In this Issue: NAIOP WI Meets with US Senate Candidate Tommy Thompson; DNR Completes Wetland General Permit; Governor Walker Outlines Priorities for 2013-15 State Budget
Meeting with U.S. Senate Candidate Tommy Thompson
On Wednesday, October 10, several members of NAIOP Wisconsin as well as Toby Burke from NAIOP’s Corporate Office met with U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson. Attendees had a great discussion with Thompson regarding his view of the election and the state of the commercial real estate industry. Thompson also asked our members many questions about their businesses and the industry. NAIOP was also able to make contributions to the Thompson campaign of over $10,000.
DNR Completes Wetland General Permit
By Tom Larson
The DNR recently completed the statewide general permit (GP) for projects impacting wetlands. The new GPwas authorized as part of the comprehensive wetland regulation reform law (2011 Wis. Act 118) that Governor Walker signed into law on February 29, 2012. The new GP is intended to expedite the permitting process for some residential, commercial and industrial projects that have a relatively minor impact on wetlands.
To be eligible for a GP, a permit applicant must demonstrate that the proposed wetland fill is unavoidable and will be no greater than 10,000 square feet of the wetland, which equals approximately one-quarter of an acre. In addition, the applicant must identify the location, design, and construction standards and other conditions specified in the GP, including that only minimal environmental impact will occur. If a proposed project avoids and minimizes wetland impacts and is designed to meet the GP standards and conditions, a permit applicant can obtain a GP within 30 days, according to DNR officials. If granted, a GP is valid for 5 years.
Prior to Act 118, an individual permit, which requires greater DNR scrutiny, public notice and a lengthier review process, was required for all wetland fill projects. After the new law, an individual permit is required only for projects that involve more than 10,000 square feet of wetland fill or that do not meet the GP standards and conditions.
Governor Walker Outlines Priorities for 2013-15 State Budget
Last week, Governor Walker gave an update on the State of Wisconsin’s budget process and outlined his priorities for the 2013-15 biennial budget. The state operatesunder a biennial state budget, with each fiscal year running from July 1st to June 30th. We are currently operating under “Fiscal Year 2013” (FY2013) and will be until June 30, 2013.
Each state agency recently submitted a budget request to the Governor’s office that outlines the money each agency would like to spend in the future on programs and services. Over the next several months, the Governor’s office will be carefully reviewing each of these agency budget requests as the first step in developing his complete budget proposal, which will be introduced and considered by the Wisconsin Legislature early next year.
As you may recall, the 2011-13 state budget signed into law in June of 2011 eliminated a $3.6 billion budget deficit without raising taxes, without massive public employee layoffs, and without reducing government services. Moreover, Wisconsin has a projected budget surplus in fiscal year 2013. If the budget projections are correct, the Governor is hoping to deposit money into the state’s rainy day fund again next year, which will be two consecutive years for the first time in our state’s history.
In addition to funding current state agency programs and services, the Governor outlined the following five main priorities for the next state budget:
1. Creating Jobs
2. Transforming Education
3. Developing Our Workforce
4. Investing in Infrastructure
5. Reforming Government
While we don’t yet know the specific proposals under each of the main priorities, NAIOP-WI will be working closely with the Governor’s administration and the legislature once the budget is introduced to help achieve these goals, which are critical to the future success of the commercial development industry.