Hamilton Political Tidbits – May 1, 2015

Hamilton Header
Hamilton Consulting Group Political Tidbits
Compiled by
The Hamilton Consulting Group
 May 1, 2015


The budget process was on pause this week, as legislators anxiously await the updated revenue projections from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, which are expected early next week. Included in this week's Tidbits is a summary on the most recent budget action from the Joint Finance Committee from their last two meetings. Also in this week's Bills of Note , we have a rundown on the status of the TIF bill package and an overview of the recently introduced legislation to merge WEDC and WHEDA into a new state agency, the Forward Wisconsin Development Authority. 


Stay up to date on the state budget process! Check our State Budget Issue Update page and follow us on Twitter.


If you wish to receive additional information about a topic addressed in Tidbits, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Hamilton Consulting Team.

JFC Takes Further Action on State Budget

The Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) met on April 17 and April 22 to continue voting on Governor Walker's proposed 2015-2017 state budget. JFC passed a number of motions, which modified the governor's proposed budget. This includes action on portions of agency budgets in the Department of Military Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Commission of Insurance, Board on Aging and Long Term Care, Department of Health Services (DHS), State Historical Society, Department of Tourism, Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Fish, Wildlife and Recreation portion of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The highlights of these motions are detailed below.


JFC did not meet this past week and is waiting for the Legislative Fiscal Bureau's updated revenue estimates to be released, which could be as early as this Monday. The governor and many legislators have stated any additional projected revenue would first be appropriated to K-12 education aid.




Bills of Note: Mergers and the TIF Bill Package

This week in The Hamilton Consulting Group's Bills of Note series, we provide you with an update on the status of each bill in the tax increment financing (TIF) bill package. In addition, we included an overview of the bill to merge the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), into a single entity called the Forward Wisconsin Development Authority.

TIF Bill Package

The tax increment financing (TIF) bill package is a product of the 2014 Legislative Council study committee on TIF - also referred to as a Tax Incremental District (TID). Since we last reported on the bill package, a number of bills have moved into the legislative process. 

WHEDA and WEDC Merger

In his proposed 2015 -2017 budget, Governor Walker consolidated two state agencies, the WHEDA and the WEDC and into a single entity, called the Forward Wisconsin Development Authority (FWDA). The proposed merger has generated a lot of discussion among the legislators, given that it was just a few years ago, in his 2011-2013 budget that Governor Walker created WEDC from the Department of Commerce.

In order to vet the merger carefully, Sen. Rick Gudex (R-Fond Du Lac) and Rep. Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) are circulating a standalone bill to merge WHEDA and WEDC. 

3M Day on the Hill

3M Day on the Hill attendees with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.

3M Company held their Wisconsin Day on the Hill recently and met with many legislators and agency personnel to discuss issues relating to manufacturing, transportation and corrections. 

Attendees, which included plant managers from around Wisconsin, heard presentations from Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Mark Gottlieb, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), Shelly Harkins from the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), individuals from the Department of Corrections to discuss monitoring under the Division of Community Corrections, Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester). 

National Expert on Broadband, Susan Crawford, to Visit Madison

National expert on broadband policy, Susan Crawford, will be speaking in Madison on May 11 from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM at Monona Terrace.


Crawford is well-known in Internet and technology circles and is widely regarded as the expert in broadband and telecommunications policy. She works with local leaders - mayors, chief technology officers, city administrators, agency directors, civic groups and nonprofit leaders - to implement broadband strategies that create more agile, competitive and economically resilient communities.




Sen. Farrow Resignation to Take Effect July 17
Senator Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee) is resigning from the 33rd Senate District seat he holds as of July 17, 2015, to become Waukesha County Executive.

DNR's Coolest Fish Contest

"Does a lake sturgeon beat a bowfin, a burbot beat a sauger?" The Department of Natural Resources is holding an online contest to determine which fish really is the coolest.


Head to the Wisconsin DNR's Facebook page and you can vote for your favorite fish.

Hamilton Consulting: Your Government Relations Easy Button


The Hamilton team is working to make sure our clients have the tools necessary to accomplish their government relations goals. We encourage our clients to remember to make use of all the many services we provide:

  • Political Tidbits - Political Tidbits is our FREE email newsletter on political and policy developments in Wisconsin, including links to relevant news articles, policy papers, and other informative documents. We are constantly updating our mailing list and we could use your help! Please let us know if your email address is changing so you will continue to receive our newsletter. Also, feel free to forward this newsletter to others who may be interested in subscribing.
  • News Clips - President Harry Truman once wrote that you can't get all the facts from just one newspaper, and without the facts, "you cannot make proper judgments about what is going on." The right column of Political Tidbits contains a selection of the most important news stories, but did you know you can always get the news sorted by subject on the Hamilton Consulting website? 
  • Political Fundraising Calendar - Hamilton's political fundraising calendar allows you to see all of the upcoming fundraising events and import them to your own calendar.
The Hamilton Consulting Group Political Tidbits is a free newsletter on Wisconsin political and policy developments. Please it to others who may wish to receive this service.

If you require additional information about a topic addressed in Tidbits for your organization's board meeting or trade publication, please do not hesitate to contact a Hamilton Consulting Group lobbyist.


To ensure that Political Tidbits never gets caught in your spam filter, please add publications@hamilton-consulting.com to your address book/contacts list. If you are receiving these emails via a workplace email account, please advise your IT service desk to do this for you.  

News Clips 


Enter the Democratic Primary's liberal alternative: Bernie Sanders!: Five Thirty Eight, April 30, 2015.

Scott Walker's strength in donors: The New York Times, April 29, 2015.

Patience Roggensack elected chief justice; Shirley Abrahamson says she still holds post:Wisconsin State Journal, April 29, 2015.

Changes to prevailing wage likely but repeal won't happen, Robin Vos says: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 29, 2015.

Negotiations on Bucks arena continue amid new polls: The Daily Cardinal, April 28, 2015.

Head start for Jeb Bush campaign is part of Scott Walker's plan: The New York Times, April 28, 2015.

Scott Walker hits back at WSJ piece criticizing his legal immigration comments: The Washington Times, April 28, 2015.

Scott Walker is said to take a long view in 2016 strategy: The New York Times, April 27, 2015.

Scott Walker, a pastor's son, runs on faith as Iowa beckons: The New York Times, April 25, 2105.


Economic Development

State regulators vote on Wisconsin Energy's purchase of Integrys Energy: Minnesota Star Tribune, April 30, 2015.

Walker defends economic agency merger: Green Bay Press Gazette, April 30, 2015.

Proposed merger of WEDC and WHEDA to be taken up in bill separate from budget: The Cap Times, April 29, 2015.

Scott Walker, expressing optimism, stepping in on arena talks: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 29, 2015.

Portage officials grapple with economic development roles: WiscNews, April 28, 2015.

Wisconsin and other Great Lakes states to see growth in 2015: BMO Financial: Milwaukee Business Journal, April 27, 2015.

Eaton Corp. outsourcing WI jobs to Mexico again, despite getting $370K from WEDC: WKOW, April 27, 2015.




California cuts environment spending in $15 billion water plan: Bloomberg, April 30, 2015.

Great Lakes state gets worst grade for water policy: Great Lakes Echo, April 30, 2015.

First solar, others still shine despite ties to depressed oil prices: The Street, April 30, 2015.

House votes to weaken renewable energy requirements: WRAL, April 29, 2015.

Great Lakes water levels: One lake to be almost 1 foot higher this summer: MLive, April 28, 2015.

Wisconsin national forest to see cuts at recreation sites: Channel 3000, April 27, 2015.

Farm groups appeals EPA's privacy decision: Wisconsin Ag Connection, April 27, 2015.



Abrahamson attorney says no court filings planned: Fox 11, April 30, 2015.

State high court quickly ousts Shirley Abrahamson as chief justice: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 29, 2015.

U.S. Supreme Court set to hear pivotal gay marriage arguments: WHBL, April 28, 2015.

US Supreme Court hears WI case over use of force on jail prisoners: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 28, 2015.

U.S. Supreme Court takes no action on John Doe lawsuit: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 27, 2015.

Legal fight over voter IDs in Wisconsin continues: Wisconsin State Journal, April 27, 2015.


Utilities & Energy 

State regulators approve Wisconsin Energy deal for Integrys: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 30, 2015.

Xcel pursues community solar in Wisconsin, but on small scale: Midwest Energy News, April 30, 2015.

Business group debates with consumer advocacy group: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 29, 2015.

Hydropower, the unloved renewable, shows potential for growth: Inside Climate News, April 28, 2015.

Recent trends put Minnesota in good shape to comply with tighter CO2 rules: MinnPost, April 28, 2015.

Ale Asylum brewery adds solar panels and climate change pledge: Milwaukee Business Journal, April 28, 2015.

Town of Holland sues PSC over high-voltage power line: La Crosse Tribune, April 28, 2015.

13 fascinating charts that show the state of American energy: Utility Dive, April 27, 2015.

Alliant Energy proposes 750 million gas fired power plant in Beloit: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 27, 2015.

Michigan OKs Wisconsin Energy-Integrys Merger: RTO Insider, April 27, 2015.

Court upholds EPA’s truck efficiency rules: The Hill, April 24, 2015.



Setting the stage for Senate vote, Transportation Committee approves 70 mph speed limit bill: Fox6, April 30, 2015.

House GOP proposes tighter transportation spending in FY2016: Progressive Railroading, April 29, 2015.

Truckers forced to exceed legal driving limits: Fox 11, April 28, 2015.

La Crosse transportation vision approved: WKBT, April 28, 2015.

Truckers at huge seaport complex strike; impact minimal: Madison.com, April 27, 2015.

Lew and Foxx urge Congress to fund infrastructure: MarketWatch, April 27, 2015.



GOP warms to Obamacare - if Americans work for it: Politico, April 30, 2015.

Newly released VA reports include cases of veteran harm, death: USA Today, April 29, 2015.

Humana earnings miss expectations: The Wall Street Journal, April 29, 2015.

Report: Insurers skirt health law's protections for women: The Kansas City Star, April 29, 2015.

Anthem touts results of effort to cut health costs: The Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2015.

How getting married affects health insurance tax credits: WXPR, April 28, 2015.

Program streamlines health care for foster children: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 28, 2015.

Conservatives fear GOP leaders giving up on Obamacare repeal: Politico, April 27, 2015.

Medicare-provider penalties, incentives detailed in report: The Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2015.


Contact Us 

For further information on these or other initiatives, contact a   Hamilton Consulting Group lobbyist.



Visit our blog 

Wisconsin Civil Justice Council

Promoting Fairness and Equity in Wisconsin's Civil Justice System