April 5, 2019
Wisconsin's 12th Senate District contains communities in Florence, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Oneida, Shawano, and Vilas Counties.

Committee Assignments:
  • Joint Committee on Finance
  • Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry Committee (Chair)
  • Elections, Ethics, and Rural Issues (Vice-Chair)
  • Local Government, Small Business, Tourism and Workforce Development
  • Joint Survey Committee on Tax Exemptions
Agency Briefings

The Joint Committee on Finance held agency briefings this week on the Governor's proposed budget. Agency secretaries came before the committee to provide testimony and answer questions from committee members.

On Wednesday, the Department of Public Instruction, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Health Services came before the committee. On Thursday, the Department of Workforce Development, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Natural Resources gave their testimony and answered questions. 
DPI Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor testifying before the Joint Committee on Finance
Budget Public Hearings

The first round of budget listening sessions kicked off today in Janesville. There was a great turnout and people came to share their thoughts on a wide variety of issues. 
The Joint Committee on Finance
Crowd in Janesville
Schedule for the next listening sessions:

Wednesday, April 10
Oak Creek Community Center
8580 South Howell Avenue
Oak Creek, WI 53154

Monday, April 15
University of Wisconsin - River Falls
University Center - Riverview Ballroom #260
500 Wild Rose Ave
River Falls, WI 54022

Wednesday, April 24
University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
University Union - Phoenix Rooms
2430 Campus Court
Green Bay, WI 54311
Legislative Fiscal Bureau Memo

This week, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau issued a memo that Governor Evers' budget would create a nearly $2 billion structural deficit. This is the estimated deficit that would exist in the next state budget to keep funding at the same level. We look at the structural deficit to see how the budget would affect the state's long-term finances.

The nearly $2 billion would be the largest estimated deficit since Governor Jim Doyle's last budget nearly a decade ago and one of the highest in the last 20 years.

The figure does not account for tax revenue growth or changes in rising costs. The estimated structural deficit last budget was $865 million. Due to increased tax revenue, Wisconsin ended up starting this biennium with additional revenue. Even if we saw similar growth, it would not cover the Governor's deficit. 
Recount Refresher
Tuesday's Supreme Court election was extremely close. Judge Brian Hagedorn narrowly defeated Judge Lisa Neubauer. Although she has yet to file an official petition, Judge Neubauer indicated late Tuesday night that it was likely she would ask for a recount. I thought it would be a good opportunity to run through the recount process in Wisconsin.
Click the image above for a quick review of the recount process.
Superior Refinery Rebuild
Nearly a year ago, there was an explosion at the refinery in Superior due to a worn valve. The explosion and fire caused extensive damage to the facility.

On Wednesday, it was announced that demolition work is now under way and construction is expected to begin this fall to rebuild the facility. The investment to rebuild the refinery is expected to be more than $400 million. They plan to hold an open house for the public to learn more about the rebuild plans, additional safety enhancements, and the timelines.

The Superior refinery is important to Northern Wisconsin. Propane and asphalt are among the products produced at the refinery. I believe it is important to have a local source of both. The refinery also employs about 200 people in the Superior area. 
State Crime Lab
On Monday, I had the opportunity to tour the crime lab in Wausau along with Governor Evers and other state lawmakers. The crime lab in Wausau is one of three state crime labs and serves 40 of the northernmost counties.

It was a great opportunity to see the fascinating things they can do to analyze and process evidence. The state currently employs approximately 160 forensic scientists, technicians, and other employees.

Thank you so much for the tour!
Nicole, Sen. Tiffany, and Jennifer at the Wausau Crime Laboratory 
Utility Bill Help
Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) is encouraging customers who have fallen behind on energy bills to make arrangements to catch up before Wisconsin’s winter heating moratorium ends April 15. Customers with significant past-due balances are at risk of disconnection starting the third week of this month.

Customers having difficulty paying energy bills can contact WPS throughout the year at 800-450-7260 for help managing past-due amounts. WPS customer service representatives can discuss a minimum payment option or payment arrangement that may be available to help customers stay connected. Bill messages, mail notices and phone calls are being provided to customers at risk of disconnection to inform them about the status of their accounts.

Customers also are reminded they may be able to receive energy assistance through the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP). There is no charge to determine eligibility or to apply for assistance. More information about energy assistance through WHEAP can be found at or by calling 866-HEAT-WIS (866-432-8947).

WPS urges customers to be alert for scam attempts that can occur at this time of year. Common scams feature criminals threatening to disconnect a customer if an immediate payment is not made, often with a prepaid card (e.g., MoneyPak or Green Dot card). WPS never conducts business in a threatening manner, and does not require a specific payment type to pay energy bills. Disconnection is always a last resort only taken after all other attempts to work with a customer have been unsuccessful. 
DNR Encourages Attendance at Spring Hearings
From the DNR:

On Monday, April 8, starting at 7 p.m. in each
county of the state, individuals interested in natural resources management will have the opportunity to provide their input and testimony on proposed rule changes and advisory questions relating to conservation and fish and wildlife management in Wisconsin.

This year’s Spring Hearings will offer additional opportunity for the public to weigh in.  The DNR and WCC will provide an online option for input for those people who aren’t able to attend a hearing in person or for those who’d rather provide input at the hearing using their smart phone. The online version of the Spring Hearing questionnaire will be posted on the Spring Hearing website ( search keywords “spring hearings”). The input form will go live at 7 p.m. on April 8 and remain open until 7 p.m. on April 11.

The Spring Hearing input process allows the public the opportunity to comment and register their support or opposition to DNR proposed rule changes as well as Congress proposals that could someday become the rules that regulate fishing, hunting, trapping and other outdoor recreation activities in Wisconsin.  This year the DNR will be presenting 49 proposed rule change questions for input. Citizens may also submit ideas to address conservation needs or concerns they observe through the WCC resolution process and vote for WCC delegates to represent them on the Conservation Congress. However, providing input on resolutions or participating in the WCC election will continue to require in-person participation. 

People interested in attending the hearings are encouraged to review the questionnaire online prior to the April 8 hearings and should arrive at the hearing location early to register before the hearings begin at 7 p.m.
District 12 Events
Start Date Upcoming Event Location
April 6 Phelps Maple Syrup Fest Phelps
April 6 Only Fools Run At Midnight 5K Minocqua
April 6 Spring is in the Air Craft Show Tomahawk
April 6 Lions Club Meat Raffle St. Germain
April 6 Lena Lions Fish Fry Lena
April 6 Sayner-Star Lake Lioness Club Meat and Pie Raffle St. Germain
April 14 13th Annual Goodman-Armstrong Creek PTO Smelt Fry Goodman
April 14 Post 44 Gunless Poultry Shoot Lakewood
April 14 Lion's Club Pancake Breakfast Gleason
April 16 Beecher-Dunbar-Pembine Little League Pancake Breakfast Pembine
April 20 Hops and Vines Beer and Wine Tasting Rhinelander
April 20 Children's Easter Egg Hunt Lakewood
April 26 Veterans Benefits Expo Rhinelander
April 26-28 Central Wisconsin Concertina Festival Merrill
April 27 Lions 40th Annual Live Lobster or Prime Rib Dinner Presque Isle
April 28 St. Germain Fire Department Fish Fry St. Germain
May 4 Colors of Cancer 5K Crandon
May 4 Old Fashioned Plow Day Antigo
May 5 Lions Pancake Breakfast and Blood Drive Gleason
May 10 - 11 Journeys Marathon Eagle River
May 18 Oconto County Youth Fair Steak Fry Gillett
May 26 McCaslin Lioness Faire Lakewood
May 31 YMCA of the Northwoods: Denim and Diamonds Rhinelander
Contact Me:
Mail: Senator Tom Tiffany, PO Box 7882, Madison, WI, 53707
Phone: (608) 266-2509  Fax: (608) 282-3552
Copyright © 2019 Office of State Senator Tom Tiffany, All rights reserved.

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As always, if you have any events for our calendar, comments or thoughts regarding the subjects of this newsletter, please feel free to contact me.