 5 pm

LRB-1258  Memo  School Report Information (Kitchens, Joel ) Information on the school district and school accountability report. Deadline: Monday, February 4, 5 pm

LRB-0534  Memo  CAFO Permit Fee (Cowles, Rob ) Permit fees for concentrated animal feeding operations. Deadline: Tuesday, February 5, 4 pm

LRB-0895  Memo  Home Dialysis (Darling, Alberta ) Dispensing, distributing, or selling dialysate, drugs, or devices necessary for providing home peritoneal kidney dialysis. Deadline: Thursday, February 7, 4 pm

LRB-0906  Memo  Paddlewheel Raffles (Jacque, Andre ) Paddlewheel raffles. Deadline: Thursday, February 7, 5 pm

LRB-0219  Memo  Apprenticeship Grants (Jacque, Andre ) Grants to technical college students for apprenticeship expenses and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, February 7, 5 pm

LRB-1159  Memo  Apprenticeship Tuition Deduction (Jacque, Andre ) Creating individual and corporate income and franchise tax deductions for tuition paid for apprenticeship programs. Deadline: Thursday, February 7, 5 pm

LRB-1201  Memo  Advisory Referendum (Subeck, Lisa ) An advisory referendum on an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Deadline: Friday, February 8, Noon

LRB-1453  Memo  Prohibiting Animal Killing Contests (Risser, Fred ) Prohibiting contests for killing wild animals and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, February 1