EVERS TO PROPOSE AXING WEDC
Governor-elect Evers, even as a candidate for the state's top post, long said he would consider dissolving Governor Walker's jobs agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), and now those plans are confirmed.
Speaking to reporters in Milwaukee last week, Evers said that after he is sworn in as Wisconsin's governor, he will propose dismantling the WEDC. No further specifics were given on the impending plan, though throughout the campaign, Evers mentioned shifting authority back to the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, which was replaced by WEDC when Walker first became governor. The agency at times has been the focus of media stories, outlining multiple cases of mismanagement.
Top Republican lawmakers called Evers' plan concerning, highlighting the importance of the public-private nature of WEDC. State Representative John Nygran, who is the Co-Chairman of the Joint Finance Committee said on Twitter that abolishing WEDC "will not only stifle the (state's) comeback but could end it."
EVERS MAY END MEDICAID WORK REQUIREMENT
Governor Scott Walker last month was granted a waiver last month from the federal government, authorizing the state of Wisconsin to impose work requirements on some individuals to receive Medicaid (BadgerCare) benefits from the state.
The plan may take as long as a year to implement, and incoming Governor Tony Evers has said he may try to end that waiver from the feds. While on a hospital tour in Madison last week, Evers told the media that he is concerned about reducing access to healthcare, and will explore the possibility of ending the plan for work requirements. No further details were given.
FOXCONN PLANNING NEARLY $3 BILLION IN CUTS
Anticipating a tougher economic climate for their products and customers, Foxconn Technology Group is reportedly planning to cut about $2.9 billion from its business expenses next year.
Last week, Bloomberg reported that those dollars will come from cuts to "non-technical staff." The Wisconsin State Journal tried reaching Foxconn to inquire about whether the plans for cost reductions would impact their plans for the Wisconsin factory, which is expected to create up to 13,000 jobs. The company did not offer an immediate comment to the State Journal.
A spokesman for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation said he has heard nothing from Foxconn regarding changes to their Wisconsin plans.
A vocal critic in his gubernatorial bid, Incoming Governor Tony Evers also said he does not believe that Foxconn's cost-cutting maneuvers will impact their Wisconsin plans. He told reporters last week that his goal is to establish a relationship with Foxconn, "so that I can be the best governor possible and they can be the best corporate citizen possible." Governor-elect Evers also said he has begun conversations with Foxconn.
GOVERNOR WALKER APPOINTS BRAD SCHIMEL TO JUDGESHIP
Governor Scott Walker last week announced that he is appointing outgoing Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel to a judgeship on the bench in the Waukesha County Circuit Court.
The announcement came the day after the election canvass, which resulted in Schimel conceding his loss to Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul.
In a statement, Governor Walker said that Schimel "diligently served the state of Wisconsin as attorney general and the citizens of Waukesha County as district attorney. [He] has shown a commitment to the rule of law and the state of Wisconsin. He will continue to faithfully serve our state as Waukesha County Circuit Court judge."
Judge Patrick Haughney resigned his spot on the Waukesha County Circuit Court earlier this month, leaving the open spot available. Schimel will already be up for re-election to the bench in April of 2019.
REPORT: SURPLUS NOW, MAYBE SHAKY LATER
According to Governor Walker's Department of Administration (DOA); If all state agencies are given what they have asked for, and if revenues stay the same, the state could see a $1.1 billion budget shortfall in the next budget cycle lasting from 2019-2021.
Though it would be highly unusual for any governor to give each of the state's agencies everything they have requested, the report from DOA could shed light on an upcoming problem if those projections stay true. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau will also release its analysis in January. State agencies' budget requests were due in September, and all told, asked the executive branch for an additional $2.2 billion in spending in the next budget more than they are currently receiving now. $1.4 billion of that increase came from the Department of Public Instruction, which Tony Evers currently helms.
The general fund balance currently sits at $589 million, which is the second largest annual surplus since the year 2000. The report from DOA also shows that the state will have a $623 million surplus when the next fiscal year begins on July 1, 2019.
GENERAL MOTORS ANNOUNCES MASSIVE CUTS
General Motors Co. announced today that it will stop production of under-performing car models and also cut its workforce in North America. According to Reuters and several other sources, this is the largest North America restructuring for GM since its bankruptcy during the recession a decade ago. The company has said that tariffs on imported steel have cost them $1 billion.
GM will half all production at its Lordstown, Ohio, Hamtramck, Michigan, and Oshawa, Ontario plants. Additionally, the factories in Baltimore, Maryland and Warren, Michigan will have no products assigned to their locations after 2019 and will likely be closed. The models Chevy Cruz, Cadillac CT6, and Buick LaCrosse will be halted.
Further, the company plans to cut 15% of its salaried North American workforce. That equals about 8,000 jobs on top of those expected to be lost in the aforementioned plant closings.
WISCONSIN HEALTH OFFICIALS URGE FLU SHOTS
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is encouraging Wisconsin residents to get a flu shot during this holiday season.
"We all want to project our elderly relatives, the new babies joining the family tree, students home from school, and other family and friends who gather at our homes for holiday events," said State Health Officer Karen KcKeown. "Getting a flu shot is a great way to help keep yourself- and your holiday guests- healthy this flu season."
7,530 people were hospitalized due to flu-related complications during the 2017-2018 fly season, and 379 people died, including three children.
The Department of Health Services says there are ample supplies of flu vaccines available among health care providers and pharmacies and its effective for people ages 6 months and older.
Additionally, DHS is urging you to wash your hands ofen with soap and water, or use alcohol-based santizer; cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve, and try to avoid touching your face; use your own drinking cups and straws; avoid being exposed to people who are sick; eat nutritious meals, get plenty of rest, do not smoke; frequently clean common surfaces, and more.