July 3, 2015

Working for you!


Schneider National 2014 Ride of Pride

It was my pleasure to invite Schneider National to Madison to talk about creating job opportunities for Wisconsin veterans. This is my third year serving on The Governor's Council on Workforce Investment, and I've worked with employers throughout the state to help match Wisconsinites with good, family supporting jobs. Click below to watch the June 17th videos we made about Schneider National and their support of veteran employees.

Click the photo to watch the video. (approx. 2 minutes)

Click here for the 10-minute version of the video.

Click here to read about the 2015 Ride of Pride, which began on July 1st.

AB 57 Becomes 2015 Act 50

This week, Governor Walker signed into law a bill I began working on last session. Dina Mumford, the Outagamie County Treasurer, approached me during my first term about how landfill investments are handled. Landfills must have proof of financial responsibility to cover their long-term care and eventual closure. However, the investment options were limited. Act 50 allows local governments to invest the money set aside into safe investments that earn a higher interest rate. This will enable landfills to fulfill their financial responsibility sooner and rely less on tipping fees, thereby freeing up revenue for landfills and potentially lowering fees to citizens and businesses.

Local governments will be able to invest in the following funds:

  • Securities issued by the federal government.
  • Debt securities issued by an instrumentality of the federal government that have the highest rating assigned by a nationally recognized rating agency.
  • Bonds issued by the State of Wisconsin.
  • Corporate bonds that have the highest rating assigned by a nationally recognized rating agency. The bill caps the amount of funds that can be invested in corporate bonds at 50% of the account's fund balance.

Under the new law, the Outagamie County Landfill Trust could earn an additional $150,000 by increasing their interest yield by 1% based off their fund balance of approximately $15,000,000, and there are dozens of landfills across the state that can utilize this new tool.

These accounts are long-term investments and range from several thousand dollars to tens of millions. The funds are controlled by elected county treasurers and managed by professional portfolio managers. The DNR currently allows landfills to invest in securities issued by the federal government and this bill adds more safe options for investment.

Left to right: Adam Gibbs (Sen. Lasee's office), David Boardman (Rep. Murphy's office), Mark Wadium (Outagamie County), Diane Handrick (Rep. Murphy's office), Rep. Murphy.

Budget Process Update

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos have announced the Assembly is planning to vote on three separate pieces of legislation next week. The Assembly is likely to be in session on Wednesday and Thursday.

The largest of these is the biennial budget. A vote on the proposed Milwaukee Bucks arena is also expected to be taken up, along with the issue of prevailing wage repeal.

Unlike other legislation, the budget is a statutorily required document that must be passed in some form, and I know there will be items within it that I don't support. However, at some point I will have to take a yes or no vote. When the budget moves to the Senate for consideration, I will consider what provisions I may want to request that the governor veto. Wisconsin's process is designed to keep us operating by requiring a budget bill, and the veto process is designed for tweaking of the massive bill just before it becomes law.

I've had great conversations with many of you throughout this process, and I'm glad to represent people who let me know their views on the budget and other legislative issues. Thank you for contacting me with your perspective.

Details Matter in the Bucks Deal

I sent this Op-Ed to the Post Crescent yesterday.

Is the proposal to build a new Bucks arena good for taxpayers of Wisconsin and the Fox Valley? All things being equal, I want the Bucks to stay in Wisconsin, but the devil is in the details.

The current concept includes the Bucks' owners' contribution of $250 million in addition to other partners contributing $250 million. This includes Milwaukee County bonding $55 million, the state bonding $55 million, the Wisconsin Center District bonding $93 million, and Milwaukee providing $47 million. With interest, taxpayer contributions will be close to $420 million.

My first concern is based on my belief in the free market system: this means that I don't believe the state should subsidize private enterprises with taxpayer money. That is why in my 2012 campaign I said the the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) was a problematic idea. In this case, I have a philosophical objection to seeing taxpayer money go to millionaire basketball players and billionaire team owners.

Second, this deal would set a precedent for major projects in the future. Milwaukee County Executive Abele criticizes lawmakers who oppose the stadium plan because he thinks the state has a responsibility to be involved. It is ridiculous to think that the state has any obligation to participate. Other arenas, like Lambeau Field and Miller Park, were funded by an increase in sales tax for the surrounding areas, not through state aid. The state did not even contribute to the construction of the Bradley Center.

Third, I am not convinced that every part of the deal is solid. The Wisconsin Center District won't have any money to make payments on their bonds until 2027, which will cost taxpayers more interest in the long-run. I also call on the city to contribute more to the deal. For example, the Appleton area is proposing a $28 million Exhibition Center. The city of Milwaukee, which is about 5 times larger, can only find $47 million? This doesn't even take into account the potential ancillary development worth approximately $500 million. Why would taxpayers in the Fox Valley want to be on the hook for the state's portion of $55 million when Milwaukee will contribute only $47 million?

Unlike some folks who would accept any deal to keep the Bucks, I prefer a one that limits state involvement. A surcharge could be applied to tickets for all events held at the new arena, ensuring that those who benefit most also share in the costs (an extra $1 charge on tickets could bring in over $1 million a year). A fraction of the revenue from naming rights could replace the state's contribution (the Sacramento Kings and the Memphis Grizzlies recently brought in $120 million and $90 million respectively for naming rights). There are options to replace the state's contribution. Milwaukee also has the capacity to contribute more to this plan.

Ideally, I'd like to see the Bucks stay in Wisconsin and the state get out of the arena business. Milwaukee, and specifically Mayor Barrett, needs to do more. I am pleased to see legislative leadership say that the Bucks stadium will be taken up separately from the budget, but if the state's level of involvement remains the same, I cannot vote in favor of it.



I live in Greenville, but have an office at the State Capitol in Madison. If you are in downtown Madison, please feel free to stop by and say hello! Just go to the information desk in the rotunda, and they can direct you on how to find my office, 318 North. At the bottom of each e-news, you'll see my office contact information.

If your school or group plans to tour the Capitol building, please let me know in advance. I'd love to visit with you for a few minutes and take a group photo.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

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Rep.Murphy@legis.wisconsin.gov State Capitol Room 318 North - PO Box 8953, Madison, WI 537088 Toll Free: (888) 534-0056 or (608) 266-7500