Legislative Advisory

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WH&LA has joined a coalition of over 40 business organizations seeking to repeal local personal property taxes, an annual municipal tax in many communities on business supplies & equipment that were already taxed when purchased, while also exploring methods to minimize the impact on current municipal budgets. Wisconsin is one of the only midwest states that still enables this tax.

The Personal Property Tax is an outmoded and unfair source of revenue in Wisconsin. Its origins pre-date both the income and sales tax, in the days when all property was taxed, and was the sole source of revenue for the government.

Today, the Personal Property Tax remains in effect on small businesses. With some industries completely exempted, and others still required to foot the bill, this is the very definition of government picking winners and losers in our economy, and the exact opposite of uniformity.

The PPT represents about 3% of the total of property taxes. By having that sum of cash returned to Main Street small businesses, our state’s economy could realize more job creation and increased reinvestment in the private sector. (http://www.wptonline.org/repeal-ppt)

 

 

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In addition to WH&LA’s Smoking Ban Guide for Lodging Properties sent to members a few weeks ago, there are new resources and interpretations now available from the state.

Latest State-Provided Resources
Each of the following resources can be viewed and/or downloaded from WH&LA’s Smoking Ban Resource page.

1. A new six-page “Wisconsin Legislative Council Information Memorandum – Smoking Ban” was written earlier this month and released this week. While it is not specific to lodging properties, it does reinforce and address a number of the components in the WH&LAs Guide.

2. “Clarification of the role of the Department of Commerce,” which is limited to rules on specifications for “No Smoking Signs,” is now posted at their Web site.

3. The Department of Health Services (DHS) was directed to provide information on smoke-free efforts, including resources encouraging employees and others to cease smoking in general. The following are the materials they are distributing in collaboration with Smoke-Free Wisconsin and other public health organizations:
-DHS Secretary’s letter
-flyers about the ban for employees
-strategies for employers to help employees wishing to quit smoking
-flyer advising customers about the statewide ban.

4. Basic no smoking symbol signage. This signage is without the enhanced language on WH&LA’s signage that includes actions that may be taken by the lodging property, like assessing fees for cleaning rooms where smoking has taken place.

WH&LA Resources
The following WH&LA resources on the Smoking Ban were previously released to lodging members and continue to be available for download from WH&LA’s Smoking Ban Resource page.

1. WH&LA Smoking Ban Guide for Lodging Properties, for properties that currently provide smoking sleeping rooms of any quantity

2. WH&LA Smoking Ban Guide for Smoke-Free Lodging Properties, with special information for properties that are already smoke-free

3. WH&LA Suggested Signage, available in full-page, half-page and quarter-page sizes

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There is a possible federal bill that would remove the obligation for Online Travel Companies (OTCs) to collect or pay taxes on the sales of sleeping rooms. Pressure from the OTCs is mounting to remove their liability in lawsuits being filed by cities and CVBs to require the OTCs to pay tax on the amount they pay to lodging properties and on the amount they charge the consumer for the sale of the room/unit.

There may be a vote today in the Senate on a bill that will include this draft, and we need your help in contacting our two Senators to ask them to sign on to a letter from one of their counterparts, which is available here.

Ask Senator Kohl and Senator Feingold to contact Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to sign on to the letter, to allow for more complete review of what special tax exemption the OTCs are trying to authorize and what impact this will have on tax-paying lodging properties.

Please take a moment to help!

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With the state legislature adjourning early this morning (actually earlier yesterday afternoon for the state Senate) concluding regular business for its two-year session, many bills failed because they did not pass both the Assembly and the Senate in time.

WIA has highlighted the final status of a number of bills of interest to the lodging industry, as well as a number of bills that were today sent to the Governor’s desk for his determination whether to sign them into law or let them expire without action. (continue reading)

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Interested in hearing the latest information on issues impacting the lodging industry that are still under consideration at the state Capitol for the last day of legislative session tomorrow?

For the key bills that will matter to you, such as Regional Transit Authorities, Smoking on Balconies outside sleeping rooms/units, Allowed Distance for TOD Signs for your property, Private Septic System Requirements, a proposed New Hire Tax Benefit for Small Businesses, and your rights as an employer in your meetings with employees during unionization efforts, you will not only hear developments from the past two days since our last Brief, but also learn who you should contact to have your voice heard NOW! (continue reading)

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This week is the last week of regular session for both the state Senate and state Assembly for the two-year legislative session, meaning the 698 Senate bills and 961 Assembly bills introduced to date must have had public hearings by their assigned committees and have passed both houses by adjournment this Thursday in order to survive and be sent to the Governor to sign into law…

There are so many issues that WIA is tracking and working on for your behalf (over 90 issues and over 150 bills), but the following are a few still in the works that you may find of interest…(continue reading)

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With less than one month to go for the legislature to act on AB 295, the bill that would allow lodging properties to provide up to 25% of their sleeping rooms as smoking rooms for their guests, we feel you should know that right now is the last chance for encouraging state legislators to push for passage of AB 295… (continue reading)

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