Changing of the Guard: Wisconsin – Part 2
The sweeping change in Wisconsin leads us to a second post regarding the opportunities and challenges that exist with a new party in power.
Overnight, Wisconsin went from Democratic Governor, Democratic Senate, Democratic Assembly to Republic Governor, Republican Senate, Republican Assembly. Among those defeated included the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the Assembly. As Jim Morgan, Vice President of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), said, “The whole game changed!”
Thom Ciske, VP of Government Affairs at the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce and Industry, echoed a number of his peers saying that the chamber agenda has not changed despite the favorable shift. The chamber is still pushing for “lower taxes, less regulation, relief from unfunded mandates, changes to the Medication/Arbitration laws, and a more aggressive State Department of Economic Development.” That being said, The Chamber understands these changes need to be made within the context of a state that is looking to balance its budget and is currently $3 billion in arrears.
Morgan says that the WMC agenda hasn’t changed either, but the interest in their agenda has hanged. Governor Walker has called a special session on jobs and the economy and the WMC agenda for regulatory reform, tax reform and liability reform is front and center.
Legislation to conform Wisconsin’s tax treatment of Health Savings Accounts with federal law passed both houses of the Legislature was signed into law Monday, January 24. The bill was introduced as part of Governor Walker's Special Session on Jobs, which is intended to address business climate issues in Wisconsin. WMC has advocated for this law change for a number of years. (Pictured: Governor Scott Walker and R.J. Pirlot, WMC Director of Legislative Relations, at the HSA bill signing on January 24.)
WMC Hails Approval of Health Savings Account Tax Break
Below are a few examples of the bills already being passed and signed into law. Morgan says that the real challenge is keeping everyone focused on jobs and the economy, but so far it seems as if everyone is staying on point.