Legislative Update – August 22

The Joint Finance Committee may take up K-12 education next week, one of the committee co-chairs has said. The future of school finance, voucher expansion and other critical K-12 issues has been in limbo over the summer as details around the Foxconn bill took center stage. With school starting in the next week or two, districts are operating under the last budget until they know more.

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DPI warns of ‘problematic situations’ for schools if state budget is not passed soon

State Superintendent Tony Evers has sent a memo to members of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee warning of “problematic situations” for schools throughout the state if a state budget is not passed soon. “With the state budget not being settled, there’s a lot of uncertainty across all superintendents and people managing the finances of school districts across the state of Wisconsin,” Brad Saron, superintendent of the Sun Prairie School District, said in a follow-up Wisconsin State Journal article. “And what that means is, really, everything is on hold.”

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State AFL-CIO says taxpayers must be assured that Foxconn deal results in family-supporting jobs, the right to organize, safety protections and good benefits

The Wisconsin State AFL-CIO has issued a Statement of Principles that it is asking state legislators to incorporate into the Foxconn tax incentive package now before them. “Wisconsin’s workers and taxpayers must be assured that the deal will result in good family-supporting jobs, the full American right to organize a union free of retaliation, full safety protections, and good benefits,” the union said.

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Legislative Update – August 9

A kindergartener today will be about 37 years old by the time the state would possibly break even on tax breaks and government incentives for Foxconn, the foreign corporation proposing to set up shop in southeastern Wisconsin. Critics are asking whether some of those incentives could instead be used to strengthen community infrastructure across the state, including public schools.

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Legislative Update – August 4

The Foxconn special session bill (AU7 AB1) has been introduced, and Assembly Republicans held a hearing Thursday on legislation that could provide massive incentives for a planned Wisconsin plant. The Washington Post reports that the tax deal/incentives could cost the state $230,700 per worker. 

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New tax break for big-box stores could drain more money from public schools

An article published in Education Week examines how big-box stores are using “dark store theory” to reduce their property tax payments, and how that is threatening to drain more resources from our public schools. The trend – in which companies claim their stores should be assessed as if they were vacant – has become pronounced in Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin. The article cites the example of the impact of a Menards lawsuit on the Howard-Suamico School District north of Green Bay.

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