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!
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Have a great week,
For all information regarding voting in Wisconsin's election on Tuesday, November 5th, including polling locations and hours, what you will need to bring to your polling location, registration, and access to sample ballots and more, we suggest that you visit myvote.wi.gov. This site is an official resource from the State of Wisconsin, and is not authorized by any candidates or campaign committees, and can provide personalized voting information for each individual in Wisconsin. Please take a moment to visit the site if you have any questions about tomorrow's process or regulations.
NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL
AND AROUND WISCONSIN
CANDIDATES CROSS-CROSS STATE IN FINAL PUSH
The two candidates for Governor, which will be decided tomorrow, are criss-crossing the entire state in the final push leading up to the polls closing at 8PM on Tuesday.
As the Journal Sentinel points out, the candidates are ending their campaigns in the same way they started them, with Governor Walker focused on taxes, jobs and the economy, and Tony Evers focused on healthcare and schools.
Evers was campaigning in southern Wisconsin on Monday, while Governor Walker flew to La Crosse, Eau Claire, Schofield, De Pere, and will end his night at a rally in Waukesha, which is one of the strongest Republican counties in the United States.
Evers told a crowd that he wanted to work in Madison and not use that as a stop to work someplace else, obviously a jab at Governor Walker's short-lived run for US President. Walker took jabs at Evers by claiming the state's school superintendent would hike taxes, resulting in job losses.
The most recent Marquette University Law School Poll, considered by many to be the "gold standard" of in-state political polling, showed Governor Walker and Superintendent Evers tied at 47 percentage points apiece among likely voters.
WALKER ACTIVATES NATIONAL GUARD FOR ELECTIONS
Governor Walker late last week activated the Wisconsin National Guard, authorizing troops in the guard's cyber security team to help the elections commission if needed.
In the executive order itself, the text reads, "the preservation of democracy through a fairy electoral process is a fundamental part of the American system of government, which is founded on the principle that the power to govern resides in the people" and "every precaution must be taken to ensure the integrity of the election process throughout the state."
According to Governor Walker, the Adjutant General of the Wisconsin National Guard approached him and said that after speaking with his personnel, he'd like to have the troops on call and ready. The Governor said in order to do that, he'd have to issue an executive order.
But Elections Commission spokeswoman said she can't remember a time when a Governor has issued an order doing this, though an analysis of voting systems across the country recently found that Wisconsin's was susceptible to hacking.
WISCONSIN VOUCHER SCHOOL ENROLLMENT JUMPS
This year, 39,381 students across Wisconsin will attend 279 private schools under the three major voucher programs in the state, according to newly-released numbers.
The total cost to taxpayers will be a $302 million this year, or less than one percent of the entire budget in terms of spending. In contracts, the cost of public schools is more than $12 billion dollars, or about 20 percent of the state budget in terms of spending.
Advocates of the programs say the near-40,000 student enrollment is confirmation that parents want options when sending their children to school, but opponents believe this program is crippling public education, though only accounts for a fraction of the actual costs of its public counterparts.
This year, school participation is up to 213 schools from 154 in the statewide program, who also saw a jump of 57 students to 7,140 in the last year. In the Racine program, 3,324 students are enrolled, and in the Milwaukee program, nearly 29,000 students.
GOV. WALKER ANNOUNCES 32% DECREASE IN OPIOID PRESCRIPTIONS SINCE JANUARY 2015
Governor Walker last week announced continued progress in the fight against opioid abuse with 32% decrease in opioid prescriptions dispensed since January 2015. The report was released by the Controlled Substances Board at the Department of Safety and Professional Services.
The report analyzes the Wisconsin Prescription Drug Monitoring Program data from Q3 2018 as part of the controlled substance dispensing trends. Data released shows a continued decline in opioid and other monitored prescriptions throughout 2018.
"This program is another example of how Wisconsin is leading the nation on combating the opioid epidemic," said Governor Walker. "It takes the combined effort of medical professionals, law enforcement, and local communities to make a difference and I am proud of the role the Wisconsin PDMP is playing in this fight."
The report shows that 89,000 fewer opioid prescriptions were dispensed, representing a 9 percent reduction over the past 12 months. There was also a 4% increase in Suboxone prescriptions, and all six types of data-driven concerning patient history alerts have declined in frequency.
GOV. WALKER'S MEDICAID WORK REQUIREMENT APPROVED
The Trump Administration in Washington, D.C. has approved a plan by Governor Walker to require childless adults who are on Medicaid in Wisconsin (BadgerCare) must work or lose coverage. Governor Walker also wanted to require drug testing, but the Trump administration rejected that component.
Low-income adults who have no dependent children will be required to work, trail for a job, or participate in other activities, or they might see their eligibility for BadgerCare reduced to four years. Wisconsin will also be able to charge premiums up to $8 along with $8 co-pays for emergency room visits for issues that might not be considered "emergencies." Not smoking or maintaining a healthy weight will reduce the premiums.
The work requirement will apply to "able-bodied" adults between the ages of 19 to 49. If they do not work, they will first lose their coverage for six months, and then be allowed to re-apply. Indiana, Arkansas, and New Hampshire are the only other three states to have a work requirement for Medicaid.
WISCONSIN EXPORTS FLAT, IMPORTS UP
According to new U.S. Census Bureau data, Wisconsin's exports were down 0.1 percent, essentially flat, through the end of September. Wisconsin companies exported $17.36 billion in goods and services through that time. Imports in Wisconsin skyrocketed 12.3 percent to $22.47 billion, which outpaced the national average of 9.4 percent.
According to the Census Bureau, Wisconsin's export numbers were stagnant due to extraordinarily large shipments to Saudi Arabia in 2017, which saw more than $720 million in goods shipped. In contrast, only $142 million were shipped to Saudia Arabia in 2018.
According to BizTimes Milwaukee, if you exclude the Saudia Arabia numbers, Wisconsin's totals are up 3.4 percent this year, though total shipments to Asia are down 10.3 percent. Shipments to Mexico are up 5.2 percent, and Canada is up 3 percnet.
The top growth destinations were 22.6 percent to Germany, 16.7 percent to South Korea, and 13.5 percent to the Netherlands.
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
61 school districts will be holding referenda, asking for a cumulative $1.4 billion in new debt or revenue limit increases (property tax increases.) Will the school district in your community be asking for property tax increases on the ballot in November?
Jefferson, $775,000 recurring!
Enough with the spending. Live with in your budget. The citizens of Wisconsin have to live with in a budget.
Already did. Don't know how much. Know the best part? The bidding process kept all the local guys from bidding on the project. Was great... total crap final job, too...
I vote no i pay to much in taxes now, haven't had a kid in school or 30 years should get a tax break beibg retired
Government entity need to control spending not increase funding, taxpayers have to balance their personal check books
The DNR will allow for a high-capacity well to move forward, even though a judge already invalidated the permits, claiming it would do irreparable harm to nearby "high-quality" trout streams. What are your thoughts?
It seems everytime a issue comes up it taken in front of a judge, who seem to know everything even they haven gone to school for the issue
The high capacity wells tend to serve only a few, do not like the idea of them.
I do not have enough information on how the legalities of this work
High capacity wells are genereally 4 to 500 feet deep. I fail to see a connection with ground water in streams that comes from surface of less than 60 feet deep generally springs that are found in 25 ft or less.
Watch the water levels. If they drop shut off the wells.
The DNR have trained experts to offer the best opinion
The state's Commute to Careers program has been expanded. The program connects workers with affordable transportation to and from work or training programs. Is affordable transportation to and from work an issue in your community?
One mile. Don't think this is an issue in Verona.
The rural communities that rely on agricultural to drive their economies are really hurting. The small family dairy farms are going to meet their deaths, if something isn't done soon to turn around this industry.
We waste a lot of state and federal (your gas tax and mine) dollars on a municipal bus system that very few ride. There's jobs here. When I was in my twenties and very poor, we car pooled and/or shared gas cost. You can get to work if you want.
Move to where the job is. If money is right then drive to work. The government does not need to subsidize your job and where you chose to live.
I know a lot of people who won't commute, period. My first job was with CESA 11 out of Turtle Lake, and for the first 2-3 months, as I tracked down new living arrangements, my commute was 3 hours each way. That's right, six hours on the road on top of the 9 hour work day. Then it became 1 hour after I moved, but 1 hour to each location I worked. Then I took a job in the town where I lived, and it was a 15-20 minute commute. Now I have a 2 block commute. I love it. But I run into a TON of people who won't get jobs because they have to drive more than 20 minutes to get to it. Sad....
An effort is underway to convince the state to fund updates to 911 systems. Have you ever been in a situation where you had to dial 911?
Perhaps there could be a non-emergency (but urgent) speed dial number. Such as to notify police of dangerous drivers / no lights on trailer at night.
Response was fast and glad we have it.
the response seem a little slow
Every phone bill I get (cell and land line) has a 911 charge. That plus our local government support should be plenty as is.
If a county like Douglas county can't come up with $300,000 then their priority is not the 911 system it is something else. A poor county like Florence maybe get a little assist laike 1/2 of cost would be reasonable. $300,000 on a $15,000,000 is peanuts. .
very fast response, appreciate the first responders. they do a difficult job every day.
This week marks 64 years since Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly rejected the idea of state-supported public educational TV. The final vote was 662,044 to 295,329. Wisconsin taxpayers only fund about a quarter of the Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio budgets, where they used to fund nearly all. Do you listen to or watch public TV or radio? If so, which shows or programs? Do you find public TV and radio to be of value in Wisconsin? Share your thoughts on public TV and radio here.
I watch several PBS programs. Mostly science & humanities.
wife watches many public TV shows.
I never watch public TV or listen to public radio, as it is all so left leaning it turns my stomach. I am in the Madison TV market, and all four major network stations have heavily left leaning as well. Propaganda machines for left leaning ideas.
I watch and listen to PBS for news and some of their special shows. It's valuable for a different perspective than the local news and high quality programs.
I have not watched a public TV program or listened to a public radio program in decades. I have no idea why we fund with any public money given all the selections on radio, TV, internet etc
If I want to here right wing liberal biased news I dial in to Wisconsin public radio! Good grief! Public TV has some decent programs.
Political views are one sided, so they should fund themselves.
Yes. Masterpiece Nova This Old House Antiques Roadshow Lidia's Italian Cooking
Yes sometimes I watch the public TV programs. It is good that it is not total funded by the government, that is why it is in good control of the people. And I have donated to the cause now and then.
No No WI taxpayers should not be funding ANY public TV or radio It is a liberal Democrat cause
Yes and it is of value however needs a lot more conservative voices! My favorite is Around the Corner with John McGivern which focuses on highlights of Wisconsin towns! I also like Outdoor Wisconsin!
Listen to some public radio. Yes a very good value. I would not mind if they received financial assistance from the government
I enjoy the few hours of classical music that can be heard on WPR. I used to enjoy a few shows on PBS and WPT, but I haven't watched either for several years now and I don't miss it.
A mix of all of them. Sure beats almost all of what the other networks are broadcasting. Public TV and radio are great and deserve much more support.
I enjoy WPR and donate annually.
some cooking, some nature/documentary, some marketing shows, television stations need to swim or sink, not tax payer money
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.