Lasee's Notes
 July 6, 2017

Lasee's Notes is a way for me to communicate directly with you on key issues of our day
and to champion limited government, lower taxes, and individual liberty.
How we respond to these issues today, will affect the direction of our state and nation tomorrow.

I look forward to hearing from you about the issues of concern to you. Please feel free to contact me, Sen.Lasee@legis.wisconsin.gov or (608) 266-3512. If you are planning to be in Madison, please visit, I look forward to seeing you at the Capitol.

Capitol Happenings



 

Communities all over Wisconsin held their 4th of July celebrations over the weekend and many people took off Monday for a four day weekend. Independence Day is always a wonderful time of year and I hope that you were able to get outside and celebrate it with your loved ones. Here’s what you missed if you’re just coming back from vacation.

    

2017-19 State Budget Update


Since the 2017-19 state budget was introduced in the legislature in February, every week brings a new idea on how to fund transportation in Wisconsin. Last week’s idea was to create a new tax that would tax trucking companies for every mile they drive on Wisconsin highways. This new tax would add a new level of bureaucracy and costly state government oversight to many small businesses in Wisconsin.      

 

When people hear the term “trucking companies”, they think of big companies with hundreds of semis; however, most of Wisconsin’s 15,820 trucking companies are small businesses with only a few trucks. According to data collected by the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association and the American Transportation Research Institute, last year Wisconsin trucking companies represented only 10 percent of the vehicle miles traveled in Wisconsin but paid 38 percent of all taxes owed by Wisconsin motorists. 

 

The proposed 2.85 cent tax on a semi-truck that averages 7 miles a gallon is equivalent to about a 20 cent fuel tax increase. The tax will inevitably be passed down to the final consumer and make the things people buy everyday more expensive: food, medicine, and everything else that is transported by truck. The proposed Wisconsin price increase will make our state less attractive for manufacturing and distribution centers to do business in Wisconsin or to expand for businesses that are already located here.

   

The idea of taxing small businesses for using Wisconsin roads is a bad idea and I immediately joined four of my senate colleagues to oppose this “tax of the week”. Given our opposition, the idea has very little hope of passing the State Senate.

 

Through audits and spending cuts, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) is in a different place financially than it was even seven months ago. I believe even more savings can be found in the department. Raising taxes for DOT and other agencies isn’t the answer – we need to find and utilize efficiencies. I remain committed to cutting taxes in the 2017-2019 budget.
 

 


The 2017-19 biennial state budget is still in the Joint Finance Committee (JFC). The committee still has
10 areas of the budget to take action on. These areas include: Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Building Commission, Building Program, General Fund Taxes, Department of Natural Resources, Office of the Public Defender, Department of Public Instruction, Department of Revenue, School Levy Tax Credit Funding Level, and Department of Transportation.

 

While JFC hasn’t met since June 15th, leadership in Senate and Assembly continue to meet to iron out differences between the two houses. The Senate Republican Caucus is in constant contact with the Senate Majority Leader who continues to meet with leadership in the Assembly. As I have stated throughout this budget process, remembering everyone wants what’s best for Wisconsin and its citizens gives me hope that the best 2017-19 state budget possible will be the product of everyone’s hard work.

 

 

Governor Walker Signs Senate Bill 77 into Law

 

Governor Walker recently signed much needed legislation that I authored into law.  2017 Senate Bill 77, now known as 2017 Wisconsin Act 16, puts Wisconsin insurance companies in the same position as other out-of-state insurance companies. This law allows their surplus lines insurance to be sold in Wisconsin. This legislation is going to allow Wisconsin companies to hire more employees here instead of moving to another state.

 

This commonsense legislation is a win for both insurers and those consumers who need unique insurance rather than more commonly purchased insurance policies like home or car. Surplus lines insurance is a product that insures a specific risk like an amusement park ride, a hole-in-one contest, or any other unique risk that isn’t covered by the mainstream insurance marketplace. Surplus lines insurers specialize in these unique risks, conduct specific research to understand the exposure, and create products that are a good fit for their customers.
 

This change in law lets Wisconsin insurers compete here, while maintaining consumer and market protections.
 


 

Independence Day helped to put things in perspective for me and I hope it did for you too. While there are small differences of political opinion, we are all blessed to live in the greatest country on earth, America!



 
 

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Lasee's Notes, please feel free to contact me.

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State Capitol Room 316S- PO Box 7882, Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-3512
Email: Sen.Lasee@legis.wisconsin.gov