Publication

August 2013Newsletter

Governor Walker Signs Wisconsin State Budget Bill Into Law

Agribusiness, Food and Beverage Newsletter

The 2013-2014 Wisconsin State legislative session began this past January with the bulk of activity focused on passage of the budget bill. The Wisconsin State Legislature provided final approval of the budget bill on June 21, 2013, and Republican Governor Scott Walker signed the bill into law as 2013 Wisconsin Act 20 on June 30, 2013. Now that the $68 billion two year spending plan has been enacted, Wisconsin expects to begin the new fiscal year with a $670 million surplus, the largest opening balance in over a decade. Highlights of infrastructural, environmental, financial and other business items that will impact the Wisconsin agriculture, food and beverage industries included the following:

Infrastructure

· Invested $6.4 billion in transportation infrastructure

· Provided $517 million for continued construction of the Zoo Interchange and I-94 North-South Corridor, and additional funds to support major road projects such as the expansion of US 41 and I-39/90 South-Central Corridor

· Maintained funds for the town road improvement program and provided an increase of $52 million for routine maintenance agreements with counties

· Authorized updates to Babcock Hall Dairy Plant and rebuilding UW-Madison Campus Meat & Muscle Biology Lab

Environment

  • Provided regulatory certainty for groundwater permits by limiting the basis upon which high capacity well approvals can be challenged
  • Continued funding for the non-point pollution and UW-Extension Discovery Farms programs
  • Provided funding for the county land conservation department staff and fertilizer research at UW-Madison
  • Provided funding for the farmland preservation tax credit program
  • Expanded the existing solar and wind energy system personal property tax exemption to include biogas energy systems

Finance

  • Did not increase sales or income taxes, and provided $650 million in individual income tax relief across all tax brackets
  • Simplified the tax code and improved the business climate with elimination of 17 tax credits, reduced the number of income tax brackets from five to four and adopted federal treatment of several tax provisions
  • Eliminated the refundable farm income and franchise credits including the dairy manufacturing facility investment, meat processing facility investment, food processing facility and food warehouse investment and beginning farmer/farm asset owner credit
  • Eliminated the non-refundable dairy and livestock farm investment tax credit, the ethanol-biodiesel pump installation and the biodiesel fuel production credit
  • Repealed the grain storage tax
  • Retained the manufacturing and agriculture credit that provides an income tax credit for those who have income from farming

 

Business/Market

  • Prohibited local government restrictions on the sale of food and non-alcoholic beverages based on the number of calories, portion size or other nutritional criteria to ensure these type of regulations will be made uniformly statewide
  • Continued funding for the Buy Local Buy WI Program and the Livestock Premise Registration Program
  • Increased funding for county fairs
  • Created a dairy processor grant program.

 

Now that the budget bill has been signed into law, the legislators will not return to vote on any new legislative bill proposals until mid-September when the next floor session begins.

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