State News: Evers Vetoes GOP Income-Tax Cut

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has vetoed a Republican-backed tax-cut bill and signaled he could support a compromise that invests in schools and provides broad property-tax relief.

Evers also said he’s open to considering an income-tax cut or an additional state debt payment. 

“Investing in our kids and our schools and reducing property taxes should be something everyone can agree on,” Evers said recently at Lincoln Elementary School in Wauwatosa. “We don’t have to choose between investing in our kids and reducing property taxes – we can and should do both.”

Republicans in the state Senate and Assembly passed the $248 million ongoing income-tax cut Feb. 20. The overall bill would have cost the state $392 million in the next budget. It would also have included about $45 million to offset a new property-tax cut for manufacturing businesses and $100 million for a one-time payment on state debt.

Grant Helps Marinette Marine Compete for Frigate Contract

Fincantieri Marinette Marine is in the running for a multi-billion-dollar contract to design and build 20 new frigates for the U.S. Navy, and state officials have announced a $29 million grant to give the company a boost.

Fincantieri Marinette Marine and Lockheed Martin delivered a littoral combat ship to the U.S. Navy earlier this month. The future USS St. Louis will be commissioned later this year.

As Marinette Marine vies for future U.S. naval contracts, Gov. Tony Evers announced the state has awarded the shipyard a $29 million grant through the state Department of Transportation’s Harbor Assistance Program. The success of Marinette Marine is vital to the health of the local economy, Evers said in a news release.

Elections Commission Threatens Communities with Public Shaming

The Wisconsin Elections Commission plans to release the names of six communities with outdated computer security if they don’t update their systems.

Ten devices in these six communities don’t meet the security standards to access the state’s voting system. The Elections Commission voted unanimously to pressure the six communities with the threat of public shaming – even though Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe warned that such a move could erode local clerks’ trust in the commission.

Commissioner Mark Thomsen pushed the idea of the call-out. Although election-security issues are sometimes kept vague on purpose because people are reluctant to reveal weaknesses in the system, Thomsen said that in this case, naming these communities wouldn’t be a threat.

“We’re not helping the Russians by identifying them,” Thomsen said.

Russian hackers made unsuccessful attempts to infiltrate Wisconsin’s voter-registration system before the 2016 election.

In September, the commission approved $1.1 million in federal funding to help jurisdictions update software, buy new equipment or make other election-security improvements. The commission has given $823,700 to 862 villages, towns, cities and counties, according to a commission memo.

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