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Volume 5, Issue 28, Nov 28, 2022
 Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, Eau Claire, Wis.

Published the first business day of each week

Business Advocate Past Issues

Public Meetings Calendar

Chamber Events Calendar

The Chamber's Advocacy Principles

The Chamber's Business Issues Agenda

Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs



Previewing next year's legislative session

Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast

Invited are members of the State Senate and Assembly who will represent our region beginning with the January legislative session, including newly-elected members. 

 • Friday, Dec 16, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center at the Confluence

    Click here for details and to register


Don't miss...

"Eau What A Night" - The Chamber's 108th Annual Meeting

 • Wednesday, Jan 25, 2023, Pablo Center at the Confluence

    Click here for details and to register


Registration now open

29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

Organized by the Chippewa Valley Chamber Alliance - the Chippewa Falls, Menomonie and Eau Claire Chambers of Commerce. Bringing the collective voice of Chippewa Valley business and community leaders to Madison.

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2023, Madison

   Click here for details and to register

In this issue: 

 • Inside the November 8 election results - Eggs & Issues report

 • Thursday: Regional Housing Conference targets affordability, supply

 • EC City Council approves 2023 operating budget

 • Eau Claire School Board to plan use of referendum funds

 • State budget surplus estimate grows to $6.6 billion

 • State and regional stories

 National and economic news

 • COVID-19 updates 

 • Mark your calendar
Note on article links: A subscription is required for those marked with "$"
Publications known to have article limits for non-subscribers are marked with "+"


Inside the November 8 election results

The Marquette Poll's Charles Franklin provided insights at the Chamber's November Eggs & Issues breakfast

   Attendees at the Chamber's November Eggs & Issues breakfast had the opportunity to learn more about the voter trends and attitudes that were reflected in the final results of the November 8 General Election.

   The final pre-election polls showed tight races for Wisconsin Governor and US Senate, which were borne out with narrow victories by incumbent Democratic Governor Tony Evers and incumbent US Senator Ron Johnson.

Click here to continue reading...

Additional information:

Video: Marquette University Law School Poll Director provides 2022 election analysis at Chamber breakfast (WEAU 13 News)

Charles Franklin's Marquette poll succeeds — mostly — despite ongoing challenges (Wisconsin State Journal +)

Wisconsin's voter turnout was high in this November's election, but still lower than 2018 (WPR)


Regional Housing Conference to tackle affordability, supply

   An Eau Claire City commission tasked with addressing local housing supply and affordability is sponsoring a Regional Housing Conference this Thursday, December 1. The hybrid event, organized by the Housing Opportunities Commission, will begin with an opening keynote from statewide housing expert Kurt Paulsen of UW-Madison, who will provide insights into the status and challenges of the housing market. Other sessions will focus on the impact of zoning, green building design, universal and inclusive design, housing and EDI, and the relationship between housing and transportation. Anyone involved in or interested in the local housing market is encouraged to attend.

More information:

Housing Conference - Housing Opportunities Commission (City of Eau Claire)

Regional Housing Conference

 • Thursday, Dec 1, 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. (in person or virtual)

    Chippewa Valley Technical College, Business Education Center

    Click here for program and registration information


EC City Council passes 2023 operating budget

   The Eau Claire City Council passed its 2023 Operating Budget at its Legislative Session last Tuesday, with spending estimated to be a total of $154.3 million. Of that amount, $44.4 million will come from the property tax levy, with other sources including state aid, fees for services, and bonding. On November 8, voters approved a tax levy referendum to add $1.45 million annually to pay for 15 public safety positions. The tax rate is then calculated based upon a formula that also credits the city with the total amount of net new construction. The City then arrives at a mill rate, or amount per $1,000 of real estate value, that shows up on property tax bills. For the City of Eau Claire alone, that rate will be $6.62 per thousand for property within the city limits in Eau Claire County, compared to $6.28 per thousand in 2022. To calculate the impact on your tax bill, multiply the mill rate by each one thousand dollars of value. Your property tax bill will also include levies for the Public Library, City-County Health Dept., Eau Claire County, your school district, and Chippewa Valley Technical College. For city residents who are also in the Eau Claire Area School District, the total tax levy mill rate will be $18.986. 

   The Council also approved a new transit agreement with UWEC to provide for expanded service (see pages 28-31 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below), an agreement for expansion of the Seven Mile Creek Landfill (pages 39-45), and a final plat for Country Jam's development along Highway T (pages 46-69). The landfill agreement is pending final approval by the Eau Claire County Board.

Meeting information:

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, Nov 21, Public Hearing Agenda Packet (22 pages)

 • Tuesday, Nov 22, Legislative Session Agenda Packet (133 pages)

    City of Eau Claire 2023 Proposed Operating Budget (City of Eau Claire)

Link to videos of city meetings (City of Eau Claire)

City Council Online Comment Form (City of Eau Claire)

Contact information: City Council members (City of Eau Claire)

Increased fees for Eau Claire's drop-in recreation programs questions at public hearing (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire City Council foregoes youth rec, pool fee hikes (Leader-Telegram $)

City budget will add $74 to typical tax bill (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire City Council approves multiple agenda items (WEAU 13 News)

Eau Claire City Council approves 2023 budget, Seven Mile Creek Landfill expansion (WQOW News 18)


Eau Claire School Board: Referendum financing,

academic performance report

   The Eau Claire Board of Education meets Monday and will begin discussions on how it will utilize the $98.6 capital funding approved by voters on November 8. Superintendent Mike Johnson will also brief the Board on progress related to academic performance.

More information:

Eau Claire Board of Education

• Monday, Nov 28, 6 p.m. closed session, 7 p.m. regular session Agenda Packet

Board of Education members and information

Referendum planning on agenda for EC school board (Leader-Telegram $)


More local stories:


Repairs put Silver Mine tournament on pause (Leader-Telegram $)

2023 Silver Mine Invitational canceled, ski slope not safe (WQOW News 18)

Silver Mine Invitational 2023 is canceled (WEAU 13 News)


Area schools, university see increased wait times for mental health services (Leader-Telegram $)


Micon Cinema at Oakwood Mall plans to open before Christmas (WQOW News 18)


WisDOT seeking public input on Clark County resurfacing project (WEAU 13 News)


Boys & Girls Club expands services in Menomonie (Leader-Telegram $)


UW-Stout professor co-authors study about benefits of incorporating solar panel windows into building designs (UW-Stout)


Lake Hallie board to consider spring referendum (Leader-Telegram $)


Construction on new Northern Wis State Fair buildings moving forward (Leader-Telegram $)


Best of the Chippewa Valley Reader Poll voting open through Dec 9 (Volume One)


Projected state budget surplus increases to $6.6 billion

   Wisconsin's Department of Administration released an estimate last week that the state's general fund balance could grow to nearly $6.6 billion by next summer, higher than the $5 billion previously estimated.

   “Wisconsin is currently in the strongest financial position we’ve ever been with unemployment at historic lows and a strong pandemic recovery that has helped new businesses open on Main Streets in every county,” said Democratic Governor Tony Evers. The Governor said the surplus represents "an unprecedented opportunity to make critical investments in Wisconsinites and the future of our state,” including more funding for education.

   The Republican Co-Chairs of the legislature's Joint Finance Committee, Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam) and Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) warned that the figures do not represent a "blank check" for the Governor.

   "While we have a record-setting projected general fund balance, we must be mindful that the surplus is due, in part, to a massive increase in tax collections," they said in a joint statement. "Instead, it gives us flexibility to fund the programs and agencies that are necessary for prosperity in Wisconsin while cutting taxes to benefit all Wisconsin taxpayers.”

   A a WisPolitics.com luncheon last Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) said they would like to use the opportunity to make "transformational" changes in the state tax code, and would be open to additional school funding if paired with an expansion of school choice. 

   The biggest item on the Legislature's agenda when it meets in 2023 will be coming up with a two-year state budget, which also must be signed by the Governor.

More information:

Wisconsin’s projected budget surplus grows to $6.6 billion (AP)

State projects more than $6.5 billion surplus, highest in Wisconsin history (Wisconsin State Journal +)

Wisconsin starts 2023-25 budget negotiations with projected $6.6B surplus (The Cap Times)

Wisconsin now projects the state's record-high budget surplus to hit $6.6 billion (Journal-Sentinel +)

Wisconsin Republican budget chiefs: Latest surplus numbers don’t give governor 'blank check' (The Center Square)

Wisconsin GOP leaders to push for ‘long term’ tax cuts (AP)

Video: Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos at WisPolitics.com luncheon (Wisconsin Eye, 1 hour)


Looking ahead to the 2023 Legislative Session

   As we go into the new session, who will represent the Chippewa Valley in Madison, and what are their views on business issues? Click here to see Chamber video interviews with winning candidates and their answers to our Candidate questionnaire


Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast

Invited are members of the State Senate and Assembly who will represent our region beginning with the January legislative session, including newly-elected members. 

 • Friday, Dec 16, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center at the Confluence

    Click here for details and to register


Stafsholt: State must solve licensing delays

   Area State Sen. Rob Stafsholt (R-New Richmond) delivered last week's state Republican radio address, focused on the backlog of licensing applications at the Wisconsin Dept. of Safety and Professional Services.

   "Over the last couple of years, I have heard from many frustrated constituents that are dealing with unnecessary delays, confusion and lack of communication while attempting to get their occupational license from the Department of Safety and Professional Services. These unnecessary delays cause individuals to postpone starting their careers or stops them from entering the workforce. Wisconsin businesses are struggling to find qualified workers so we need to ensure our licensure process is streamlined and functions efficiently," he said.

Audio: Republican radio address (WisPolitics.com, 2 minutes)


Neubauer: Invest surplus
   In the weekly Democratic radio address, Assembly Minority Leader Rep. Greta Neubauer (D-Racine) says it's time to pass one of Gov. Tony Evers' plans to use the state's surplus funds, especially in light of the state's projected surplus.

   "We cannot continue to hoard these dollars in the coffers in Madison. And Republican leaders need to come to the table. This is the people’s money. It’s past time that we invest these dollars back into our communities," she said.

Audio: Democratic radio Address (WisPolitics.com, 1 minute)


State Sen. Alberta Darling to retire December 1

   State Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) a former Co-Chair of the powerful Joint Finance Committee, announced plans to retire on Dec. 1 after 32 years in the Legislature.

   Darling was reelected in 2020, so is leaving in the middle of her four-year term. Her seat will be filled in a special election to be called by Governor Tony Evers.

   "Serving requires many sacrifices and I look forward to giving family and friends my full attention," she said in her resignation letter.

   Until her seat is filled, Republicans will have a 21-11 majority in the State Senate when it meets in January, one short of a veto-proof majority. 

More information:

Sen Darling to retire (WisPolitics.com)

State Sen. Alberta Darling, long-serving Republican on powerful finance committee, to retire Dec. 1 (Journal-Sentinel +)

Senate District 8 Map (Wisconsin Legislature)


More state and regional stories:


GOP’s Loudenbeck concedes Wisconsin secretary of state loss to La Follette (AP)


What voter turnout in Wisconsin and beyond means about elections (Wisconsin Watch)


Wisconsin Republicans voice skepticism around Donald Trump's presidential bid (Wisconsin State Journal +)


In 2nd term, Wisconsin AG Josh Kaul optimistic about working with GOP-led Legislature (Wisconsin State Journal +)


Rebecca Kleefisch focuses on 1848 Project and recruiting 'conservative credible candidates' (Journal-Sentinel $)


Wisconsin unemployment rate at 3.3%, aging workforce challenges loom large (Wisconsin State Journal +)


UW System to shift degree programs away from Richland campus by fall 2023 (The Cap Times)


Emergency situation: Wisconsin's EMS problems could soon be a crisis (APG Wisconsin, NewsBreak.com)


Don Zietlow to retire as president and CEO of Kwik Trip at the end of 2022 (Journal-Sentinel +)

Kwik Trip announces leadership changes (La Crosse Tribune +)


State commission rules nurses can't force UW Health to recognize union (The Cap Times)


WisDOT to pursue Milwaukee freeway expansion to 8 lanes along I-94 East-West corridor (BizTimes)


Milwaukee Democrats oppose state plan to widen I-94 (The Center Square)


DNR: Statewide buck harvest was up for opening weekend (Leader-Telegram $)


Request to play Muslim call to prayer in Barron met with strong opposition (WPR)


Yet More Staff Cuts for Journal Sentinel? (Urban Milwaukee)


National and economic stories:


New orders for manufactured durable goods increased in October (ABA Banking Journal)


Fed officials see smaller rate hikes coming ‘soon,’ minutes show (CNBC)


Garland names Jack Smith special counsel for Trump criminal probes (Politico)


Supreme Court Clears Way for Donald Trump’s Tax Returns to Be Released to House Panel (Wall Street Journal $)


Trump rips Supreme Court after ruling he hand over tax records (The Hill)


Student loan repayment pause extended through June 2023 by White House (Axios)


With unions aligned, timeline for rail strike and railroad emergency prep is now clear (CNBC)


11 U.S. cities where rent is actually cheaper than it was last year (CNBC)


‘If you were starting from scratch, cars wouldn’t make sense’: Pete Buttigieg on redesigning cities (Fast Company)


Economic Viewpoints - current key indicators (US Chamber of Commerce)


The Flip Side: Collection of Right and Left viewpoints on national issues


COVID-19 Updates 


COVID-19 Resources: 

COVID-19 Symptoms & Testing (EC City-County Health Department)
Local COVID-19 Testing Sites (EC City-County Health Department)
Interactive COVID Data Tracker (CDC)
COVID-19: Staying Safe in Your Community (EC City-County Health Dept.)
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Information Hub 
Eau Claire weekly COVID Situation Report 
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Vaccination Page 
Metrics Dashboard
Chippewa Valley COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force


Mark your calendar:


Regional Housing Conference

Organized by the City of Eau Claire Housing Opportunities Commission

 • Thursday, December 1, CVTC Business Education Center


Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast

 • Friday, Dec 16, Pablo Center at the Confluence


"Eau What A Night:" The Chamber's 108th Annual Meeting

 • Wednesday, January 25, 2023, Pablo Center


29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

 • Wednesday, February 22, 2023, Madison


Business Salutes Eau Claire Annual Golf Outing

• Monday, August 7, 2023


Public Meetings Calendar

Click the link above for the our regularly updated schedule of public meetings.


Thanks for reading this issue of Business Advocate. If you have comments or questions, contact Scott Rogers, Vice President Governmental Affairs, at 715-858-0616 or rogers@eauclairechamber.org 

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