We hope you had a chance to relax over the weekend, and that your week is off to a great start.
This week will bring you our weekly Property Taxpayer of the Week, News from the Capitol and around Wisconsin, circulating legislation, your weekly poll responses, and an all new Weekly Member Poll.
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,
PROPERTY TAXPAYER OF THE WEEK
Today's Property Taxpayer of the Week, Fly Me Flag, comes to us from Green Bay, where we are proud to introduce readers to fellow WPT Member Stacey Stewart, and her husband and co-owner Robert Stewart.
The company began in 1985, but it wasn't until early last year when Stacey and Robert purchased the company from her parents upon their retirement.
While the company's name sums up the core of their business, according to their website, they do a whole lot more.
"Whether you're considering a flagpole for your home, designing a custom flag for your organization, ordering logo banners for a trade show booth, or installing a massive 80' flagpole at your business, Fly Me Flag is here to guide and support you," it says.
We asked Stacey to share a bit about the challenges that her industry faces.
"How would you feel if the American flag you so proudly display was made in another country?" she asked. "Kind of defeats the purpose of being a true symbol of patriotism, doesn't it? Unfortunately, counterfeit American flags produced outside of the United States are commonly sold in stores and online."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, ninety-four percent of flags important into the U.S. in 2013 were from China, totaling about $3.6 million. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau also said that China produced more than $300 million worth of American flags and similar products from 2007 to 2013, prompting the U.S. Military to ban from their bases all flags not made in America.
Luckily, Wisconsin's very own Fly Me Flag is doing what it can to reverse the trend.
"Fly Me Flag is a member of the Flag Manufacturers Association of America "FMAA" and committed to selling only FMAA-Certified Made in the U.S.A. flags," Stacey told me. "100% produced with domestic materials and manufactured in U.S. facilities with U.S. labor."
The company has five team members, and Stacey says the company's biggest source of pride is helping their customers.
"We help customers show pride and patriotism. When you raise a flag, you are lifting your voice!" she said. With decades of flag experience, customers trust Fly Me Flag to source, share and display every manner of flag. From celebratory seasonal flags to ceremonial multi-pole installments, Fly Me Flag's expert attention to detail takes the guesswork out of reaching flagpole perfection."
Most of the time, you'll find Stacey in the store working on custom flag designs, and Robert is out in the field, installing commercial and residential flagpoles or handling repairs and preventative maintenance. They really are a one stop shop.
In their free time, Stacey and Robert love all things Wisconsin.
"Packers, Badgers, and Brewers fans! We enjoy hiking, golfing, and spending time with our crazy little dog, Whiskey!" she said.
"As small business owners, our time and resources are limited. We appreciate WPT's efforts to improve accountability and strengthen WIsconsin's economy by fighting for property taxpayers both big and small," Stacey added.
We appreciate their commitment to providing their customers with an American made product to display their love for our country, and we encourage our members to consider Fly Me Flag for all of their flag needs in the future.
Visit their website at
or calling 920-435-FLAG (3524). You can also e-mail the company at email@example.com.
Last week, the latest edition of our newsletter, The WPT Freehold, began arriving in members' mailboxes across the state. We certainly hope that you have found the contents to be both informative and interesting.
One of the most important articles in the newsletter talks about our current discussions with a large Wisconsin health insurance provider, and changes to federal regulations regarding association plans.
Due to changes enacted in Washington, WPT may be able to begin offering health insurance to our members, their employees, and families. From what we understand so far, by being part of WPT, our members would be able to buy into a group health plan, much like a large employer.
While specifics are still being worked out, this would be an unprecedented opportunity for our members to purchase health insurance for themselves, employees, and families, and or substantially reduce their current premiums. It would also serve as a means by which the under-insured or uninsured can obtain coverage and peace of mind.
We cannot move forward with our research, gauge demand, or accurately design a plan that would fit our members' needs without your input.
We ask that you visit www.wptonline.org/healthinsurance to fill out a very brief survey. It's short, multiple choice, and does not ask for any identifying information. If you would prefer to take the survey by phone, call us in Madison at 608-255-7473 and we will be glad to take your responses. We will also send out a reminder to members in the coming days.
If you have any questions whatsoever, do not hesitate to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at the number listed above.
NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL
AND AROUND WISCONSIN
GOV. WALKER SAYS "WISCONSIN WILL PUSH BACK" AGAINST ILLINOIS LAWSUIT
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan pushed back last week against the Environmental Protection Agency's ruling that designated Racine County as "achieving attainment" and allowing Foxconn to be exempted from meeting stricter smog and pollution control standards.
According to her statement, by designating Racine as non-attainment, Foxconn would be required to install stringent pollution control equipment. She said she plans to file the lawsuit in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
In addition to Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel calling his Illinois counterpart's efforts "meritless" and "ironic," Governor Walker's office also issued a statement last week, citing Wisconsin's reduction in certain pollutants by 50 percent since 2002.
Walker's office also said pollutants in the area are mostly due to Chicago, IL and Gary, IN, and Wisconsin should not be held responsible or penalized for issues that are originating elsewhere.
"We will take all necessary steps to protect our state's interests," Walker spokeswoman said. "The State of Wisconsin will push back."
$100 PER-CHILD TAX REBATE APPLICATION OPENS TOMORROW
The Department of Revenue tomorrow will begin accepting applications for the $100-per child tax rebate. All residents of Wisconsin with dependents under the age of 18 who are living at home are eligible.
In order to quality, parents will need their social security number as well as the numbers of each child. Additionally, they will be required to provide the date of birth for each child, and banking information if they would like it directly deposited.
Parents not wishing to accept the rebate may donate the money. Visit childtaxrebate.wi.gov tomorrow through July 2 to apply.
AG SCHIMEL DOES 180 ON CBD OIL PRODUCTION
Weeks after a Justice Department memo said that only pharmacies and doctors can distribute CBD oil, and distribute it to only certain people, Wisconsin's Attorney General has apparently undergone a change of heart after a meeting with lawmakers, DATCP, and industry representatives.
Schimel now says that Wisconsin farmers who grow industrial hemp can produce CBD oil from it, if they choose to do so. He also said that he will inform law enforcement in Wisconsin that they should allow hemp growers to produce the product if the growers obtain a license.
His department's original opinion left many farmers skeptical about the viability of the crop if they were not able to legally produce one of the most sought-after and profitable products derived from hemp.
ALLOUEZ LEADERS LAUNCH PETITION DRIVE
Leaders in the Green Bay community of Allouez have launched a petition drive, aimed at convincing state leaders, including lawmakers and Governor Walker, to close the 120-year-old Green Bay Correctional Institution.
In addition to the safety concerns, overpopulation, and age of the facility, the prison also resides on 50 acres of land that the local leaders deem critical to the area's economic success in the future- south of State Highway 172. The land would be redeveloped for commercial and or residential use, and could broadly expand the municipality's tax base, as the current prison does not pay property taxes.
The petition itself calls on Governor Walker to support plans to construct a replacement facility in the area, and specifically that a private company should build the prison, but the state should operate it.
Republican State Representative Dave Steffen says that the petition should be wrapped up by Labor Day in order to assess the gubernatorial candidates' position on the plan, and to be presented early to the Governor, who will begin drafting the next state budget shortly after the election.
County residents can sign the petition by visiting villageofallouez.com, stopping in to the village hall, or printing and signing a paper copy.
UW-OSHKOSH CONSIDERS NAME CHANGE
With the new UW System restructuring beginning to take place, at least one of the system's four-year campuses- UW-Oshkosh- is considering a name change in light of their merger with nearby UW-Fox Valley and UW-Fond du Lac.
For now, the campuses will keep their names, according to one official, but UWO, which will be absorbing the two smaller two-year campuses, is now taking a closer look at both community, student, and alum input, and deciding whether adopting a new name would be appropriate to reflect all three schools.
In addition to students, who have begun voicing their opposition to a name change, the Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corporation sees the name "Oshkosh" as carrying weight, but agrees that the conversation is important to have.
RON KIND SUPPORTING 'BEGINNING FARMER AND RANCHER OPPORTUNITY' ACT
According to the USDA, the average age of a farmer in Wisconsin is 56 years old, and increasing. With more than 77,000 farms in the state of Wisconsin alone, that aging population, coupled with the lack of a prevalent younger farming generation, could mean big problems in the near future.
Even more startling are the national numbers, which show almost 100 million acres of farmland set to change hands over the next five years, enough to support 250,000 family farms according to one source.
Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind is now co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation that would expand access to land for beginning farmers, as well as efforts aimed at recruiting those individuals.
The legislation itself would expand beginning farmers' access to land by scaling up resources for farm transition and succession planning, ensure access to federal crop insurance by expanding crop insurance incentives to better support younger farmers in managing risk, and increase coordination USDA programs designed for younger farmers, and retiring farmers.
EMBATTLED STATE SENATOR REMOVED FROM JOINT FINANCE COMMITTEE
At the request of Senate Minority Leader Schilling, Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald last week removed State Senator Lena Taylor of Milwaukee from the powerful budget-writing Joint Finance Committee.
The move was made after a legislative human resources investigation revealed that Taylor bullied her staff and retaliated against at least one employee for using family and medical leave during their time in her office.
Taylor has also been in the news recently for her scuffle with a bank teller in Milwaukee, in which the longtime lawmaker admitted using a racial slur. She is currently awaiting her first court appearance in Milwaukee after the city's attorney decided to pursue charges.
Taylor responded to her removal from the committee as "political lynching," and said that the findings of the legislative human resources investigation should not have resulted in her being ousted from JFC. State Senator LaTonya Johnson, also a Milwaukee Democrat, representing a district bordering Taylor's, was appointed to serve on the committee.
Senator Taylor was ordered to receive training in anti-harassment policies, and receive communication and management coaching.
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
Governor Walker issued an executive order that targets inefficiency and waste in state government. After reading the article...
Another 'warm fuzzy' idea that gives somene a position ... then,the person(s) must shuffle papers, create spreadsheets Etc. to justify their job.
Shouldn't this already being done. Sounds good in an election year!
checks and balance, just talking will bring some much needed attention to efficiency
I hope they actually do something.
Good Grief! What is with government that it doesn't work efficiently? We have to have an EXECUTIVE ORDER for workers to be good caretakers?
You need to get government people out of this, and put private people in to run it. Too much mollycoddling in government FOR government.
Shouldn't everyone have this responsibility?
these things should be automatically monitored - where is goverment oversight?
What the hell has he been doing for 8 years?
A year-long test showed a 6.1% prevalence rate for Chronic Wasting Disease among Wisconsin's deer. The governor issued a three-point plan to help combat the spread, though the deep farm industry has expressed opposition. After reading the plan...
majority of deer farms have a strict fencing, it is big money the farms do not want the risk of exposure
Anything to stop this from getting a stronger hold on our Deer population. Of course there's going to be opposition. But our native deer population is more important than farm raised deer.
Can't see the logic here.
There are plenty of deer in my area, not uncommon for 40 of them in the fields right now
I support the plan, but it's only a bandaid.
I've yet to try Arby's venison n cheddar, but I imagine it's delicious.
My son hunts deer, hope he doesn't get a bad one.
The EPA arrived in Wisconsin last week to conduct groundwater tests near a large CAFO in Central Wisconsin. Has groundwater contamination been a concern in your immediate location/community?
To many sand mines with hardly no oversight.
farms/golf courses need regulation/testing for manure and over use of pesticides
We live in the driftless area where water percolates down through the rock structure. I thought that groundwater tests were to be done near CAFOs to protect the surrounding areas. there seems to be no "brakes" on what CAFOs can get away with.
Kewaunee County has problems with this but farmers are collaborating with the county, state and other groups to help.
Has not been a concern, but the high cancer rates in my area maybe because of the heavy use of herbicides in the past should be a concern.
It's not only contamination, it's also depletion of the water table. What happens when the general public goes to use their well water, and nothing comes out?
Groundwater be a concern in every community.
We have had our water tested recently and passed. I understand if we are to sell our home we need to have it done. No contamination here.
The State of Wisconsin is being sued in federal court because it denies Medicaid coverage to individuals wishing to undergo operations to change their gender identity? Do you feel Medicaid and state tax dollars should cover such procedures?
Wow!!! I'm speechless!! Get a frickin job and pay for your own fantasy! Don't make it the rest of the world's problem!!! Unreal!!!
I consider such procedures to be elective. Same as hair transplants.
Really, wake up America !!!
NO. Get a job and pay for it yourself
No. I'd like to be 4" taller and 25 pounds lighter. It will make me feel better about myself but I wouldn't expect taxpayers to fund my well being.
If this isn't frivilous, I just plain give up.
Sue Medicaid not Wisconsin if your claim was denied.
Not at all, I can hardly afford health insurance what about me?
I'm not in support of government dollars supporting gender changes. NO WAY.
not medically necessary - put the money toward cancer research or children dealing with critical illnesses
Optional medical procedures should NOT EVER be covered. This is a travesty.
Its crazy that tax payers should foot bill for this
I asked,, do they really need it? We can live without an operation like that. Our tax dollars need to spent on our roads, schools.
I'd like breast implants and a tummy tuck too. Pay for your own voluntary reconstructive surgery.
Not on my dime. Do what you want to your life but doesn't mean I have pay for it or accept it.
ARE YOU F#(&ING KIDDING ME ?!!!
Wisconsin's tourism spending has increased for the eighth straight year. What is/are the biggest tourist attraction(s) in YOUR community?
Driftless region for canoeing
Our lakes and beautiful family farms.
Lakes, museums, hiking, snowmobile and bike trails, parks, UW, Capitol, State Street, Art and Craft shows, playgrounds, spectator sports, Olbrich, Vilas Zoo and park, historical buildings, etc.
Great River Road, organic farms, innovative farm practices.
Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc
La La La Lambeau
None that I know of in our county.
Blue Harbor, Kohler Co, Lake Michigan, Wade House, Sheboygan Historical Society, Sheboygan Historical Research Center. There are a lot more things to see.
I think in my county would have to be the Capitol building. Is that a tourism destination?
Lake Winnebago and the Fox River. Of course, you can't travel down the river from "Bago any more because the Menasha Lock is STILL closed !!!