Happy July! Welcome back to another Weekly Insider.
This week will bring you news from the Capitol and around Wisconsin, circulating legislation, your weekly poll responses, and an all new Weekly Member Poll.
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Have a great week,
Nearly one year ago, Wisconsin's cranberry growers asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for that federal agency's permission to limit production on the fruit, with the goal of reducing inventory and thereby lowering prices. The total numbers are truly massive- in 2017 the total topped out at 5.6 million barrels as the last estimates. To put that into perspective, the total production in the United States is around 9 million barrels.
Right now, independent growers in Wisconsin receive somewhere in the range of $10-$15 per barrel, but they need more than double that amount to keep their operations alive. According to the Wisconsin Cranberry Growers Association, that number is $25 to $30 per barrel. Placing a limit on production could help some of the growers to recoup their costs and watch their fruit gain value.
In order to lower stocks and raise prices, a limit of 75 percent would be placed on the crop, a tactic used in the early 2000's, producing the desired outcome, and getting the industry back on track.
The public comment period ended in late May, and according to some sources, the USDA could reach a decision at any time, though they struck down a similar proposal in 2014.
Limiting production is textbook "supply and demand," and we see it in every day life. When OPEC refuses to limit their production on crude oil, consumers globally, including right here in Wisconsin, see a major drop in the price at the pump. Remember the late fall and into the winter of 2014?
But what about dairy?
We see the headlines constantly. "New record for milk production," or some type of variation. Technological and veterinary advances have even given the industry the ability to milk more per head than ever before. Is it feasible that limiting production on dairy farms could help the beating heart of Wisconsin's economy recover from the worst economic circumstances in modern history? Would something like this lead into a quota system? And is a quota system the worst idea in the 21st Century?
Share your thoughts in this week's WPT Member Poll or by contacting email@example.com or 608-255-7473.
NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL
AND AROUND WISCONSIN
DEADLINE TODAY FOR $100 CHILD TAX REBATE
Today is the final day for Wisconsin parents to file a claim for a $100-per-child tax rebate instituted by Governor Walker and Republicans after a surplus in state dollars was reported by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
According to Governor Walker's office, over a half-million families have claimed the credit. Those eligible are Wisconsin residents with dependent children, who are also Wisconsin residents. The money is expected to be in those parents' hands by the time kids head back to school.
Additionally, a back-to-school sales tax holiday was also passed, and will take place from August 1st through the 5th.
As recently as last week, Governor Walker said that he would consider using the new internet sales tax revenue to explore expanding the tax rebate program. He has also signaled that any revenues gained from the new tax would be offset by cuts elsewhere.
SUPREME COURT DEALS MASSIVE BLOW TO PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS
The Supreme Court of the United States last week said that public sector unions cannot collect agency fees from their members, which are mandatory in over 20 states nationwide. Wisconsin's 2011 Act 10 did away with those laws, sparking massive protests and outrage from teachers' unions and other public-sector workers groups. Because of the 2011 repeal of collective bargaining and mandatory fees. this ruling is expected to have limited, if any, impact on Wisconsin.
This year, teacher walkouts in six states and other demonstrations have given their unions several victories, including salary raises and public education spending increases. According to some experts, teachers' unions will now lose a third of their membership due to the Janus v. AFSCME decision.
According to the New York Times, states with fees and collective bargaining usually have higher teacher salaries and school funding than "right-to-work" states. The teachers' unions have responded by saying that they have been expecting a ruling like this for years, and plan to reduce budgets and "cut back on activities like conferences."
HEALTH INSURERS SUE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR BILLIONS
More than 100 health insurers have filed a lawsuit against the federal government, claiming they are owed billions of dollars in unpaid commitments stemming from the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as "Obamacare."
Among those are Wisconsin-based Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, who received nearly $6 million in payments in order to help them mitigate risk in the market, though they were owed $45 million. Because of various provisions within the massive overhaul, including mandatory coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions, limits on premiums being impacted by age, and others, insurers were forced to assume more risk, and to device an entirely new pricing plan for their product. The payments from Washington, D.C. were to ease the regulatory burden.
According to some reports, this is just another lawsuit filed against the government over the Affordable Care Act, including a lawsuit brought by Wisconsin and 19 other states, seeking to find former President Barack Obama's signature legislation "unconstitutional."
Common Ground Healthcare is leading the charge in federal court, though the suit is potentially expected to take years to resolve.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON TO MOVE SOME PRODUCTION OVERSEAS
Milwaukee-based Harley Davidson has said that the company would need to move the production of their iconic motorcycles overseas due to European tariffs targeting the company. More specifically, the company plans to move its production line in Kansas City to Thailand.
The company has long held the position that retaliatory tariffs may hurt their industry, and thus its employees in the United States. Harley Davidson is also saying that "the only sustainable option" is moving production overseas in order to continue making their bikes available to European customers.
But President Donald Trump last week tweeted that he was surprised Harley was the first company to "wave the White Flag," and urged them to "be patient!"
The President has also appeared on national television and said, "I gotta tell ya, everybody that ever bought a Harley-Davidson voted for Trump. I don't know if you know that." He also alleged that the company's customers do not support their decision to move some production out of the United States.
JUSTICE ANTHONY KENNEDY ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
With Justice Anthony Kennedy announcing his retirement from the United States Supreme Court, President Donald Trump will be given the opportunity to re-shape the highest court in the land for years.
Justice Kennedy, who is 81 years old, has long been seen as a conservative, but very moderate vote on the high court. The Reagan-appointee has been seen as a pivotal "swing" vote on major issues, including same sex marriage, firearms, campaign finance, and more. With Kennedy's retirement, four justices will remain who were appointed by Democratic presidents, and four will remain who were appointed by Republican presidents.
Pundits allege the timing of Kennedy's appointment is an indication that Democrats will likely retake the U.S. Senate in November's midterms, making a Trump-nominated appointee much more difficult to approve by the numbers.
A list of potential successors has been circulating, and President Trump plans to officially announce the candidates as early as this week. Among them are Judges William Prior of Alabama, Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, Amy Coney Barrett of Chicago, and Raymond Kethledge of Cincinnati. A favorite, however is said to be Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals judge in Washington.
OSHKOSH CORPORATION RECEIVES ANOTHER ARMY CONTRACT
Only a few weeks ago, Oshkosh Corporation announced it had won a bid to manufacture an enormous number of armored vehicles for the United States Army. This week, it has won a $50 million contract to add "self-driving" technology to 70 "palletized load system" vehicles.
This type of vehicle is used to distribute supplies abroad.
According to a Vice President at the company, "equipping these vehicles with autonomous capabilities, we can significantly reduce our soldiers' exposure to enemy threats by taking them out of the vehicle altogether."
The company also said that soldiers can be trained to operate the autonomous vehicles "in just a few days," and is designed for both manned and unmanned missions. The technology can be integrated into both brand new and existing vehicles.
FOXCONN TO PURCHASE DOWNTOWN GREEN BAY BUILDING
Foxconn last week announced its intentions to purchase the "WaterMark" building in downtown Green Bay, in order to create a company "innovation center."
The company's CEO, Terry Gou, said "wherever you will go in Wisconsin, we wish to become a part of the local community. I'm looking forward to the many partnerships that will be coming to Green Bay."
The building is 75,000-square-feet, six stories, and the former home of Younkers department store. The company said they are expecting to hire around 200 workers for that location and will develop applications for their displays.
Foxconn will open the new innovation center at the end of this year.
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states may collect sales tax for online purchases. Good idea or bad idea?
Might help main street merchants a little. Another way for gov't to get their hands on our money! I'm sure that they will find a way to spend it. HOW ABOUT ROADS?
Time for this to happen. Against it at first, now ok.
As long as we don't have to hire a new horde of state workers.
Now Wisconsin owned/operated retailers are not competing at an automatic 5-7% deficit.
make it fair for everyone
It's about time we level the playing field. Great for the states!
more government needed to regulate which off sets any advantage
Great for brick and mortar businesses, it may help local downtowns in our small communities. The argument that it will hurt small business people only online is a farce. They are too lazy to collect the tax and pay it to the correct state. If they were capable of setting up an online store, they can easily find software to make sure the correct sales tax is collected and paid for each transaction, if there isn't software available, good idea for an ambitious young person to develop.
Should be used to benefit all, such as road repair as stated would be good.
put some of theses dollars to reduce income taxes and the to work on our roads in this State
online purchases take away from local, should be taxed
It is a nightmare for companies to deal with all the states. I thought Wisconsin was always the state where the consumer paid a sales tax on any mail order items they purchased. Guess the honor system is not working!
Let's make the playing field fair.
If you are a small store this might be a blessing in that playing field is leveled with your on-line competition having to charge customers tax like you do. Yet if you are selling on-line out of state, how do you have the resources (as a small on line seller) to report and file in all 3000+ counties of the USA where your customers might be?
About time the playing field gets leveled a little.
levels things for local merchants
Why should internet sales not have to pay sales tax? It's just plan common sense to make the playing field fair.
How could this be a good idea? It means more money will be taken from citizens. Sure, the internet enabled people to escape paying their rightful tax .. those were the good old days.
The paperwork will be a challenge for small businesses
Other states charge us for sales tax,, I think we should be doing it too.
Governor Walker said Wisconsin will begin collecting sales tax for online purchases, but will offset the new revenues with tax cuts elsewhere. Good idea or bad idea?
USE the $$ for payng off debt, or funding roads, bridges, education, Etc
Send the revenue to fix our roads.
No such thing as tax cut, they will find some excuse to tax for!
Put the additional revenue directly towards improving roads and bridges. Once they are fixed we can decide what other taxpayer needs are most important.
First of all, let's fix our infrastructure. Then think about tax cuts. The state is lean enough for now.
if the end result is net zero,why do it, just make government bigger to regulate
Personally I feel the state income tax rate is extremely high and would like to see an adjustment there, but we need to start putting more money into roads across the state, and not just high population centers.
%Road repairs needed throughout state. Not just new interstates.
lower income taxes and toward roads
we need to fix our roads, they are a mess and with good contractors that don't put in the wrong material
Let's improve our roads and promote industries beyond manufacturing.
Here is a chance to get some road money.
I guiess. but it's much more complicated than just saying Wisconsin will begin to collect.
While I think that the taxes collected should help lower our personal tax burdens, I agree that Wisconsin roads, especially rural state highways and the like, are in DIRE need of money to tune them up.
Yes, new revenues should go towards roads.
good idea typically, but think these dollars could be spent on roads and bridges
use the new revenues to fix roads before anything else
Could maybe use it for roads
Of course Walker is saying this, he's got an election to win. It's utterly stupid to "return" the money. FINALLY, the revenue fairy has dropped some money on the state so we don't have to keep starving our roads and frankly, our workers .. this is no way to run a state.
Roads, infrastructure and schools all need funding
More money for the state and it should be for roads. Hwy 23 , Hwy 29 for another to start with.
Wisconsin has deployed a small group of National Guard soldiers to assist the State of Arizona at the U.S.-Mexico border. Good idea or bad idea?
We hqave to seal that border somehow!
We must abide by our laws. People can enter the country by legal means or illegal means. Why would anyone chose the illegal option? Hmmmmm
I'm in favor of taking control of illegal immigration. We are far from the boarder but we are still affected by the issue. It also sounds like the expense is a Federal expense so I am all in.
I thought that is what national guard was for, not to fight foreign conflilcts
Sick of all the talk about children and families being separated and Pocan wanting to abolish ICE. The dems are fueling all the talk, because they think it is sticking with the American people, I think this will come back to bite them, so let them bury their own grave. These same things were done the same way under Bush 2 and Obama where were all the protestors then? You can't have it both ways people, but allowing anyone to continue to pour into our country will continue to erode our schools, healthcare and our economy. The American people cannot support the entire world population on their backs, but that is what the dems are asking us to do with their crazy ideas to have no borders.
I'm sure they need further training as this is a very dangerous deployment.
I am sure more help is needed due to flow of people trying to cross borders
We needs to keep the peace, but our federal government needs to investigate why all these people are so desperate to leave their homes and travel thousands of miles to arrive here. We will never solve this problem of illegal immigration if we don't figure out why it is occuring.
But how will the Feds pay the bills to WI?
This isn't anything new. What's the big deal?
We must take control of our borders now!
Foxconn has announced their intentions to construct a $30 million water recycling system that will ensure no water is returned to Lake Michigan that has been used for manufacturing, and will also cut their water usage by more than 50%. After reading the article; good idea or bad idea?
Just because the Con pledged to NOT return it wto the lake, does not mean the water will not be diverted to tributaries of the Mississippi
Should be watched closely and if not up to par hold them accountable and have it done right.
At least they're trying.
To be totally honest, things have moved further with Foxconn than I was thinking would happen. They have had a bad track record in actually physically committing to their plans. Just the purchase of an area headquarters in Milwaukee shows promise.
I'm happy to see less use of water and greater use and reuse of water by company with recycling.
I hope this helps for the liberals cause
i think we need a watchful eye. our west is in dire needs of water, we need to take care of our water ways
With all our state is doing for them, they should do everything possible to keep the water clean for our state's residents. It is our greatest resource and needs to be protected. What will we all do without clean water?
Get tough to keep our natural resources safe.
Foxconn might be getting the publicity but thousands of businesses that use water also do a good job of compliance yet get no ink or air time.
The DNR explained how their water use would be so small that it's insignificant to the ecosystem. This is added cost to someone, somewhere. I think it's another pandering situation, where someone whined loud enough they got the deal for this.
Glad to see this, but still not happy they will be pulling 2+mil gallons from Lake Michigan per day
I see some willingness on Foxconn's part to work with the state to address these important environmental issues and that is a good thing
great if it actually works as they say - keep our Great Lakes clean
It's not like FOXCONN is paying for this. It'll come out of their sweetheart deal with Wisconsin taxpayers. What a fairy tale.
Foxconn is playing Wisconsin like a fiddle.
It is to their advantage to have an efficient reclamation system. Water is not free.
They should be taking care of their water recycling and I hope they follow thru with it.
Next week is Independence Day! What are your plans for holiday? Parades? Fireworks? Cook-out? Family time? Tell us about your plans to celebrate our nation's independence!
cook-out & family gathering.
Cook out and some family time and watch the corn grow.
having a family cookout and going to a local parade
Family time and fireworks!
I love the fireworks, we will go somewhere to watch. Not good enough on TV, must see in person. Try to meet with family too.
be at the lake with friends
parade, concerts, pie sales. family
Attend the Knowles 4th of July Parade and Picnic. Entertain a house full of company. Attend Mayville Wisconsin's Fireworks show.
Traveling to OH to visit family.
Parade in Columbus, always good!
Home projects and I suppose a little R&R with friends and family.
cottage with family & friends
Stay-cation with my hubby and some friends.
Finally, a day where we can come together as Americans and with one voice, ridicule our neighbors who disagree with our political perspective.
Our retail stores will be open for business.
Probably will be staying home, making some brats, and flying our flags. No fireworks.
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 enjoys our responsibility for fostering dialogue within our membership, but does not take responsibility for the individual views and opinions expressed herein.