News from the Capitol and around Wisconsin
We hope your week is off to a great start, and that you had a wonderful holiday weekend. WPT would also like to offer our condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of former Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, who passed away at the age of 62 this weekend.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great week,
PROPERTY TAXPAYER OF THE WEEK
As summer gets closer and closer, apparently our Taxpayers of the Week get closer to the Wisconsin Dells area, where this week we introduce you to Pam Coy, part owner and General Manager of Viking Village, Inc. in Reedsburg and Baraboo.
After learning corresponding a bit with Pam, it was evident that Viking Village, Inc. is so much more than a grocery store. But let's start from the beginning.
"My father William Pierce has been in the grocery business since he was a child," Pam said. "He worked with his father, Ralph Pierce and brothers Don and Jim. My dad then moved us to Reedsburg in 1975 and started our own grocery store, Viking Village Foods."
"From there, he opened Viking Liquor, which is one of the largest liquor stores in Wisconsin. Then he opened a laundromat and restaurant," she explained.
But that's not all.
"He built a shopping center and leased our spaces. In 1984, dad and I opened our first convenience store, Viking Express. We then built another in Baraboo called Viking Express II, and another Viking Express III, which later burned down in a fire," she added.
The family also built a bowling alley and bar in Reedsburg, but later sold it. Additionally, they also operate another convenience store in Reedsburg named BP Viking Express Mart.
"Along with three automatic car washes, three self-service car wash bays and we just added a new self serve pet wash!"
That's quite the list of accomplishments, and quite the addition to the local economy.
Wait, there's more?
"We also operate a bar called Bronco Billys Saloon, which is located one mile north of HoChunk Casino between Baraboo and the Wisconsin Dells," she said.
"Our farming division also raises our own super sweet corn, pumpkins and sunflowers (for feeding the birds. We sell these all in our grocery store."
As far as challenges go, Pam said it's the ever-changing industry of groceries.
"Some days it can be very difficult trying to keep up!"
The company employs over 200 people, but when we asked Pam what the company's biggest source of pride was, it was no surprise.
"It's our staff!!!" she exclaimed.
"We are very fortunate the have the people working for us that we have. Everyone is very loyal and dedicated which makes running all of our operations a lot easier! I always tell my managers and staff...Whatever you are, be a good one! My grandparents always taught and instilled in me, if you do something...do it 100% or don't do it at all. I really enjoy our business and always strive to do the best and be the best. I enjoy what I do because I like to make our customers and staff HAPPY," Pam said.
Pam said she believes in having strong relationships with her lawmakers, along with Wisconsin Property Taxpayers, Inc, and the Wisconsin Grocers Association.
"We can get more things done as a group than individually. I'm not afraid to contact a lawmaker if I have a concern. Business leaders need to be INVOLVED."
On particular issues, Pam said she pays attention to taxes on businesses.
"If we can keep our taxes down, then we can put more back into making our businesses better and we can put more into our staff."
Unemployment Insurance is another challenge to her business.
"I do not like dealing with Unemployment and administrative law judges. They are very one-sided and allow way too many frivolous law suits and claims," she said.
Pam was born in Baraboo and lived there until the 6th grade, when her family moved to Reedsburg, where she has resided ever since. She attended UW Baraboo and also UW Eau Claire, before returning to Reedsburg and getting involved in the family business.
She is married to Jeff, and will be celebrating their 20 year anniversary this year. They have four children between them, and seven grandchildren. Pam likes to garden and enjoys being at their family cabin and boating in Manitowish Waters. She and Jeff also love vacationing in Maui and in Arizona.
We would like to thank Pam for taking the time to share a bit about herself and her family business. We would also like to thank Pam for her commitment to providing jobs and services in the local economy, and her longtime membership in our organization.
If you would like to learn more about Viking Village, visit their website here for a list of locations, hours, and their vast selection of delicious foods!
Last week, we learned about a scam that is targeting farmers in particular.
According to the state's Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, there has been a well-targeted grant scam that has been taking place around Wisconsin. Farmers are receiving telephone calls about supposed grants from the "Federal Crop Registry." Those receiving the calls usually receive a message with a phone number and are told that they have three days to respodn to the offer.
DATCP warns: "If you receive this message, take no further action."
There is no "Federal Crop Registry" program, and thee phone number is fake. Also, according to both DATCP and the USDA, neither will ever call you and offer grant money, and grants are generally applied for online or in writing, and no notifications take place over the phone.
For more information on grant scams, review DATCP's Government Grant Scams fact sheet.
For additional information, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at http://datcp.wisconsin.gov, send an e-mail to email@example.com or call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-422-7128.
We would also like to share with you some federal legislation that has been circulated by Senator Gillibrand (D-NY).
She has introduced Senate Bill 2426, the Dairy Premium Refund Act of 2018.
Under this legislation, all premiums paid by farmers would be automatically returned via check in the mail at the end of the production year for any insurance premium funds not used to pay claims to them during the previous year.
She has also introduced Senate Bill 2555, the Dairy Farm Sustainability Act of 2018.
This legislation would establish a milk price floor of $23.34. The bill would work hand-in-hand with the newly-updated Margin Protection Program (which will soon have another enrollment period), and create a bit more stability to the market for producers.
As new federal legislation is introduced, we plan to continue keeping you up-to-date via this weekly publication, and on our website at www.wptonline.org/aghub.
Please reach out directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if there is any information or assistance I can offer at any time. You may also call my office directly at 608-255-7473.
NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL
AND AROUND WISCONSIN
GOV. WALKER CALLS SPECIAL ELECTIONS
After a couple of rounds of legal appeals, Governor Walker last week called the special elections to fill the seats of former State Senator Frank Lasee in De Pere and former State Representative Keith Ripp in Lodi.
The elections have been delayed for three months, with arguments taking place on both sides regarding whether or not the governor was obligated to call the elections with the legislative session having been completed. But last week, an appellate judge ruled that Governor Walker must call the elections, by upholding a ruling from a Dane County Circuit Court judge earlier in the week.
Up until the appellate ruling, Senate Republicans had called a hearing on legislation that would have changed the rules for when and how special elections are called, rending the judge's ruling meaningless. But with a Thursday deadline being given to Governor Walker to call the election, not enough time would have allowed the Senate to convene, debate, and vote.
Immediately following the announcement, candidates starting filing in.
Door County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Caleb Frostman said he will run as a Democrat for the Senate Seat, which includes Kewaunee, Door, and portions of Brown, Manitowoc, and Calumet Counties. Two Republicans also announced, current State Rep. Andre Jacque, and Renco Machine Co. employee Alex Renard.
On the Assembly side, the 42nd District consists of Columbia and Dodge Counties. Lodi city council member Ann Lloyd has announced, as well as Tyler Raley and George Ferriter. All three are democrats.
DARK STORE REFERENDUM SET IN OUTAGAMIE COUNTY
If you live in Outagamie County, you will get a chance to weigh in on the "dark store" issue while casting your ballot on November 6th. Be forewarned, however, this referendum is merely advisory in nature and has no bearing whatsoever on legislative action in Madison.
Currently, loopholes are allowing large retailers to obtain lower property tax assessments via lawsuits, which ultimately save them millions of dollars.
One side of the argument is from the retailers. They believe that they are being unfairly assessed, because the municipalities assess them based on their fully operational business use, rather than just bricks and mortar. They contend that everybody else pays based on their property and brick and mortar, not how much income they have.
The counties and municipalities have a different tune. They said that by big box retailers refusing to pay the taxes on their assessed property, the lost millions of dollars will be shifted onto property owners and homeowners within those areas.
While several fixes to the issue were presented to the legislature during this session, no efforts were successfully passed by either the Assembly or Senate.
WISCONSIN BECOMES FIRST STATE IN NATION WITH 'GREEN ALERTS'
Wisconsin is now the first country in the nation to implement "green alerts" for veterans in need of assistance.
Last week, Governor Walker signed bipartisan legislation into law that would send out public alerts for veterans who might be missing or in distress. The alerts would be similar to the current amber alerts for missing children, or silver alerts for missing senior citizens.
The legislation was promoted by the sudden death of an Air Force veteran who was missing for 18 days and then found dead after that period. Family members said that other states have contacted them about implementing similar measures to the new system here in Wisconsin.
HOME-COUNTY SEX OFFENDER BILL SIGNED INTO LAW
Governor Walker last week also signed into law legislation that places restrictions related on how certain sex offenders can be placed in areas across Wisconsin.
Assembly Bill 539 requires that Wisconsin's Health Department (DHS) places sex offenders who have been labeled as "sexually violent," but given the OK for residential placement, in their home counties. Under the previous law, offenders would be placed around the state by DHS, and perhaps not in their home counties.
Various law enforcement leaders praised the bipartisan law, but the Governor did issue a partial vetoe that would have changed distance limits for the sexually violent offenders near schools, day cares, parks, churches, or youth centers. Governor Walker issued the partial veto, because he felt that not doing so would have weakened current distance restrictions.
WISCONSIN FARMERS EXPECTED TO PLANT RECORD SOYBEAN CROP
According to the USDA's National Ag Statistics Service said in its prospective planting report released last week that Wisconsin farmers are expected to plant around 3.85 million acres of corn for all purposes, or about 50,000 acres less than last year.
But the number showed that farmers are planning to plant about 2.2 million acres of soybeans across the state, which is an increase of 50,000 acres from 2017.
Winter wheat acreage is estimated at 230,000 acres, which is a 20,000 acre increase.
Oat producers are seeding 230,000 acres, which is up 50,000 acres more than 2017.
1.2 million acres of dry hay is expected this year, which is down 50,000 acres, which would be Wisconsin's smallest hay acreage on record.
REPORT SHOWS GAMBLING DEBT AVERAGES $34,000
According to newly-released numbers, those who have a problem gambling in Wisconsin are on average $34,000 in debt by the time they seek help for the addiction.
According to the report, they max out their credit cards, usually spend their entire savings, try to obtain bank and payday loans, borrow money, and even steal and write bad checks.
In 2017, the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling received 12,674 calls for help, due to financial losses, legal action and more. The Council offers an outreach program, including a program to reach a younger demographic before they might begin making bad choices.
One of the employees said that teenagers engage currently in things such as personal bets, including video games, sports, and other small time gambling.
If somebody you know is in need of help, the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling is available by calling 1-800-462-2535, or by visiting their website at www.wi-problemgamblers.org.
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
The sales tax holiday and child tax rebate legislation will now head to Governor Walker's desk. After reading the article, what do you think?
too much reporting for not enough savings to warranty cost
Giving back money we don't have instead of spending it on roads. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Some will buy a bit extra of supplies. ... actual savins is negligable. Lipstick on a Hog!
It won't affect my spending.
another form of election based entitlements, fix our roads
we should use the extra money to pay for the awful roads in wisconsin
Screws up things for merchants selling eligible goods by compressing the selling period. Imagine how slow busines sis inthe weeks before and after and how hectic (adding extra staff) is would be during the tax holiday.
the money should have been toward roads and bridges
The numbers are bulls**t. A computer purchase under $750 is either a piece of junk, or it's only something partial. $75 on clothing doesn't go far anymore... Kinda sounds like a paperwork nightmare for very little return.
This still seems like a gimmick, but it should help families a little
It will be nice to get government's long fingers out of our pockets for once!
I have four kids under 18; I like it.
The State Senate has chosen to NOT take up the legislation that would provide Kimberly-Clark Corporation with tax credits, aimed at reversing their decision to close several operations in the Fox Valley. Good idea or bad idea?
NO CORPORATE WELFARE.
Let's bail out the taxpayers so they don't leave
Netther should FOXCONN (receive corporate welfare)
Why do they wish to close? Does it have anything to do with taxes?
Paper industry is coming to a end due to new generation of electronics
All businesses would benefit from tax cuts, not just large ones threatening to leave but every Wisconsin Employer
KC is a vital player in Wisconsin's paper industry. I'd make sure we work with them sooner rather than later.
it seems big corportation are always looking for a hand out
Fox Conn will be hiring and need workers, lets see how that works out before we deplete the infrastructure for the rest of the state's citizens
if you do one -there will be more
Kimberly Clark obviously doesn't care about staying in the state. They shouldn't NOW be given an "afterthought" package.
Good idea, to many unanswered questions, kind of like FoxConn
Would like to save the jobs,but we are opening the door even further for other companies to cash in.
The Assembly voted last week to expand background checks in Wisconsin for certain gun purchases, and the Senate has decided to NOT take up that plan. Good idea or bad idea?
if the current background checks were done correctly i think they are sufficient
Too many gun nuts in Wisconsin .. no legislation will ever pass.
The laws that we have already are not enforced
We have laws that govern gun purchases already and they should be followed through on.
Wisconsin needs to be the leader
I believe all gun purchasers should undergo a background, even people who purchase at gun shows.
It should be a well-thought out coordinated approach - not some knee-jerk reaction
pretty soon government will want background checks for purchasing a bebe gun its crazy
Tire of the guns issue, its just political rhetoric fueled by the liberals
I've yet to see a gun magically jump out of it's storage place, load itself, and begin shooting people. It takes a PERSON to load it and do something with it. The issue isn't with guns being sold - the issue is with the PEOPLE. We've done so much to make guns a major deal... Why not start a process to make them less of an icon, and more of an everyday tool?
Mental health seems to be more of a concern than criminal activity
We need to prevent the criminals and nut cases from having easy access to guns,but they will probably find a way to get them anyway.
Doesn't make any difference. The criminals are still get guns no matter what. And the mentally ill will also.
A judge has ordered Governor Walker to call special elections for two vacant legislative seats. Instead, the legislature will meet to change laws surrounding special elections, rendering the Judge's orders ineffective. Good idea or bad idea?
This is the moment you ask, HAVE YOU NO SHAME?
Unless the time of open seat is less than the normal time of scheduling (or a scheduled) election *whichever is less. HAVE the election.
Why put the taxpayers through the cost of a special election when their session is concluded.
more liberal ideas to cost tax payers money
Once again politically motivated lawsuit and decision, liberals, we are not that dumb, at least I hope not!
The Law is the Law, and a Judge has made a ruling based on the Law of the land. Mr. Walker should be showing respect for it, not showing that he will do as he pleases despite any legal decision. Bad taste in my mouth... time for a new republican governor maybe?
These positions should have been already filled. They could have easily done them this spring election. I don't like how the Governor thinks he can pick and choose which laws he has to follow. Obviously the current law law said this should have been done already. If the legislatures want to change it for the next time this happens that's their prerogative but these 2 positions should go by existing law.
The legislature will be on vacation anyway,so why spend the money and go thru the hassle of a special election for nothing.
Are you already paying attention to candidates and elections this year? What seats are you closely watching? Governor? US Senate? Local elections? Next week's election for State Supreme Court? Share any thoughts you have on the upcoming 2018 elections.
I think the blue-wave will peter out and people will return to their tribes. Trump has broken us as a people.
Voting against (almost) ALL Incumbents. A few (local seats) have dead wood from a few years ago running against an incumbent that is performing adequately.
I am looking for candidates which support raising the minimum wage and support the Affordable Care Act. Ultimately, our country should move to Medicare for All.
too many 3rd party ads, Wisconsin/nation needs to change laws to candidate endorsed ads only
State Supreme Court!
This Rebecca Dallet candidate is a tool of the Democrat party. Unabashed one at that
US Senate Also I hope the people next week elect the judge from Baraboo to the supreme court
Not paying attention, to busy with working
The older I get, the less I pay attention to elections, our news outlets have become one big spin for one side or the other, not matter if they have the facts or not, all propaganda for their political bent at any cost
I'm sick of the election process starting ages before the elections. The last presidential election began over 5 years ago. And the next one already started last year. I think we need new laws saying you cannot talk about election until the year before, or you're disqualified.
TOO much mud slinging months before elections, should have a time limit on number of DAYS for and against a candidates campaign.
I am sick of politics and politicians!!! The woman from Milwaukee running for state supreme court told people at a fund raiser in California that she wants to bring San Francisco values to Wisconsin.I'm voting against her for sure!
Not really. When the time comes I'll look more closer.