Welcome back to another Weekly Insider.
This week will bring you news from the Capitol and around Wisconsin, circulating legislation, your weekly poll responses, an all new Weekly Member Poll, and another Property Taxpayer of the Week!
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 email@example.com.
Have a great week,
PROPERTY TAXPAYER OF THE WEEK
Today we talk to Monica Koellen, President of Henrich Industries, Inc. a locally owned and operated trucking company in Mayville, and this week's Property Taxpayer of the Week.
We started out by asking Monica what her biggest source of pride is when it came to her business.
"Having quality employees is number one," she responded. "They are my salesmen when it comes to the trucking industry."
But it's not easy as easy as putting up a "hiring" sign and having workers come flocking to her direction. It's a challenge.
"Finding them [is a challenge]. Since the e-log mandate and federal regulations, not having enough drivers is always in my picture of business along with the rest of the industry," she explained. "I employ 10 full time employees and 3 part time as well."
But her other source of pride is customer satisfaction, and as far as metrics, it can't get much better.
"A source of pride is on-time delivery. It's at 99% for companies," she said. "And another source of pride is taking the time to help companies reach their transport needs on a yearly basis."
Federal regulations on trucking seem to be the biggest government impediment to success when it comes to Monica's company, along with fuel tax, she said. She's certainly not alone with that opinion.
Monica grew up in Juneau, WI and graduated from Dodgeland High School. She has been married for 27 years, and has two children. "No grandkids, just grand dogs," she quipped.
In her free time, she enjoys golfing and bowling, and told us that her favorite place in Wisconsin is Green Bay because her parents and sister live there.
We wish Monica and all of those at Henrich Industries continued success in the future.
NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL
AND AROUND WISCONSIN
LATEST MU LAW POLL: ALL TIED UP
The latest Marquette University Law School Poll shows that Governor Scott Walker and Democrat Tony Evers are in a dead head when it comes to the race for the state's highest office.
Among registered voters, Governor Walker garnered 47 percent, while Evers had 46 percent. The martin of error among likely voters was +/- 3.9 percent, but Governor Walker has erased Tony Evers' five-point-lead, which the Democrat held in the last election.
In the U.S. Senate race, Senator Tammy Baldwin held a 10-point lead over Republican challenger State Senator Leah Vukmir of Brookfield, 53 to 43.
The race for state Attorney General, which has received much less media attention compared to the above two mentioned races, saw incumbent AG Brad Schimel heading off his opponent, Democrat Josh Kaul 47 to 43 percent.
One pollster said the numbers may be so different between the races for Governor and U.S. Senate because there may be more "ticket-splitting" going on than in years past. In this case, individuals would be supporting both of the incumbents on the ballot, Gov. Walker and Senator Baldwin.
WALKER ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR WPT'S #1 AGENDA ITEM: 2/3rds SCHOOL FUNDING
With a higher K-12 funding commitment from the State of Wisconsin, property taxpayers are on the hook for less, and tend to drop, at least when it comes to school funding. That's why WPT has adopted the 2/3rds funding stance as our #1 agenda item for decades, since the state made the commitment in the early 1990s.
Today, Governor Walker announced that he is re-elected, he will increase General Transportation Aids from 19.8% to 30% for Counties. He also announced that he will fund schools at 2/3rds if he is re-elected. Currently, the state covers about 65.4%, so the additional 1.2% to make it 66.6% would cost an additional $130 million.
Evers said he wants to increase state funding for schools by $1.4 billion dollars over two years.
DEMOCRAT EVERS SUPPORTS REPEALING MANUFACTURING & AGRICULTURAL TAX CREDIT
The manufacturing and agricultural tax credit, which has been a source of contention since its passage multiple budgets ago, is taking center stage once again.
According to a Tony Evers spokesperson, it's "pretty clear" that the Wisconsin economy is "working for wealthy corporate interests, not Wisconsin families," therefore she says Evers "believes Wisconsin's tax structure should be affair, and that includes repealing the 'Man & Ag' corporate handout so we can prioritize helping hardworking families get ahead."
Evers proposes to cut income taxes by 10 percent for low and middle-income earners in the state, a lofty $340 million goal, and to do so by repealing the credit. Anybody making under $100,000 would receive the income tax deduction, and any family making under $150,000.
Governor Walker defended the manufacturing and agriculture credit, which all-but eliminates income taxes for farmers and manufacturers around the state, as essential to attracting and keeping jobs in the state. Removing the tax credit, the Governor said, "would be taking out a lot of growth and prosperity in the state." A Walker spokesperson responded to Evers' income tax plan by saying that "hard-working families won't be fooled by last-minute media stunts attempting to erase [Evers' plan to raise taxes.]"
JURY AWARDS TRANSGENDER INDIVIDUALS $780,000
After Obama-appointed Federal Judge William Conley found that elective gender reassignment surgery has to be paid for by state tax dollars, and any bans on such surgeries by the state are "sex discrimination," a jury has now awarded a transgender UW-Madison employee $479,500 and a transgender UW-Madison student $301,000.
The original lawsuit was filed by the ACLU on behalf of UW School of Medicine researcher Shannon Andrews and graduate student Alina Boyden, and alleged violations of the Civil Rights Act.
The State of Wisconsin's Group Insurance Board in August voted 5-4 to overturn the ban on January 1st. As such, the Wisconsin Department of Justice is evaluating any possible recourse, including a potential appeal.
XCEL ENERGY PROPOSES ALLOWING CUSTOMERS TO GET ENERGY FROM WIND AND SOLAR
Xcel Energy last week proposed a new program that would allow its Wisconsin customers to choose energy generated exclusively from wind and solar resources.
The company submitted its proposal for Renewable*Connect in a filing with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. If approved, Xcel Energy customers who subscribe to Renewable*Connect will be able to secure up to 100 percent of their electricity from a blend of wind and solar resources on the company's Upper Midwest system, which are specifically dedicated to the program.
Renewable*Connect is being offered on the hells of the successful Solar*Connect Community program, which is now almost fully subscribed, and is Wisconsin's largest solar gardening program serving Xcel Energy subscribers.
"Our customers want more options when it comes to their energy, and this new program will help them meet their sustainability goals," said Mark Stoering, president of Xcel Energy-Wisconsin. "Renewable*Connect is another way we can provide more clean-energy options at prices that continue to be affordable and competitive."
LA CROSSE COUNTY TASK FORCE: ACTION NEEDED ON NITRATE POLLUTION IN GROUNDWATER
If you live in Onalaksa or Holland, your groundwater contains nitrate levels that are considered by experts to be unsafe for your consumption, particularly for infants and pregnant women. Without changes, according to the La Crosse County Nitrate Well Water Task Force, the problems will only get worse, and probably harder to enact changes as time goes on.
In addition to reviewing and rewriting state and local rules to help prevent further contamination, mitigate current contamination, and to reduce human consumption, the Nitrate Well Water Task Force offered a list of other recommendations.
Among those are to develop an educational campaign that would help keep residents informed of risks, extend Holmen and Onalaska's current municipal water infrastructure to reduce usage of contaminated wells, limit new development in areas that cannot be connected to municipal water infrastructure or uncontaminated wells, purchasing land now used for growing crops and using it for non-agricultural purposes, and requiring new "green zones" in new developments where no chemicals or manure could be added to the ground.
16 COUNTIES WILL HOLD MARIJUANA REFERENDA
How do you feel about medicinal or recreational marijuana? If you live in one of 16 counties, accounting for about half of the population of the entire State of Wisconsin, you will have the chance to voice your opinion at the polls in Election Day in November.
While all of the referenda are advisory in nature, and thus will not actually do anything as far as the law goes, voters will be able to voice their opinion on an issue that has been sweeping the nation in popularity and politically.
Voters will be asked one or all of the following questions; Should marijuana be legalized for medicinal use? Should marijuana be legalized and regulated for adults 21 years of age and older? Should marijuana sales be taxed for state and local revenue?
One report from Colorado's Division of Criminal Justice published this summer found that only six percent of those arrested and given toxicology screens had marijuana in their systems, while 91 percent had alcohol in their system. This has led to a huge rift among those who believe in legalization and those who do not, and those who believe that marijuana does not have the same impacts as alcohol consumption. T
hat split in opinion has even come up in the race for Governor, where Tony Evers supports medicinal legalization, and has said full recreational legalization should only be approved by voters in a statewide referendum. Governor Walker is fully opposed to marijuana legalization, citing his communications with law enforcement officials, and calling it a gateway drug.
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
Assembly Minority Leader Hintz suggested that lawmakers might be able to compromise on a Medicaid expansion if Evers is elected. Assembly speaker Robin Vos said he does not want more people on government health care, and Wisconsin will "never" accept the money. Where do you stand?
Bring more money into the state and have some sympathy for the working poor.
What happens when Feds pull money out?
Walker made the right decision. This is all part of Obamacare, the worst thing that could have happened to baby boomers. I have family that work in the medical field and those who are covered with Badger Care are ruining healthcare for the paying customers. Doctors actually loose money providing care of Badgercare patients
government should not be in insurance at all - period
Federal gov gets you signed on with money then a year later money evaporates and then State is stuck with the bill. We have Badger care!
Wisconsin is doing just fine without it.
Even though I run a business, I don't make much, and I've been back and forth between ObamaCare for my family and some ObamaCare/Badgercare for the family. At some point, there's this nasty little slice of the population that's just on the edge of being able to afford it, but really cannot. And we fall into that. We had to not only pay our premiums but also the full $10,000 deductible, which really HURT our finances. So I can see medicaid expansion as something that works, for the people who earn it, and not for the druggies, the lazies, etc.
we do not need more government payouts
I am afraid of the "strings" that come with the federal money.
Too much Government control already
less government is the goal, democrats love socialism
Vos said it, no more on government health care.Time for universal health
What strings are attached by the feds?
If Medicaid Expansion was proposed by President McCain, the GOP would have passed it 8 years ago.
La Crosse County will ask voters how to pay for its $100 million in unfunded roads obligations. The ballot will give voters three options to pay for roads. How would you vote?
None of the above, they're all a tax; which will never fix the problems because the money will be spent on other things instead of the roads. The city should have been planning and implementing repairs over several years before it got to be such major funding issue.
Push for gas tax increase and more State road aid.
tax the vehicles that use the roads
no more property!! more gas for the roads
it's more your choice than being assessed higher property tax or wheel tax.
How about option four. Be more responsible with the taxes you collect now and live with in your budget LaCrosse
every one gets hit a little and there is no new bureaucracy to fund to collect the money.
People won't notice the .5% sales tax as much as they would the property taxes or wheel taxes.
All of these are poor choices!
I didn't answer because I don't like the three options. I think that the people need to be polled to find out what they want, and government shouldn't be dictating it.
I'm not happy about any tax increase but the PRAT seems most fair. Our roads are bad
I don't like any of them, more taxes. I am glad I do not live in LaCrosse County.
does it matter, there will never be enough money as government spends before funds are accounted for, always going to play catch up
None of these choices are exceptable
Wheel tax as all taxes are distasteful,but those of us who use the roads should help pay for them,although everyone benefits from roads.
Property taxes spread out the pain best.
i do not want to pay any higher taxes foe anything
The new deer hunting regulations have officially been revoked by a legislative committee, but Gov. Walker said he will re-implement the rule with lawmakers. Where do you stand?
No hunting this year, have not been deer hunting since 1981
cwd could wipe out all deer hunting
who determines if CWD is present or not present. Never saw a deer yet that did not ignore a county line.
I don't deer hunt anymore
no not hunting, We have a deer population problem a solution needs to be found
I'm not a deer hunter,but shouldn't we try to stop the spread of CWD?
With nearly 500 crashes per year, Outagamie County will ask the Wisconsin DOT to lower the speed limit from 70 to 55 on I-41 between Appleton and De Pere. Good idea or bad idea?
Even lowering to 65 would help and then strict enforcement.
Travel I90/94 from Portage north. It is a nightmare from Portage to north of Wisconsin Dells at times. Many "scary" drivers on this stretch of the interstate, and many of them residents of Wisconsin, I hate to say.
Good idea if there is construction going on
How about fixing the road so it can accomadate the traffic on it in a safe manner. Lowering speed limit is a short term fix!
Very congested area. People dodging in and out of traffic. If they lower the speed limit, they really need to advertise it otherwise most people will keep driving 75-80 mph. Have a police car visable at all times.
I don't think they should drop it down to 55, maybe back to 65 or 60. Through Appleton I understand 55 due to the many exits, but not between Little Chute and De Pere
US HWY 8 going east from MN border. Poor design
Good idea, then the average speed will probably go from the current 80+ to about 70!!
lets focus on driver safety, the driving skills are at a low, instead of speed limit
I rarely travel this Hwy.
If it's 70 people will go 75-80.I think 70 is nuts!
Let the locals make the decision.
Do you drive the speed limit? If not, why? Do you go exactly the speed limit? Five over? Ten over? Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket?
Never received a speeding citation. ... Usually drive near the limit *I try to flow with the traffic, even if a couple over the limit.
whatever I can manage--haven't been cited for 25 years
yes I travel the speed limit. Sometimes 5 over depending upon the speed of traffic. Many people are abusing the limit and traveling 80 and above.
I usually do not drive the speed limit, but will respect those who do and will not tailgate them. I will drive about 4 miles over the speed limit, give or take a few and never have gotten a speeding ticket.
5-10 over. Not in the last 40 years
I'll admit I speed, but if you have someone going at or below the speed limit, they are a hazard to others on the road to cause congestion and potentiate accidents. I drive at 5 or so miles over the speed limit only to keep up with traffic.
I try to go the speed limit, maybe go 5 over. Never got a ticket.
Yes I have gotten a speeding ticket, actually twice. I usually drive 3 to 5 over the limit
I drive chronically over the limit on the freeway normall 5 miles over but if trafic is rolling at 80 i follow traffic. Last speeding ticket was 36 years ago. I was 32 at the time!
I drive 5 miles over the posted limit. Always use my cruise control, even in town. Never got a speeding ticket.
I go typically withing 3-5 mph over the speed limit.
I usually drive close to the speed limit
Five over. I am 81 and never got any kind of moving violation ticket.
5 over. no tickets
I go the speed limit to 5 over depending on conditions. Sometimes you must go the 5 over or get run over.
Im usually 7-8 over on highway, and 3 or so over in a 25 zone
5 over usually, Long time since I've gotten a ticket.
I drive around the speed limit, if you go the speed limit all traffic moves away, easier to drive
Usually over. Have gotten speeding tickets
I try to drive the speed limit or very close to it.I find that a lot of cars go flying past me.They aren't even close to the speed limit.Some drivers are nuts!
2 or 3 miles over, safer. Never got a speeding ticket.
I consistently drive 10 over. I've gotten one ticket, about 25 years ago. -- I do find it interesting, I commute 40 miles a day through Milwaukee County's freeways. I *never* see a squad car policing the area during these rush hours. I honestly don't know where they are.
I drive the speed limit , the wife says I drive to slow
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.