May 16 – JFC Votes on Property Taxes, Military Affairs, Workforce Development, Other Agencies

Under, Shared Revenue and Tax Relief — Property Taxation, Democrats moved to pass several of the governor’s recommendations to expand levy limits, including:

  • Repealing levy limit adjustments for covered services. Current law requires that municipalities receiving new revenues from fees for services previously funded by taxes reduce their levies by the new fee revenues.
  • Creating an exclusion to municipal levy limits for amounts levied for costs related to new transit services across municipal borders.
  • Creating an exclusion to municipal levy limits for amounts levied for joint emergency dispatch centers and joint fire departments.

The committee rejected the governor’s proposals 11-4 and instead unanimously approved a narrow exception to the levy limit adjustment for covered services so that municipalities no longer have to adjust their levy limits for fees related to stormwater management.

Also under Property Taxation, Democrats tried to bring up a motion to require municipalities to show on property tax bills any shift in property tax levies as a result of certain retail property assessments. However, JFC co-chair Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) ruled the committee had already taken up the “dark store issue” when they voted to remove Gov. Evers proposal in their first executive session, so JFC did not vote on the motion.

Similarly, under Transportation Democrats tried to bring up a motion that would have required a study on economic and safety effects of providing driver licenses and ID cards to undocumented persons. Co-chair Nygren again ruled the issue area had already been closed so the motion was not properly before the committee.

JFC later took up the Department of Military Affairs (DMA). JFC rejected the governor’s proposal to transfer the Office of Emergency Communications, including the Interoperability Council and its subcommittees, from DMA to the Department of Transportation (DOT). Republicans on the committee cited law enforcement concerns that the program had been recently transferred from the Department of Justice to DMA in the previous state budget.

Instead of the governor’s transfer proposal, the committee approved a motion for $1.9 million for maintenance of the Wisconsin Interoperable System for Communications (WISCOM) and an additional position for the Interoperability Council. Additionally, the motion requires DOT, in collaboration with DMA, issue a request for proposal for WISCOM. Previously, DMA was required to conduct an RFP for WISCOM, however the RFP was suspended in November with the administration change.

Under the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), JFC approved 11-4 along party lines several workforce education and training measures. The committee approved using funds from the Fast Forward grant program appropriation for the Project SEARCH program to provide job services to persons with disabilities, for mobile classrooms and institutional job centers in the Department of Corrections, and for personal care worker grants. The DWD motion also provides $3 million annually in career and technical education incentive grants to school districts and $2.8 million annually in local youth apprenticeship grants, among several other funding increases for technical education grant programs.

Also on May 16, JFC took up:

Financial Institutions
Wisconsin Technical College System
Higher Educational Aids Board
Secretary of State
Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority
Labor and Industry Review Commission

Although several Department of Health Services (DHS) areas were on the committee notice, JFC did not take up those items on May 16. Co-chair Nygren said JFC will take up those areas with the rest of the DHS budget.