Capitol Week-in-Review – April 13, 2017

Budget Committee Rejects Governor’s DOT Spending Plan 

Last Thursday, the leaders of legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance announced that the committee will develop its own two-year spending plan for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. This unusual procedural decision by the Republican-led Legislature caught us by surprise and we must now alter our lobbying efforts.

WIB is a member of the DRIVE (Devote Resources, Invest for a Vibrant Economy) Coalition. Our common goal is the enactment of a sustainable, long-term transportation plan that will keep Wisconsin’s economy strong. Collectively, we have united behind the following core principles:

  • Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) spending should be reviewed to ensure that incoming tax and fee revenues are being invested efficiently and effectively;
  • Wisconsin road conditions are deteriorating as revenues have remained flat, the state is facing once-in-a-generation costs to rebuild substantial segments of our 50+ year-old Interstate System, and crucial road projects are underway that, if delayed further, will cause major disruptions to the traveling public and significant damage to state commerce;
  • Increased bonding will not solve Wisconsin’s transportation funding problem; and
  • The transportation funding solution must meet the needs of the entire state.

These principles will continue to guide our lobbying efforts.

Lawmakers Circulate Personal Property Tax Repeal Legislation for Co-Sponsorship

Last Monday, State Representatives Bob Kulp (R-Stratford) and Dan Knodl (R-Germantown) and State Senators Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) and David Craig (R-Town of Vernon) sent a memorandum to their legislative colleagues seeking co-sponsorship of legislation that would repeal Wisconsin’s personal property tax.

Under their proposal:

  • no personal property would be subject to taxation beginning with the property tax assessments as of January 1, 2018;
  • beginning with the property tax assessments as of January 1, 2018, improvements on leased lands would be assessed as real property (not personal property); and
  • beginning in 2018, and in each year thereafter, local taxing jurisdictions would be reimbursed by the State of Wisconsin for the loss of personal property tax revenue.

The Coalition to Repeal Wisconsin’s Personal Property Tax has hand-delivered a memorandum to all state legislators asking them to co-sponsor this legislation.

Our goal is to have a long list of legislative co-sponsors. To that end, we encourage members to contact their State Senator and State Representative to ask them to co-sponsor this legislation.

Tax Filing Deadline – Tuesday, April 18

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) is reminding taxpayers to file their income tax returns by the deadline. Returns must be received or postmarked by midnight on Tuesday, April 18. The DOR shares the following tips with taxpayers to make the filing process easier:
  • Income tax forms and instructions as well as answers to common questions about preparing your tax return, tax credits and much more can be found on its website. The Department offers online payment of taxes on its website as well;
  • Taxpayers must request an extension from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by April 18 to avoid late filing penalties. Taxpayers who file an extension request with the IRS automatically receive an extension from the state. Information relating to an extension can be found on the IRS website.
  • Call the DOR customer service during off-peak hours at 608-266-2772. The customer service hours are 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The best time to call is Tuesday through Friday, especially in the afternoon. The call center is busiest on Mondays and during the lunch hour.
  • The DOR will not contact taxpayers by telephone or email regarding an income tax return. If the Department needs more information to verify items on the tax return, it will contact the taxpayers by letter.