Everything you need to know for the week ahead.
OCTOBER 22, 2018


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 info@wptonline.org.

Have a great week,

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Governor Walker late last week announced that President Trump has approved a federal disaster declaration to assist individuals and local communities impacted by flooding and storms in August in September. Governor Walker requested disaster aid from the federal government earlier this month.

"This is welcome news to many people whose lives were impacted by recent flooding," Governor Walker said in a statement last week. "There still is a lot of work to be done and more assistance that is needed."

Under the declaration, individuals, families, and businesses in Crawford, Dane, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, Sauk, and Vernon counties are now eligible to apply for federal disaster assistance.

Several other counties that also sustained damage from flooding and tornadoes are still under review by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the Individual Assistance Program. THose counties are Adams, Columbia, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Jefferson, Marquette, Ozaukee, and Washington. Governor Walker said the state will continue to work with affected individuals and businesses in those counties to provide disaster relief.

For the eighth straight month, Wisconsin's unemployment rate stands at three percent or less. And if that isn't good enough news, the state also added a statistically significant number of jobs over the year, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) last week released the BLS revisions for August 208 and preliminary estimates for September covering the employment and job statistics for the state. Wisconsin added 35,900 private-sector jobs from September 2017 to September 2018, with 22,800 manufacturing jobs added over the same time period. The state also added 41,700 non-farm jobs from September '17 to September '18.

Manufacturing jobs in September totaled nearly 490,000, the highest level since September 2008, and Wisconsin now ranks 2nd nationally for manufacturing jobs added over the year.

DWD Secretary Ray Allen said, "The fact that our unemployment rate has been at or below 3 percent for eight straight months speaks volumes about the strength of the Wisconsin economy. Year over year, we've experienced significant growth in private-sector jobs, with manufacturing leading the way. These are family-supporting jobs that bring stability to our communities and keep the Wisconsin economy diverse and strong."

As the horrific story of missing Barron County teen Jayme Closs continues to leave investigators puzzled, they are now seeking the help from the community in order to continue the search.

A ground search ensued last Thursday with about 100 volunteers giving their time to assist efforts, and now, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald is asking for 20 times that amount for Tuesday, telling reporters that the search would not be continuing at this level "unless investigators received a tip that justified them continuing," according to WISN News Milwaukee.

The sheriff also told the Associated Press today that "something triggered" law enforcement's decision to conduct another ground search, and hinted that it would include the area around the Closs home in Barron.

The search is scheduled to begin at 9AM on Tuesday. Individuals wishing to volunteer can call the Barron County Sheriff's Office at (715) 537-5814 for more information.

The Federal Highway Administration and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation completed and signed the WIS 23 LIMITED SCOPE SUPPLEMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT AND RECORD OF DECISION last week, and they have determined that the highway 23 in Fond du Lac and Sheboygan Counties needs to be converted to a four-lane expressway.

Construction on the expressway would begin next summer in Sheboygan County and finish in Fond du Lac County in 2022. That's right; three more years of construction for families and businesses in that region, though perhaps for the better. The highway will be designated as an "expressway," which allows for future modifications like interchanges or overpasses. 

According to the DOT, 615 of 700 comments submitted in June regarding the highway were in favor of a four-lane concept, as well as most of those individuals who attended an in-person public hearing. In 2015, the project was put on hold after a lawsuit was filed from an environmental group. Those concerns were now put to rest with the new plan, according to DOT Secretary Dave Ross.

As the race heats up between Governor Scott Walker and Democrat Party candidate Tony Evers, and between U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and her Republican challenger State Senator Leah Vukmir, the political heavyweights have their eyes locked onto the Badger State.  
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump will land at the Mosinee airport, south of Wausau, to hold a rally at the airport. To many people's surprise, Trump won the State of Wisconsin in 2016, albeit narrowly, but the first Republican presidential candidate to carry the state since 1984. The sitting U.S. President plans to talk about the need for expanding Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress. This will be Trump's first visit to Wisconsin since the Foxconn groundbreaking in June.
On the Democrat side of the ticket, former President Barack Obama is planning a visit to the City of Milwaukee, where he will urge rally-goers to vote for Tammy Baldwin and Tony Evers. Obama will also be joined by Congresswoman Gwen Moore, and Congressional Democrat candidates Dan Kohl and Randy Bryce.   
Governor Walker said today that if he is re-elected in the week after next, he will not approve massive interstate projects in Milwaukee, despite a major $1 billion project waiting in the wings to revitalize East/West I-94.

The Governor told WISN 1130AM Radio, "we're not doing massive new interchanges in Milwaukee. We're just not going to do them for a while. We needed to finish the work on the Marquette and then on the Zoo, but we need a break here."

Recently, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, along with countless other business leaders, have lobbied the state government to rebuild I-94 between the Marquette Interchange in downtown and the Zoo Interchange on the west side of Milwaukee County. The corridor is one of the busiest for commerce in Wisconsin, and has not been updated in decades. The Governor supported the project at first, but officially put it on hold last year.

In the ongoing wheel tax litany, the Portage County Board will likely become the 28th municipality or county in the state to implement on wheel tax when it votes on November 20th.

Highway Commissioner Nathan Check said that Portage County has been in the habit of borrowing money to meet its road maintenance obligations, and after assessing numerous options available to them, borrowing is no longer sustainable. According to board members, the wheel tax will be $25, which is on the higher end of this type of fee in Wisconsin.

The City of Manitowoc will also consider a $20 wheel tax on November 14th, when their local government will begin debating their next budget at City Hall. Mayor Justin Nickels is calling for a near-five-percent increase in the city's budget, including a 0.73 percent increase on property tax in order to $30 million in capital projects, $6 million on roads and sidewalks, over $1 million on parks, including splash pads at parks, a new public dock for boaters, bike stands, and an all-new dog park.

Rising mortgages might be the cause, but then again experts believe hurricanes might be to blame- either way, U.S. home construction fell 5.3 percent last month according to the Commerce Department, slipping to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.2 million. That's down from 1.27 million in August. New home starts have been up by 6.4 percent this year, but slowed since its peak in May.

Freddie Mac released a statement saying that 30-year-fixed rate mortgages rose to 4.9 percent last week, the highest level since 2011, fueled by higher costs for borrowing and rising home values.

The decreases in housing starts began in the South and Midwest last month, but then moved to the Northeast and Western parts of the state. Permits also dropped by 0.6 percent.

MADISON- The rainy planting and growing seasons have stretched into harvest season, making farmers eager to get crops off the fields and spread manure. But impatience can lead to spreading in high-risk conditions, state conservation officials advise.

Storage facilities may be getting full, because many farmers haven't spread manure since spring, and all the rain this summer and fall raised the level of open manure pits. But spreading manure when rain is on the way and soil is already saturated could carry it to streams, threatening water quality and depriving crops of nutrients.

One way farmers can judge when to spread manure is to check the Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast, available online at manureadvisorysystem.wi.gov. The runoff forecast provides maps showing short-term risk for daily application planning, taking into account factors including soil moisture, weather forecast, crop cover, snow cover, and slope. It is updated three times daily by the National Weather Service.

The most recent MU Law poll shows the race between Gov. Scott Walker and Democrat Tony Evers basically all tied up. In order to compare your predictions in August to now, tell us; How do you think this will shake out?  
Hope Evers losses along with Baldwin but afraid not

Don't understand this question.

vote for less government

Vukmirhas a toughter race but its about time we get rid of Baldwin

Baldwin has a very cleverly constructed set of campaign ads. "She's for us" Too bad she isn't for the unborn babies that she advocates killing. Walker should keep hammering educrat Evers on taxes, Walker's commecials where he gives us straight talk are the best. The educrat tool of the teachers union wants to kill school choice and throw money at the underperfoming schools. that will not improve education.

Walker got around 53% of the vote each time he ran. I believe more than 3% have switched parties in the past 2 years. Evers will win in a tight race. Vukmir will lose because she is awful.

It sucks that Baldwin will win. She's similar to do-nothing Herb Kohl (who bought his Senate seat) in that the only time you hear from them is in election speeches and ads.

Money wins these 2 have the most money

I hope they win, we don't need Evers, he doesn't offer much for the future.

Looking at their record, Evers hasn't made education better, Walker has gotten us out of the hole, and rejected FED medicaid $$, that's huge. Tammy has not really done too much, but I am not sure what happened at the VA, or whether she is responsible for that. Vukmir's introduction to politics is a noble one, and she has the support of politicians who have a good record of governing for the people. Don't watch the ads anymore; Scott holes? Who came up with that stupid idea, I suppose La Crosse County, ;)

I am hoping that folks will realize how bad of a deal Evers is proposing, and realize that Freedom and Liberty are better choices.

I don't believe polls anymore...

Forward progress is with Walker/Vukmir

Does not matter a LOT. ... they are aLL crooked.

Incumbency will take the edge on two very boring candidates.

I'm voting Walker and Baldwin. I don't generally like Baldwin but she's done more for the Ag community than any of these other clowns.

Polling is B.S. I can get any answer I want depending on where the poll is taken.

Democrat candidate for governor Tony Evers would like to repeal the Manufacturing & Agriculture Tax Credit, and use the savings to reduce income taxes by 10% for individuals making under $100,000 and families making under $150,000. Good idea or bad idea?
Don't know enough about this.

We need to suport and promote the farmers and manufacturers in our state. We are losing family farms, in large numbers every month.

Tony likes taxes and I do not see helping helping low income earners

How can he reduce taxes when he wants to raise them? Let's keep manufacturers here and help WI farmers survive in this depressed ag economy. Our whole state benefits from both.

The M&A credit should be repealed, but no tax cuts for any group. We need money for roads and schools after years of cutting taxes for the wealthy.

Evers don't care because he doesn't farm. Very very Bad Idea. Start cutting the throats of the farmer and see what else happens. We are the backbone of the economy.

this is one of the best tax credits in the state

I dislike Ever's plan, The farmers & Manfacturing is going good,, Keep him out !!!

It would kill farmers

Don't repeal the Mfg & Ag Credit. DO help the families!

Remember its just election talk, I dont trust Evers to follow through with anything he says. His only concern is the public school system

It will kill jobs

Once again a democratic candidate for governor is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the public. The democratic motto "anything for a vote" way to go Tony Evers


Xcel Energy is proposing a program that allows its customers to choose whether or not they want their electricity to come exclusively from wind and solar. Good idea or bad idea?  
Let's utilize clean energy.

I support every measure we can take to produce clean affordable energy.

Do they run different lines for solar? Just how does this work?

How they going to implement this?

if they want pay more for the "green" energy let them

choices are good I guess. Do I have a choice who I buy my power from?

Why should customers amde this dicission, what is public service for

If people want to do that-fine,as long as it doesn't cost the rest of us more money.

What's not to like? Let customers decide.

As long as Xcel fully discloses and charges the full price for each

if people want to have personal sized wind terbines & use solar panels, more power to them. they should read the benefits with the power companies

I like encouraging the wind and solar industry

Not if it means they are getting subsidies

Should have done this a LONG time ago!!!! Just like CenturyLink, sounds like Xcel is playing catch-up!

Let the people who think wind and solar make sense pay for it.

The WHOLE GRID is interconnected. this is a feel-good idea.

I guess I'm not smart enough to know why this would be a good idea OR a bad idea. What does it matter? If they offer to me a cheaper rate for one type over the other, I'd choose whatever costs me less.

This is how the free market works, people! Right here!

16 counties in Wisconsin will hold referenda regarding marijuana. Is this going to appear on the ballot in your community?
Medical use only.

I have been to Colorado and Nevada where recreational use is legal. those that want to use it are going to use it. I say let's tax it and regulate it. My schools need more tax money and legalizing it will help fill our "pot" holes in our roads!

Legalize medical.

Tax, tax,tax

maybe tightly regulated medical use would be ok

Legitimate medical uses ok if it really helps.Recreational-definitely not. We have enough problems with alcohol. There is no good purpose for "recreational" use. Reduces motivation and yes it opens the door to other drug uses.

Every year Wisconsin doesn't tax weed sales, they lose money. Marijuana sales in WI is INEVITABLE.

Uncertain why, with all the other issues we have, marijuana makes so many headlines. But if it's fully vetted as "necessary" then I guess it's OK

make it legal and tax it similar to alcohol

I think for medical use is good, but Recreational is not and it should Taxed and regulated.

No to legalizing pot, yes to medical marijuana

Im all for it. Extra Tax $, it is a naturally grown plant and would be better if regulated. Much safer if regulated. Should be legal statewide.

NO. Marijuana messes up your brain, and I don't care what the "experts" say. I have yet to meet a user who isn't distinctly mentally different after using... NOT good...

Medicinal is a no-brainer! Recreational I'm not sure however it would probably reduce the opioid problem.

I feel both medical and recreational should be legalized and taxed. I don't personally care for marijuana but I don't think it is any more detrimental than alcohol and would bring in more tax revenue.

Not sure, but I live in Dane county so I am sure we are in.

Medical mainly. Recreation if passed should to highly taxed.

Medical marijuana only

Legal for medical puropses... Pain management, seizure control, and further research on canibinnoids.

For medical purposes (prescription), I'm not sure how it could be any worse than many of the powerful, addictive drugs already on the market. If legalized, yes, tax and regulate, as with any other Rx drug. I'd be happy to grow it for my local pharmacy. Can't get better than locally grown and sold!

Who cares. I don't buy the gateway drug argument and this is just one more thing for big government to stick its nose in. Tax in Colorado is at 25%. Was just out there. Beautiful roads. Great schools. Let's talk revenue. Also, as far as impaired or dangerous driving, when is texting and driving going to carry the same penalty as DUI?

It's starting to feel a lot more like autumn, even winter, in most of Wisconsin. The leaves are changing color, falling, and the temperatures have dropped quite a bit. What are your favorite spots in Wisconsin to view trees' peak colors? How about your favorite autumn activities in the state? Share your favorite autumn activities and locations below.
Too busy getting everything ready for winter. Thankfully the farm provides some beautiful scenery.

View leaves at home.

Favorite autumn activity is watching my crops get harvested without the combine getting stuck or making big ruts in overly wet fields.

We were in Door County this weekend, it was gorgeous.

My favorite spot is right out my front window in our house. Can look down the valley and hillsides and see all the nice colors. But this year is not a good year for colors cause of all the rain we have had this fall.

My back yard and 67 acres

WI river near Portage

Sheboygan County is changing colors now,, so pretty. Don't like the cold weather. I like fall because I like putting things away , cleaning windows and staying inside.

Anywhere in Wisconsin! Campfires and working outside

Apple picking & pumpkin picking makes a great family activity.

Granite Peak Irma Roadtrips

hunting and fishing

Sitting on porch in backyard watching color an deer, an fox play in the back pastures,

Definitely the Northwoods, Door county, and the shores of Lake Superior

I love driving on I39 through the Wausau hills on the way to our cabin. Small lakes on calm days in Northern Wisconsin are the best,

Fishing hunting and being a tourist in WI I do like Door County

My favorite place to view the beautiful fall colors is right here in the woods on my own farm. If I have to leave the farm to view the fall colors, I'd view them from the top of the steeple at Holy Hill in Hubertus.

Pumpkin patch. Carving pumpkins. Raking- the satisfaction of a newly raked yard is great and some great exercise.

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.     
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