NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL
AND AROUND WISCONSIN
GOV. EVERS VETOES MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUT In his first major policy-related act as Wisconsin's governor, Tony Evers vetoed a plan approved by the legislature that would reduce income taxes for middle class families by about ten percent, using surplus money in the current state budget.
The governor will instead propose the exact same sized tax cut in his state budget, and will all but certainly use a different funding formula than unused cash that the state currently has in the bank. In his veto message, Evers said he rejected the GOP-passed plan because he objected to passing a piece of major fiscal policy outside of the state budget process.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos both expressed frustration with Governor Evers' veto. Fitzgerald said he would oppose any tax increases on the state's job creators, while Vos said he "expected more from someone whose first speech included a promise to work together."
Evers also said he was "troubled" that the legislation was passed without "bipartisan support and cooperation."
NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS WITHDRAWN FROM U.S.-MEXICO BORDER BY GOVERNORWisconsin National Guard troops that were sent to the US border with Mexico last year by Governor Scott Walker are being called back to the state by Governor Tony Evers.
Evers yesterday signed an executive order, withdrawing the state's troops from the border, saying there was not an ample amount of evidence to prove there is a national security crisis at the border, or to justify keeping troops from their families any longer. About 112 troops were deployed in total.
One of Wisconsin's US Senators, Ron Johnson, responded with a statement: "Securing our borders is a top priority of our nation, and I'm proud of Wisconsin's National Guard for playing a valued roll. It's unfortunate Governor Evers doesn't agree, and has decided to withdraw them from their important mission."
The governors of California and New Mexico have recently recalled their troops from the border, as well.
EVERS BUDGET TO RESTORE TAX DOLLAR FUNDING FOR PLANNED PARENTHOOD
Governor Tony Evers last week laid out more priorities for his upcoming state budget, which is scheduled for delivery to the legislature on February 28th.
Among them was a "Healthy Women, Healthy Babies" initiative, which would include $28 million to expand access to health care for women, and reduce the levels of infant mortality in Wisconsin, according to the Governor. The plan would prolong postpartum coverage for mothers covered by Medicaid, and also increase funding for cancer screenings and sexually-transmitted diseases.
The plan would also make Planned Parenthood eligible for state and federal dollars again, which had been blocked by former Governor Scott Walker. According to Planned Parenthood, the group lost $1 million in the year 2011, which resulted in the closure of five Planned Parenthood clinics.
Republican Speaker Robin Vos told reporters that the GOP will "not put one more nickel into Planned Parenthood than we do right now. We have done everything we can try to make sure that we protect human life," the Speaker said. "I certainly think that giving more money to the state's largest abortion provider is not something I could ever see our caucus doing."
BUDGET TO INCLUDE VOUCHER FREEZE, CHARTER SUSPENSIONThe upcoming state budget will include a freeze the number of Wisconsin students who are permitted to enroll in the state's voucher school program, and would suspend the creation of independent charter schools in districts where public school achievements are low.
Officials in Governor Evers' office said the plan is aimed at reducing property taxes, increase the standards of educators in private voucher schools, as well as provide local property taxpayers with information on which schools their property taxes are going towards funding.
Evers said it is a priority of his to fully fund public education and hold other schools accountable while making them more transparent to Wisconsin residents.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told reporters that Wisconsin families should have more choices on where their children are educated, and not fewer. Advocates for voucher schools also sounded the alarm last week, saying that Evers' proposal would essentially be an end to the program.
UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS WOULD PAY IN-STATE TUITION UNDER BUDGET PROPOSALPart of Governor Tony Evers' budget plans for the University of Wisconsin System is another key topic that is likely to draw ire from the GOP-controlled legislature.
Individuals who entered the United States illegally would be allowed to pay in-state tuition levels under the Governor's plan. Making good on one of his campaign promises, then-Superintendent Evers set himself aside from Governor Scott Walker by pledging that students who were only children when their parents brought them into the country illegally would be permitted to pay the same tuition rate as residents of the state.
Evers' plan would also increase UW System funding by $150 million while continuing the tuition freeze for another two years. The freeze has been in place since 2013. Of the $150 million, $109 million would go towards funding classes in fields that are in high demand, and $40 million would go toward funding a 2 percent pay increase for university system employees in each of the next two years.
The plan would also increase funding for tech schools by $18 million, and provide $17.4 million in need-based grants for in-state undergrads at UW schools, tech colleges, and private universities.
'PATH TO' $15 MINIMUM WAGE TO BE INCLUDED IN STATE BUDGET While speaking at Marquette University Law School last week, Governor Tony Evers told attendees tha this budget would include "steps toward" raising the Wisconsin minimum wage to $15 per hour. He also told attendees that he would scale back the Wisconsin Manufacturing & Agriculture Tax Credit.
The governor said he did not feel that putting Wisconsin on a path to eventually more than doubling the state's minimum wage would harm the business climate in the state, and reiterated that his plan would be a slow process, and not an outright switch to $15 per hour. Evers also called Wisconsin a low-wage state, and said "we need to becoming a high-wage state."
Noah Williams, an economist with the University of Wisconsin, founded the Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy. According to his data, more than 60 percent of employees in the restaurant industry in Minnesota make the minimum wage or less per hour. As a result of minimum wage rate hikes, the Badger Herald reported that fast food employment fell by 8 percent.
To put that into perspective, Minnesota's wage increased by $2.50 per hour, but Wisconsin's would be an increase of $7.75 per hour. Williams said that type of wage jump would create "a lot of economic uncertainty for the future."
BUDGET WILL NOT INCLUDE FUNDING FOR NEW PRISON IN GREEN BAYA bipartisan group of lawmakers and local officials have been pushing for a new prison to replace the aging and "too small" Green Bay Correctional Institute in Allouez. The state's facilities currently have a population of 24,000 inmates, but a capacity to hold only 18,000 at any given time. GBCI houses about 1,100 inmates, and is suited for only 749 inmates.
Governor Tony Evers last week said his budget would not included in the state budget that he is set to deliver later this week. Instead, he told reporters that the prison is "something we have to weigh."
The plan for replacement is estimated around $500 million, which is $100 million more than previous estimates. The current site, which would be redeveloped into retail, housing, and likely a museum, would generate up to $1.56 million in new property tax revenue.
LOCAL ROADS, NOT BIG PROJECTS WILL BE FOCUS IN TRANSPORTATION BUDGETGovernor Tony Evers last week told reporters that he and his transportation Secretary Craig Thompson would be focusing on local projects and road maintenance, rather than "big highway projects."
Governor Evers told the American Council of Engineering Companies' Wisconsin Chapter that there will be a significant increase for counties and municipalities to fix roads and bridges "that frankly aren't part of the interstate system."
Evers also said that the state would be finishing some larger projects, but would not be starting any new large-scale projects.
Weeks ago, GOP lawmakers said they favor tolls as a means for providing the state with long-term funding for its transportation obligations, while Governor Evers' transportation task force has hinted at raising the gas tax as the main avenue for revenue generation. At the National Governors Association meeting in Washington, D.C. today, Governor Evers said tolls were part of the discussion but not something that would take place immediately- "that's certainly years down the road," he said of tolls.
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
In his state budget, Governor Evers will propose the decriminalization of recreational marijuana, and the establishment of the state's first medical marijuana program. After reading the article, good idea or bad idea?
Gateway drug to the worst, he should smoke it first for a while if he thinks it's so good.
Talk to police most hard drug users start with marijuana. I have a granddaughter that started with marijuana and has since "graduated" to cocaine and meth.
Terrible! A mind altering drug will now be legal?
There must be other options for medicinal purposes. Decriminalizing marijuana use will lead to all sorts of problems!
Hopefully collect some tax money on this billion dollar industry
Marijuana for recreational issue is a gateway to harder drugs, we already have a drug problem, why add to it! Recreational use of marijuana is much more of a health threat than cigarette smoking, and we've all but outlawed that! Just a stupid political game the left likes to play. For use of CBD oil for seizures and other medical treatments, by all means! A permission slip from your family doctor to allow you to possess and smoke a joint for medical purposes, that's a stretch for me, those stoners only think they need it, develop other means to get same results medically and I might allow it.
How do we teach our children that smoking and drugs are bad but this is o.k. Hypocrites! There are to many bad parents that can't afford food for their children but they will always find money for pot. It will be vedry hard to keep it out of the food that kids bring to school thanks to these bad parents.
He thinks that will gerenate more taxes but will end up costing the taxpapers of this state more to treat the druges that will develope
show taxpayers the proof that it is medically beneficial not the fad of the century taking a generation of people out of workforce
Legalization is LONG overdue.
As long as the medical marijuana is controlled and used for the people that need it for pain.
You could talk me into medical use, but not recreational unless it's "Highly" regulated and taxed!
Medical use, not recreational use.
What happens when users don't get a kick out of marijuana,they will try something stronger. Nice job EVERS , more work for the police.
Medical use only we don't need drunks and high drivers
Decriminalization will lead to more problems. We don't need to have more dopers on the road. Weed is a problem-have seen what it has done to people. Evers is nuts!
States and nation's that allow recreational use tend to attract users. Many regular users are not productive members of society.
Easier access for teens concerns me. Employee liability also.
Shopko plans to close 42 Wisconsin stores, resulting in the layoff of 578 employees in the state. Do you shop at Shopko?
I really enjoyed shopping at Shopko - I will have to try Kohls
Kohls is my favorite (used to be Boston Store) I shop at Target or Walmart maybe once every couple of months
Not sure have a favorite just Wal mart is most convenient
I do like Shopko. The closest one is 20 miles away so don't get to shop there as much as I would like. So sorry to see the ones around me closing. Walmart - 2 times per week.
Target maybe once a month
Good quality clothes, health and beauty department good prices, electronics, home wares. Consider Shopko a nicer store vs. Walmart any day. Probably shop there twice a month.
Due a little shopping at Walmart
shop on line cheaper and faster I do not have to watch the pajama crowd
I very seldom shop Shopko. Walmart is my favorite .
I shop local "ma/pa" stores. i try to avoid the uber rich department stores.
No Shopko locally. Kohls baby
I usually check out Target (closest to me), then Walmart and Shopko.
Used pharmacy at Shopko regularly till it closed
Favorite is Kohls-decent stuff and somewhat affordable.Don't like their fake markdowns though.
Attorney General Josh Kaul has outlined his priority requests for the State Budget. After reading the article...
Another politician with great ideas to spend money
Working on getting evidence tested
Actually, I really can't disagree with any thing he has put forward, and I did not vote for him.
Crime lab apparently still needs help
Governor Evers will propose "funding the tuition freeze" at UW schools. In other words, the state will likely give the campuses the revenue they "would have" generated if the tuition freeze were not in place.
Do you support the state continuing the UW tuition freeze?
I think he should study it more; our kids graduate with too much debt. Might be a complaint for the Fed Govt - lower the interest rate on student loans
I have degress from UW-River Falls. Lets look at all the new buildings at all the campuses and then lok at the huge salaries for professors. If you want to go to a UW pay the price don't pass it to the tax payers.
Always easy to give everything to everyone.
No went to tech maybe should look into them being more wise with spending tuition they collect.
No Why should taxpayers make "up the difference" . We had to plan for our childrens college funds - parents these days should do the same if their children want to attend college.
UW Madison $260.00 per semester
I graduated from UW-Oshkosh and UWC-Fond du Lac. The tuition way back in the early to mid 80's was around $1100 a semester! That does not include room and board. Sorry, but tuition has become ridiculous
Can't remember - it was 55 years ago
Costing the taxpapers of Wi more money instead of getting the waste from this schools
Only if you count continuing education...
So UW is doing absolutely nothing to control their budget because WE the TAXPAYERS are paying for them to be irresponsible with money. Great plan. NOT
UW Madison Farm & Indutry short course
Nobody is saying how much this is costing. Teachers get raises, how are they paying for that???
UWM $175 a semester.1960-1964 No taxes to make up for the freeze. Evers is a professional EDUCRAT so I expect him to give big checks to schools.
I graduated from uwrf. Always has been my opinion that colleges could use money much more efficiently.
On this date (2/18) in 1920, the Janesville city council voted to allow billiard halls and bowling alleys to open for limited hours on Sundays. Businesses that stayed open longer than allowed were fined $15 (Source: Janesville Gazette)
Do you have a Sunday tradition? Church service Bowling? Relaxing? Chores? A certain TV show?
Church service, and try not to work, only housework and homework, we need to rest our minds and bodies and remember what IS important
We attend church virtually every Sunday. The rest is family time or doing the church books - I am the trreasurer!!
lazy morning, breakfast & Sunday paper for late fall through spring. In summer it's camping or motorcycling unless we are home
Always try to make our church service.
Going to church sometimes household chores but mostly relaxing and doing crafts
We go to church, sometimes lunch with family or friends and then try to relax/recharge the rest of the day.
spending time with family and going to Church
Go to church EVERY Sunday. Some days are more relaxing than others. But if something needs to get done it gets done! I really respect businesses that close on Sunday (Hobby Lobby) to give their employees the day off. Wish more would follow suit! It's NOT ALWAYS about the ALMIGHTY DOLLAR!!
Attend church every Sunday, unless I am ill. Its a great way to start the week, and the times I do miss, I feel like I missed out on something. I am not about judging others what they do with their Sunday, but its great to make the time to recharge your "batteries" for the week in church and then enjoy something you thoroughly enjoy the rest of the day.
Home grown chicken dinner and all the fixings
I attend church and was brought up that Sunday's were a day of rest. I think that it is terrible that people plan kids birthday parties etc on Sunday's. Now as parents we need to decide if we are going to let them spend time with friends or be true to our beliefs.
Church, relaxing and maybe catching up on a few things.
Relaxing, Chores, TV shows, no bowling for us.
Church in the morning and Hee Haw on RFD in the evening.
Church, go out for breakfast, go home and get "stuff" done.
Church then watch Packers or enjoy outdoors fish, bike, cookout but usually avoid the outdoor grill when -55 or 14 inches of snow
Church.Packer game, unfortunately during the season.
chores, church, more chores
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.
BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW OR VETOED
Dental Therapy (Felzkowski, Mary ) Licensure of dental therapists; extending the time limit for emergency rule procedures; providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures; providing an exemption from rule-making procedures; and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Monday, February 25, Noon
Stillbirth Tax Credit (Darling, Alberta ) Creating a refundable individual income tax credit for the parent of a stillbirth. Deadline: Friday, March 1
Patron Licenses (Cowles, Rob ) Issuance of conservation patron licenses to certain veterans with disabilities. Deadline: Friday, March 1, 4 pm
Military License Plates (Jacque, Andre ) Special registration plates that are military in nature. Deadline: Tuesday, March 5, 5 pm
Liquor Sales (Vorpagel, Tyler ) Retail sales of intoxicating liquor for consumption off the licensed premises. Deadline: Wednesday, February 27, 3 pm
Tax Assessments (Brooks, Rob ) Property tax assessments regarding leased property and assessments based on comparable sales and market segments. Deadline: Friday, March 1, 5 pm
Revenue Information (Cowles, Rob ) Disclosure of information regarding state revenue. Deadline: Monday, March 4, 4 pm
Veteran Tax Credit (Jacque, Andre ) Reducing the eligibility threshold to claim the veterans and surviving spouses property tax credit. Deadline: Tuesday, March 5, 3 pm
Atomic Veterans (Sortwell, Shae ) Supporting atomic veterans, their spouses, and dependents in receiving medical care and disability compensation. Deadline: Wednesday, March 6, 5 pm
Caregiver Tax Credit (Testin, Patrick ) Creating a nonrefundable individual income tax credit for certain expenses incurred by a family caregiver to assist a qualified family member. Deadline: Friday, March 8, Noon
Nurse Aides (Cowles, Rob ) Hours of instructional program for nurse aides. Deadline: Wednesday, February 27, 2 pm
Athlete Agents Act (Brooks, Rob ) Adopting revisions to the state's uniform athlete agents act and providing a penalty. Deadline: Wednesday, February 27, 5 pm
Fair Dealership Law (LeMahieu, Devin ) The applicability of the Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law. Deadline: Monday, March 4, 4 pm
Prosecutor Board (Jacque, Andre ) Creation of a prosecutor board and a state prosecutor's office; funding for the department of justice, assistant district attorneys, the public defender, and the courts; Public Defender Board regulation, and making an appropriation. Deadline: Tuesday, March 6, 5 pm
Vaccine Administration (Testin, Patrick ) Pharmacists and pharmacy students administering vaccines. Deadline: Friday, March 8, Noon
Housing Grants (Snyder, Pat ) Housing grants to homeless individuals and families and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, February 28, Noon
Homeless Employment (Rodriguez, Jessie ) Employment and training activities for homeless populations, the Council on Workforce Investment, and local workforce development boards. Deadline: Thursday, February 28, Noon
Homeless Case Management (James, Jesse ) Homelessness case management services and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, February 28, Noon
Shelter Grants (Steineke, Jim ) Grants to homeless shelters, modifying administrative rules promulgated by the Department of Administration, and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, February 28, Noon
Housing Navigator Grants (Dittrich, Barbara ) Housing navigator grants and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, February 28, Noon
Housing Cost Grants (Plumer, Jon ) Grants to defray housing costs and for diversion programming and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, February 28, Noon
Skills Enhancement Grants (Kurtz, Tony ) Skills enhancement grants and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, February 28, Noon
Legal Notice Compensation (Kitchens, Joel ) Eligibility of Washington Island Observer newspaper to receive compensation for publication of legal notices and the content of affidavits of printing filed as evidence of publication. Deadline: Monday, March 4, 5 pm
Advance Directives (Horlacher, Cody ) Authorizing creation and implementation of an advance directive registry and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Thursday, February 28, 5 pm
Major General Matera (Skowronski, Ken ) The public service of Major General Raymond A. Matera. Deadline: Friday, March 1, Noon
City Manager Residency (Spreitzer, Mark ) Authorizing limited residency requirements for a city or village operating under the city manager plan. Deadline: Friday, March 1, 5 pm
Service of Joe Polasek (Miller, Mark ) Honoring the life and public service of Joe Polasek. Deadline: Friday, March 1
Service of Joe Polasek (Miller, Mark ) Honoring the life and public service of Joe Polasek. Deadline: Friday, March 1
Electric Bikes (Rohrkaste, Mike ) Electric bicycles and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, March 8, 4 pm
Court Branches (Jacque, Andre ) Adding a circuit court branch in Adams, Calumet, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marathon, Sawyer, Vilas, and Waushara counties. Deadline: Friday, March 8, 5 pm
School Hours (Kooyenga, Dale ) An emergency exception for high performing school districts to the number of hours of direct pupil instruction requirement. Deadline: Monday, March 11, 5 pm
(Pope, Sondy ) Prohibiting abusive work environments and allowing an individual who has been subjected to such an environment to bring a civil action.
Deadline: Thursday, March 7, 5 pm