Hamilton Political Tidbits- September 5, 2014

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Hamilton Consulting Group Political Tidbits
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The Hamilton Consulting Group
 September 5, 2014  


This week Hamilton Consulting's Political Tidbits bring you all the updates in Wisconsin politics and elections, and gives you an in-depth view on a number of issues: find out if the $281 million tax revenue shortfall will affect Wisconsin's budget; what the latest Marquette University Poll really said; a state budget preview for 2015-2017; and info on the amicus curiae brief submitted to the Wisconsin Supreme Court on behalf of WCJC and WMC. All this, and more, is in this week's Political Tidbits.


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.

$281 Million Tax Revenue Shortfall



The Department of Revenue (DOR) recently reported that actual state tax collections came in at $281 million less than was previously estimated for Fiscal Year 2014. The shortfall represents roughly 2% of the $14 billion in tax revenue the state expected to collect in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. While Republicans see the lower tax revenue as a positive reflection of the tax relief packages of early 2014, Democrats see the gap as "fiscally irresponsible."




Election Update


  • Results of 6th Congressional Canvass
  • 17th Senate District: Bomhack Wins Recount
  • Primary Election Results
  • Ballot Referendums
Recent MU Poll Results Still Have Governor's Race Tied

The latest Marquette University poll came out last week and it once again showed the race deadlocked.


Walker expanded his lead amongst registered voters to 47.5 to 44.1 while Burke gained amongst likely voters and leads 48.6 to 46.5. As expected, both sides have declared themselves to be leading the race.


Pundits are debating which number is closer to the truth, but pollster Charles Franklin believes that it only shows the race is a dead heat with much left to play out.


In fact he was quoted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as saying the margin between the two candidates was "indistinguishable and meaningless".




Business Groups Submit EPA Comments

A broad coalition of business groups responded to a joint Public Service Commission-Department of Natural Resources request for comment on the proposed Environmental Protection Agency carbon regulation (called the Clean Power Planfor existing power plants. The comments outline the potential negative impact of the proposed rule on Wisconsin's economic competitiveness, several legal challenges, and policy considerations. 

This request for comment from utility, business, and environmental groups was the first step in a joint PSC-DNR effort to respond to EPA's proposed rule. EPA released the proposed rule in June and is asking states and stakeholders to submit comments on the proposal by October 16. 


For more information about the EPA's regulations, please visit the Great Lakes Legal Foundation's website


Read the submitted comment...


WCJC and WMC File Amicus Curiae Brief with Wisconsin Supreme Court in Employment Law Case

On Tuesday, Sept. 2, the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council (WCJC) and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) filed an amicus curiae brief with the Wisconsin Supreme Court in Runzheimer Int., Ltd. v. Friedlen. The case involves a very important issue to Wisconsin employers that hire employees on an at-will basis and seek to protect themselves with non-competition, confidentiality, and non-solicitation agreements (hereinafter, "Non-Competes" or "Agreement(s)").  It is particularly important to employers who seek to update such agreements periodically to ensure the agreements are adequate and enforceable, as is necessary in this frequently-changing area of law. 




2015-2017 State Budget Preview

While it is early in the budget process, there are some current financial factors that are likely to impact the next budget and provide a preview of key budget issues ahead; factors include:

  • State Financial Condition
  • Tax Reduction & Property Tax Relief
  • Transportation Infrastructure Funding
  • Medicaid Program Funding
  • K-12 Public School Funding



President Obama Visits Milwaukee Labor Fest


President Barack Obama visited Milwaukee on Labor Day to speak at Laborfest. While there, Obama discussed the economy and job creation, and lobbied for raising the minimum wage.


Morning Minute: President Obama Speaks at Labor Fest
Morning Minute: President Obama Speaks at Labor Fest




TIF Legislative Study Committee Update

The Legislative Study Committee tasked with reviewing TIF law met for the second time on August 14th, hearing presentations from city officials and other invited speakers. Committee staff have gathered presenters and committee member recommendations into a memo outlining options for possible legislation.




Entreprenuership in Wisconsin

Check out the latest feature on economic development in Wisconsin -- Entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship in Wisconsin
Entrepreneurship in Wisconsin

State Gets Ahead on Propane Supply


As was reported multiple times by Hamilton Consulting and in the news, Wisconsin and other Midwestern states experienced major propane supply shortages during the extraordinarily cold winter in 2013-14. The average price of a gallon of propane was $1.70, and by January 2014 had risen to $4.49 per gallon.




WEDC Website #3 in US for Economic Development

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) website InWisconsin.com was ranked #3 in the United States for providing economic development site selection information, according to a report by Sigala Inc., a California based consulting firm that deals with public and private sector planning and development processes.


11 UW Entrepreneurs Receive Seed Fund Money


The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Extension, have selected 11 new entrepreneurs for Ideadvance Seed Fund money up to $25,000. Those winners who complete the first stage will be granted up to $50,000 in stage two.



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News Clips 


State could need a budget repair bill: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sept. 4, 2014.

Wisconsin Republican attorney general hopeful unveils plan to combat human trafficking: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Sept. 4, 2014.

The 10 Midterm Races That Matter for 2016: The National Journal, Sept. 4, 2014.

Municipal spending down 3 percent after Act 10, state budget cuts: The Chippewa Herald, Sept. 4, 2014.

Budget crunch postpones National Guard drill weekend: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sept. 3, 2014.

Politics and Personalities Differ Dramatically in Race for Wisconsin's Open House Seat: WUWM.com, Sept. 2, 2014.

WISN 12 News goes in-depth with longtime Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan: WISN12.com, Sept. 2, 2014.

For Milwaukee Laborfest attendees, minimum wage gets maximum attention: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sept. 1, 2014.

Democrat Mark Harris faces uphill battle against GOP's Glenn Grothman: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sept. 1, 2014.

Governor's race heats up after Labor Day: Fond du Lac Reporter, Aug. 31, 2014.

President Obama returns to Wisconsin with declining job ratings: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Aug. 30, 2014.

Paul Ryan puts policy ahead of politics (opinion): Appleton Post-Crescent, Aug. 30, 2014.

MU poll shows Walker, Burke in tight race: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Aug. 27, 2014.

Potawatomi withhold $25 million payment to state: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Aug. 26, 2014.

Liberal group pumps $737,000 into campaign against Scott Walker: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Aug. 21, 2014.

Wisconsin agencies have $28M in surplus: Green Bay Press-Gazette, Aug. 21, 2014. 


Economic Development and Finance

Obama: 'I'd join a union': CNN.com, Sept. 2, 2014.

Democratic candidates vow fight for minimum wage hike: Green Bay Press-Gazette, Sept. 2, 2014.

Paul Ryan opposes minimum wage hike, says it would nix jobs: Milwaukee Business Journal, Sept. 2, 2014.

Data center companies are finding Cleveland fertile ground for growing their server farms: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sept. 1, 2014.

Area realtors coached to register industrial properties with Locate In Wisconsin database: Price County Daily, Aug. 28, 2014.

Kleefisch: Growing Wisconsin's great dairy industry: Wisconsin Rapids Tribune, Aug. 27, 2014.

WEDC doles out grants to Milwaukee startups: BizTimes.com, Aug. 25, 2014.

Regulation Uncertainty Kills A Product Line: Manufacturing.net, Aug. 22, 2014.

Utilities and Energy

Coal mining slump pushes Joy Global revenue, earnings down: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sept. 4, 2014.

Orion announces $6.2 million LED lighting contract, shares jump: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sept. 4, 2014.

Minnesota regulators expected to vote on carbon cost today: Midwest Energy News, Sept. 4, 2014.

Study finds Midwest among top regions for energy efficiency: Midwest Energy News, Sept. 4, 2014.

Dominion Resources and Duke Energy Propose $5B Natural Gas Pipeline: Manufacturing.net, Sept. 2, 2014.

Journal Times editorial: Let's have a more forward-thinking vision of our energy future: Racine Journal Times, Sept. 1, 2014

Illinois grapples with question of who owns energy data: Midwest Energy News, Aug. 28, 2014.

Report: Grid pricing not keeping up with distributed energy: Midwest Energy News, Aug. 27, 2014.

Dam can power 30,000 homes: The Sauk Prairie Eagle, Aug. 27, 2014.

Draft of EIS for Badger Coulee line released: La Crosse Tribune, Aug. 27, 2014.

$25 million Camp Ripley solar farm will be largest in Minnesota: TwinCities.com, Aug. 27, 2014.

Clean Power Plan: States Say EPA's New Power Plant Rules 'Unlawfully' Left Out Crucial Data: International Business Times, Aug. 26, 2014.

DNR Denies WPS Request For Looser Mercury Levels: WXPR.org, Aug. 26, 2014.

NRC finalizes waste rule, lets licensing decisions resume: eenews.net, Aug. 26, 2014.

In Minnesota transmission ruling, perception is realityMidwest Energy News, Aug. 25, 2014.



Mitchell International earns perfect score on FAA inspection: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sept. 3, 2014.

GM Brings Bike Sharing To Technical Center: CBS News Detroit, Aug. 26, 2014.

Evaluating & Drafting Motor Repair Specifications for Improved Reliability: Product Design and Development, Aug. 20, 2014.

Wisconsin judge rules Amish to comply with permits: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Aug. 20, 2014.

Journal Times editorial: It's worth kicking the tires on wheel tax: Racine Journal Times, Aug. 20, 2014.

Gas tax increase for road work? Scott Walker, Mary Burke leave door open: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Aug. 18, 2014.



Mine company may limit project to Iron County: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sept. 4, 2014.

Court denies additional sand mine hearings: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, Sept. 4, 2014.

K-C battle provides lessons for Northwoods: Sheboygan Press, Sept. 1, 2014.

Midwest voters support increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy sources: Midwest Environmental Partnership, Aug. 28, 2014.

Gogebic delaying mine application: Wisconsin Radio Network, Aug. 27, 2014.

Apostle Islands fire burns for weeks; rangers leave it alone: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Aug. 27, 2014.

Senator Franken visits MinnTac, shows support for PolyMet mine: Northlands News Center, Aug. 26, 2014.

Toxic air pollution has dropped dramatically, EPA tells Congress: The Hill, Aug. 21, 2014.

Trempealeau County frac sand moratorium ending: La Crosse Tribune, Aug. 20, 2014.


Madison company Propeller Health raises $14.5 million: Wisconsin State Journal, Sept. 4, 2014.

Study: 30 percent of Wisconsinites obese: Fond du Lac Reporter, Sept. 4, 2014.

Special exchange enrollment period announced: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, Sept. 4, 2014.

New Study Gives New Ammunition In Debate About Legalizing Medical Marijuana: Wisconsin Public Radio, Sept. 1, 2014.

Exact Sciences' Cologuard cancer test debuts: Wisconsin State Journal, Aug. 31, 2014.

Exact Sciences shares climb after regulatory approvals: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Aug. 21, 2014.


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