WPT Ag Report

AG News Archives and previous news articles that matter to our members.


Local Public Hearing times, dates and places.

Public Hearings



Vos: Wisconsin prevailing wage hearing could derail reform

By: The Associated Press  May 26, 2015 4:21 pm


MADISON, Wis. — Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says efforts to take up prevailing wage repeal could hinder attempts to reform the program.


A Wisconsin state Assembly Labor Committee has scheduled a public hearing and vote Wednesday on a bill to repeal the prevailing wage.


Vos says there isn’t enough support in the Republican-controlled Legislature for a full repeal of the law that requires construction workers on certain government projects be paid wages equivalent to what they would earn working on other projects in the area.


Republican Senate Majority Scott Fitzgerald said last week he doesn’t have the votes for a full repeal, but he hopes to make changes in the state budget.


The budget-writing Joint Finance Committee hopes to complete its work this week.

Committee Activity

On May 5, the Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform will hold a public hearing on 2015 Senate Bill 49, which would eliminate the prevailing wage requirements in Wisconsin public works projects. An executive session for the bill is scheduled for May 7.

Rep. Danou to hold public hearings on budget

Representative Chris Danou (D-92nd Assembly District) will hold four public information sessions regarding the Governor Scott Walker's budget this month.


Danou said the goal of the sessions will be to inform people of what's in the budget and the philosophy behind some of the issues.


"I believe it's a moral document, that shows what we're going to fund and what we're not going to fund," he said. "It's a large document so people can get lost in it, so I want to break it down for people."


Danou will host a meeting in Black River Falls on May 7, the Alma Center on May 14, in Mondovi on May 16 and in Arcadia on May 27. All meetings are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.


"We really want people to reach out to other legislators and put the pressure on the people in Madison," he said. "Hopefully these meetings help people understand what's going on and encourage them to reach out."



The Governor’s

2015-17 Budget

On February 3, 2015, Governor Walker delivered his budget address.

• Budget in Brief  READ

• 2015-17 Executive Budget (Complete Document) READ

• About the Budget Documents READ

• How to Read the 2015-17 Executive Budget READ

• Statewide Budget and Position Summaries READ

*an interactive almanac

of U.S. politics



June 4, 2015


Wisconsin Acts

Continuously Updated


Wisconsin Blue Book


Published Biennially in Odd-Numbered Years

Property Tax Bill Estimates Under January 2014 Special Session Proposal Read Here


2013-15 and 2015-17 General Fund Budget Under January 2014 Special Session Bills Read Here


Distributional Information on Proposed Individual Income Tax Rate Reduction  Read Here


Wisconsin Alternative Minimum Tax and January 2014 Special Session Bills   Read Here

Differing Views  Where Do
YOU Fit In?

Who We Are

and What We Do

Wisconsin Property Taxpayers, Inc. (WPT)

is the voice of Wisconsin’s property taxpayers in the State Capitol, working to reduce the statewide property tax burden and reform Wisconsin’s antiquated and regressive property tax system.


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WPT is the only statewide taxpayers’ organization registered with the Ethics Division of the State’s Government Accountability Board to lobby exclusively for property tax relief and reform.

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WPT assists members in dealing with local property tax issues and answers members’ questions related to assessments, property tax exemptions, state laws and administrative rules, and provides information useful in appealing and reducing their property tax liability.


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Independence day celebration at Governor Walker's residence on Lake Mendota.

                Wisconsin Property Taxes

                By County

You can choose any county from our list of Wisconsin counties for detailed information on that county's property tax, and the contact information for the county tax assessor's office.


Adams  $1,974   Tax Assessor

Ashland $1,764   Tax Assessor

Barron  $2,242  Tax Assessor

Bayfield   $1,896  Tax Assessor

Brown  $2,900  Tax Assessor

Buffalo  $2,047  Tax Assessor

Burnett  $1,870  Tax Assessor

Calumet  $2,902  Tax Assessor

Chippewa  $2,123  Tax Assessor

Clark  $1,928  Tax Assessor

Columbia  $2,988  Tax Assessor

Crawford  $2,244  Tax Assessor

Dane  $4,149  Tax Assessor

Dodge  $2,884  Tax Assessor

Door  $2,357  Tax Assessor

Douglas  $2,076  Tax Assessor

Dunn  $2,823  Tax Assessor

Eau Claire $2,616  Tax Assessor

Florence  $1,682  Tax Assessor

Fond du Lac  $2,624  Tax Assessor

Forest  $1,712  Tax Assessor

Grant  $2,051  Tax Assessor

Green  $2,976  Tax Assessor

Green Lake  $2,311  Tax Assessor

Iowa  $2,925  Tax Assessor

Iron  $1,520  Tax Assessor

Jackson  $1,962  Tax Assessor

Jefferson  $3,099  Tax Assessor

Juneau  $2,020  Tax Assessor

Kenosha  $3,520  Tax Assessor

Kewaunee  $2,361  Tax Assessor

La Crosse  $2,912  Tax Assessor

Lafayette  $2,331  Tax Assessor

Langlade  $1,791  Tax Assessor

Lincoln  $2,154  Tax Assessor

Manitowoc   $2,351  Tax Assessor

Marathon  $2,602  Tax Assessor

Marinette  $1,604  Tax Assessor

Marquette  $2,192  Tax Assessor

Menominee  $2,654  Tax Assessor

Milwaukee  $3,707  Tax Assessor

Monroe  $2,357  Tax Assessor

Oconto  $2,198  Tax Assessor

Oneida  $2,040  Tax Assessor

Outagamie  $2,779  Tax Assessor

Ozaukee  $4,033  Tax Assessor

Pepin  $2,531  Tax Assessor

Pierce  $3,542  Tax Assessor

Polk  $2,649  Tax Assessor

Portage  $2,536  Tax Assessor

Price   $1,775  Tax Assessor

Racine  $3,312  Tax Assessor

Richland  $2,200  Tax Assessor

Rock  $2,706  Tax Assessor

Rusk $1,572  Tax Assessor

Sauk   $2,758  Tax Assessor

Sawyer   $1,759  Tax Assessor

Shawano  $1,972  Tax Assessor

Sheboygan   $2,875  Tax Assessor

St. Croix  $3,367  Tax Assessor

Taylor  $2,052  Tax Assessor

Trempealeau  $2,437 Tax Assessor

Vernon  $2,299  Tax Assessor

Vilas   $1,976  Tax Assessor

Walworth  $3,323  Tax Assessor

Washburn   $1,897  Tax Assessor

Washington  $3,502  Tax Assessor

Waukesha  $3,954  Tax Assessor

Waupaca  $2,411  Tax Assessor

Waushara  $2,125  Tax Assessor

Winnebago  $2,763  Tax Assessor

Wood  $2,078  Tax Assessor

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Current News

Revolt: Conservatives Push Vote on Prevailing Wage Repeal

By RightWisconsin   Published: 10:52 AM May 26, 2015


Here we go.


Assembly Labor Committee Chair Rep. Andre Jacque announced Tuesday morning that the committee will hold a hearing and executive session Wednesday on AB 32, a bill to repeal the prevailing wage. The hearing and vote, long stifled by Republican leadership, provides new momentum for conservative legislators looking for taxpayer savings in a tight budget.


"We have a chance to get a real reform done for the taxpayers," said Jacque in an interview with Charlie Sykes Tuesday morning.


Jerry Bader first reported the news of a public hearing Monday afternoon on his blog at WTAQ, and sources to RightWisconsin quickly confirmed the news.


The public hearing now sets up a standoff in the Republican controlled Assembly.


It is widely known at this point that Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has been working overtime to prevent a public hearing in the Labor Committee and a showdown over the repeal of the prevailing wage. With a new hearing and vote called for Wednesday, a full repeal will more than likely pass given that of the six Republican members, five are co-sponsors of AB 32.


Jacque acknowledged to Sykes that he did not have the support of Assembly Speaker Vos.


"I don't think the Speaker wanted me to have this hearing at this point," said Jacque. "But this is something that I felt as Chair was important to do."


Assuming AB 32 passes out of the Labor Committee Wednesday, the pressure will be on Speaker Robin Vos to bring the bill to the floor for a vote in the Republican dominated chamber.


Vos has said that he doesn't have the votes to pass a full repeal. But Jacque disagreed, saying, "I believe if this bill were to make it to the Assembly floor it would pass."


With the wheels now in motion, the repeal of prevailing wage has new life after its defeat in the Senate Labor Committee.


Rep. Jacque's decision to call a public hearing and vote in his committee without support from Speaker Vos shows real courage, independence, and principle. Conservatives are making their stand on this issue, and it proves that there are some legislators who are looking out for the taxpayers in Madison.  LISTEN


WPT's Agenda for Success 2015-2016:  Eliminate Prevailing Wage Mandate-- The additional cost of labor in the construction of public works projects add hundreds of millions of dollars to the cost of these projects. Prevailing wage is an artificial rate set by government that contractors are required to follow often times in- flating the wage rates driving up labor costs



How student debt became a presidential campaign issue

By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel May 24


The $1.3 trillion burden of student debt is becoming an issue in the 2016 presidential campaign as candidates court the millions of Americans grappling with the high cost of college.


Congressional Democrats are advocating for debt-free public higher education and pushing party front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton to take up the issue in her campaign.


White House hopefuls Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley have already backed the plan, with Sanders proposing his own federal program to make four-year public college free.


Republican contenders have not laid out any specific positions, but New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and former Florida governor Jeb Bush have framed the issue as a barrier to economic mobility in recent speeches.


“We’re talking about over 40 million Americans who have student debt,” said Sarah Audelo of the Center for American Progress. “We have this multi-

generational impact . . . and there has to be a conversation.”


The latest data from the New York Federal Reserve shows that 65 ­­percent of student loans are held by Americans younger than 39, while people age 40 to 59 hold another 30 ­percent.


The issue weighs heaviest on the minds of millennials, who have endured soaring college costs that forced many to take on tens of thousands of dollars in debt. A Harvard University Institute of Politics poll found that 57 percent of people under 30 believe that student debt is a major problem for young people.


Democratic pollster Geoff Garin, who worked on Clinton’s 2008 campaign, said he thinks the issue of student debt is as important to millennials as “war and peace issues” were to baby boomers.


“A part of the reason student debt is so important for Democrats is that it’s a crucial motivator to get younger people to vote,” Garin said. “Student debt is often the defining economic fact of their lives.”


People 18 to 34 account for about one-fourth of the voting-age population. While that group largely sat out the midterm elections, their votes proved critical in the last two presidential elections.


Although it is early in the campaign season, Democrats are making a clear play for the millennial vote. They have introduced a slate of resolutions calling for the elimination of student debt at public colleges, the increase of federal grant aid and reduction of interest rates on student loans. It is part of a larger push to promote debt-free college as a campaign issue.


“Student debt will be a central issue in the 2016 elections, both at the presidential election and the congressional level,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told reporters at a Howard University event in April. “There are two problems that have to be solved: the high cost of college education and huge outstanding student loan burden. And we need to go after both of them.”


The debt-free college initiative is based on a plan sketched out by liberal think tank Demos. It calls for the federal government to award grants to states that increase spending on higher education and increase need-based grant aid. That way, fewer students would have to take on high debt loads to attend public colleges.


Mark Huelsman, senior policy analyst at Demos, called the plan “a return to the promise of higher education as a public good.” He said it is the sort of big idea, much like universal health care, that’s built for a presidential campaign, the grounds to test out a platform that could shape future policy.


Building on the Demos plan, Sanders introduced a bill last week for free tuition at four-year public colleges and universities. He would have states pony up $1 for every $2 the federal government invests in higher education. The federal share of the money would come from taxing transactions by hedge funds, investment houses and other Wall Street firms. All told, the plan would cost $70 billion a year.


Since many popular solutions for reducing student debt involve more government spending, it is an issue that the Republican Party has largely shied away from, said Lanhee Chen, a Hoover fellow and Mitt Romney’s policy director during the 2012 campaign.


WPT's Agenda for Success 2015-2016:  Restructure the UW System-- Provide more autonomy as a public authority so it can become less dependent on taxpayer funding. Proposed cuts to the UW amount to 3%, far less than what the pundits are saying. When you consider the reserve balance on hand, the impact will be minimal. However, the UW is a significant state resource we must protect. We depend on them greatly for our workforce.





WPT Ag NewsAgriculture


Joint Finance Committee Takes Action on Ag Items

On May 12, 2015  The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee took the following actions today regarding the state’s 2015-17 biennial budget.


Producer-Led Watershed Grants

Wisconsin farmers continue to address nonpoint source pollution by implementing best management practices such as; nutrient management planning, establishment of cover crops, changing tillage practices, etc. Wisconsin’s nonpoint source prevention programs are currently implemented locally through county land conservation departments. The governor’s 2015-17 state budget initiative would allow farmers to voluntarily work together to create locally-led watershed projects and implement conservation practices that will ultimately improve water quality.


The Joint Finance Committee approved $250,000 annually for a farmer-led watershed initiative. Grant recipients much provide at least 50 percent of project funds and the maximum grant amount was set at $20,000.


Fertilizer Research Fees and the Fertilizer Research Council

The Fertilizer Research Council (FRC) is currently attached to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and is responsible for allocating certain fees for fertilizer research projects within the UW System. The governor’s budget proposed to eliminate the FRC and reduce the corresponding fees by 27 cents. The Joint Finance Committee maintained the Fertilizer Research Council and its funding.


DSC02631Livestock Premise Registration

When the Livestock Premise Registration Law was enacted in 2005, DATCP was allocated both funding and a staffing position for the program. The intent of the law was for DATCP to contract with an outside entity, the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC), to administer the program. The staffing position was allocated to DATCP in the event the relationship between DATCP and WLIC failed.


The governor proposed to eliminate the livestock premise staffing position at DATCP, resulting in reduced funding for the program by $66,200 in General Purpose Revenue (GPR) annually. The funding allocated for a staffing position is part of the cost of running the livestock premise registration at WLIC and is instrumental in making the program work effectively. This is critically evident in Wisconsin’s current fight against avian influenza.


The Joint Finance Committee voted to maintain funding for the Livestock Premise Registration Program.


County Conservation Staff Funding

The 2013-15 state budget had funding for county conservation staff totaling $8.8 million. The governor proposed to reduce county conservation staff funding by $815,900 annually.


The Joint Finance Committee voted to increase funding for county conservation staff by $675,000 in each year of the budget.


Agricultural Chemical Cleanup Program (ACCP) Funding

The governor’s budget proposed taking $1 million annually from DATCP’s segregated Agricultural Chemical Cleanup Program (ACCP) fund to transfer it to the Department of Natural Resource’s nonpoint account, which is used to help pay, in part, nonpoint staff at DNR, nonpoint staff at DATCP, county conservation staff, cost share funding for farmers to implement best management practices, and other nonpoint activities.


The Joint Finance Committee approved transferring $1 million annually from the DATCP’s ACCP fund to DNR’s nonpoint account.



New IoH law makes 20 changes

The bill makes more than 20 adjustments to the Implements of Husbandry (IOH) law, including:


• Clarifies in state statute that IOH with rubber tracks can legally operate on Wisconsin roadways.


• To alleviate the potential issuance of thousands of permits across the state, it authorizes an IOH or (agricultural commercial motor vehicle) Ag-CMV being legally operated with a permit to cross any intersecting highway under the jurisdiction of the maintaining authority that issued the permit.


• Provides the same weight, length, width and height limitations for transporting IOH by trailer or semitrailer from farm-to-farm, from field-to-field, or from farm-to-field to the same extent as if the IOH were being operated on the roadway.


• The special axle weight exemption given to Category B planting, tillage, cultivating and harvesting IOH is also given to Ag-CMVs that directly distribute feed to livestock, or directly apply fertilizer, lime, spray or seeds, but not manure, to a farm field.


• Ag-CMVs that have the capability to directly apply manure to a field, but are unable to due to field conditions, will be able to park on a road and off-load the manure to another piece of equipment for application, and still retain Ag-CMV status.


Earlier this month the State Senate and State Assembly unanimously approved Assembly Bill 113.



USDA Surveys to Provide Insight on Wisconsin Agriculture

Wisconsin Ag Connection - 05/21/2015


A sample of Wisconsin farm operators will have an opportunity to provide information during the June Agricultural Survey period. These questionnaires are among the largest and most important data finding efforts conducted by the National Ag Statistics Service's Great Lakes Regional Field Office and serve as a primary source of agricultural information.


NASS gathers the data online, by mail and/or by phone. USDA representatives will also visit randomly selected tracts of land and interview local operators. State Ag Statistician Greg Bussler says the surveys will provide accurate and reliable data about 2015 planted acreages of major crops, as well as grain stocks, livestock inventory, cash rents, land values and value of sales.


"Due to the widespread impact of its results, these are two of the most significant surveys NASS conducts" Bussler explains "The information growers provide serves as the first clear sign of the prospective production and supply of major commodities in the United States for the 2015 crop year."


Producers rely on the survey results to make valid production, marketing and investment decisions. Congress uses the information to design better regulations and farm programs. And industry analysts, extension agents, farm organizations, and agricultural lenders use the data in a variety of ways to directly benefit the grower.


All survey responses are protected by law and remain strictly confidential. Information from individual operations will not be disclosed but will be combined with others to make reliable state, regional and national estimates.


Results will be released soon after the survey is complete.




Capitol Report        2015

2nd Quarter | May

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Our own Ag Member Representative Donovan Dolph - July 4th, 2014

How Property Taxes Work


August 1, 2011 04:18 PM ITEP

The property tax is the oldest major revenue source for state and local governments. At the beginning of the twentieth century, property taxes represented more than eighty percent of state and local tax revenue. While this share has diminished over time as states have introduced sales and income taxes, the property tax remains an important mechanism for funding education and other local services. This policy brief discusses why property is taxed and how property taxes are calculated.


Why Tax Property?


The property tax is rooted largely in the “benefits principle” of taxation. Under this view, the property tax essentially functions as a user-charge on local residents for the benefits they receive from the local policies funded by property taxes. These policies benefit local residents directly in the form of better schools and fire protection, and indirectly in the form of increased housing values.


The property tax also helps differentiate between families of very different means by taxing families with large quantities of wealth more heavily than those without such reserves. But the impact that property taxes can have on low-income families, and particularly the elderly, makes clear that the linkage of the property tax to the ability-to-pay principle is far from perfect.


Finally, the stability and enforceability of the property tax make it among the best options available for providing local governments with a predictable revenue stream that can be used to fund indispensable services like schools, roads, and public safety.


How Property Taxes Work


Historically, property taxes applied to two kinds of property: real property, which includes land and buildings, and personal property,

which includes

moveable items

such as cars, boats,

and the value of

stocks and bonds.

Most states have

moved away from

taxing personal

property and now

impose taxes

primarily on real



In its simplest form, the real property tax is calculated by multiplying the value of land and buildings by the tax rate. Property tax rates are normally expressed in mills. A mill is one-tenth of one percent. In the most basic system, an owner of a property worth $100,000 that is subject to a 25 mill (that is, 2.5 percent) tax rate would pay $2,500 in property taxes. In reality, however, property taxes are often more complicated than this. The first step in the property tax process is determining a property’s value for tax purposes. In most cases, this means estimating the property’s market value, the amount the property would likely sell for.


The second step is determining the property’s assessed value, its value for tax purposes. This is done by multiplying the property’s market value by an assessment ratio, which is a percentage ranging from zero to one hundred. Many states base their taxes upon actual market value—in other words, these states use a 100 percent assessment ratio. A significant number of states, however, assess property at only a fraction of its actual value. New Mexico assesses homes at 33.3 percent of their market value, and Arkansas uses a 20 percent assessment ratio. Some states place a cap on increases in a home’s assessed value in any given year, which in many cases can lead to vastly different assessment ratios among similarly valued homes (For more detail, see ITEP Brief, “Capping Assessed Valuation Growth: A Primer”). And even when the law says properties should be assessed at 100 percent of their value, local assessors at times systematically under-assess property, reporting assessed values that are substantially less than the real market value of the property.


After the assessment ratio has been factored in, many states reduce a property’s assessed value further by allowing exemptions. The most common type of exemption is referred to as a “homestead exemption.” In Ohio, for example, the state allows an exemption for the first $25,000 of home value. Subtracting all exemptions yields the taxable value of a property. (For more on homestead exemptions, see ITEP Brief, “Property Tax Homestead Exemptions”).


The next step in the process is applying a property tax rate, also known as a millage rate, to the property’s taxable value. The millage rate is usually the sum of several tax rates applied by several different jurisdictions: for example, one property might be subject to a municipal tax, a county tax, and a school district tax. This calculation yields the tentative property tax before credits.


Many states allow property tax credits that either directly reduce the property tax bill, or that reimburse part of the property tax bill separately when taxpayers apply for them. Subtracting these credits is the final step in calculating one’s property tax bill—though taxpayers are often required to pay the pre-credit property tax amount, only to later have the amount of the credit refunded to them. (For more detail on one type of property tax credit, see ITEP brief, “Property Tax Circuit Breakers”).


Other Property Tax Issues


While property taxes on owner-occupied homes tend to receive the most attention, the presence (or absence) of tax on other forms of property also has important implications.


Businesses pay property taxes just like local residents. Property taxes on businesses are mostly borne by business owners. Business property taxes generally make the property tax less regressive, since business owners tend to be wealthier than average.


Property taxes also impact taxpayers who rent, rather than own their home. This is because owners of rental real estate pass through some of their tax liability to renters in the form of higher rents. The impact of property taxes on renters is of particular concern because renters tend to be significantly less well-off than their homeowner neighbors.

Non-profit entities are generally exempt from state and local property taxes. While these exemptions can make it easier for these organizations to pursue their missions, it can mean that local governments have difficulty raising the revenue needed to provide quality public services. This issue is most significant in areas with large non-profit hospitals and/or universities. PDF


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News updates May 26, 2015

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