OCTOBER 29, 2019
By: State Representative Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee)
Joint Committee on Finance, Joint Review Committee on Criminal Penalties, Committee on Corrections
As Wisconsin’s Economic Engine, Milwaukee is the source of the state’s largest employers, most employees, most visitors and cultural events. All of this activity produces the state’s largest source of corporate income, personal income, and sales tax revenues. As revenue production has increased, the shared returns to local governments have not, forcing cuts in services and further reliance on property taxes to fund local government.
Wisconsin is not unique in funding local government through the property tax, however, it is unique in the state-imposed restriction on generating local revenues. The City and County of Milwaukee, like local governments across the state are unable to capture the return on investment from local economic development beyond property taxation. These fiscal pressures are felt beyond Milwaukee. Cities, towns, villages, and counties in Wisconsin all face the same challenges with stagnant state aid and an over reliance on property taxation. 
The consequences of this out dated funding model are real. Over the past few years, Milwaukee County has proposed their budget cycle with millions of dollars in gaps. Our most recent data shows that Milwaukee County’s budget for 2020 will have a gap of $28 million dollars. To balance the budget of the City of Milwaukee, the 2020 budget includes the reduction of the police force by more than 60 officers. These gaps lead to more services cut and jobs lost. As services are reduced, the quality of life can diminish. Long term challenges include possible reduction in bond rating and the ability to make pension payments, which would only further reduce the available resources for critical services.
Allowing local residents to control their own local government funding could help better balance and diversify revenue sources. Wisconsin has the fifth highest property tax rate in the nation at 1.95%, while the State sales tax is the 7 th lowest nationwide and the lowest in the Midwest. Our neighbors all have higher sales tax: Indiana 7%; Minnesota 6.875%; Illinois 6.25%; Iowa 6%; and Michigan 6%. In addition to the higher sales tax, our neighboring states allow local governments to increase sales tax to address their unique needs (Minneapolis 8.025%; Chicago 10.25%; Des Moines 7%).
The imbalance between property and sales taxation has been found to be “outdated and ineffective” in a 2017 report by the non-partisan Wisconsin Policy Forum. By raising the sales tax from 5.5% to 6.5%, the County will generate an estimated $160 million in revenue in the first year. This influx of revenue will allow Milwaukee County to dedicate funds to community projects and services, as well as address many long overdue maintenance needs in the county and will be distributed among all 19 municipalities within the County. Additionally, under the proposal, $10 million each year is also committed to address and remediate public health concerns within the County.
The bill requires that 25 percent of the revenue from the additional tax be used to provide residential property tax relief, divided evenly between county and municipal property tax relief, and that 7 percent of the revenue be used for public health infrastructure projects. For the remaining 68 percent of tax revenue, the bill requires that the county use half for its operational and capital expenses and distribute the other half to the cities, villages, and towns in the county for their operational and capital expenses. Distributions of revenue to the cities, villages, and towns are based on their population. Under the bill, the expenditure by a municipality of the distributed tax revenue will not affect the municipality's payment under the expenditure restraint program. The bill also provides that the revenue and expenditures will not impact any local government funding formula.
Lastly, it’s important that local residents have a say in how their own government is funded. Giving voters the option to implement a sales tax will create the flexibility their elected leaders need to invest in the local priorities that matter to their constituents. Each community is different and the needs of the community may change over time. This funding model gives greater flexibility to local governments to both plan for long term investments while also responding to short term challenges. In America, the majority of states allow this type of local revenue increases in the form of a referendum. This is democracy at its finest – if we make the choice to increase our revenues, we should be allowed to – and that’s exactly what this legislation does.
It’s time to end the cycles of divestment, budget cuts, and service reductions. Let’s empower local communities to invest in their own priorities. I am eager to continue working with Senator LaTonya Johnson and the other members of this unprecedented coalition of Milwaukee leaders to see this bill through. Let’s continue to Move Forward MKE!
With the Affordable Care Act enrollment period approaching on November 1st, many of Wisconsin's small businesses and farmers are preparing to make their health insurance decisions for the next year. The deadline will close on December 15th.

WPT is now offering an Association Health Plan (AHP) to its members, and have saved some small businesses nearly 30% of their health insurance costs. A representative will be contacting WPT members to gauge interest in the plan, and inform members of their WPT option. This is not a cold sales call.

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With low increases in property tax levies combined with increases in property values, the state of Wisconsin's property tax rates have decreased for their fifth straight year.

According to the Wisconsin Policy Forum, the state's equalized property values grew by 5.7% in 2019, while property tax levies increased only by 1.7%. When the growth in values surpasses growth in tax levies, rates decline, according to the study. The statewide gross property rate dropped by 2.7% to $20.38 per $1,000 of value from $20.94 in 2018.

In the state's most populous region- Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Waukesha, and Washington Counties, property values increased 5.6%, the largest in ten years, resulting in a 3.6% tax decline. Property values in Dane County increased by 7.6%, resulting in a 3.9% property tax decline.
University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross announced late last week that after five years of leading the state's university system, and more than 40 years in education, he will retire from his post.

According to a statement from the UW System, Cross, 71, will continue to serve as UW System President until his successor is found after a national search. Cross said when he started college, 70% of students came to be a better person. Now, Cross says 70% of students attend University to be prepared for a job.

"Serving as president of the UW System has been the most rewarding work of my life," Cross said. "I believe there is no better investment for the state of Wisconsin than the University of Wisconsin System. From cutting-edge research on cancer, water quality, and how children to learn to educating Wisconsin's future leaders, the UW System has never been more important."
New bipartisan legislation would help individuals who have been arrested or convicted of crimes seek jobs in the state of Wisconsin, leading about 80,000 cases to be eligible for expungement.

Under current law, if an individual wants their conviction to potentially be expunged, it has to be approved at the time of their sentencing. Under the proposal, an offender would be required to complete their sentence, any probation, and pay any fines, and then petition the court to expunge their record. They would likely be required to show how they have bettered themselves and contributed to society. The bill would also allow for job applicants to not disclose any expunged arrests or convictions on job applications.

According to one of the bill's authors, Republican Representative Dave Steffen (R-Green Bay), the legislation was inspired by a 27-year-old man who spent years trying to get back into the workforce. Steffen said the offender's six month probation sentence "ended up being a life sentence."
The leader of the Wisconsin State Senate, Republican Senator Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said a vote on gun control during a special session called by Democrat Governor Tony Evers is not going to happen.

Although Fitzgerald said as of last week he had not discussed the matter with his full caucus, he likely plans to adjourn the special session as soon as it is called or order. Fitzgerald said there is no support among his members to tackle the issues of universal background checks and red flag laws, two issues being pushed by Gov. Evers and his fellow legislative Democrats.

Democrat Minority Leader, Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse), said in a statement that it is "unacceptable" for her GOP colleagues to "refuse to do their job." She added "We need more than thoughts and prayers to end gun violence." Shilling's parents were both murdered in Illinois decades ago when armed individuals robbed their family's business.
Legislation introduced by State Senator Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) and State Representative Bob Kulp (R-Stratford) would make Colby the official Wisconsin state cheese.

The bill was introduced last week by Senator Bernier, along with eight other State Representatives, both Democrats and Republicans, and refered to the Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection. According to the Wisconsin Ethics Commission, only the Dairy Business Association is lobbying or supporting this legislation.

Colby cheese originated in Colby, Wisconsin, and is part of the cheddar family. It would join a list of other foods, animals, plants, and other items that are designated as the official Wisconsin variety.
Another day, another task force. Governor Tony Evers yesterday signed Executive Order #55, creating a Complete Count Committee for the 2020 Census. The committee will work to educate Wisconsinites on the importance of completing the 2020 Census. It will also develop outreach strategies to reach "hard-to-count" communities, and "identify and reduce barriers that impede participation in the counting process."

"Ensuring a fair and accurate count in the 2020 census is essential to the future of our state, as it determines how more than $600 billion in federal funding will be distributed and how Wisconsin's next electoral maps will be drawn," Governor Tony Evers said in a statement. "At the end of the day, the census isn't just a head cout- it's about visibility, voice, and value. So we need to make sure very Wisconsinite is participating in the count and encouraging their family, friends, and neighbors to participate too."

The US Census Bureau defines "hard-to-count" populations as children, immigrant and refugee communities, low-income families, renters and those who do not live in traditional housing, people of color, individuals with disabilities, and rural communities. It is estimated that the "hard-to-count" population in Wisconsin is over 600,000.
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What do you think of Assembly Education Committee Chairman Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt's aritcle?
Please, I'm begging readers to analyze Thiesfeldt's deception. When the State of Wisconsin increases "general aid" to school districts IT DOES NOT INCREASE THE MONEY SCHOOLS SPEND. It *ONLY* changes the mix of who pays how much. Increasing the state's PORTION does not mean your school is spending more and therefore should have "better results" .. it simply means the State is increasing its share, which *could* decrease the local levy share (property taxes.) --- What does control school spending? The Student Revenue Cap. Each school has a revenue number that could increase each year. This current budget, the Revenue cap increased $175 per student (and $179 in 2021.) When the average district spends $13,500, a $175 increase amounts to a 1.29% increase. The CPI INFLATION RATE IS 1.9%. What does this mean? It means the $175 increase doesn't keep up with inflation, meaning SCHOOLS ARE STILL CUTTING EVERY YEAR.

Teachers are not allowed to teach anymore, they are busy parenting. And the admistrators are so scared of the parents, the kids get away with just about anything!!!

Concern should focus on kids being able to get a quality education. It is past time to focus on quality not just throwing money at a system so administrators earn more and more while students don’t learn what they need to know

Agree, our education system sinks, his last statement, "Our focus needs to turn to stronger teacher training in the use of proven instructional methods, traditional roles for our schools, and engaged parenting", pretty much hits the nail on the head. I think the idea of parents being engaged is probably the biggest shortfall. The lose of the traditional American family has and will not be kind to our society. We reap what we sow, unfortunately, all the liberalism pushed in our schools have manifested the monster we now must deal with.

More money hasn't improved education.Need to get back to basics of education and improve discipline. Need more teachers and fewer administrators.

the money we pour in education is not being used to its full benifit

More money show be made to increase teachers pay and their abilities to transmit their knowlegde to students and not to the educational system in general.

I think being a teacher is one of the hardest careers there is. They should be getting raises like everyone else does. The worst part: some parents don't care. School is not optional. Teach your kids how to behave and show respect. Some stories I hear are just unbelievable.

I'm seeing students falling behind all over the place. We're pushing kids through and not getting them educated, they just get conveyor-belted through, so they can get into "college," which is a big cash waste now. We are also focusing too much on STEM stuff, which means less of the writing, reading, english, literature, etc that builds ROUNDED students who can truly learn HOW to learn. You want an example of a district that doesn't care about it's students? Go to Stanley-Boyd, where its' all about pushing them through, and not about those students learning. How do we know? For 13 years we've heard constant complaints about kids with education needs who can't seem to get any help, and are just jammed through, even if they fail they magically pass... and don't get me going on the focus on non-educational endeavors in that district...

We have dumed down the past two generations, no common sense or accountability for mistakes which is how we learn

We must get tougher on our students ,in our school district 75% of the students are on the A or B honor roll this is only happening in this day and age because the teachers are told that every student should be a winner. it is not working,we must get them ready for the work force and the method that they are using now is not working

You are not going to solve the problems created 8 years ago by throwing money at it today. Many great teachers were lost and requirements for teaching were lowered now we are seeing the consequences. People never look down the road when making decisions and are always looking for instant results.

No surprise, Evers has been in control of education in this state for a long time.

How about I completely agree with what he said. Come on WTP

Funding might be higher now but the same Republicans gutted it 8 years ago and created Act 10 which caused a great sucking sound of talented teachers to leave education creating a void of experienced of educators. How are the scores doing at school choice schools in comparison??

I agree that throwing money at Education is not educating our students, the problem has to looked at closer - spending more on educating less and earning a “F”

More training will not solve the problem. What is happening in the school starts with parents. Unfortunately there is nothing teachers can do with how children are raised. And then you have administration that tippy toes around the parents. Teachers are no longer backed up by administration. I'm guessing it has to do with the status of the parents in the community that administration sides with or doesn't want to do any thing about. They don't want to cause ruffles. The solution...fix the parents. Good luck.. I predict a shortage of teachers and it will not be about money.

I agree with Rep.Theisfeldt.Spending more money does not assure good education.

Schools need to be held accountable for performance, but it also requires parent responsibility to ensure acadamia is an important component of the household.
Gov. Evers has signed an Executive Order which calls the legislature into a Special Session on gun violence. Good idea or bad idea?
No impact because our politics are broken, and policies that are supported by majorities are ignored.

Enforce existing laws and focus on mental health

You can try to regulate and control all you want but guns will still end up in hands of those that shouldn't have them.

Waste of time, once again pandering to his base.

A Waste of time. There will be a revolution soon, if they come after our guns.

I wish it would...but it won't.

He is set in his ways of taking our guns instead of looking at mental health because the gun laws are now lacking in inforcement


The first thing dictators do is rmove all guns from the general population. I view this as a start to reach that conclusion.

They are attacking this all wrong. Get the drug use down, get more jobs with more pay, get more social stuff going to help more people get out of bad places and get on their feet and be productive!

If fed government can not gain momentum why waste good tax payer money for Governor campaign reelection agenda

Too many politicians on the left are making it the guns fault,it is not the guns fault... it the peoples fault and the only way we are going to change that is to value life from conception to natural death

I think it is good to have debate and maybe a solution comes from it. It does not mean anybody wants to take everyone's guns away, it means there has been a problem and let's work together to find some possible solutions.

Keep our 2nd amendment safe to easy to abuse these laws

the legislature will modwrate this kneejerk reaction


Over 200,000 in November during Turkey Week are armed with automatic weapons by law abiding citizens. Very few incidents. Milwaukee and Chicago on the other hand, well let's not confuse people with facts.

enforce existing laws.

It isn't going to solve the problem.

the gun has no brain, the finger on the trigger has no morals. The most difficult corrective action starts before the child goes to kindergarden. This is a long time problem, with many who refuse to admit morals are essential to a civilized society.

Bad idea, the Second Amendment is very important and it needs to be preserved

I am actually for it but, I think gun supporters are afraid if they give and inch...it is the start of losing their gun rights, and I don't blame them. If it wasn't for that, things could move forward.

When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns!

Although I'm not in favor of assault type weapons, I'm reluctant to take away this weapon from law abiding citizens because then they'll only be in the hands of criminals. The black market will be the supplier.

How does actually help? There are already background checks. As far as the "red flag" laws that governor Evers wants enforced, that is a two edged sword that can, and has already been used inappropriately. Our entire judicial system is predicted on "innocent until proven guilty", and these types of laws circumvent that. With no proof required and no chance to defend one's self, or opportunity to face an accuser, these laws would trample all over the Constitution!

Governor Evers has signed an Executive Order which will create a Task Force on Climate Change. After reading the article, good idea or bad idea?
Climate change is a reality, so yes, Wisconsin should prepare.

Political games

Climate change is inevitable look at history remember there was an ice age and it warmed back up. No cars planes etc back then. Of course it could have been all those dinosaurs farting

Bad idea, we will start seeing inflation in our energy prices for starters. Just another power grab by the liberals. More regulations and oppression.

Climate change is a hoax!

the problem we have everybody is on this band wagon an no common sense to what shoud be done except destroying our economy


What per cent of the worlds surface is the State of Wisconsin. All he is doing is promoting the liberal agenda, knowing the State of Wisconsin will have no effect on the climate.

quit wasting our tax dollars. This is being taken on all over already, we don't need more government. We have Greta Thunberg and that's enough....

If feds can not gain momentum why waste hard earned tax payer money on a dead issue

We have 150 years of weather data and our planet earth is how old??? This earth is constantly changing,we the people are adding less than 1% to the climate change the rest is natural


" I'm from the government and I'm here to help." Ronald Reagan

Another task force that will get nothing accomplished,climate change is as old as the earth

Think its to late to change the climate.

idiotic waste of money at the state level ..

Leave it to the Federal Government- the State does not have the research facility for it, if there is “Climate Change” - how is one state going to solve the problem

Aren't there enough tasks force on this already? Waste of money.

B.S. Just an attempt to get more control over our lives.

Another state government over reach. What are we going to do, make it harder to sustain an economy and instead of manufacturing the product here, we produce it in another state? I mean the task force if broad, might come up with some fair resolutions.

All this guy seems to know how to do is waste taxpayers money. What is a task force in Wisconsin going to accomplish?

I think this is over his head
Do you support drug testing for individuals receiving unemployment benefits?
Look .. addiction is a disease. People will get their drugs with legal revenue (unemployment checks) or illegally. If giving an addict unemployment stops them from committing crimes, that is a good, yet unfortunate trade off.

It is up to the company they are collecting from to continue to do the drug testing if they intend to hire them back and if not, that individual has earned the benefit with no need to continue the testing.

Yes employers can drug test if you're getting 'paid'

No pass, no benefits, nuff said!

ABSOLUTELY!!! Teachers too!!! So many other people have to for licences and jobs why shouldn't they?

It would be fair but unfortunately this would turn out to be another bureaucracy with a bunch of overpaid execs and people would find a way around it. Lets go back to the days where...if you show up drunk or high to work, you get fired! Oh yeah, then they can sue you or who knows what else...for racism, discrimination, fill in the blank______!

very good idea


I think testing is good, but the state will give money anyway. Have no faith in government.

Yes yes yes. Free ride time is OVER.

Uh, if you're doing drugs, that may be a big reason why you are ON unemployment. Get the drugs out!

why is one third of population not working or not hire able with every business looking for employment Unemployment should be abolished when rate is below 10 %

We need to make people more responsible for themselves,no more free handouts

why should taxpayers support drug use.

yes, will they than go steal to get the money they need for a fix?

as long as there is Rehab/mental health services available to get them back into the workforce ..

We should not be providing $ for drugs which is what it will be used for if they are addicted to drugs.

I just had to let go a man who came to work high. He showed such promise, but I could not risk it. If he had an incentive to stay clean he would be a good employee

If you have a job,you get randomly tested for drugs, so yes the unemployed should be tested also.

If they have a problem, they can get treatment, or not receive benefits.

As Should ALL elected persons BEFORE (and randomly after) taking office.

If they have money for drugs or alcohol or cigarettes....that's a no brainer.

Why should we help druggies support their habit? See if you can somehow check for alcoholism too!

Too much is not enough nowadays
Gov. Evers signed a law which has taxpayers pay for the health insurance premiums of the spouse and children of fallen law enforcement officers. After reading the article...
This is a good policy.

There is still hope! We as a society owe this to the spouses and children of fallen law enforcement officers. Kuddos to the efforts to get this bill passed! Now if we could start seeing more of this type of constructive governing across our land.

Its the least we could do.

I'm in agreement, but think it should be needs based.

A purposal by the right and now he wants use to believe this was is idea as long the program in the does cause a problem to the state taxpapers


They just lost their law enforcement family member. This is more than fair.

this is a excellent law. The families need that support of insurance .

most women work and will have coverage from their employers ...

We do not pay them enough now so this is a small help to those left behind.

Everyone’s situation is different, why not give each employee a term life insurance policy? Health Care cost can be expensive for the Municipality

Buy their own insurance....

I didn't know firefighters had that benefit. I would rather have police officers have that benefit than firefighters. But how about they take out life insurance and disability and pay for it like the rest of us? That needs to be negotiate in there union contract? I predict a shortage of police officers and it won't be about money.

They lost their lives protecting us.Their families deserve help.

I don't agree with very much that this governor does or stands for but this is one thing that I totally agree with.

Should have time limits.
No bills to report.
LRB-4415   Memo  Girl Scout Tragedy (James, Jesse) Commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Chippewa Falls Girl Scout Tragedy. Deadline: Friday, October 25, 4 pm

LRB-4515   Memo  TID Changes (Stroebel, Duey) Changes to a tax incremental district joint review board's voting requirements, requiring that a tax incremental district's project plan include alternative economic projections, and limiting the amount of cash grants a city or village may provide to a developer. Deadline: Friday, November 1, 4 pm

LRB-0323   Memo  FMLA (Ringhand, Janis) The establishment of a family and medical leave insurance program; family leave to care for a grandparent, grandchild, or sibling and for the active duty of a family member; the employers that are required to allow an employee to take family or medical leave; creating an individual income tax deduction for certain family or medical leave insurance benefits; allowing a local government to adopt ordinances requiring employers to provide leave benefits; providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures; providing an exemption from rule-making procedures; granting rule-making authority; making an appropriation; and providing a penalty. Deadline: Monday, November 11

LRB-4540   Memo  TID Payments (Steffen, David) Distribution of the aid payment for personal property upon termination of a tax incremental district. Deadline: Wednesday, October 30, 5 pm

LRB-4500   Memo  Service Award Funding (Testin, Patrick) Funding for service award payments and making an appropriation. Deadline: Tuesday, October 30, 5 pm

LRB-3640   Memo  Aircraft Liens (Roth, Roger) Liens on aircraft and aircraft engines. Deadline: Wednesday, October 30, 4 pm

LRB-4650   Memo  Aircraft Liens (Tittl, Paul) Liens on aircraft and aircraft engines. Deadline: Wednesday, October 30, 4 pm

LRB-3720   Memo  Vehicle Registration (Kulp, Bob) County registration of animal-drawn vehicles. Deadline: Wednesday, October 30

LRB-0561   Memo  Conduit Bonding (Allen, Scott) Conduit bonding authorities, distributions for property tax relief, and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, October 31

LRB-4433   Memo  State Amphibian (Billings, Jill) Designating the spring peeper as the state amphibian. Deadline: Wednesday, November 6, 5 pm

LRB-1328   Memo  Fee Reports (Allen, Scott) Biennial reports regarding fees charged by executive agencies. Deadline: Friday, November 1

LRB-4411   Memo  Parental Rights (Jacque, Andre) The exception to the requirement to give notice of a termination of parental rights proceeding to an alleged father based on sexual assault. Deadline: Thursday, November 7, 5 pm

LRB-4580   Memo  Living Center Grants (Jacque, Andre) Grants to independent living centers and making an appropriation. Deadline: Friday, November 8, 5 pm

LRB-3633   Memo  Farmland Preservation (Oldenburg, Loren) Farmland preservation implementation grants, agreements, and tax credits and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, November 7, 5pm

LRB-4692   Memo  Black Catholic History Month (Myers, Lakeshia) Proclaiming November 2019 as Black Catholic History Month. Deadline: Friday, November 1, 5 pm

LRB-1061   Memo  Chippewa Valley RTA (Smith, Jeff) Authorizing the creation of a Chippewa Valley regional transit authority and making appropriations. Deadline: Monday, November 11, 5 pm