THU AM Update: JFC to take up K-12 funding after Assembly GOP proposes $500 million boost

Exclusively for WisPolitics Subscribers

Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges & Universities Ad
Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges & Universities

From …

— The Joint Finance Committee will take up K-12 funding today after Assembly Republicans put a $500 million plan on the table.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said after the Assembly GOP presentation that the two caucuses were headed in a similar direction, but talks were continuing.

Dems, meanwhile, slammed the plan as inadequate considering Gov. Tony Evers proposed a $1.4 billion boost to K-12 funding.

One of the most significant differences between the two plans is special education funding. Assembly Republicans are proposing a $50 million boost as part of the package. That’s well short of the $606 million increase that Evers included in his budget.

See more on the plan in the Budget Blog, which will also include updates on today’s JFC hearing:

— Gov. Tony Evers will be in Green Bay this morning with DNR Secretary Preston Cole and others to unveil a plan to address PFAS contamination.

PFAS are toxic chemicals found in Teflon on non-stick pans and firefighting foam used at military bases.

The guv is also expected in Milwaukee to address the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce.

— The sales tax created to pay for the Milwaukee Brewers stadium would end March 31, under a substitute amendment the Assembly Ways and Means Committee will vote on today.

The sales tax is expected to have collected enough money by late 2019 or early 2020 to pay off the costs.

The office of Sen. Van Wanggaard, one of the co-authors, said the substitute amendment would ensure collections of the tax ends by March 31. But without a hard deadline, it’s possible the board overseeing the stadium could take until October to formally end collecting the tax.

See the substitute amendment:


June 13: luncheon: The future of transportation funding in Wisconsin

Transportation funding has become one of the key debating points in the two-year state budget making its way through the Legislature. Gov. Tony Evers proposed an 8-cent-a gallon increase in the gas tax plus while getting rid of the minimum markup on gasoline — something the administration said would more than wipe out the increase. Republicans have removed the minimum markup provision and left in the gas tax increase for now. Where will the debate lead and will it result in a long-term solution?

Hear details from some of the key players in the debate at a issues luncheon set for Thursday, June 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at UW-Milwaukee’s Waukesha campus just off I-94.

Panelists for the discussion: Wisconsin DOT Secretary Craig Thompson, Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, state Rep. Debra Kolste, D-Janesville and a member of the Assembly Transportation Committee, and state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin and a member of the Assembly Transportation Committee. subscribers and members receive discounted pricing for WisPolitics luncheons of $20 per person, including lunch. Price for the general public is $25 per person, including lunch.

This event is sponsored by: Kapur & Associates, UW-Milwaukee, Wisconsin Academy of Global Education and Training, ELEVEN25 at Pabst, Milwaukee Police Association, The Firm Consulting, Medical College of Wisconsin and Spectrum.

The Waukesha County Business Alliance is an event partner.

For more information and registration, visit:


WHCA / WiCAL and LeadingAge Wisconsin Ad
WHCA / WiCAL and LeadingAge Wisconsin

The Madison Club Ad
The Madison Club


GOP School Budget Would Spend $900M Less Than Evers

Assembly Republicans say they support an education budget that would spend an additional $500 million on schools … an additional $50 million for special education …

Evers called for a $1.4 billion increase … [including] $606 million increase in special education funding. … [GOP noted] the state had not increased special education funding for more than a decade. … plan … would fund two-thirds cost of K-12 [legal standard under TGT, later repealed]. Vos at presser with 40 colleagues: “This budget shows clearly that we can live within our means and that we can build on last session’s historic investment in K-12 education.” Walker added $600M in his final budget. JFC to vote education budget today. Evers: “The education budget won’t be decided tomorrow. It’s a long process,” no word on veto, “It’s hard to say. We have to look at any budget in the totality of it,” noted $606M special ed remained priority, “School funding should be around equity. Equality is not something that necessarily works in the real world or in the school world. If people need an extra lift, they should get an extra lift and sometimes that costs more money.” Fitzgerald on K-12 budget: “The caucuses in both houses seem to be headed in a very similar direction in crafting another pro-kid budget.” Fitzgerald, Vos and Evers also met privately Wednesday, though all declined comment.

Assembly GOP wants $500M school funding boost, far shy of Tony Evers’ $1.4B plan

… about $500M more in K-12 school aid over the next two years … $50M boost to educate children with special needs [28% reimbursement, up from 25%] … increasing state funding to districts for mental health services by $23M and for high-cost transportation aid by about $5M … “This will be the highest level of investment that we have ever made in our public schools in the history of Wisconsin,” Vos said. Yet the plan falls about $900M shy of Evers’ … Senate Republicans are discussing increasing funding to school districts by about $200 per pupil in each of the next two years, in a way that would mirror the most recent budget … “That’s what we’re trying to figure out, is what the big number is,” said Fitzgerald, R-Juneau. Fitzgerald said Evers, during their meeting, stressed the importance of special education funding. [which Senate GOP want to increase, but won’t say how much]. Evers’ post-meeting statement: “Criminal justice reform, education and transportation seem like issues where we have a lot of opportunity to make progress. Wisconsinites elected us to work together so I hope we can get things done for the people of our state.”

Proposed Bill Would Offer Grants For Private Wells With High Nitrate Levels

… [Testin] bill would create a $10M [DHS] pilot program … that would give eligible homeowners up to $2,500 in grants for well testing, installing a filtration system or paying to repair or replace an existing well. … “We know it’s a huge problem,” Testin said. “Certain areas of the state are more susceptible … so districts like mine that are concentrated primarily in the central sands region where those wells are more susceptible.” [DHS] estimates at least 10 percent of private wells in Wisconsin are contaminated with nitrate levels above [EPA std.] 10 parts per million. In southwest WI, a recent survey found 16 percent of private wells had excessive nitrate levels. DNR has well compensation fund but only for wells over 40 ppm. Nat Resources chair Cowles: “this isn’t going to be fixed in one year, five years, this is going to take a continual effort.” 2 other Senate bills would address short-staffing in permits and create a pollution credit trading system. Cowles: “There’s wind at our back. I think people are seeing this as very much a bipartisan issue and I think we’re gonna make significant advancements.”

Racine Alder John Tate II Appointed To Chair Wisconsin Parole Commission

… said his experience as a social worker who has already worked with inmates re-entering Wisconsin communities has given him a deep understanding of human development … “when we also look at who’s really in the prison systems, it’s often folks who committed crimes before their brain was fully developed.” … interested in increasing the number paroles … [which under TIS] means those that do qualify for parole have served at least 20 years in prison. … “Just tacking on time for the sake of tacking on time serves nobody. … especially when we’re having record unemployment. … Either we believe that people are redeemable or we don’t. Hardness or softness on crime should have no relevance on whether we believe that there is redemption for individuals.” Ex-Prisoners Organizing’s Ferber comments, Leader Fitzgerald did not.

These four WI women [Farrow, Baldwin, Moore, Burke] broke through in politics.

Here’s what they want you to know about the path to power. … “I still to this day remember watching Geraldine Ferraro take the stage at the Democratic National Convention in 1984,” Baldwin said. “I was watching it on a tiny TV in an efficiency apartment, and I watched her and started to tear up and I said to myself, ‘I can do anything.'” … Margaret Farrow’s 27 years in public office began with two failed runs for the Elm Grove Village Board — she lost by more votes the second time she ran. … “I didn’t do any of that to be the first woman to do it,” Farrow said. “I hoped what I was bringing to that office would justify me being there whether I was a woman or a man.” … successfully navigating the state Capitol required leaving differences aside but not forgetting them. That included convincing men … “I’m not a threat to you. I’m a companion to you,” Farrow said. “I want to be a collaborator and not take over. … There will be a woman governor someday,” Farrow said. “It will come when people are in a meeting getting things done not even realizing there was a woman in their midst.” … “I was 38 years old when I first joined the state Assembly, and I thought my mission was to not look too womanly,” Moore said. “To go in there and be like the guys, you know, go in and be tough … I got there on the floor,” she said. “I think I was there all of five or 10 minutes before I realized, ‘Look, Gwen, you’re a woman, you’re a black woman. … it’s a legacy that I feel that I have to continue.” … First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. … Vel R. Phillips, Marcia Coggs and Farrow were also [Moore’s] role models. … “Growing up my dad was my role model, and he told me I could be anything as long as I worked hard,” Burke said. “My ambition was to be a business person, just like him. … the real reasons I ran [for Guv] were virtually no one else was stepping up to run and people encouraged me … remembers meeting Democratic strategist David Axelrod and telling him of the intense pressure that she felt to run. “His response was, ‘The jockeys always need a horse,'” Burke said. “I realized only then that I had been the horse.” … [Baldwin recalled 2012 DNC convention] “Somebody stops me and says, ‘I was at your speech this morning and I was standing beside a young woman who had to leave before she had the opportunity to come and greet you, but she said if I saw you, I should pass along this note.’ It was her business card, and on the back it said, ‘Tammy Baldwin, you are my Geraldine Ferraro.’ I can hardly say that without getting choked up.”

Liz Gilbert named executive director of 2020 DNC local organizing committee

… [UW grad, DPW intern] Gilbert is currently the executive director of the New Jersey State Democratic Committee. … “Liz is an excellent choice,” said Mike Tate, [DPW] chair … during the time Gilbert was an intern. “She has a breadth of experience that I’d argue is virtually unmatched. She knows Wisconsin. She is the best choice to lead the committee.” … Other host committee appointments include Shirley Ellis and Martha Love as senior advisers, Marcus Switzer as finance director and Alex Lasry as finance chair. … Joe Solmonese is chief executive officer of the 2020 Democratic National Convention Committee … added Debra Alligood White as chief of staff; Jorge Neri as director of public engagement and Teresa Vilmain as a senior adviser. … Vilmain is a longtime political operative in Wisconsin and has significant national campaign experience, including serving as Iowa state director for Clinton’s 2007 campaign.

WI trying to tempt lawyers to come north: Meet your client in jail, then walk through the giant musky

… A Monday email from the State Public Defender’s Office in Spooner to lawyers as far away as Milwaukee carried the subject line: **We CoUlD ReALlY UsE YoUr HelP in SaWyEr CoUnTy – NEW DATES!** … adjustable to fit lawyers’ schedules, and it ends with … “If you have never been to Sawyer County, here are some top attractions as compiled by the Hayward Area Chamber of Commerce” with a convenient link. PD’s Kraft touts support for budget plan to hike rate to $70/hr, “We continue to get positive feedback from legislators about this proposal. This change will, in turn, significantly assist in addressing the issues we continue to see with clients, county budgets, jails, court calendars and victims.” Defense atty. Adams feels ethical obligation, has taken PD gigs in closer counties, but “the ten-hour round trip would net me $200 from the state public defender (travel compensation is $20 per hour), which is less than what I charge a private client for a single hour of my time.”

Guard who exposed informants with rat emojis has a new job, won’t be prosecuted

… Robert Wilcox wasn’t fired [from Redgranite Correctional], as he worried he might be. And he wasn’t charged, as others thought perhaps he would. … consequence was a one-day suspension without pay. … has been hired by the Waushara County Sheriff’s Department. … “He’s been cleared criminally by our district attorney, he’s been recommended by the prison and we do know his family,” said [Waushara Deputy] Olson … Wilcox’s father was a 32-year-veteran of the department and Wilcox has other relatives with ties there and to the county, including an uncle who was a longtime judge … starts his new job at the jail Monday. … left [DOC] by his own will. “It was a peaceful separation,” he said. “It’s going to be better for me and my family.” … “I find it completely absurd that a law enforcement agency would hire an individual who has conducted himself in the manner that Sgt. Wilcox has,” [Redgranite Capt.] Wilke said. “My hope is that Sgt. Wilcox does not jeopardize further lives in his new capacity in law enforcement.” … also disturbed by the large settlement the department paid to Joseph Benson, the informant who sued. … reportedly was plotting to have him killed. “Now he’s got more money to put on my head,” Wilke said.

Fiserv suspends search for new headquarters site to focus on merger with First Data

… “Before we bought First Data we were a different enterprise,” Yabuki said. “We’re going from $6 billion (in annual revenue) to roughly $15 billion. Many more employees — about 50,000 employees — different locations, and so we have to now analyze where does it make sense given the new company. But we’ll absolutely maintain a presence here at a minimum. We’ve been longstanding fans of Wisconsin and will continue to be.” … Fiserv, founded in 1984, moved into its three-story brick building at 255 Fiserv Drive in Brookfield in 1992. Yabuki has described the building as “bank-esque,” and said its location in the suburbs makes it more difficult to attract younger tech workers. … In Alpharetta, Georgia [“Technology City of the South,” near First Data], Fiserv consolidated six Atlanta-area locations, and its facilities there hold more than twice as many employees as the Brookfield headquarters. The Alpharetta site has room for expansion. … “We’re probably most excited about the partnership with the Bucks,” he said. “They have been fantastic to work with, and have really done everything they can to help us get the most out of this opportunity.”


Edge Messaging Ad
Edge Messaging


– 10 a.m.: Assembly Committee on Ways and Means public hearing on AB 88, relating to reducing the eligibility threshold to claim the veterans and surviving spouses property tax credit.

– 10:05 a.m.: Assembly Committee on Ways and Means executive session on AB 73, relating to lease terms and the imposition of sales and use taxes related to a local professional baseball park district; and AB 101, relating to elimination of family support.

– 11 a.m.: Joint Committee on Finance executive session on the Department of Public Instruction budget.

– 12 p.m.: Wisconsin Veterans Business Conference. Keynote speaker is former Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.

– 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.: Rep. Macco fundraiser.

– 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.: Rep. Dittrich Birthday Fundraiser.

All rights reserved. Reproduction or retransmission of this publication, in whole or in part, without the express permission of is prohibited. Unauthorized reproduction violates United States copyright law (17 USC 101 et seq.), as does retransmission by facsimile or any other electronic means, including electronic mail.