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In This Edition

Rep. Allen proposes bill protecting consumers from shady loan program: Residential PACE loan program proving problematic in other states... 

2019 Spring Survey Results, Part II:  What's important to your friends and neighbors in the 97th Assembly District?  Respondents want their elected officials to demonstrate fiscal responsibility, and the numbers show it... 

 

Rep. Allen proposes bill limiting PACE loans

Rep.Allen is circulating legislation designed to protect consumers from potential abuse through Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans.

PACE loans are used to finance energy efficiency or renewable energy installations on real property. Examples might include solar panels, the installation of LED lights, insulation, or other fixtures.

However, loans are made regardless of the property owner’s ability to repay the loan. PACE loans are not subject to truth-in-lending statements, they often have higher interest rates than home equity loans, and the liens take precedence over all other liens, including the mortgage. Issues arise when loans are made for more than the consumers’ equity. The loans are unique in that they are repaid to local governments through tax assessments or utility bills.

The District of Columbia and 33 states have some form of residential PACE program.  The bill would limit PACE loans to commercial properties or residential properties with five or more units. 

Committee meeting resized for eupdate

LRB-2742/1, which limits PACE loans, will be circulating for cosponsorship until September 12th



Spring Survey Results

With 674 responses received both in the hard copies and the online edition, the data tells a few clear stories. As always, the Spring Survey helps me to be responsive to your needs and serve you. Thank you to those who participated! Last week, we looked at Waukesha's belief in self-determination. The data speaks to other facets of good government as well.

Part II: Fiscal Responsibility

Wisconsinites deserve a government that will encourage economic prosperity by being good stewards of taxpayer dollars: ensure basic necessities of running a state are met, minimize government by letting taxpayers keep their hard-earned money, put money away for a rainy day, and invest in things that go up in value.

I asked: The state of Wisconsin has a $600 million budget surplus AND will see revenue growth of nearly $1.8 billion in the coming budget. How would you like your elected representatives to prioritize spending in the coming budget?

1a

More than 54% of respondents believed cutting taxes for middle-class families should be a high or top priority.  The 2019-20 budget (Act 9) provides an income tax cut of $315 million over the biennium. 


1b

Many respondents believed the state's rainy day fund needed a deposit.  The Legislative Fiscal Bureau now projects that the Budget Stabilization Fund (the rainy day fund) will have a deposit of $321.7 million, raising the balance to over $649 million at the end of 2018-19.

 

1c

55.3% of respondents felt this was an area which could see some improvement.  Ultimately, the budget added funding for 60 new full-time assistant district attorneys across Wisconsin, increased the private bar rate for the Office of the State Public Defender from $40 to $70 per hour, and invested in the State Crime Lab, adding 7.4 FTE positions to speed processing times.

 

1d
75.7% of respondents believed increasing the gas tax should not be prioritized, wasn't really a priority, or was their lowest priority.  Gov. Evers budget proposed an 8-cent per gallon increase in the gas tax, but ultimately, the 2019-20 budget passed by the legislature did not increase the gas tax.

1e

 59% of respondents believed increasing funding to support K-12 education should be prioritized.  In the end, the budget increased state aids by over $636 million compared to current spending, and represents the largest state education investment in actual dollars ever, topping last session's budget.  This is just shy of the two-thirds state funding threshold.


Gov. Evers' budget as proposed would have funded a program to make Wisconsin's energy carbon-free.  

I asked: Governor Evers' budget would increase utility rates in order to set higher renewable energy standards than 47 other states. Do you support paying higher rates to have Wisconsin keep pace with California's carbon-free goals? 

 10

Just 35.2% of respondents thought it was a good idea to jeopardize Wisconsin's future by following Gov. Evers extreme plan.


Next issue

Part III: Family