Everything you need to know for the week ahead.
MARCH 4, 2019
Governor Tony Evers on Thursday night delivered his first budget address to the legislature- a symbolic act that officially begins the months-long budget debate in the Capitol.

The total price tag? Over $83.5 billion, which constitutes a a near 10 percent increase from Governor Scott Walker's 2017-2019 state budget.

As far as state employment, 71,991 full time government jobs would be funded in this budget, which is an increase of 701 full time positions from the last budget. The proposal also includes a 2 percent raise for state employees over each of the two years of the biennium at a cost of $82.1 million.

For state revenues in 2019, the budget projects $17.7 billion for FY2019, and $17 billion in expenditures, with a projected balance of $692 million ending the year. For FY2020, $19 billion in revenue, and $18 billion in expenditures, with a projected remaining balance of $938 million.

The Evers budget would re-institute the automatic two percent minimum "growth factor" for county and municipal levy limits. In other words, despite new construction or economic growth, a local governments will be granted the ability to raise property taxes by two percent annually. Early estimates are that property taxes would be increased statewide by more than $200 million.

Additionally, local governments would receive an automatic 2 percent increase in the County and Municipal Aid Program from the state each year beginning in 2020.

Municipalities would be granted a levy limit adjustment if they consolidate services. According to Evers' office, this is meant to encourage cooperation between local governments and share on costs overall.

The governor also proposes limiting the percentage to 20% that a TIF may receive in cash grants from property taxpayers to developers for initial costs. It would also require that TIFs plans include "stress tests" in order to assist local governments understand the risks of opening a TIF.

The gas tax would see an 8 cent increase in this budget, and would be offset by the repeal of a 14 cent minimum markup tax on fuel in Wisconsin, which dates back to the Great Depression. The gas tax would also be again indexed to inflation. An eight cent increase is projected to bring in around $600-700 million.

Heavy trucks would see a 27 percent increase in their registration and fees at the DMV, and title fees on original and transfers of vehicles would be bumped by $10 for everybody.

$310 million in additional funding would go towards the state's highway rehabilitation program, $1.9 million for the Local Road Improvement program, and local transit systems would be granted a $22 million increase over the next two years. Elderly and Disabled Transportation Aids would also be increased by $6 million over the biennium.

$45 million would be spent on improving the Amtrak line between Milwaukee and Chicago, the Zoo Interchange project outside of Milwaukee would be finished entirely, and the expansion of Interstate 43 in Southeastern Wisconsin would get underway.

Evers' budget would restore a full two-thirds state funding for public school districts statewide. It would include a guaranteed minimum $3,000 per pupil for every student in Wisconsin, with students in low income areas being counted as 1.2 to receive more funding.

The bill also requires that teachers receive a minimum of 45 minutes or one full class period each day for preparation time.

Enrollment in the Milwaukee, Racine, or statewide voucher programs would freeze at next year's enrollment levels, with the program for students with disabilities being phased out. $606 million in special education funding would be added to public school districts.

Restrictions on how many local referenda a school district may hold in a single calendar year would also be eliminated.

The executive budget would continue the freeze on tuition at UW schools for the seventh and eighth years since inception, and allow for individuals living in the country illegally to pay in-state tuition at UW schools and Wisconsin Technical College System schools.

The budget would add $110 million in additional funding to expand classes and programming in high-demand areas, and provide a UW-Extension agricultural employee to every county that requests one. It would also assist nursing educators repay their loans if they commit to teaching nursing in a Wisconsin program for no less than three years.

The budget also provides $18 million additional dollars for the Wisconsin Technical College System.

Governor Evers' budget would expand Medicaid by accepting federal dollars from the Affordable Care Act, and expand Wisconsin's BadgerCare program to cover 82,000 more low-income individuals. The budget projects a net savings of $325 million by accepting federal dollars.

Hospitals, nursing homes and mental health services would receive $580 million additional funds, and $43 million more dollars would go towards dental care via Medicaid payments.

$28 has been earmarked for women and infant's health, including the ability for the state to award Planned Parenthood funding that was previously blocked by former Governor Scott Walker.

The bill would also expand the lifetime limit from 48 to 60 months for Wisconsin's W-2 program, which provides cash assistance to low-income families.

The budget would add five full time positions in the Department of Natural Resources which would oversee the permitting, inspection and enforcement of concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, in Wisconsin. It would also increase fees paid by CAFOs.

$40 million would be provided to help homeowners replace lead pipes, and $25 million would be granted to help remove heavy metals and chemicals from five river basins around the state. $10.9 million would be given to municipalities to help mitigate storm water, and $1.6 million would be made available to help individuals build new wells if their drinking water has been deemed contaminated.

The budget would also create a Bureau of Natural Resources Science. That bureau's director would answer to the DNR secretary and five scientists whose focuses are mainly water quality issues.

Some items were not included in the actual budget address given to the legislature, and it might be because the ideas are unpopular. Here are a few of those items:
  • Repeal of the manufacturing portion of the manufacturing and agriculture tax credit, resulting in $279 million in tax hikes on manufacturers each year.
  • Increases the income tax rate on capital gains, resulting in a $250 million tax increase
  • Grants the Public Service Commission the authority to increase energy taxes on monthly electric and heating bills for homeowners and small businesses
  • Removes a requirement that the revenues from online sales taxes be used to lower income taxes
  • Increases minimum wage to $8.25 in 2020, $9.00 in 2021, and an annual increase each year based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI)
  • Expands Wisconsin Family Medical Leave Act to small businesses, and expands mandatory leave situations to all employers
  • Fully repeals Right-To-Work law
  • Reinstates Prevailing Wage requirements
  • Increases annually the weekly unemployment benefits automatically, indexed to the CPI
  • Allows employees who were terminated for substantial fault to collect unemployment benefits
  • Lowers work search requirements for those receiving unemployment benefits
  • Creates 24 new tax auditors which focus on corporate collections
  • Requires Wisconsin to go "carbon free" by 2050
  • Legalizes medical marijuana and decriminalizes recreational marijuana
  • Repeals laws that prohibit local governments from imposing stricter employment laws such as family leave, hours of work, overtime, etc.
  • Eliminates drug testing requirements for FoodShare and BadgerCare recipients


Governor Evers last week vetoed a plan approved by the legislature that would have provided a 10 percent income tax deduction for middle class Wisconsinites. Good move or bad move?   
It is my money it is a over payment that is not appropriated it needs to be returned

Same thing proposed by the GOP but he couldn't except that it was a GOP plan

The state over collected our money, so give it back!

Sounds like it will come around again

Evers has shown his true partisan colors, he ran on such a income tax deduction, but because it is using surplus money that is burning a hole in his political pocket. It is beginning to look like we are not only going to have a federal government that is gridlocked the next 2 years, but now our state government is going to be in the same partisan bickering for the next 4 years, unless the democrats can take over the legislature in 2 years.

This from a guy that is willing to spend money everywhere else.

He would sooner tax farmers and manufactores more to get a tax to the middle class

If we are going to cut taxes, give it back proportionally to those who paid it. This is just another cash grab.

I would have gotten that cut. I'd rather LEAVE IT ALONE and put the money into LOCAL ROADS first.

so, I guess he will just give the extra money to the schools to piss it away there.

like it or not, I applaud him for trying to stay in the state budget process.

Should have given back the state surplus

It's our money that they didn't need so it should come back to us!

This man is out of his mind

property taxes are the problem in Wisconsin, not income taxes

In his budget, Gov. Evers will seek to restore state and federal tax dollars to Planned Parenthood. Good move or bad move?
legal genocide
Democrats are way off the rails on these issues
As long as my property and income taxes do not go up
Any organization that sells baby parts for profit is a tool for evil, no tax payer dollars to support such organizations! They hide under their cover of "reproductive health services" while makiing millions at the expense of many lives lost for the vulnerable unborn children.
Do not want my money going to pay for abortions if that is included.
quit funding abortion with my tax dollars
HORRIBLE MOVE!!! How can these "people" (and I use the term lightly) live with themselves for thinking its okay to MURDER innocent babies. AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE DOING! I would like to know how they can get so upset when children are murdered in ANY OTHER WAY but "don't GET IT" when millions of innocent babies are murdered every day. A child is a child - I don't care how old they are and MURDER IS MURDER. It's getting harder and harder to wrap my head around how our beloved country can change the laws that we were founded on to conform to what everyone now "thinks" is right. I really feel for my grandchildren when they are older - what will our world be like for them?? It's truely scary to think of their future. Keep praying and God help us all!
Here we go again using tax dollars for a organization that believes in abortion
Every state that has cut this funding has an increase in birthrate of the citizens least likely to support and afford them. Damn the religious side of this, it is a path to stronger families.
Planned Parenthood provides essential reproductive health services to women who may not have access to care anywhere else. They should absolutely be reimbursed by Medicaid and The Well Woman program. They are never reimbursed for abortions (although this is a common misconception). Educate yourself before making assumptions.
our constitution guarantees the right to life,what are we doing as a society?
All I can say is WOW! I knew after the election we were in trouble!!
That would make my blood boil!
I don't want my tax money being spent on abortions.
We don't need Planned Parenthood.
Why should this group of leftist activists funded with tax dollars?
Government should not be funding abortions

Evers' budget would freeze voucher enrollment and suspend the creation of new charter schools. Good move or bad move? 

Good move Tax payers already fund the school system, people need to be held accountable for failing schools not just changing the demographics

My daughter wouldn't be the person she is today if it wasn't for the charter school that she was in for 3 yrs.

Has to be a more efficient way to educate EVERYONE other than Public schools

Many charter schools fail and the tax dollars are wasted.

Obviously Evers hates anything to do with private education as it takes away from those in public education. If our public schools were serious about educating our children in a healthy environment and respected everyone's view point, there would be no need for private schools. Once government became involved in schools, our education system has been on the decline.

Charter schools at least give an option for schooling.

Its funny he was head of our state department of education and he showing that he hates private schools

I've yet to find a private school, voucher school, or home school that is run with proper curriculum that doesn't EXCEED the public school. This is a BAD decision.

The schools now a days are not good, let the parents take control and send their children to school that are less radical.

the poor performing public schools will never get the funding/attention needed if charter schools are supported with tax dollars.

everyone should have the right to send their children to the school that they think is best for them

I thought he is the governor now, not the superintendant of schools

Schools improve when they are forced to compete. Im for students having more than one choice for a school.to attend. Throwing more money into failing schools and forcing kids to attend s failing school is only good for teachers unions. Clearly a reward to his backers and a detriment to kids.

Parents deserve to have the option choose the best school for their children.

In the upcoming state budget, Governor Evers will propose allowing individuals who entered the country illegally to pay in-state tuition at University of Wisconsin schools. Good move or bad move?
illegal foreigners, get legal documentation and pay out of state tuition, becoming a sanctuary state

Only if they to take the time to become citizens

No to illegals

They're ILLEGALLY here!!!!!!!! WTH?????

Parents paid on taxes as their children grew up

Unless they are legal citizens they shouldn't get tuition break. It's easy to say yes to everyone.

Are they Wisconsin taxpayers? If they are then they should pay the same.

If they pay taxes, which I'm sure many have, then yes

Really, Evers is fast turning into our governor from hell!

Bad move. Why not just give them college for free?

Let them pay what other out-of-state students pay...they did come here ILLEGALLY! First they should apply for citizanship and if they get it THEN AND ONLY THEN can they get in state tuition if they live in Wisconsin!

Who paid their tuition before and if illegal why are they attending our schools

Lets help the illegals! R U Nuts??

Logic escapes him.

this disenfranchises our children who attend...U.S. citizen first, state second, then you get the better rate!

They grew up here and they're never leaving; I see no harm in making education affordable for those who are actually motivated to do the hard work to earn a degree. They face enough barriers - earning an education so they can positively contribute to society shouldn't be one.

At least they are trying to earn a degree and contribute to the economy- can't be said for many people who want a handout

Will only attract more illegals

what don't you understand about illegal? we the taxpayers don't own illegals anything!

I miss Scott Walker

How about helping the illegall students get their citzenship first.

So apparently he'd rather have Mexican and central American Nationals who have broken our laws attending the uw system rather than kids from Ohio or indiana. Says alot about how he feels about the USA.

Someone here illegally should not be in our schools at any tuition rate.

Gov. Evers will include in his budget a 'path to' a $15/hour minimum wage in Wisconsin. Good move or bad move?   
Middle wages are low but cost of living will increase off setting any wage gain

There are plenty of higher paying jobs in our area if people want to do them.

We are fighting inflation enough as it is. This is a killer to small town WI. Our local McD's already has a touch screen ordering system. Please show me the math on how this is a good thing? Someone.......

Typical Dems getting sticking their noses where they don't belong!!

Jobs will disappear.Robots will take them. Some people do not deserve that much, work ethic!

Its about time that the full time workers who make poor wages get a raise in pay.

Again, easy to "give" everything to everyone. Wouldn't it be better to earn your way to higher pay?

Will hurt businsses.

I'm sure Evers will be going after the dairy cows soon as it seems he is a lover the democrats' green deal!

It seems to be working good now. Let the economy rule itself.

There goes the neighborhood. Guess I will just start raising prices on product right now

It would be a better idea to raise minimum wage at inflation rate over years instead of ending up people losing their jobs because business would have to close because of the large increase in expenses

Lets just wreck whats working, shall we Tony???

Then get rid of tipping the servers.

$15 minimum wage only works on paper. It doesn't really work in reality. Why? Because it forces inflation. I think that the $15 minimum wage push is less about helping people earn more money doing menial jobs, and more about pushing up the rate of inflation. The nation learned after 2 world wars that they way to pay off debt was to inflate their way out of it. BAD POLICY BAD MOVE.

Let the businesses run their own business, if the employee feels they are not making enough money move on to a different job. That is called improving yourself!!!!

Minimum wage is not a viable wage currently. But to raise it drastically will remove many jobs from the state and through automation destroy many more. Self order/checkout anyone?

it will kill job creation! duh

This will kill small businesses who struggle to pay a competitive wage now.

Some people just are not worth $15 per hour. What is the employer all in cost for this person, $20?

no one should dictate to an employer what he pays his employees. If they are good employees they will get paid accordingly

Will Kill entry level jobs.

What is this man thinking? 0 business sense!

Central Wisconsin is not New York or Chicago.

I was lucky I got $9 /hour when I worked. Its a little high for people starting out on a job. Makes the employee that are making that feel left out in pay raises.

Will.push jobs to other states.

Government should not be running businesses. This will eliminate entry level jobs, especially for teens looking for their first job.

Did you watch the Academy Awards on Sunday night? Do you watch awards shows? Do you watch movies? Any thoughts on the winners? Do you have a favorite movie of all time? A favorite movie that you saw in theaters? What was the first movie you ever saw in a theater? Share your cinema thoughts and experiences here.

Garbage Garbage Garbage

First movie was ET. Love White Christmas.

Don't watch to political

who cares about those clowns?

The Bucket List - great movie.

Best movie ever, It's a Wonderful Life, second Wizard of Oz. Honorable mention, Animal House.

No don't watch award shows and very few movies. Liked Roy Rodgers. Few movies worth seeing today.


Do not have any interest in the Academy Awards and the pompous Hollywood liberals. Only movies we like watching are made by the Kendrick Brothers.

The last movie I saw in the theaters was I Can Only Imagine with my grandaughter. Don't watch the award shows - they are only a sounding board for their political stances.

No longer watch. To political.

Too much back slapping glad handing by over paid actors that award themselves for their work. Bunch of idiots that think I care what they think. Maybe we can lower their wage to $15 dollars an hour like in question 5

NO, I believe our actors in Hollywood are getting liberal and socialism

Have not watched the awards for many years. Hollywood liberals have ruined all entertainment. Was better when they just acted and didn't try to control.

No...would never watch those smug elitists give their 2 Cents...and it is just 2 cents

Don't watch


God no.Actors gladhanding each other for their mutual benefit?


The Oscars were great! So many amazing movies to celebrate this year: Bohemian Rhapsody, Green Book, A Star is Born, Black Panther, Roma, Blackkklansman, The Favourite, and more!

We did watch the Academy Awards for the first time in many years. My wife and I watched three of the best picture nominations up at our cabin in Minocqua during the weekend blizard. I liked A Star is Born.

Never watch award shows.

No and never will.

NO, my time is more valuable than watching that group of people patting themselves on their back for what they did this past year.

I don't watch that stuff.. not worth watching.

A Star is Born was good, also liked Roma. Lots of great film in 2018.

Almost never watch these things. No one cares.

Do not watch award shows. Do watch movies but do not want to know the actors political views. First movie I saw in a theater was Cinderella. Have not been to a theater in a number of years. Much more convenient to watch at home.

I've boycotted Hollywood for years. I used to enjoy the Oscars, but not anymore. Don't need to watch them bash our president.

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 action taken on bills.

LRB-1718  Memo Sexual Contact with Child (Taylor, Lena ) The statute of limitations for sexual contact with a child. Deadline: Thursday, February 28

LRB-1586  Memo Bond Requirements (Brooks, Rob ) Changing the official bond requirements for town municipal judges. Deadline: Tuesday, March 5, 5 pm

LRB-1283  Memo Elective Office Vacancies (Brooks, Rob ) Vacancies in elective offices in cities and villages. Deadline: Tuesday, March 5

LRB-1244  Memo Water Pollution Credits (Cowles, Rob ) Buying and selling water pollution credits through a central clearinghouse. Deadline: Friday, March 8, 5 pm

LRB-0448  Memo Pharmacy Benefit Managers (Schraa, Michael ) Registration and regulation of pharmacy benefit managers, drug pricing transparency, granting rule-making authority, and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, March 8

LRB-2190  Memo Pharmacy Benefit Managers (Erpenbach, Jon ) Registration and regulation of pharmacy benefit managers, drug pricing transparency, granting rule-making authority, and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, March 8

LRB-0686  Memo Tobacco Product Placement (Mursau, Jeff ) Placement of cigarettes, nicotine products, or tobacco products by retailers and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, March 8, 5 pm

LRB-1178  Memo Electricity Tax Exemption (Jacque, Andre ) The sale and use tax exemption for electricity and natural gas sold for residential use. Deadline: Monday, March 11, 5 pm

LRB-2125  Memo Saint Patrick's Day (Murphy, Dave ) Celebrating Saint Patrick's Day on March 17, 2019. Deadline: Monday, March 4

LRB-1205  Memo Child Psychiatry (Darling, Alberta ) Increasing funding for the child psychiatry consultation program and making an appropriation. Deadline: Friday, March 8, 5 pm

LRB-0398  Memo Nitrate Testing (Testin, Patrick ) Nitrate testing pilot program, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation. Deadline: Friday, March 8, 5 pm

LRB-2018  Memo Virtual Instruction (Kooyenga, Dale ) Allowing private schools participating in a parental choice program to provide hours of direct pupil instruction virtually. Deadline: Tuesday, March 12, 5 pm

LRB-1412  Memo Professional Development Training (Darling, Alberta ) Professional development training in character education for teachers, pupil service professionals, principals, and school district administrators, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation. Deadline: Wednesday, March 13

LRB-1921  Memo Naloxone Use Reporting (Jacque, Andre ) Reporting of naloxone administration by ambulance service providers. Deadline: Wednesday, March 13, 5 pm

LRB-1133  Memo Licensing Fees (Petrowski, Jerry) Micro market licensing fees. Deadline: Friday, March 8, 5 pm

LRB-1496  Memo Veteran Outreach Program (Jacque, Andre ) The veterans outreach and recovers program and making an appropriation. Deadline: Wednesday, March 13, 5 pm

LRB-1925  Memo Veterinary License Fees (Jacque, Andre ) Eliminating first-time license fees for veterinary licenses and veterinary technician certificates. Deadline: Wednesday, March 13, 5 pm

LRB-1615  Memo Call Spoofing (Sanfelippo, Joe ) Caller ID spoofing, granting rule-making authority, and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, March 15, Noon

LRB-2256  Memo Call Spoofing (Kooyenga, Dale ) Caller ID spoofing, granting rule-making authority, and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, March 15, Noon

LRB-1236  Memo Self Insurance by Religious Sects (Kulp, Bob) Self-insurance by religious sects for purposes of motor vehicle financial responsibility and liability insurance requirements. Deadline: Wednesday, March 6

LRB-0998  Memo Building Permits (Jagler, John ) Submission of building permit applications for one-family and two-family dwellings. Deadline: Friday, March 8

LRB-0788  Memo Water Infrastructure Projects (Cowles, Rob ) Amounts obligated under the Warren Knowles-Gaylord Nelson Stewardship 2000 Program for water infrastructure projects in state parks and making an appropriation. Deadline: Tuesday, March 12, 4 pm

LRB-2274  Memo Electric Weapon Exception (Rohrkaste, Mike ) Going armed with an electric weapon by private security personnel. Deadline: Wednesday, March 13, 5 pm

LRB-2236  Memo Women's History Month (Zamarrippa, JoCasta ) Proclaiming March 2019 as women's history month. Deadline: Wednesday, March 6

LRB-0942  Memo Conversion Therapy (Stuck, Amanda) Prohibiting conversion therapy. Deadline: Friday, March 8, 3 pm

LRB-2289  Memo Immigration Policy Prohibition () Prohibiting local ordinances, resolutions, and policies that prohibit the enforcement of federal or state law relating to illegal aliens or immigration status, authorizing certain elective officeholders to commence an enforcement action, providing a reduction in shared revenue payments, and creating governmental liability for damages caused by illegal aliens. Deadline: Thursday, March 14, 5 pm