Representative Barca asked unanimous consent for a leave of absence for part of today's session for Representative Ziegelbauer. Granted.
Representative Suder asked unanimous consent for a leave of absence for part of today's session for Representative Gunderson. Granted.
Relating to the county forest administration grant program.
Submitted by Department of Natural Resources.
Report received from Agency, January 13, 2009.
To committee on Forestry.
Referred on January 27, 2009.
Relating to minor and technical rule changes.
Submitted by Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
Report received from Agency, January 12, 2009.
To committee on Agriculture.
Referred on January 27, 2009.
Read first time and referred:
Assembly Joint Resolution 2
Relating to: eliminating the spring election (first consideration).
To committee on Elections and Campaign Reform
Assembly Bill 6
Relating to: a tort action for intentional misrepresentation in a residential real estate transaction.
To committee on Consumer Protection
Assembly Bill 7
Relating to: designating a portion of the Brunsweiler River as a wild river.
To committee on Natural Resources
Assembly Bill 8
Relating to: municipal quotas for retail intoxicating liquor licenses.
To committee on Urban and Local Affairs
Assembly Bill 9
Relating to: a requirement that all employers in this state grant a paid leave of absence on Veterans Day to employees who are veterans.
To committee on Veterans and Military Affairs
The joint committee on Finance reports and recommends:
Assembly Bill 5
Relating to: payment of Wisconsin supplemental and extended unemployment insurance benefits in this state.
Passage with emergency statement attached pursuant to s. 16.47 (2)
of the Wisconsin Statutes:
Ayes: 15 - Representatives Pocan, Colon, Mason, Shilling, Sherman, Grigsby, Vos and Montgomery; Senators Hansen, Taylor, Lehman, Robson, Lassa, Darling and Olsen.
To committee on Rules.
Joint Committee on Finance
January 27, 2009
Mr. Patrick Fuller
Assembly Chief Clerk
Risser Justice Center, Room 401
Madison, WI 53703
Dear Chief Clerk Fuller:
Please add my name as a co-sponsor to Assembly Bill 5.
4th Senate District
State of Wisconsin
Legislative Audit Bureau
January 27, 2009
To the Honorable, the Assembly:
At the request of the Department of Workforce Development and to meet our audit responsibilities under s. 13.94
, Wis. Stats., we have audited the financial statements of the State of Wisconsin Unemployment Reserve Fund, which funds unemployment benefits paid to eligible workers, primarily through taxes paid by employers. The Unemployment Reserve Fund operates on a fiscal year that ends June 30. This audit report contains our unqualified opinion on financial statements and related notes for the years ended June 30, 2008 and 2007. During our audit period, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate ranged between 4.3 percent and 5.1 percent, and unemployment benefit payments exceeded employer payments to the Unemployment Reserve Fund.
As a result, the Fund's balance has continued to decline from its high of $1.9 billion as of June 30, 2000. As of June 30, 2008, the Unemployment Reserve Fund balance was $608.8 million. It has continued to decline after that date, and as of November 30, 2008, $312.0 million was available to pay benefits. The Department expects that the Fund's cash balances will be depleted in February 2009, at which time borrowed federal funds will be needed in order to continue unemployment benefit payments.
2007 Wis. Act 59
included several provisions to strengthen the Unemployment Reserve Fund, including increasing the amount of wages subject to unemployment taxes starting in calendar year 2009, with additional increases in 2011 and 2013. However, given current economic conditions, it is unclear whether anticipated increases in revenues from the taxes paid by employers will be sufficient to restore the Fund's balances, and further changes may be needed to increase employer taxes or reduce unemployment benefit payments.
Accompanying the financial statements is the Schedule of Cash Balance Related to Taxable Employers, which is used to determine the tax rate paid by employers. Section 108.18 (3m)
, Wis. Stats., requires the second-highest tax rate schedule to be applied when the cash balance as of June 30 is between $300 million and $900 million. Consequently, the second-highest of four tax rate schedules will continue to be applied in calendar year 2009.
We appreciate the courtesy and cooperation extended to us by Department of Workforce Development staff during the audit.
Representative Barca asked unanimous consent that the Assembly stand recessed. Granted.
The Assembly stood recessed.
The Assembly reconvened.
Speaker Pro Tempore Staskunas in the chair.
Representative Nelson asked unanimous consent for a quorum call. Granted.
A quorum was present.
Representative Gunderson asked unanimous consent that his leave of absence be lifted. Granted.
Representative Ziegelbauer asked unanimous consent that his leave of absence be lifted. Granted.
The committee on Rules introduced a privileged resolution.