WPT Weekly Insider, March 19, 2018

News from the Capitol and around Wisconsin


We hope your work week is off to a productive start! 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.

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

Have a great week,

WPT, Inc.


John Kosnick, owner of Jordan Bar & Grill in Stevens Point, has been named as this week's Property Taxpayer of the Week. Jordan is a lifelong resident of the area in which his business is located. He grew up in Stevens point, and also graduated from the Stevens Point Area High School. He's been the owner of the bar since June of 2014, and says that one of the challenges in the bar industry is drunk driving in the state. John also mentioned AB-433 as being a challenge. This is the legislation that created longer hours for wineries, but was amended to prohibit the consumption of alcohol on any private property that does not have the necessary liquor licenses. "I currently employ nine people including bartenders, waitresses, and a cook," he told us. Aside from his employees, we asked John what he is most proud of when it comes to his business. "My biggest source of pride in my bar is the expansion that has occurred in the last year," he said. "Adding a new kitchen, dining area, two new outdoor volleyball courts a couple of years ago, and positive feedback from the customers on the expansion and quality of the food." A simple internet search of their businesses comes up with a Facebook page chock-full of positive reviews. Most recently a patron cited how delicious the salmon was, and many others comment on how friendly the staff and atmosphere are in the establishment. John told us that he does not have any legislative issues of priority at this time, and has no property-related issues either. But as many others in the industry, Wisconsin's Personal Property Tax drew him to WPT. "WPT is helping to eliminate the personal property tax on all new and existing equipment purchased," he said. We remain committed to this issue, and continue to work towards the ultimate goal of a full repeal in the next budget, with the largest portion, "Schedule C," already having been eliminated. John is married, and has two stepdaughters and three granddaughters. In his free time, he enjoys playing hockey, motorcross, fishing, and hunting. We suggest that your next trip to Stevens Point include Jordan Bar & Grill, and we thank John Koshnick for sharing a bit about himself and his business with WPT's members. To plan your trip to Jordan Bar & Grill, check out their Facebook page at or give them a call at (715) 544-6732.




Wisconsin's Coalition to Repeal the Personal Property Tax has been made aware of recent issues that business owners are facing when dealing with their local government entities and or their contracted assessors. Currently, business owners no longer have to pay property tax on Schedule C, which has been eliminated from the Personal Property Tax statewide. Schedule C consists of "all machinery, tools, and patterns" and is further defined in the Statement of Personal Property as "all machinery and shop equipment." But now it seems assessors are talking items that are rightfully categorized under Schedule C, and moving them into other categories as to create confusion, and still charge tax on clearly exempted items under that schedule. Business owners are receiving correspondences from their assessing bodies that read something along the lines of; "After reviewing your statement, we have determined that some or all of the property is still taxable and have revised your statement to reflect this." They are clearly doing all they can to prevent business owners from realizing this historic tax break, and putting in a full effort to preserve the tax. The Personal Property Tax Coalition has consulted with legal counsel, as well as a tax firm, and have received the following feedback:

"Unfortunately, while the taxpayer may file an objection and appear before the board of review with respect to the valuation placed on the property (which is unlikely since the property is valued at depreciated cost), the statutorily-prescribed and exclusive method for appealing the exemption determination (at Wis. Stat. §74.35) requires the taxpayer to pay the tax, file a claim for refund with the municipality and, if unsuccessful, commence a lawsuit on the basis of an unlawful tax."

This means that a legislative fix is the next route, and the coalition is working with lawmakers to determine the next step. We will keep WPT members informed along the way, but for now, keep all documentation of any discrepencies you might be experiencing with your assessment. Additionally, we are working with a tax firm to provide a webinar that clarifies the current issues. A webinar that explains that changes to the PPT law that were enacted by the legislature last year can be found here. We encourage all small business owners and managers to take the time to watch this brief webinar.


WalletHub, a relatively new group from Washington, D.C. that focuses on categorical rankings based on nationwide surveys has ranked Wisconsin 47th when compared to other states. Other data shows, such as that from the Tax Foundation, that Wisconsin has made great strides in reducing the overall tax burden, including its property taxes. A reporter for the publication reached out to WPT for its thoughts on the recent ranking, and in their recently-published article, Despite recent improvements, Wisconsin has among highest tax burdens in U.S., Government and Member Relations Director John Jacobson offers his thoughts on the trajectory of the state's tax burden.

John Jacobson, government and member relations director at the Wisconsin Property Taxpayers Incorporated, said the state has done well to reduce the tax burden for residents in the last eight years.

"Over the past eight years, the state of Wisconsin has made tremendous strides in reducing the overall tax burden for everyday regular Wisconsinites, whether that has been through property taxes and elsewhere, and for small businesses in particular," Jacobson said, adding that the property tax rates are at their lowest in Wisconsin since World War II in terms of percentage of personal income. He added that under Republican Gov. Scott Walker's administration, the tax climate has been good overall.

"The overall tax climate in Wisconsin has been fantastic, especially under this governor, administration and legislature," Jacobson said.

To further improve Wisconsin's tax environment, Jacobson said many groups have pushed for a repeal of the state's personal property tax.

"The full repeal of the state's personal property tax is something our organization along with countless other organizations have formed a coalition around accomplishing," Jacobson said. "What that would do is put more money back in the hands of everyday, Main Street business owners in Wisconsin."

Jacobson said the repeal of the personal property tax would make a big impact for small business owners and the customers of those businesses.


Through executive order, Governor Walker last week called the legislature into a special session to address school safety in the wake of the Florida school shooting last month that left 17 people dead, and set off a bevy of calls for stricter school safety measures across the nation. In calling for the specials session, which would bring lawmakers back to Madison, even though their regular business has all but wrapped up with the exception of the State Senate, which is scheduled to have its last day of regular session tomorrow. The plan that Governor Walker has proposed comes with a $100 million fiscal note, and would establish a new office of School Safety under the Wisconsin Department of Justice, create a $100 million School Safety Grant Program under the Office of School Safety, require mandatory reporting for any threats of school violence, amend the bullying statute to include prompt parental notification, incorporate trauma-informed care and adverse childhood experiences into training programs, strengthen school safety plan requirements, and encourage cooperation with local law enforcement. The most expensive portion of the plan, the $100 million School Safety Grant Program, says that grants used to employ armed school safety officers may be used to employ only law enforcement officers or former law enforcement officers as armed school safety officers, and "may not be used to supplant existing resources used for this purpose." The newly-proposed Office of School Safety would require that department to work with the Department of Public Instruction to create model practices for school safety, and would require blueprints and geographic information system maps for schools for use by law enforcement agencies in an emergency, and would require training to school staff on safety. To read the full plan by Governor Walker, click here.


Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald last week introduced a Senate Resolution, aimed at preventing future budget delays, similar to the one seen last year, when the state's two year spending plan was delayed for months because of disagreements among top leaders over transportation, school funding, and more. Under the resolution, if the Joint Committee on Finance has not wrapped up its work on the budget bill by the statutory deadline of June 30th, the Senate Majority Leader would be required to incorporate into the budget bill any and all changes that the committee has signed off on up until that point. The bill would then be referred to the Committee on Senate Organization, and would be scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor. If the budget bill happens to be an Assembly-originating bill, the Senate Majority Leader would be required to introduce separate legislation incorporating the changes adopted by the committee, and then refer it to the Senate Committee on Organization. According to several news outlets, Speaker Vos or his office have not commented on the proposal.


Six women have been chosen to compete for the 71st Alice in Dairyland title, according to the Department of Agriculture (DATCP). Those 2018 candidates are Kristen Broege of Janesville, Sydney Endres of Lodi, Alexus Grossbier of Elk Mound, Jacqueline Hilliard of Wisconsin Dells, Kaitlyn Riley of Gays Mills, and Megan Schulte of Hammond. The public has been informed that they are welcome to attend events during the finals in Adams County, which consist of the Finale Banquet & Program on May 19th at the Fine Arts Center in Adams. Alice in Dairyland is a full time position with the Department of Agriculture (DATCP) Agricultural Development division, and serves a one-year term. The position must travel around 40,000 miles throughout the state and country, and promote Wisconsin dairy and agriculture products to audiences. The position also deals with media relations, youth and civic groups and more.


State Senator Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls) has announced that he will not seek another term for Wisconsin's 23rd Senate District, and that he will retire at the end of his term in December. "I am officially announcing that I will not seek third term in the Senate," Moulton said. "When I began my campaign for the Senate, eight years ago this month, my goals were to work for smaller government, reduced tax burden, and a better climate for jobs in Wisconsin. We have accomplished all this and more. Income and property taxes are lower, more people are working than ever before, and unemployment is at a 17-year low." "I am proud of what my colleagues and I have been able to accomplish during my time in the legislature and I am honored and grateful tot he people of the 23rd Assembly District for giving me this opportunity." Senator Moulton said the decision was difficult, but he is looking forward to serving the community in other ways. State Representative Kathy Bernier (R-Lake Hallie) announced that she would be running for the position on Monday. "Wisconsin is moving forward and it is time to build on that success on behalf of the residents of west-central Wisconsin," she said. "I remain committed to the same principles that have guided my work in the Assembly; responsible taxes, sound budgets, safe schools and communities, and worker training."


Governor Walker signed legislation today that increases sparsity aid for rural schools by about $6 million, and allows for fiscally prudent school districts to raise their revenue caps for the first time since 1993. After reading the article; Good idea or bad idea?

I know it will be squandered. I have very little faith in the spending habits of schools any more. They get talked into the dumbest things possible on a regular basis, and waste incredible amounts of money. If the money goes for EDUCATION I'm good. If it ends up in new football fields, I'm cranked off royally.

schools are already over-funded and under-producing - throwing good money after bad.

The sparsity money makes some sense. But surrending more does not guarantee a better out come

Local control is best.

Its about time rural schools get some help

Temp fix, small rural school districts need to merge

However, I'm still uncertain the state should be allowed to raise the local property taxes, which is what they did. Put your money where your mouth is State of WI.

What defines a "fiscally prudent school district" ? (These are school districts who have had lower-than-average spending in their districts)

property taxes are on the way up

If this wasn't an election year with Gov. Walker being blamed for constantly cutting schools to death, this would not have passed. $6m is chicken feed and will fool so many voters.

The popular bill allowing for wineries to extend their hours until midnight passed the Assembly, but with an amendment that would render tailgating in Wisconsin illegal without a liquor license. If you were a Senator...

Nope. Tailgaiting is not a wisconsin tradition. It is a sports tradition. This is starting to make me wonder who is getting money from wineries to push their agendas.

Are you kidding? Eliminate tailgating? The Tavern league has too much clout with the politicians!

two questions: does the time or the location - the where or when affect the effects of alcohol on the body? drink responsibly, keep a designated driver, charter a bus or call a cab.

Tavern league seems a little our of control on this one!

Don't take away the tailgating,, Its a tradition to get people to socialize.

It's not only done at Lambeau. It's a college tradition as well. Fix the Bill.

Wouldn't there be less to debate if these ideas were presented separately? Each bill should only have one subject. That's how our great country gets messed up. A bill should only contain one law.

why take some thing away from a wisconsin tradation

Now why would they inject such an idiotic amendment?

wineries should be allowed to be open later, but to impact tailgating is absurd

Yes Agree

It is a Wisconsin tradition!! What an idiotic amendment!

Absolutely Yes Can the GOP find something more stupid to regulate? No, no they cannot.

Driverless trucks are one step closer to becoming a reality on I-94. What are your thoughts on autonomous vehicles?

Computers often don't work the way that they are supposed to work.....and now they are going to drive trucks-Are you kidding?

not in a million. who is responsible when things go wrong?

Now we have built in robots to drive trucks,, how safe is that? Where do people come up with these driverless trucks?

If we want to move forward and attract new businesses we need to be on the leading edge of this inevitable technology.

I think they are pushing this idea too fast

Foxxcom is promoting all the jobs it will bring to the area, can't hire a few drivers?

Automous cars bad enough, don't need large trucks.

I have not driven in a city with autonomous vehicles. I have seen plenty of vehicles driving on the shoulders but I always figured they were piloted by folks looking for spare change in the ditch.

Have not driven in those bigger cities and plan to not drive in them. I'm a country boy.

Autonomous cars should deal with the other 99.9999999% of human traffic, not get special lanes to not crash into stuff.

State Superintendent Tony Evers has released a comprehensive plan dealing with school safety. After reading the article or plan itself...good idea or bad idea?

An armed security person would go a long way to prevent shootings-if he/she did his job-not like the guy in the last big shooting.

it's a non-plan, like sensitivity training. everyone has the right to be secure ( 4th Amendment ) and security is achieved by one's own ability to thwart any threat/crime. Train and arm all school staff. Stop the Promise program. Stop giving kids mind/behavior altering drugs.

all is a liberal plan again for schools

Too expensive.

It is what it is .. a bunch of half measures that won't have an impact in this gun crazy country.

Over the weekend, one comedian said that losing an hour during the beginning of Daylight Savings in the spring would be more popular if it occurred on a Friday afternoon instead. Just for fun: Would you support moving Daylight Savings' to a Friday afternoon? Remember...if you "lose" an hour on a Friday in the spring, it might be nice, but you'll also gain an hour on a Friday in the autumn...Share any thoughts you have on Daylight Savings Time!

Split it 1/2 hour and leave it!

neither daylight nor time is saved or lost. DST is/was as bad idea and we should no longer be subject to the negative side-effects of it.

Forget Daylight Savings all together. Stay with standard time all year.

Personally don't know what the big deal is, but if we were to keep one time and not change, I'd rather have Daylight Saving Time, I like more daylight at the end of the day rather the beginning.

Pick one or the other and stop going back and forth

Please leave the Daylight Savings Time all the time.. this changing time is for the birds and they don't like it either.

Who says they both have to occur on a Friday? I'll take an extra hour on any given Saturday!!

Really? A Friday afternoon?

If you go to sleep 15 minutes early for three days, your body won't even feel it, like the extra daylight in the afternoon!

Have it all year and quit changing.

I like the way it is now

who cares

Leave well enough alone. Lets spend our arm chair quarterbacking time for real issues!

Let's just leave the clocks alone. This is an antiquated idea.

Just end the Daylight Savings Time all together its purpose has ended years ago

End it or keep all year.

Keep it the way it is and has been. It works for me and most farmers.

I don't need an extra hour in the evening in March. I loved the morning daylight I lost. I like it, just feel it's too early. April would be better.

I love daylight savings time. Over the years, I've saved so much daylight that I'm now running out of places to put it! I'm thinking of selling some of it on Craigslist.

My thoughts on DLST are to just leave it alone. Stop messing with this.

We should have constant DST, and never flip back in the fall. More light in the evenings is far better