MARCH 2, 2020
We recently caught up with our friend Bill Zelinski, owner of Big Iron Equipment in Plover, and 20+ year member of WPT, and this week's Member of the Week.

Big Iron Equipment, Inc. is an agricultural equipment dealer, specializing in equipment for potato farmers. They also handle many different lines of agricultural equipment including seeding and tillage, grain handling and livestock handling. Along with a small selection of new equipment in stock, they also carry a large selection of clean used equipment.

The Plover company, which Bill started in 1995, currently employs twelve individuals, and tells us that the company's main focus is customer satisfaction.

"We take bride in the fact that we treat our customers the way we would like to be treated, deal with them fairly and openly, and listen to their needs."

Big Iron not only handles the sales of equipment, but offers a large well-stocked parts department.

"Our parts department has the parts for the equipment we sell and we also have chains, sprockets, bearings, rollers, steel stock and many hydraulic hoses and fittings. Along with the parts, we also have a service department that can service and repair equipment, along with making modifications to existing equipment to make your equipment better fit your needs."

On the government front, we asked Bill to which issues he pays most attention.

"The price of farm commodities," he said.

And when it comes to some challenges that his industry faces?

"The pricing of crops and being at the will of Mother Nature."

One of the coolest pieces of equipment offered at Big Iron is the Forax Groomer Brush Cutter. This thing is heavy duty, with a 15 foot reach, weighing in at just under a ton and a half, and a 72 inch cutting width.

Equipment aside, Bill tells us that he grew up in Antigo and went to Antigo High School, and has been married to his high school sweetheart, Dianne, for 40 years. They have three children, and five grandchildren. In his free time, his hobbies are hunting, fishing, and going to the cottage with his family.
With much of the partisan fighting taking center stage in the local and national news, it is often hard to see that property taxes and property rights are not very partisan. Governor Tony Evers made this evident by signing a WPT-supported bill into law on Friday, and scheduling another to be signed into law on Tuesday afternoon.

Assembly Bill 691 was signed by the Governor on Friday, and it prohibits tax assessors from raising assessments on properties based solely on the price of their recent sale. This practice is called "chasing sales," and has been driving WPT members to call our Madison office to ask for an explanation.

One member in Janesville called to share his situation; he purchased a property last year that was assessed at $150,000. He ended up paying $160,000 for the property, when he was immediately greeted with an assessor who said they would be conducting a reassessment on the property.

In short, this will no longer be allowed, and assessors taking part in this type of practice will be in direct violation of state law.

On deck for tomorrow, Governor Evers will sign Assembly Bill 344 in to law. WPT has been invited to attend as the Governor signs the bill. This legislation will provide a property tax exemption for telecom companies on property used to provide highspeed, broadband internet in rural and under-served communities in Wisconsin. The legislation, championed by Rep. Romaine Quinn (R-Rice Lake), received broad bipartisan support in both the Assembly and Senate, and garnered support from many statewide organizations and advocacy groups. Since telecom property is assessed at the state level, local governments will not see any impacts on their revenues.
A plan by GOP lawmakers that would have used surplus dollars to reduce income taxes, pay off state debt, and repeal a small business tax was vetoed by Governor Tony Evers last week Wednesday.

In his veto message, Governor Evers said the funds should be used to broadly reduce property tax, and invest in the state's K-12 public schools.

"I am vetoing the bill because I object to its unbalanced and unsustainable approach to state fiscal policy," Evers said in his veto message. "Moreover, this bill fails to acknowledge or address the continued, inordinate burden that has been placed on our public schools..."

What Evers meant by unbalanced or unsustainable is not know, as his plan spends the same dollars.

Republicans swiftly reacted to the veto.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said the Governor should have signed the bill.

"Thanks to the good budgeting and a growing economy, Wisconsin's families should reap in our economic windfall. But for the second time this session, the governor is refusing to help middle and lower income taxpayers in Wisconsin and is intent on increasing government spending."

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald reiterated his disappointment.

"While I'm disappointed in the governor's actions, I'm not surprised- this is the second income tax cut he's vetoed as governor. His budget proposal last summer included over $1 billion in tax hikes. Republicans in the Legislature will continue to hold the line against his far-left agenda."

Evers said he would be open to a compromised package that includes school funding, property tax relief, and debt repayment. It is unclear whether either GOP leader would consider passing such legislation this spring, as the Assembly has already adjourned for the year.
A State Appeals Court on Saturday handed down a ruling that halted an Ozaukee County judge's ruling that would have purged some 200,000 voters from the Wisconsin election rolls because they failed to respond to a card from the Elections Commission verifying their current addresses.

The ruling from the State Appeals Court also strikes the ruling from the same judge that held several members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission in contempt of court for intentionally disregarding his ruling to purge those invalidated voters from the rolls.

The conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty brought the original lawsuit forward, seeking to purge the voters, and says it plans to file an appeal with the Wisconsin State Supreme Court.
Legislation aimed at increasing some criminal penalties in Wisconsin, dubbed as "Tougher on Crime" bills by GOP lawmakers, have been vetoed by Governor Tony Evers.

Republican lawmakers said the legislation would have deterred criminal activity, and would have included a bill that would revoke a person's parole or probation and send them back to prison if they commit another crime while on supervision. That plan, which would have cost taxpayers nearly $160 million per year, drew criticism from legislative Democrats who argued it would be too costly and not combat crime, only adding to the state's prison population.

Another bill would have added more crimes to the list of offenses for which juveniles can be incarcerated. Another would have barred the state from releasing any offended from prison early if their crime was classified as violent. The fourth veto was on legislation that would prohibit prosecutors from dismissing charges of illegal firearm possession if the offender had previously been convicted of a violent crime.
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, announced last week that Wisconsin will be part of the multi-state settlement with generic opioid maker Mallinckrodt.

The Wisconsin government will receive its share of the $1.6 billion settlement that has been agreed upon. The settlement also puts limits on how many opioids the company can market and sell to the public.

Attorney General Kaul said the dollars would be used to help further combat the crisis in Wisconsin.
By clicking the link, you acknowledge 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. It is the right of WPT to remove responses that what the organization deems to be vulgar, hateful, or inflammatory language.
What did you think of the opinion piece featured in this week's e-mail?
Personally, its time we all take pause from the high level of picking sides and start working together for the common good, otherwise what purpose is gov't serving.

Thank you for taking a balanced approach in our crazy world that pits people against each other. Why does everything have to be my way or the highway, then nothing gets done. I also thought rainy day money might come in handy if the coronavirus makes its way to Wisconsin.

Sorry I did not read it

Polls are written to get the answers desired and this was no exception.

Government will never be a situation where "you get what you want." It will always be "compromise."

I feel it was put in a very nice way

A leopard cant change his spots...i wouldnt have thought you would vote on the dems side. Thanks for at least recognizing the efforts.

Pay off the debt first. Sounds like a great idea.
If you are Governor Evers, do you sign the GOP tax plan into law or veto the plan?
As much as the drop in income taxes would be nice, $100 is pretty much "crumbs", a lot of wasted money dealing with the refund

Let's fix the roads!

Use the best from both plans and try to work together.

Depends on if the Governor wants to build a bridge, or be a partisan schmo. He has to decide if he's going to work for the State, or if he's going to be a partisan lackey.

I would like more funds for fixing our roads and this small tax credit is relly a joke

I think all the money should either be used to pay down debt or used to fix our roads

He will partial veto to play politics because the other side can't get a win.

He said he would work with the GOP and this would be a good beginning.

I would remove the income tax cut.
The legislature will be fully adjourned sometime in March for the rest of 2020. Is that too early?
I do think the pay needs to be dropped along with the pension they receive

Good. It will give them less time to dream up laws that we don't need!

Is there work done? If not it to early.

Yes. What do these politicians do for the rest of the year? Campaign? Vacation? They're certainly done working for US!

Our representatives work less than the average person and farmers work even harder for nothing.

I wish these people were in our towns and seeing us more often.

My question is did they really complete what was on the agenda

When adjourned they can do no damage.

They are barely getting anything done anyway. They are working very part time, so make them part time! IDK of any other part time employees getting full time salary, healthcare and pension.

They should work till there tasks are complete just like the rest of us that have full time jobs

What other business would operate like that and remain viable.

Middle. They do accomplish a lot in a short period of time between the budget and everything else. Now they just need to admit they should be part-time and joint the vast majority of other states.
Gov. Evers last year vetoed a provision that would have given WEDC authority to give $2 million more in fab lab grants. Assembly Republicans unsuccessfully tried to override that veto.

Should more money be committed to teaching students about trades, advanced manufacturing, and fabrication?
yes, too many college graduates with nonesense degrees, trades make for wonderful jobs, and we need to pat those going into trades on the back, we need these young people embracing these types of jobs!

Yes,many four or five year college students end up in the trade industry. They could have saved thousands of dollars and been earning a living a few years sooner.

I think it would be a good idea to move more of this money to the high schools.

We need good minds to work with their hands and not so much theory. Have mechanical engineer son that once told me when he graduated from MSOE, he thought the when the engineer turned a project over to production it was 80% of the way to perfection now he believed it may be 15-20% of the way to perfection. We need good minds and good well-trained people everywhere in life to make a better live for everyone. If this money is needed to promote the trade it is money very well spent.We need good minds to work with their hands and not so much thero

Start these kids early. Some will be good at it, some will find out they don't like it, others won't be interested.

Certainly more opportunity ought to be made available for high schoolers to learn a trade. If this also means more money, then I would very reluctantly agree. Rather, money that has already been made available to education in general should be funneled to the trades. Take it from the Social Studies budget. The trades used to be something learned at home, evenings and weekends from dad and grandpa.

We educate them for a Four year college why not for a trade?

We are SCREAMING for more people in the trades. But I don't think that "Fab Labs" are the answer. I DO think that more work-study programs will help, and getting more students to businesses DOING the work would be better. They can then SEE and experience the process first-hand. I think that's more important than any school setting. When I was in high school in the 90's, many of my classmates and I grew up on small dairy farms. Our fathers would do repairs on site, and fabricate things on site, with what they had on hand. THAT is more important, in my opinion, than things done in the school I think we need to get these kids OUT of the school and ON the job sites, and have the employers show them what it takes to do these things.

Gov. Evers says he want more money for education and here was a tool to help students for the trades

The fab labs are cutting with too sharp a knife, too expensive for the benefits expected...

trades have gone way down now that trades aren't taught as much in high schools. not every kid should be prepped to go to a 4 year college - some are hands-on and will flourish in the trades given a chance and exposure to options

Yes more money for the trades but do not raise taxes to cover it. We pay too much in taxes now!

Yes, by all means.

We need employees

Different skills should be taught regionally based on type of workforce demand in the region.

Wisconsin employers need employees with necessary skills, not just a college degree.
This week will mark 116 years since the second Wisconsin State Capitol burned to the ground in 1904.

"On this date fire destroyed the second State Capitol building in Madison. On the evening of the 26th, the generator was turned off for the night. The only lights visible were two gas jets serving the night watchman. At approximately 2 a.m., night watchman Nat Crampton smelled smoke and followed the odor to a recently varnished ceiling, already in flames. A second watchman arrived to assist, but there was no water pressure with which to operate a hose. The fire department encountered a similar situation upon arrival. Governor Robert M. La Follette telegraphed fire departments in Janesville and Milwaukee for assistance. La Follette was at the capitol, directing efforts to douse the fire and entering the burning building to retrieve valuable papers. The fire was completely extinguished by 10 p.m. the next day. Losses were estimated to be close to $1 million." (Source: Wisconsin Historical Society)

Have you been to the Wisconsin State Capitol? How long ago? Did you learn about the fires? Do you think our Capitol is the most beautiful building in the state? What other ornate or stately buildings in Wisconsin are worth visiting? Share your thoughts here.
Several times when I was younger, but its been 40 years since I've been inside, I remember about the fires from grade school in 4th grade when we studied Wisconsin. I think the state capital is a beautiful building. The Wisconsin Historical Society Museum in Madison is pretty cool too. Also remember going to the Milwaukee Museum in grade school, still remember the streets of old Milwaukee, that was very interesting.

Yes I have been in the capital and it is most beautiful. We need to be proud of it.

Our State Capitol building is impressive. I had the opportunity to tour it 3 times. The Milwaukee Art Museum is another impressive building. EPIC Computers is also a unique Wisconsin location.

A very nice building. Sorry the public employee unions in February of 2011 refiled our Capitol while protesting Act 10 the "Wisconsin Budget Repair bill."

I have not been in the building for several years, but I see when I drive in a couple of times a week and it always is impressive.


I have not been to the State Capitol.

Yes, a pretty place.

Been there several times since 2004. Every one should get a chance to visit the Capitol.

Never been there.

Its definitely not the most beautiful building in state. Really!

We do have an awesome state capitol.

Have been to the Capitol numerous times. It is a beautiful building, so much history.

I've been to Capitols all around the country. Wisconsin is great, but not the best.
It's never too late to explore the WPT Association Health Insurance plan, and potentially save your company and employees considerable dollars. We have heard from both small business and farm members who have seen great results, and encourage you to take a look.
SB-819  WLEA Contract (Joint Committee on Employment Relations) Ratification of the agreement negotiated between the state of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association, for the 2017-19 biennium, covering employees in the public safety collective bargaining unit, and authorizing an expenditure of funds. Signed ( 104 )

AB-633  Emergency Detention Transport (Born, Mark) Transport for emergency detention. Signed ( 105 )

SB-006  OWI Repeat Offenses (Darling, Alberta) Committing a fifth or sixth offense related to operating a vehicle while intoxicated and providing a penalty. Signed ( 106 )

AB-222  License Revocations (Spiros, John) Revocation of operating privilege for certain offenses related to operating while intoxicated. Signed ( 107 )

SB-050  Law Enforcement Body Cameras (Legislative Council) Body cameras on law enforcement officers. Signed ( Act 108 )

AB-047  Child Guardianship (Legislative Council) Guardianships of children. Signed ( 109 )

AB-049  BCPL Authority (Legislative Council) The authority of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands to delegate authority to invest trust fund moneys and making an appropriation. Signed ( 110 )

SB-070  Jail Contraband (Jacque, Andre) Bringing contraband into a jail or prison and providing a penalty. Signed ( 111 )

AB-804  Victim Intimidation (Knodl, Dan) Intimidating a victim of domestic abuse and providing a penalty. Signed ( 112 )

AB-086  Bond Requirements (Brooks, Rob) Changing the official bond requirements for town municipal judges. Signed ( 113 )

AB-691  Assessor Prohibition (Brooks, Rob) Prohibiting an assessor from changing the valuation of property based solely on a recent sale of the property. Signed ( 114 )

AB-704  Motorboats Operation (August, Tyler) Operation of motorboats by minors. Signed ( 115 )
AB-026  Direct Primary Care (Sanfelippo, Joe) Direct primary care agreements. Vetoed ( Link )

AB-805  Parole Revocation (Hutton, Rob) Recommendation to revoke parole, probation, and extended supervision if a person is charged with a crime. Vetoed ( Link )

AB-806  Juvenile Placement (Sanfelippo, Joe) Acts for which a juvenile may be placed in correctional placement or the Serious Juvenile Offender Program. Vetoed ( Link )

AB-808  Firearm Possession (Sanfelippo, Joe) Prosecuting a violent felon for the crime of illegal possession of a firearm. Vetoed ( Link )

AB-809  Parole Release (Hutton, Rob) Earned release from parole or extended supervision and discharge from probation. Vetoed ( Link )

SB-613  Leased Goods (Wanggaard, Van) Repossession of collateral or leased goods. Vetoed ( Link )
LRB-5589   Memo  Diesel Idling (Spiros, John) Diesel truck idling reduction grants and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, February 27, 5 pm

LRB-5761   Memo  Law Enforcement Grants (Goyke, Evan) Grants to local law enforcement agencies for incident-based reporting and making an appropriation. Deadline: Tuesday, March 3, 5 pm

LRB-5484   Memo  Art Therapists (Tiffany, Tom) Licensing professional art therapists and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Tuesday, March 3, 5 pm

LRB-4687   Memo  Violence Prevention (Bowen, David) Violence prevention grants and making an appropriation. Deadline: Friday, March 6, 5 pm