Hamilton Political Tidbits – July 21, 2017

Political Tidbits - July 21, 2017
Hamilton Consulting Group
 July 21, 2017
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.
Deal or no deal? Three weeks after the fiscal year deadline, the Senate and Assembly are still negotiating a budget agreement. When do you think the budget will be finished? Vote in our Twitter poll and tweet us your best guess @HCG500. Read about the latest budget news in this edition of Tidbits. Plus, Gov. Walker signs special session bills, right-to-work is upheld, and more!
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.

Deal or No Deal?

Three weeks after the start of the new fiscal year, the legislature may be one step closer to a budget deal. On Thursday, July 20, Assembly leadership and Assembly Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) members released a letter stating they would accept a compromise on transportation funding offered by Gov. Scott Walker. Initially the deal looked like it could break the budget stalemate, but Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) was cautious to accept. 
Continue reading about the latest budget negotiations.
How Late Is This Year's Budget? A 40-Year Comparison of Budget Enactment Dates
Click to enlarge graphic.

It's now three weeks past the July 1 fiscal year deadline for Wisconsin to pass a budget. While it may seem like this year's budget is slow-moving, delayed budgets are actually quite common. In fact, in the past 40 years, Wisconsin has passed only five out of twenty budgets by the July 1 deadline. The legislature is still on track to pass a budget in the same general time frame as most budgets--late July/early August. The most-delayed budgets in recent history have passed at the end of October, but this irregularity occurred with a split-party legislature. This year's Republican-controlled Senate and Assembly are likely to come to an agreement sooner, but only time will tell.
When do you think the 2017-19 budget will be enacted? Vote in our Twitter poll and reply with your thoughts!
Illinois Tax Increases Cause $51 Million Decrease to Wisconsin Budget

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released a memo on July 11 stating that tax increases in Illinois's recently enacted budget would have a $51 million adverse impact on Wisconsin's 2017-19 state budget. Reacting to the LFB memo, Joint Finance Committee co-chairs Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) said in a statement that while the upcoming budget will address the loss of revenue, they expect Wisconsin to make up for the decrease in revenue as Illinois businesses move to Wisconsin to avoid higher taxes.
DOT Reform Package Introduced

Last week a group of Republican legislators, led by Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) and Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin), introduced a transportation reform package (LRB 3884).  According to the author's co-sponsorship memo, the legislation "combines various reform bills that have already been introduced into one omnibus reform package," and "proposes several new ideas to address many of the serious problems highlighted by the audit."  While not intended to address the ongoing stalemate in the budget related to transportation funding, the operational reform could lead to long-term program savings.
Signed by Governor: Special Session Bills

Gov. Scott Walker made three stops across Wisconsin on Monday, July 17 to sign 11 special session bills into law. Walker issued an executive order for a Special Session on Opioid Abuse on Jan. 5 of this year. Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette), chair of the governor's Task Force on Opioid Abuse and leader of Wisconsin's Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Education (H.O.P.E.) agenda, authored the 11 bills as part of the Special Session and introduced them in the legislature in February. By mid-June, the legislature passed all 11 bills with large majorities. For more on the history of H.O.P.E. legislative efforts in Wisconsin, see this timeline.

U.S. Court of Appeals Upholds Right-To-Work

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Wisconsin's right-to-work law last week. In the decision, Judge Joel Flaum, joined by Judges Frank Easterbrook and Michael Kanne, reaffirmed the U.S. District Court's decision in September to uphold the law in International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) v. Schimel.

Health Reform Conference Draws a Crowd While Federal Changes Remain Unknown

On Wednesday July 19, Wisconsin Health News hosted a daylong conference titled, "Health Reform, what does it mean for Wisconsin?" The conference, featuring national and state health leaders, examined the status of federal health care reform and the potential impact on Wisconsin's health care market.

Continue reading about the health reform conference.

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News Clips
Utilities and Energy
Economic Development
Associated Bank will buy Bank Mutual: Wisconsin State Journal, July 21, 2017.
State loses private sector jobs for second month in a row: Milwaukee Business Times, July 20, 2017.
Lawmakers working on incentives for Foxconn: Wisconsin State Journal, July 20, 2017.

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