Hamilton Political Tidbits – August 17, 2023

Political Tidbits - August 17, 2023
August 17, 2023
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.
Articles in this edition of Political Tidbits:

Other updates in this edition:

  • Bits & Pieces
  • Issue Update: 2023-25 State Budget
  • News Clips

If you have additional questions, please contact a member of the Hamilton Consulting team.
Bits & Pieces:

  • Governor Calls Special Session: Gov. Evers has called a special session of the Legislature on September 20 “to complete their work on the 2023-25 biennial budget and pass a meaningful, comprehensive plan to address the state’s longstanding, generational workforce challenges.” The governor’s press release lists $1 billion in proposals including about $340 million for the Child Care Counts provider subsidy program, $243 million to create a paid family and medical leave program, and $250 million for the UW System and a new engineering building at UW-Madison.
  • Republicans are expected to gavel in and out of the session without taking any action, with Assembly Speaker Vos calling the proposals “nothing more than a rehash of Tony Evers' tax and spend budget.” Senate Majority Leader LeMahieu said his caucus wants to address workforce challenges “without growing government entitlement programs.” Both leaders indicated that they are more interested in reducing income taxes to attract and retain employees and employers, with Speaker Vos saying that Republicans’ first priority next month “will be to give Gov. Evers another chance to fix his mistake by signing a middle-class tax cut.”
  • Governor, AG Oppose PFAS Settlement: Gov. Evers and Attorney General Kaul announced their opposition to the $10.3 billion national class action settlement negotiated between 3M and public water systems regarding PFAS. AG Kaul joined a group of 22 state attorneys general, led by California and including Texas and New York, asking the federal court to reject the proposed settlement.

  • In Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources is proposing a 20 parts per trillion (ppt) groundwater standard for PFOA and PFOS, while legislation is in development to create a municipal PFAS grant program and address other issues related to the compounds. Recently, DNR’s annual drinking water report found that 99 percent of the state’s public water systems met contamination standards in 2022. The department has stated that all of the roughly 800 public water systems that have tested for PFOA and PFOS are meeting the state drinking water standard of 70 ppt individually or combined, with over 60 percent of samples detecting no trace of the compounds.
  • Milwaukee Approves Increased Sales Tax: Milwaukee has adopted the full sales tax increases allowed under the new shared revenue law, passed as part of the 2023-25 budget process. The Milwaukee Common Council voted 12-3 to adopt a two percent city sales tax, and the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors voted 15-3 to increase the county sales tax from 0.5 to 0.9 percent. Beginning January 1 of next year, the total sales tax in the City of Milwaukee will be 7.9 percent; elsewhere in Milwaukee County, it will be 5.9 percent. 
Protasiewicz Joins Wisconsin Supreme Court as New Majority Asserts Control; Redistricting Lawsuits Filed
Janet Protasiewicz was sworn in as a justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court on August 1, replacing Justice Patience Roggensack, who did not seek reelection after serving two ten-year terms, including a stint as chief justice from 2015 to 2021. The changeover has shifted the ideological balance of the court to a 4-3 majority of judicial liberals. Judicial conservatives previously enjoyed 5-2 and 4-3 majorities on the court for several years.

Gov. Evers Acts on 18 Bills, Vetoing Energy Source and Workforce Legislation
Gov. Evers announced August 4 that he had taken action on 18 bills passed by the Wisconsin Legislature, signing eight into law and vetoing ten others. Aside from his partial vetoes of the 2023-25 state budget, these were the first vetoes issued by Gov. Evers in 2023. The new laws were numbered 2023 Wisconsin Acts 26 through 33.

UPDATED: Fiscal Bureau Provides Updated Budget Numbers for 2023-25
Following the enactment of the 2023-25 state budget, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau has released several memos on the budget, including the effects of partial vetoes issued by Gov. Evers. According to one memo, the state is projected to have a balance of just over $4 billion at the end of the 2024-25 fiscal year.

Issue Update: 2023-25 State Budget
For more information on the 2023-25 state budget in Wisconsin, the Hamilton Consulting Group created a page providing comprehensive coverage of the budget process.

News Clips
Utilities & Energy
Employer & Consumer
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