Thursday, February 21st

State

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Gov. Tony Evers enters the Assembly to deliver his State of the State address at the Capitol in Madison.(Photo11: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

MADISON - Gov. Tony Evers sided with unions Thursday in their attempt to block lame-duck laws that limit the new Democratic governor's powers.

Evers has been critical of the measures since Republican legislators unveiled them in December, but Thursday's filing marked the first time he has taken a legal position and contended they are unconstitutional. 

"The legislation will make executing the law, rendering services to the citizens and businesses of Wisconsin, and using tax dollars in an efficient manner practically impossible," attorney Christa Westerberg wrote on behalf of Evers. 

Evers asked Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington to issue an injunction to block the laws while he considers the case, as the unions have requested.

RELATED: In 3rd legal action, unions contend lame-duck laws taking power from governor is unconstitutional

MADISON - State Supreme Court candidate Brian Hagedorn lost his endorsement from the Wisconsin Realtors Association this week amid reports that he had founded a school that allows the expulsion of gay students.

The Realtors association is a behind-the-scenes player in Wisconsin Supreme Court races that often backs conservatives like Hagedorn, an appeals judge. 

"As a result of recent disclosures regarding past statements and actions by Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Brian Hagedorn, the Wisconsin Realtors Association has withdrawn its endorsement of his candidacy," said a statement this week from Michael Theo, the president and chief executive officers of the association. 

"The real estate related issues that served as the basis for our endorsement have been overshadowed by other, non-real estate related issues — issues with which we do not want to be associated and that directly conflict with the principles of our organization and the values of our members."

RELATED: Supreme Court candidate Lisa Neubauer stopped listing business customers on ethics form years ago

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Milwaukee taxpayers queue up to pay their property taxes at City Hall, in a 2017 photo.(Photo11: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

MADISON - Wisconsin’s municipalities rely on property taxes at nearly twice the rate as their counterparts in other states on average, according to a new report.

Municipalities in the Badger State got about 42 percent of their revenue from property taxes — well above the national average of about 23 percent, according to the study being released Thursday by the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum.

Wisconsin ranks seventh in the nation for its reliance on property taxes for funding municipalities.

All the states that outrank Wisconsin on that measure are in the Northeast. No other state in the Midwest uses property taxes as heavily as Wisconsin, the report found.

Local governments in Wisconsin have seen their revenue constrained for more than a decade by property tax caps. Wisconsin’s caps — championed by Republicans who control the Legislature — appear to be tighter than other states that rely as heavily on property taxes for local governments, according to the report.

 

Brian Hagedorn (left) and Lisa Neubauer are canidates for Wisconsin Supreme Court.(Photo11: Provided)

MADISON - The two candidates seeking a seat on the state Supreme Court are introducing themselves to voters this week with powerful personal stories.

One helped change police practices across the country by being a lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging strip-search policies in Chicago. The other is sharing his story of adopting a baby girl born addicted to opiates and helping her overcome withdrawal. 

Lisa Beubauer and Brian Hagedorn, both state appeals court judges, say these experiences were defining moments in their path to seeking a 10-year term on the state's highest court.

Jane Doe No. 1

Lisa Neubauer's interest in Wisconsin courtrooms was sparked on a Chicago sidewalk in 1978. 

Neubauer, 21 at the time, said in an interview she had taken a trip with some friends from Madison to Chicago to see the Talking Heads in concert.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.(Photo11: Journal Sentinel files)

MADISON - Gov. Tony Evers issued his first veto Wednesday, rejecting a Republican plan to cut income taxes for middle-class families by using money leftover in the current state budget.

Instead, Evers will include the same size tax cut — 10 percent — in his first two-year budget proposal set to be released next week. 

Evers in his veto message said he was rejecting the bill because he objected to passing a major fiscal policy item outside of the state budget process.

The move irked Republicans, who authored the plan in response to Evers' campaign proposal to enact a middle-class tax cut but by reducing a tax credit that manufacturers receive.  

"Let me be clear with the governor: I will not support raising taxes on our state’s job creators," Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said Wednesday.