JUNE 10, 2019
NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL AND AROUND WISCONSIN
OFFICIAL WPT-SPONSORED ASSOCIATION HEALTH PLAN ANNOUNCED
Months after announcing its partnership with Security Plus to provide its members with various voluntary and discounted insurance options, WPT announced last week its launch of an association health plan (AHP) and partner insurance provider.

"We are very excited to be offering our members a quality health insurance plan, and to provide them with one more option to hopefully save them a bit of money," Mike Marsch, president of WPT said. "That's what this is about."

Because of recent federal changes, members of associations such as WPT can band together to create a group for the purpose of purchasing healthcare- the same as a large employer, for example. WPT members can explore the benefits by clicking here.
FINANCE COMMITTEE VOTES TO INCREASE DMV FEES
During the last state budget, disagreements among legislative Republicans and former Governor Scott Walker held up the state budget process until September- more than two months after the state's fiscal year ended.

This time, Republican lawmakers took one day to decide how to fund transportation over the next two years: increases in registration and title fees.

Under their plan, title and transfer fees at the DMV will increase for Wisconsin residents from $69.50 to $164.50, an increase of $95. Annual registration fees will be increased from $75 to $85. Last week, WPT reported that fees on heavy trucks would also be increased, though that portion was left out of the final motion approved by the committee.

In total, about $400 million would be raised through the increases. Additionally, $90 million would be transferred from the general fund into the transportation fund, and $326 million in new borrowing would be issued. About $150 million would go towards local roads, $320 million towards state highways, and the provisions also included $44 million for broadband expansion throughout the state. A provision for electric vehicle stations along Wisconsin interstates was also left out of the budget. The GOP-backed plan is about $200 million less than Governor Evers' proposal, but does not raise the fuel tax in the state- a major provision in Evers' budget.

Also making headlines was a provision inserted by Republican lawmakers that would, if signed into law by Evers, grant the Joint Finance Committee the sole authority to make changes to transportation funding through imposing "mileage fees," or possibly implement tolls in the state.
MEDICAID GETS MAJOR BUDGET BOOST BY FINANCE COMMITTEE
Republicans controlling the state's Joint Finance Committee last week approved a sweeping $588 million increase in Medicaid and health care spending, roundly rejecting Evers' plan to spend about $200 million more than the adopted plan.

Along party lines, the committee also cut out funding for curbing tobacco use from the Evers proposal, and decreased from Evers' plan the amount of dollars that county governments would receive from the state for mental health crisis services, and nixed a provision from Evers' budget that would have given $39 million in aid to low-income Wisconsinites for dental needs.

On Medicaid reimbursements, Republicans increased the funding amounts originally requested by Evers, including the hourly wage for personal care workers from $16.73 per hour to $18.24 per hour. Evers requested that the rate be increased to $17.24 per hour. Nursing homes will also get about a $40 million funding boost, which is 6 percent above their current levels. Evers offered a 1.5 percent increase.

Evers and the GOP also agreed on eliminating the waiting list for programs that serve children with disabilities, while funding their application and screening costs. Wisconsin Shares, a state subsidy for child care costs would see a reimbursement increase of $56.5 million- more than double Evers' proposal.

Still, much of the debate was centered around the expansion of Medicaid in Wisconsin, which would be accompanied by a $320 million savings for the state over the budget period. Democrats urged the GOP-controlled committee to accept the funds, which according to studies, would insure about 80,000 more of the state's residents, and increase the eligibility threshold for Medicaid to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

Republicans have rejected the plan since Governor Walker first vowed to never accept the federal money. In recent weeks, GOP leaders in the legislature have said they are unwilling to expand welfare in the state, or to make individuals more dependent on government healthcare when the health care exchange subsidies make plans available that are mere cents per month in premiums.
INTEREST IN WIND ENERGY INCREASING IN WISCONSIN
According to the nonprofit focusing on clean energy, RENEW Wisconsin, interest in wind energy in the Badger State is increasing at unanticipated rates, boosting the number of projects around the state.

The organization's policy director Michael Vickerman said at this time, there are three large wind projects being worked-through in the southwestern region of Wisconsin, when combined, accounting for 300 megawatts of wind generation. That is around 40% of the combined wind energy generated in the rest of the state.

Vickerman also said costs associated with wind energy have fallen in the past decade, and federal tax incentives also give projects interest and help them gain traction.

RENEW Wisconsin's information claims the state has enough "wind blow" every year to power the state four times over. There are currently 433 wind turbines in the state, generating the energy equivalence of 172,000 homes, and nearly 30 manufacturing sites.
WISCONSIN JOB GROWTH TRAILED NATION IN 2018, AHEAD OF COUNTRY IN WAGE GROWTH
Private sector job creation pace slowed in Wisconsin in 2018, lagging behind the rest of the country for now the eighth year in a row, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In the 12 months between December 2017 and December 2018, Wisconsin added 17,536 jobs, or an increase of 0.71% from the period between December 2016 and December 2017. The BLS says Wisconsin's "average monthly job total in 2018 increased 24,475, an increase of 9.99%"

On the national front, private-sector jobs grew by 1.41%, putting Wisconsin in the bottom 25 states for job creation. The arts, entertainment and recreation industry led the state's job growth performance, by growing nearly 12% from December 2017 to December 2018. In the same time period, construction was up 3.24%, transportation and warehousing 2.72%, professional and technical services 2.53%, educational services 2.47%, and manufacturing 2.05%.

The largest job-losing industries were mining and quarrying (-6.37%), utilities (-5.62%), company management (-2.76%), administrative and waste services (-2.21%), and agriculture (-1.1%).
OUTAGAMIE COUNTY EXECUTIVE VETOES SALES TAX INREASE
After the Outagamie County Board overwhelmingly voted to levy that county's optional 0.1% sales tax to generate $20 million in additional revenues, and lower property taxes by $167 per year per household, Democrat County Executive Tom Nelson vetoed the plan, saying sales tax are "regressive" and the 0.1% would be "harmful to our seniors, single parents and working families."

The Outagamie County Board met on May 28 to consider the sales tax increase, eventually passing the measure on a vote of 28-4, signalling that they have enough votes to override Nelson's veto pen.

Still, Nelson said some board members may be having a change of heart, and he is calling each of them personally to ask they not override his action. The county board will meet again tomorrow, June 11, to consider their vote to override.
MASSIVE INCOME TAX CUT BACK ON THE TABLE
Several sources have confirmed that GOP leaders are again eyeing-up a $400 million income tax cut for middle class Wisconsin families, which would be included in their version of the state budget this week.

According to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, the plan being considered is similar to the plan that was passed in January, which Governor Evers eventually vetoed due to disagreement on the funding mechanism used to pay for the cut. The Republican-sponsored bill used current budget surpluses to fund the tax cut, while Governor Evers wanted to eliminate the manufacturing and agriculture tax credit and use the $518 million in revenues to fund his near-$900 million income tax plan. Democrats have had that tax credit in their cross-hairs since its inception.

The bill from January, which will likely be similar to the proposal in the finance committee, would have expanding the state's standard deduction for individuals who earn up to $127,000 per year, and families earning up to $155,000 per year.

Budget deliberations are expected to wrap-up relatively soon, when it will then head to the full legislature for consideration.
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
GOP leaders have signaled they will not consider any gas tax increase in this state budget, but will propose increasing registration, title, and heavy truck fees instead. Good move or bad move?
Increase the gas tax and get this over with. The GOP is playing games with vocabulary.

Those using the highway should pay for the "Usage"... Drive 3,000 miles pay for 3,000 miles Drive 25,000 pay for 25,000 miles wear n tear

Let some of the Illinois drivers pay for the roads.

This will get electric vehicles to also pay!!

Will alternative yield equal funds?

Its good move.. We need to keep gas prices down.. It will help with Cars & trucks.

Why should only Wisconsin residents pay to improve road when everyone in the nation uses them?

I don't know what the answer to finding increase funding for roads is but adding heavy truck fees seems reasonable on surface e Capt my guess is that means milk trucks and that will them be passed to struggling farmers increase hauling cost

We don't need hiher fees so the politicians can tell us that they didn't raise our taxes.

Local governments have no trouble paying for bike lanes. When are bikers going to start paying for them?

I do not want to see registration and title fees jump so much. Not comfortable with an 8 cents jump in gas tas either. There is a lot more heavy equipment on our rural roads because of the larger implements being used. The gas tax exemption needs to disappear for everyone, no exemptions on the fuel tax for any fuel purchase in our state.

Honestly, not terrible..just like the increased fuel tax, these will be passed to consumers also...cant say as I mind heavy truck fees increasing...

They'll just register the trucks in cheaper states. Quit playing politics, both of you!!!!!!!

depends on what the increase in the registration and title fees are going to be

I believe registration increase ok, electric fees should be higher and why don't Wi look at a progrram like the state of Oregon has that you pay a fee on miles you drive

every one is going to pay in the end as truck freight will have to pass the additional cost on

Pay me now or pay me later scenario.

This is fine ... but there are other measures that need to occur.

I don't care if the gas tax is a few cents. But anything above and beyond 5 cents is a lot...

Registration fees should be based on the value of the vehicle: those with luxury vehicles and newer vehicles will pay more. Seems like an equitable way to increase revenue.

Truckers already pay heavy fees

Fees are high enough and trucking companies are already facing higher gas prices; I thought once the Milwaukee project was completed, money would be directed to other counties

This will not capture any out of state revineu

A gas tax increase will collect from everyone that buys gas in our state and travels our roads.!

Sales tax increase makes most sense. All pay with no targeting.

Why not a little bit of both gas tax and registration fees, would cover almost everybody on Wi. roads.

the heavy trucks are ruining our roads charge those who are doing the damage doing
Under the definition of "Wisconsin-based" in the agreement between Foxconn and the State of Wisconsin, companies in Connecticut and London will be receiving $13 million in contracts. Should the definition of "Wisconsin-based" be changed?
Hey, another surprise how Foxconn is screwing us.

No it's ridiculous. WI based should be home office in WI

The majority workers should be from Wisconsin

As is doesn't seem to meet the spirit of the law

We need to quit messing with the definitions in the English language.

Yes it should change,, they in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Based infers that the company began and is headquartered in Wisconsin.

Most of the money will go to the labor people how do the work here in Wisconsin.

no!

No. Second question "How did you answer?" - by typing.

No, but not fair to change the rules half way through the game, poor job of writing the original definition.

NO

Do hav e companies in this state that can provide the services that is needed in construction of this complex

lets see the fine print, as long as the money is spent on equiptment supplies and labor in wisconsin

No they should not.

What is the true definition here? So C D Smith inst good because their HQ is elsewhere? But they have operations here. SO this sounds OK to me.

I recently sold my company to an out of State Company. All employees have been retained and this NEW company still uses local suppliers, so in this situation, Wisconsin and employees all continue to benefit. I would say in the Fox Conn situation, it will be similar

No, they should NOT.

Supply and demand, if they have businesses in Wisconsin, I would expect their reputation and quality to allow them to compete. Why disqualify them?

No

No
The new Democrat State Treasurer says that Wisconsinites need more options for retirement, and she will make a pitch for a state-run retirement plan for individuals. Do you think the premise of a state-run retirement plan for non-government employees is a good thing?
Desparate politicians could steal it.

While it's a good idea to promote retirement saving, there are more than enough options for people to use individually, so it's not a great idea to get the government into this.

Regardless of political affiliation.... Gubbermint seldome runs 'programs' efficiently.

There are plenty of existing companies that offer retirement plans

If it is done correctly without huge costs maybe alright!!

Our high schools, technical schools and college should all require a class in retirement saving before graduation. The whole country needs to learn more about preparing for the future. Even people with perfectly good incomes don't save for retirement.

Can't hurt but probably won't help much either

Invest it yourself.

I think everyone should be taught the ideas for retirement. I wish I had learned more about it.

There are many options available for retirement. Other than educating people on the importance of saving for retirement, the government does not need to get involved and spend money on private sector retirement accounts.

It is not the responciblity for the state or federal govenment to prepare for retirement.

No.Will compete with private plans

Godlewski wants everyone to start saving $5.00 a month. Really?

Everyone who either has had or has a government job were not too happy with Governor Walker, so I'd like to take advantage of those same kind of benefits, even if I have to put a little more of my own money into it. For years all I heard from people looking to get a government, teaching etc. job was it would be great, because they would be set for retirement with government benefits.

Any body hear of social security?? in place and functional. please expand.

Anything the government runs is a disaster......SS ring any bells?

Again is a means that government has a hand in your pocket

nothing run by government is ever better, there is a large amount of investment vehicles available , every bank credit union offer services

State-run anything usually isn't good.

I used to work for the public schools, and I can't do anything with that retirement savings at all. I can't add ot it or anything. I think that at the least, folks who start to get that retirement should be able to keep pitching into it.

Responsible people save for retirement. Period. If this makes retirement more accessible for lower income people, then it's a good idea.

Government should stay out

Government should stay out of it, if they were so concerned, they could reduce the tax burden for everyone

Seriously????? Remember how Social Security works???? Keep the $$$out of the Governments hands/management.

Only if they are segregated like transportation fund so there is no chance of borrowing to balance a monster state budget

It's time we teach the students in school how to save and invest for retirement, even if only $5.00 a week.

Huge costs go into running a plan like that - Who will pay and when (like has happened to the unions) their strategy backfires and the fund is bankrupt is the state( by state I mean me and you) going to pay?

people need to control their own destiny if we let the government do it,that is how socialism starts
The Pew Charitable Trusts researchers say that the size of Wisconsin's middle class is not as big as it was prior to the recession. Do your community and economy seem to have rebounded from pre-recession levels?
Urban areas have bounced back and have improved greatly. It's the rural areas that are getting crushed and frankly, will never recover.

Still waiting for the trickle down $$ to begin triclking.... All I see is clouds

unemployment is one measure and that is really low right now. It's really hard to find employees in the service sector.

The farming community is in terrible shape because of all the big mergers and acquisitions in agribusiness. Plus the trade wars are not helping the farmers. Why has our government not done more to break up some of these huge agricultural monopolies?

The AG economy is heading south again

Still too many cheap jobs.

8 years for any uptick. Still fewer people with discretionary dollars.

Tons of jobs and no one to do them. Way too many lazy people complaining about a minimum wage when there are $18-$25/hr jobs everywhere.

Being some what connected in agriculture that may be true

our local economy has not kept up with cost of living such as wages

The economy is as good as it has been for nearly 50 years. If people do not have a job today it is because either they do NOT want to work or the Government makes it too attractive to stay home and receive freebies.

No, things have gone up so much in cost that we aren't really gaining any ground. Wage growth is slow. Business is being driven out of our towns...

Feels like we're heading for another recession when you look at the growth of the housing bubble.

2000’s figures also included larger families; school graduations show smaller graduating classes, so less teens in the workforce, I actually see an increase of workers over 65, many over 70

I live in a farming community with family farms. They are suffering. It is sad to see. What is even worse is our Washington reps continue to support the President that has made this situation worse with no end in site.

Mostly yes, but some things not so much
Saturday will mark 35 years since the Barneveld tornado, in which 90 percent of the town was destroyed. Among the destruction were 93 homes, 17 or 18 businesses, and the public buildings in the town. The tornado was an F5 on the Fujita Scale- the highest rating a tornado can reach.

What's the worst storm you have lived through in Wisconsin? Do you take precautions during this time of year? Do you seek shelter in your basement when the NWS issues a "tornado warning" in your area?
Never hit by really bad storm.

The best advice is to head to your closest Arby's and have some food. You won't care as much about the tornado.

I go to the basement when the tornado siren goes off.

Yes we seek shelter in our basement and the worst storm that went through here was when a tornado hit Oakfield.

We can get to it in a flash, but don't seek shelter.

The one last August 2018, that came thru Fond du Lac, Sheboygan County ( Cascade, Oostburg). I did not take precaution, instead watch it out of the living room window. My husband was in the basement. Lot of trees down, falling on the electrical wires. Next time will listen to the tornado warnings which in rural area do not hear.

Mother Nature will be Mother Nature. The weather report gives the warning, but common sence must prevail.

1998 was many bad storms. Never in my life have I gone to the basement. Grew up with a dad that loved to watch the storms including the tornado that went over barn. Never experienced a storm that bad thank God

Can't remember!

I was in a straight line storm with winds of one hundred miles an hour for almost one hour. Effects of that storm could still be seen twenty years laters. Do I seek shelter? No but if I saw a tornado, I would. Forcasting in this area of the state is not good. For example, today was suppose to be sunny but the forecast was changed when it started to rain.

Experienced a tornado several times with large trees and limbs coming down. Once I saw a storm coming for my farm and my cows were out in padlocks where I rotational grazed them. Storm came so soon, they ran threw fences got out into a corn field and it took a long time to finally get them all back in. We had high winds and hail. The animals were quite shaken. Yes, if I am able to take cover I do.

have seen several tornadoes up close,not by choice! Usually run outside to check local conditions!

I was in the Barneveld tornado and graduated just two weeks before it hit. It will be a time that we will never forget. I have always been cautious of storms and have learned to never take the weather for granted. Be ready have a plan and seek shelter when your suppose to.

I live northeast from Barneveld and was 90% totally destroyed, and feel fortune that my family survided

Watched a tornado on the Radigan flowage many years ago while duck hunting. Yes we certainly listen to the radio and heed weather warnings and seek shelter when needed.

When I was young a tornado went through our neighborhood. It did some home damage. I will always take shelter when a tornado warning is in effect!

I take to the basement with the radio
THIS WEEK'S MEMBER POLL
By clicking the link, you understand that 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, but does not take responsibility for the individual views and opinions expressed herein.  
LEGISLATION
BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW OR VETOED
No bills to report.
BILLS IN CIRCULATION
LRB-2617   Memo  Vehicle Manufacturers (Ballweg, Joan) Prohibited practices of motor vehicle manufacturers, importers, and distributors and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, June 14, 5 pm

LRB-0045   Memo  Gender-Related Discrimination (Spreitzer, Mark) Discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, insurance coverage, jury duty, and the receipt of mental health or vocational rehabilitation services. Deadline: Tuesday, June 11, 5 pm

LRB-2160   Memo  Same Sex Marriage (Spreitzer, Mark) Marriage between persons of the same sex and extending parentage rights to married couples of the same sex. Deadline: Tuesday, June 11, 5 pm

LRB-2628   Memo  Transgender Equality Task Force (Sargent, Melissa) Establishing a task force to study the legal and societal barriers to equality for transgender, intersex, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming individuals. Deadline: Tuesday, June 11, 5 pm

LRB-3314   Memo  Stonewall Uprising (Zamarrippa, JoCasta) Recognizing June 28, 2019, and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Deadline: Tuesday, June 11, 5 pm

LRB-2490   Memo  Criminal Liability Defense (Neubauer, Greta) Eliminating criminal defense of adequate provocation or self-defense if the claim is based on the victim's gender identity or sexual orientation. Deadline: Thursday, June 13, 5 pm

LRB-2400   Memo  Property Interests (Ballweg, Joan) Obtaining evidence of the termination of certain property interests of a decedent. Deadline: Friday, June 14, 5 pm

LRB-3297   Memo  Abortion Prohibitions (Subeck, Lisa) Eliminating certain abortion prohibitions. Deadline: Tuesday, June 18, 5 pm

LRB-0759   Memo  Trespassing (Steffen, David) Trespassing on the property of an energy provider and providing a penalty. Deadline: Wednesday, June 19, 5 pm

LRB-3456   Memo  D-Day (Ott, Jim) Commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6, 2019. Deadline: Thursday, June 6, 4 pm

LRB-2644   Memo  Election Certificate (Magnafici, Gae) Time for issuing a certificate of election. Deadline: Thursday, June 13, 3 pm

LRB-3440   Memo  Transgender Day (Carpenter, Tim) Proclaiming November 20, 2019, as Wisconsin's Transgender Day of Remembrance. Deadline: Tuesday, June 18, 5 pm

LRB-0084   Memo  Firearm Possession (Hebl, Gary) The possession of a firearm by a person who has committed a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence and providing a penalty. Deadline: Thursday, June 20, 4 pm

LRB-0188   Memo  Handgun Waiting Period (Taylor, Chris) Waiting period for purchase of handguns. Deadline: Friday, June 21, 5 pm