Wautoma, WI
Current Conditions
0:56 AM CDT
Cloudy
Temperature
38°F
Dew Point
30°F
Humidity
73%
Wind
NNW at 8 mph
Barometer
30.30 in. F
Visibility
10.00 mi.
Sunrise
06:11 a.m.
Sunset
07:43 p.m.
Evening Forecast (7:00pm-Midnight)
Temperatures will range from 45 to 30 degrees with clear skies. Winds will range between 5 and 12 miles per hour from the northwest. No precipitation is expected.
7-Day Forecast
Thursday
45°F / 26°F
Partly Cloudy
Friday
51°F / 27°F
Partly Cloudy
Saturday
64°F / 30°F
Partly Cloudy
Sunday
52°F / 44°F
Light Rain
Monday
55°F / 38°F
Scattered Showers
Tuesday
49°F / 33°F
Mostly Cloudy
Wednesday
51°F / 33°F
Light Rain
Detailed Short Term Forecast
Issued at 0:56 AM CDT
Thursday...Temperatures will range from a high of 45 to a low of 26 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Winds will range between 5 and 12 miles per hour from the northnorthwest. No precipitation is expected.
Overnight ...Temperatures will range from 28 to 26 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Winds will remain steady around 5 miles per hour from the northwest. No precipitation is expected.
Friday...Temperatures will range from a high of 51 to a low of 27 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Winds will range between 4 and 6 miles per hour from the east. No precipitation is expected.
During the 35th annual Legislative Brunch in Madison on Wednesday, March 6, Secretary of Agriculture Ben Brancel commended the Wisconsin Women for Agriculture for the work they do to educate consumers about agricultural products and to communicate with legislators about the economic importance of agriculture. He also presented the group with a proclamation from Gov. Scott Walker recognizing WWA for these efforts. With him is Brunch Chairperson Gloria Helstad, Hixton.

During the 35th annual Legislative Brunch in Madison on Wednesday, March 6, Secretary of Agriculture Ben Brancel commended the Wisconsin Women for Agriculture for the work they do to educate consumers about agricultural products and to communicate with legislators about the economic importance of agriculture. He also presented the group with a proclamation from Gov. Scott Walker recognizing WWA for these efforts. With him is Brunch Chairperson Gloria Helstad, Hixton. Photo By Gloria Hafemeister

Quieter times greet farmers during Ag Day

March 13, 2013 | 0 comments

 

MADISON

Two years ago when farmers convened for the annual Ag Day at the Capitol, it was a historic day in Wisconsin politics.

New Gov. Scott Walker had introduced his Act 10, which effectively removed collective bargaining for public employees and those opposed to the action stormed the capital in protest.

Last year when farmers got to Madison for the annual lobbying day, it was the height of the state’s recall frenzy. The capital was full of metal detectors and protesters. "I’m glad to say that has come and gone and we’re back to normal," Paul Zimmerman, Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s top lobbyist told this year’s Ag Day gathering of about 450 farmers on March 6.

This session, Republicans control "all three legs" of the state government, he said. Walker became the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall. The Assembly remains in GOP control with 60 Republicans and 39 Democrats. In the Senate, there are 15 Democrats and 18 Republicans.

The recall frenzy resulted in the spending of $137 million "and nothing really changed," Zimmerman said.

In the Assembly, the GOP gained one seat and in the Senate, the Democrats gained one seat momentarily and then GOP control returned. One result, he said, is that the Senate no longer includes one farm-friendly lawmaker in the La Crosse area, Dan Kapanke, who at one time headed the Senate agriculture committee.

Zimmerman said that for lawmakers and constituents alike "it’s going to take some time for that to heal."

He pointed out to the farmers - who were in Madison to do some lobbying of their own - that the Legislature is full of new members who need to learn about a variety of issues. There are five new members in the Senate.

Over half of the members of the Assembly are in their first or second terms.

According to the Legislative Reference Bureau there are six members in the Assembly and two in the Senate who claim their occupation as farmer, which is down a little bit from previous legislative sessions, Zimmerman said.

There are a lot of what he called ag-friendly lawmakers in both houses, but there are also a lot of lawmakers who know nothing about agriculture and farm issues and will need to be educated. He urged farmers to talk to their lawmakers about their own farming operations and about the issues that are important to them.

BUDGET FIRST

The first item of business in the legislative session that began in January is the state’s biennial budget. The governor has already introduced his budget bill, which is 1,100 pages.

The $68-billion budget plan is being worked on by the Legislature’s powerful Joint Committee on Finance.

Zimmerman noted that there is no budget deficit this time around and called it "Walker’s re-election budget."

Forty-five percent of the state budget is made up of general purpose revenues (GPR), which is tax money; 11 percent is segregated revenue, which is money that comes from specific user fees; 29 percent comes from the federal government and 15 percent is program revenue – money collected for things like the agricultural chemical management fund.

About 26 percent of the state budget is fee-supported, he said.

Zimmerman said that 50 percent of the budget goes to local assistance like shared revenue to local municipalities, K-12 funding for public schools and one program that farmers would recognize - funding for local land conservation departments.

Twenty-four percent of the budget goes out to individual people through programs like BadgerCare. "Seventy-five percent of the state budget isn’t spent at the state level," he said.

Eight percent of the state budget goes to the University of Wisconsin system, 7 percent to corrections and 12 percent supports all other state operations.

This year’s budget plan includes no increases in taxes or fees, Zimmerman said, and no "raids" on segregated funds. It also aligns program fees with the purpose they are being collected for.

The budget bill maintains the cap on property tax collections by local units of government and Walker has proposed a reduction in income tax rates for the bottom three brackets of earners, he noted.

Zimmerman told farmers that transportation is important to their operations and said that how the transportation fund is supported will be an issue in this budget debate. There has been talk of tolls and user fees.

 

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