FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    

October 5, 2015

Rep. Loudenbeck and Rep. Petryk Author Bill to Help Emergency Preparedness

Madison – Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton) and Rep. Warren Petryk (R-Eleva) are circulating for co-sponsorship legislation that would clear the way for volunteer workers to help Wisconsin citizens get critical infrastructure back online by creating various tax exemptions for volunteer workers helping in Wisconsin during a state of emergency.

LRB 2752/1 creates an exemption from income, sales, and use taxes for volunteer workers helping in the state and creates an exemption to state or local fees, licenses, certificates, registration, and permitting requirements that would otherwise be applicable to the emergency work. In order to qualify for the exemption, the work must be performed during a state of emergency, declared by the Governor, and must help restore the state’s infrastructure or otherwise minimize the effects of an emergency. 

“We do not want overly bureaucratic regulation standing in the way of getting the help we need as quickly as possible. We also do not want to create a tax disincentive for volunteers to come to our state to help get Wisconsin back online” said Rep. Loudenbeck.

“In the wake of any tragedy, the last thing anyone would want is governmental red tape preventing the speedy recovery of our great state,” said Rep. Petryk. “With this legislation, Wisconsin will get the necessary help it may need if a state of emergency were to be declared and our business and families can resume their normal operations as quickly as possible.”

In the wake of Super Storm Sandy, Wisconsin utility workers as well as workers from across the country volunteered to go to the storm ravaged area to repair and rebuild critical infrastructure and restore power and phone service. While the efforts of these volunteers highlight the very best of human nature, the situation also brought to light some unintended flaws in the regulatory and government systems.  Unfortunately, some of these volunteers were prevented from immediately helping due to rules that required them to go through a duplicative licensing procedure and even worse, some are now subjected to paying income tax in the state they volunteered to help.

“This legislation allows utility workers to focus on what’s most important—getting our customers’ power restored as quickly as possible in case of a disaster,” according to John Larsen, Senior Vice President at Alliant Energy. “We appreciate the efforts of Representatives Petryk and Loudenbeck, to help us prepare for emergencies and restore power quickly.”

After the legislation has been circulated for co-sponsorship, it will be formally introduced, then referred to committee to begin the hearing process.