Happy Presidents Day! We hope you had an enjoyable weekend, and that your Monday was productive. As always, this week will bring you our weekly Property Taxpayer of the Week, News from the Capitol and around Wisconsin, circulating legislation, your weekly poll responses, and an all new Weekly Member Poll.
As always, we hope you find this weekly report to be interesting and informative. If there are ever any issues that you would like to see included, or if you ever have any questions or comments, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great week,
PROPERTY TAXPAYER OF THE WEEK
KENT OLSON | STUFF-N-STORE SELF STORAGE
This week we are proud to introduce you to Kent Olson, owner of Stuff-N-Store Self Storage in Madison, and as he likes to put it, "a second-generation independent business owner."
The first generation of business owner was Kent's father.
"Growing up, my father started the Olson Hardware Store on Atwood Avenue, which later evolved into L.A. Olson LP Gas Service for the next forty-seven years," he explained.
"I do not remember it, but my first home was above the hardware store on Atwood Avenue, after that we moved several times, always on the East Side of Madison, WI where I eventually graduated from East High School in 1965."
It was being the son of a business owner which Kent believes set him up for his own successes down the line, but not right away.
"The first business didn't go exactly how I planned," he said. "But that never stopped me in my pursuit of me always wanting to be just like the 'Old Man' having my won successful business."
Kent told WPT that he first started out running a couple photography studios in Waunakee and Madison, but then in the mid-1980s, he started Stuff-N-Store Self Storage.
"The first building was behind the DairyLand Restaurant on Cottage Grove Road. I then purchased a second location at 4301 Nakoosa Trail. At that point, my attorney also wanted me to manage a small complex he built off from Monona Drive back in 2002."
And not only is Kent a valued business owner in the community but was also one of the founding members of WSSA, the Wisconsin Self Storage Association. He told WPT that he does not sit on the board of directors any longer, though he still regularly attends meetings with his son.
Kent told us that the most challenging part of the self-storage industry has been with workforce.
"The most challenging part would be finding qualified, honest help," he said. "Also, over-regulation which includes a higher-than-needed worker insurance premium, and outrageous property taxes. We are currently at the highest point with the property taxes that will allow investment in commercial real-estate for the self-storage rentals to have a return on investments without gouging our customers," he explained.
While Madison is notorious for some of the highest property taxes in the state, Kent still focuses on his customers.
"Customer service has always been an important part, and will always be a part of our business. I have always had a good feeling when we are able to help someone with their move, or their long-term storage needs."
In his free time, it's apparent that Kent is a family man.
"I was lucky enough to meet Janet, a frugal and energetic farm girl from Fennimore, WI. In 1987, we adopted twin boys from Paraguay, South America," he told us. "Elliot is my office manager, and Jeremy helps keep the computers up and running."
He told us that his favorite place in Wisconsin is his tree farm in Grant County.
"My second most favorite place would be the Rock of Gibraltar, which is a scenic park just outside of Okee, WI. This park has a scenic view similar to the view at Devil's Lake State Park without the hill climb. My hobbies include photography, hunting and fishing."
"Can't wait to take the grandkids fishing," he said.
WPT would like to thank Kent Olson for his commitment to his community and customers. We would also like to thank him for his 14 years as a member with WPT, and for sharing a bit about himself, his business, and his family.
For all of your self-storage needs in Madison, check out www.stuffnstore.com. With a convenient location at the intersection of Cottage Grove Road and Highway 51, they're a quick drive to anywhere in the region!
WPT AG HUB GOES LIVE, ORGANIZATION TEAMS UP IN SUPPORT OF RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BILL
Last week, WPT added a new feature to its website- the WPT AG HUB. As we talked about last week, our organization is committed to bringing our farm members the latest news when it comes to news and resources that we believe are critical during these challenging times. By navigating to www.wptonline.org/aghub, you will be able to choose from a state resources page or a federal resources page. Within those pages, you will be able to calculate your premiums and coverage for the Margin Protection Program, specific to your farm and production numbers. You will also see the USDA's legislative principles, and see pending legislation from Congress- which we strongly urge you to get in touch with your member of Congress. If there is any information you would like to see included in the WPT Ag Hub, reach out to us at email@example.com to make those suggestions. Additionally, last week, WPT teamed up with the Midwest Food Products Association, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Association in support of Senate Bill 769/Assembly Bill 912. This legislation would establish a new rural economic development fund through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and as amended, would provide funding for a revolving loan fund grant program, and provide one time grants to rural economic development groups. While the legislation is scheduled for a vote on the Assembly floor during their session tomorrow afternoon, the Senate has yet to take up the measure. Our organizations have drafted and will send a memo to the Wisconsin Senate, expressing our support, and urging the bill's passage before the end of the session. If you want to read the memo, or if you wish to share your thoughts on this legislation, please reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by giving me a call directly at 608-255-7573. Coming next week, WPT will unveil a new directory on our website, featuring the Property Taxpayers of the Week, and how to get in touch with their businesses. Stay tuned for more information in next week's WPT Weekly Insider.
NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL
AND AROUND WISCONSIN
NAFTA AND WISCONSIN BY THE NUMBERS
With the debate in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere continuing over the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), some important numbers have begun to surface on the local level with regards to that policy's impact right here at home. Whether you love it or hate it, the impact exists to the tune of $2.7 billion in exports in 2016. Unfortunately, the FY2017 numbers are not yet available. The export products are both also directly and indirectly attributed with supporting one million jobs, which translate into $48 billion in wages for those workers over the years, and since 1994, the United States has exported $43 billion from the country's farmers alone, having a $127 billion impact on the U.S. economy since taking effect over two decades ago. The food and agriculture industries in the United States make up a staggering 20% of the U.S. economy, with over a billion dollars from dairy alone being exported. As one publication from the University of Texas at Dallas shows, we can expect tariffs to skyrocket to as much as 60 percent on some dairy products like cheese, and to nearly 50 percent on other items. One thing on which both sides of the argument might agree is that updates to the law need to be made. With technology in nearly every economic sector rapidly evolving, NAFTA too needs to be modernized to better benefit those who put in the work to drive these global exports from the U.S.
THE LATEST ON KIMBERLY-CLARK
Legislation from Senator Roger Roth (R-Appleton), Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) and Rep. Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah) has been introduced and circulated that would give Kimberly-Clark corporation a deal similar to Foxconn. Under the plan, WEDC would be authorized to offer a 17 percent tax credit for all of the company's jobs paying between $30,000 and $100,000 per year. That's a bump from the law already on the books for other companies, which amounts to a 7 percent credit. The legislation will likely get a vote this week, with Governor Walker throwing his support behind the plan, which is coming in response to the corporation's plans to close two of its Neenah plants in a global restructuring of the company. That plan is slated to cut about 5,000 jobs total, and 600 here in Wisconsin. In response to the plan, Kimberly-Clark penned a letter this afternoon to the the WEDC Secretary, Mark Hogan, that read: "Thank you for our your outreach to Kimberly-Clark and your proposal. We appreciate the efforts of the Governor, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, as well as local and state government officials in Wisconsin, to make Wisconsin a great place for business. "Business decisions that impact our employees are among the most difficult ones to make. There are numerous factors that impact these decisions as part of the company's global restructuring program. We are int he course of a collective bargaining process and will take your proposal into consideration. Any final decisions related to our facilities will be communicated by teh company after negotiations with the union. "We are very proud of our Wisconsin heritage. Kimberly-Clark remains committed to the community as one of the largest employers in the Fox Cities area, and Neenah will continue to be the headquarters for our North American consumer business." Legislative democrats have also offered a plan that would help the paper industry in general, and not just Kimberly-Clark. Under a proposal by Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and Rep. Amanda Stuck (D-Appleton), a $30 million Papermaker Fund would be created to "help mills convert paper-making machinery from white paper to meet the current demand for brown paper packaging and install upgrades to make their mills more energy-efficient," according to one source.
ALCOHOL CZAR BILL VOTE CANCELED
A proposal that was hastily introduced, debated, and scheduled for a vote in committee has now been canceled. The legislation would have created an "alcohol czar" in Wisconsin, charged with enforcing Wisconsin's liquor laws, and would have granted that office police powers. The bill would have created an Office of Alcohol Beverages Enforcement, with the head of the new department being appointed by the governor and approved by the state senate. A similar bill introduced over the summer, which was ultimately nixed in the budget, would have forced small breweries and wineries to sell their liquor only through a distributor, including alcohol sold on their own properties. Because of Wisconsin's already complicated tier system governing alcohol rules in the state, many organizations and businesses within the industry have agreed that changes need to be made. The current proposal received sharp criticism, and in an unlikely alliance, the small breweries and wineries joined by the giants of industry Miller-Coors and Anheuser-Busch in strong opposition. The chairman of the committee canceled the vote, however said a study committee should be formed that explores the current laws and recommended changes for the future.
GULFSTREAM EXPANDING IN FOX VALLEY
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, headquartered in Georgia, last week announced its intentions to expand its operation in the Fox Valley and to create 200 new jobs in the region. Governor Walker joined the corporation last week to unveil their new $40 million investment in the state, and its plans to build a new near-200,000 square foot service center at the Appleton International Airport. Included in the project would also be a new hangar that would be used to repair and refurbish business jets. With the new addition being taken into consideration, Gulfstream's presence in Wisconsin will grow to over 1,000 employees. The company also plans to work with local tech schools this year to begin hiring support staff and technicians. "We're here to celebrate Gulfstream's creation of approximately 200 new jobs and $40 million capital investment in Appleton, and we thank Gulfstream for its continued commitment to Wisconsin," Governor Walker said. "The company's decision to expand right here in the Fox Valley is yet another sign that our state's economy is strong and we have the best workers in the country."
ASSEMBLY PASSES WELFARE REFORM BILLS
The lower chamber last week passed a list of legislation at the request of Governor Walker that would make major reforms to the state's welfare system. The State Senate is expected to take up a vote on the legislation soon. The bills were all approved on a party line vote, expect for two republicans who joined ranks on two different bills. Rep. Jessie Rodriguez opposed the plan to create a health savings account for state coverage for the poor, and Rep. Adam Neylon opposed requiring photo identification for food benefits. The legislation also requires able-bodied adults who are enrolled in BadgerCare to participate in the FoodShare Employment and Training program (FSET), requires those enrollees to pass a drug test and provides treatment to those who do not pass, expands the work requirement for able-bodied FoodShare recipients to 30 hours per week from 20, and establishes a photo ID requirement to participate in the FoodShare program. There is also a new requirement that able-bodied Medicaid recipients comply with child support orders to receive their benefit. The legislature also passed legislation that seeks funding from the federal government to help cover the near $90 million costs for implementing the new requirements.
WISCONSIN FARM NUMBERS DROPPED IN 2017
According to the USDA, Wisconsin was down 200 farms from the numbers in 2016, according to the USDA. Those numbers showed that the largest declines were farms in the $1,000-$9,999 range fell from 30,400 in 2016 to 20,200 last year. However, the large farm category ($1 million and up) went up to 2,500. The average size of the Wisconsin farm also remained consistent at just over 200 acres. Wisconsin's total farm land decreased by 100,000 acres to 14.3 million in 2017 as well. The average farm size for those doing more than $1 million in business was about 1,400 acres. The United States lost about 18,000 farms net from 2016, to 2.08 million. The average farm size in the United States is 444 acres.
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
President Trump's federal budget that was signed into law last week included some major farm safety net updates included by Senator Tammy Baldwin. After reading the "SOME RELIEF AND RESOURCES FOR FARMERS" article, what are your thoughts on the changes?
Looks like the changes could be very beneficial when times get bad.
We got start helping the farmers keep their farms.
Too many subsidies. The last pole many thought increased gas tax was good idea. So let the farmers get their money from selling their "comodity" and not the government
Farmers need SOME government programs but overall Dept of Agriculture programs need to reined in as they are - for the large part - a drain on the budget without adequate payback.
The MPP really needed to change to be of any value to dairy producers, I will probably sign-up now that the program has changed.
It's a start
I know that Senator Baldwin's heart is in the right place, but will this continue the over supply of milk and drive prices down even further? What milk needs is more markets and more demand otherwise the farmer is caught forever in the trap of low prices.
They are crap. The whole farming system has become crap. As about 2 dozen farmers have told me now, and we're talking the guys who are now 60-72, "This is JUST there to boost the major operation guys. NOT good for the family farmer." Another Democrat failure.
Farmers need to control level of production if they want to really make money.
I am a farmer and think we should get rid of programs for all
Need to consider more than just feed costs they aren't the only expense that we have. The costs of parts and labor to repair equipment fuel insurances the list goes on and on.....
Farming is in a desperate state. Good to know some help is on the way. I'll tell you more when the check shows up!
These were much needed changes.
Instead of two years of $100 per child tax credits for parents, Governor Walker and Speaker Robin Vos have agreed to a one-time $100 tax rebate for parents and a weekend sales tax holiday for Wisconsin residents. Good idea or bad idea?
Much Better. Gives everyone a chance not just families with children.
Bad idea. A weekend sales tax holiday is a nightmare to track. Should be making it easier not harder
To some people the $100 is critical - still others not so much
It seemed the original plan was easier to understand.
sales tax holiday isn't the issue. Wages is. Help get wages up in Wisconsin!!!
How much will it cost state and businesses to administer the tax holiday?
Put money into fixing roads.
Any time you give money back to taxpayers is good. Do we really need foxcon? It's like paying for a stadium
This is no way to run a state. Wisconsin's roads are crumbling, no funding to finish projects, and these pols are giving money away to gain votes, make you forget the roads. Wake up, Wisconsin. The Sales Tax holiday is just a gimmick. It'll cost businesses in the state MORE to update their systems to not charge sales tax for 3 days than consumers will save. It's just nuts. How these bozos get elected every year is insanity.
Top republican lawmakers in Madison support implementing toll roads in Wisconsin as a means to generate the revenue required to obtain federal funds as part of President Trump's $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan. Good idea or bad idea?
Very expensive to have tolls. Gas tax increase could be implemented much easier.
No toll roads here!!!!
I think we should have tolls like they do and maybe the gas tax also.
Too many taxes already. A toll road is another form of a tax. Sure it charges you for roads used but isnt that what the gas tax does. More miles driven more gas used hence more tax paid for those miles. Sounds simple to me but then again I am not a politician
gas tax increase
Increase the gas tax, toll roads are a pain in the ***
Gas tax increase. TOLLS are the worst thing ever....
adding a gas tax will ensure that those who use the roads the most pay the most.
Gas tax & registration fee increases.
Tollways are a pain,traffic bottlleneck. The politicians will probably use toll money for something else ala Doyle. Hard on lower income peopl & retirees.
Quit robbing from the transportation budget
It takes some high level idiocy to make people think toll roads are better than gas taxes. 99% of gas taxes can be spent on roads, compared to 71% of tolls (due to management of tolling systems.) It's inefficient. And Walker wants tax CUTS for every dollar in tolls! So all that's happening is a tax shift to inefficient tolls, and it'll take tax revenue away from other programs. It's just nuts on 5 different levels.
Taxes taxes with. Milk prices so low can't afford any more
gas is easier and less burdensome than tolls.
UW-Madison (without state tax dollars) will provide four years of free tuition to students whose families earn $56,000 per year or less. Good idea or bad idea?
Cut back on free tuition and help with housing and books. Most graduate with some kind of debt.
A person never appreciates something that is given for free.
There will be much creative filing to get down to the $56K.
Wish they would have had this for our children, yes I would have participated in this program.
Not every child should go to college. Too many people in charge and not enough doing the work. Free college just puts off the inevitable for many which is to GET A JOB.
Do students who attended UW in the last 10, 20 years, whose family income was under $56K get a refund?
Let make sure the student is taking a full load of classes and if they do not complete the program the family is responsable to refund a portion of the money to the UW.
Low income families need help with the high price of education, but I believe everyone should have to pay something towards the cost to show they value the opportunity.
IF the college system didn't turn into a money-cheating system over the last 20 years, I'd have said bad idea. BUT seeing as the increases are so rampant and ridiculous, and how I've met people from the UW system who SAY their job is to force people to pay more and be stuck going to school LONGER to get their degrees... Yeah, great idea. It's about time that someone did something to help students not get financially destroyed just to get a degree. I paid cash for my Associate's degree. In 2 years, it wasn't even $16,000. THAT is reasonable. Now? It's stupid sky high...
if you get something for free there's no value attached - have to work for what's of value
As long as the student maintains a good GPA
Nice idea,but where are they getting the money? What about the other UW system schools?
They don't let kids in that can pay now
The estimate was this will cost $3.3m, which is a tiny fraction of UW's $3 BILLION dollar budget. Seems like they could raise the income level substantially. New York State began a program to allow free tuition for $125k and under. We need more college grads, so I think this is a good idea.
My daughter worked 3jobs to pay for college I worked extra hours and did without so she could go. Where there is a will there is usually a way. More handouts for those who want everything handed with out any work
These kids are an investment. Good for UW. This is what "forward" means.
The 2018 Winter Olympics are now in full swing. Did you watch the opening ceremonies or any highlights? Are you planning to watch any of the games? If so, which games are your favorite. Share any thoughts you have on the Winter Olympic games here.
Never watch them.
No. Yes, just about all.
It's OK - but the periodic media fawning over the the horrible nuclear armed NK dictatorship that's threatening Pacific rim countries including America makes me not want to watch.
We are watching only about an hour or less per day, to many commercials. Glad to see some of the young athletes doing well and winning medals. Great to see the variety in winter sports.
Did not watch the opening ceremonies but I have been watching the prime time events. So far not a whole lot to get excited about. The scenery sure is gorgeous though.
I hate "judged" events. I think it's a popularity contest and too subjective. My favorite event is downhill skiing.
No, I have no interest in the games.
Started watching some,but my wife is always watching political crap on satellite tv.
I have a few dozen hours of Olympics on my DVR now. To an extent, this makes my apathy very high. You can watch a little, skip to the end to see who wins -- or just look it up since all the events are time-delayed by many hours.
Haven't watched any. Started to watch opening but got bored.
No. I'm glad Mike Pence is there representing our nation, though. Hallelujah. MAGA.