Legislative Bulletin, May 19, 2010
Gov Signs More Bills into Law, including SB 383
As of this week, he has signed into law some 400 bills. Many, if not most, of those bills, are not pertinent to the AFSCME world, but we try to monitor as much legislative activity as possible. This week the Governor approved the controversial payday lender legislation, but with some vetoes aimed at protecting consumers. For more information see The Wheeler Report – www.thewheelerreport.com.
Also signed this week was legislation that modifies the workings of municipal courts, municipal court elections and powers of judges. That bill, Senate Bill 383, contains a provision that makes negotiating certain aspects of employment for municipal court personnel a prohibited subject of bargaining. AFSCME had asked the Governor to veto SB 383. The legislative authors of SB 383 disagreed with our interpretation of how the bill affected the employment rights of municipal court employees. To read the bill, now 2009 Wisconsin Act 402, go to the Wisconsin Legislature’s website, http://www.legis.state.wi.us/, and look for the section entitled “request text and history of legislative proposals” and type in SB 383.
New Report Shows that Tax Cheats Cost Wisconsin $1.2 Billion Each Year
Wisconsin loses $1.2 billion every year due to the “tax gap”, according to a new report published by the progressive think-tank, the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future (IWF). The IWF study asked two key questions: Who’s not paying taxes, and what can be done to collect delinquent taxes?
The authors of the report note that “The tax gap is important because over a billion dollars is lost to the state revenue pot every year. This means less aid to cities, counties and schools. The reduced aid results in program cuts that raise class size, slow firefighter response time and deliver fewer meals on wheels to the elderly.”
AFSCME members have a lot to gain by paying attention to how tax cheats cost Wisconsin citizens. Our jobs, and the vital services we provide to citizens, are under attack because of a lower tax collections due to the economic recession and because of the tax gap. To read the report, prepared by former Department of Revenue tax analyst Dennis Collier and fiscal analyst Jack Norman, go to www.wisconsinsfuture.org .
FMAP Vote Expected this Week
The US House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on a six-month extension of the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) increase as part of a larger jobs-tax credit extenders bill. We are hopeful of House passage, and that the US Senate will take it up next week. The six-month FMAP extension means over $400 million in federal dollars for Wisconsin. Thank you to all who responded to our call to action last week and contacted Congressman Ron Kind’s office asking him to support the extension.