MON AM News: DOA projects $1.2B surplus to end fiscal year, growing revenues for next cycle; State surpasses 3,000 COVID deaths

— In the latest “Talking Trade” episode, hosts UW-Madison Prof. Ian Coxhead and M.E. Dey & Co. President Sandi Siegel consider how Joe Biden’s international trade policy might differ from President Trump’s approach. 

The video podcast explores trade issues affecting Wisconsin and the Midwest.

See the show, supported by the Center for East Asian Studies at UW-Madison: 

— A continued surge in corporate tax collections over the rest of this fiscal year will help produce a $1.2 billion surplus to end the 2019-21 budget, giving the state a cushion heading into the next biennium.

According to a report from the Evers administration Friday, the state will see $1.35 billion in additional revenue growth over the 2021-23 biennium on top of the gross balance of $1.2 billion surplus.

Even with those healthy revenue numbers, the state would face a $1.2 billion deficit for the 2021-23 biennium if every agency request were approved.

But DOA Secretary Joel Brennan noted in a letter to Gov. Tony Evers and the Legislature Friday that “as typically occurs, it is unlikely all budget requests from state agencies included in this report will be recommended by the Governor in his budget.”

The biennial report shows the state is now expected to take in nearly $1.9 billion in corporate taxes in fiscal year 2020-21. When Evers signed the budget in July 2019, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau was expecting the state to take in $1.2 billion. 

Overall, the expected general purpose revenue for 2020-21 of $17.7 billion in today’s report is slightly below the $17.85 billion LFB had estimated when the budget was signed. But the Evers administration has ordered a series of lapses to trim expenses due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state’s economy.

At the close of the 2019-20 fiscal year, the state transferred $105.8 million to the budget stabilization fund, pushing its balance to $761.8 million. If the projections for 2020-21 hold, the state would deposit another $13.1 million to the rainy day fund when the fiscal year wraps up.

Brennan’s letter to Evers and legislative leaders cautioned there are some unknowns in the estimates, including the uncertainty over the economy and whether the federal government will provide additional pandemic help.

He also noted the proposed increase in agency spending was driven by two requests. 

The Department of Public Instruction is seeking more than $1.6 billion in additional GPR to boost school aids. Meanwhile, the Department of Health Services is seeking $597 million more to support the Medical Assistance program. Still, the DHS request is based on the state accepting federal money to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act. GOP lawmakers rejected the move in the current budget. Doing so again, Brennan writes, would add another $588 million in costs to the state.

See the report:

— Wisconsin lost 14,700 total non-farm jobs in the month of October, bringing the unemployment rate up to 5.7 percent from September’s 5.4 percent.

October job losses were largely driven by decreases in the leisure and hospitality industry and the government sector, according to the Department of Workforce Development.

The state’s unemployment rate peaked in April at 13.6 percent as a result of the COVID-19 economic shutdown. Now, Wisconsin is at levels last seen in the spring of 2014.

Wisconsin also lost 2,700 private-sector jobs in the month of October, DWD released last week. 

The Badger State continues to have a lower unemployment rate than the national average by more than a percentage point, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate was 6.9 percent in October, down from September’s 7.9 percent.

— Satori Food Project Inc. has developed vitamin-fortified drinks that can be made in a Keurig brewer to provide anxiety relief. The K-Cups come in two flavors: twi hot cocoa and mocha latte.

Milwaukee-based Satori was founded in 2019 by UW-Madison Pharmacy School alumnus Kwadwo Owusu-Ofori. The company focuses on producing foods and beverages fortified with vitamins and minerals designed to protect and improve mental health.

Satori’s K-Cups were recently named the top-selling new hot cocoa K-Cup on Amazon Prime. Investors include the National Science Foundation and Global Capital Group out of Milwaukee. Satori is raising $125,000 through investors in their first round of fundraising and has already raised $90,000.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the company, according to Owusu-Ofori.

“We had to change our sales plan dramatically so that we can reach consumers that are now working virtually from home,” he said. 

Read the full story at 

See more stories written by students in the UW-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication:

— Today marks day three of Gov. Tony Evers’ new public health emergency and face covering requirement. 

The new face covering order requires residents ages 5 and older to wear a face covering when they are indoors or in an enclosed space with anyone outside their household or living unit.

Both the public health emergency and the mask mandate will expire after 60 days or with a subsequent superseding order.

The governor’s emergency declaration comes as Wisconsin’s hospitals are operating at or very near full capacity and health care providers are struggling to keep up. 

The latest Wisconsin Hospital Association coronavirus update shows COVID-19 hospitalizations in Wisconsin at 1,988 with 428 intensive care patients.

The Alternate Care Facility at State Fair Park census is at 21 coronavirus patients, up from 20 patients on Saturday.

See Executive Order #95, the public health emergency, here

See Emergency Order #1, the face covering requirement, here

— Wisconsin enters a new week surpassing 3,000 deaths from COVID-19 and 354,000 cumulative cases.

The state is tied with Illinois and New Mexico for No. 4 for deaths per 100,000 population in the past seven days, which numbers one death. It follows South Dakota (2.5), North Dakota (2) and Montana (1.2). Wisconsin ranks No. 7 in the nation for deaths in the past seven days, which numbers 404 deaths.

This weekend, the state reported 9,731 cases and 51 deaths. The new cases bring the seven-day average for daily confirmed cases to 6,043 and the seven-day average for daily deaths to a record 53. A month ago, those figures were 3,396 cases and 21 deaths.

Wisconsin reports 354,676 cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,005 deaths from the virus.

Milwaukee reached 700 deaths this weekend after adding 11 new deaths since Friday. Other counties reporting triple-digit tolls are Waukesha, which added five deaths over the weekend for a total of 181, Racine (149), Brown (127), Kenosha (123), Marathon (113), Outagamie (113) and Winnebago (101).

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates:

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— Evers also announced an additional $70 million in grants for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The additional funds bring the total dedicated to the second round of “We’re All In” grants to $120 million. Evers announced $50 million for the second round last month. The first round of grants, distributed during summer, totaled $65 million. The grants are funded through the federal CARES Act.

“There’s no business that hasn’t been affected by this pandemic, and we know folks across our state need our support now more than ever,” Evers said. “As we head into the winter months, we know we have to do everything we can to make sure our businesses have the resources they need as we continue fighting this virus.”

The application for the grants closed Nov. 2. Priority will be given to businesses hardest hit by the pandemic.

“In my conversations with restaurants, taverns, small retail stores, and other businesses that rely on people gathering indoors, we know that the continued surge of COVID-19 infections is deepening the strain and uncertainty these businesses have been facing since March,” said Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. “With thousands more businesses applying for the second phase of our ‘We’re All In’ grants than the first phase, we want to provide aid that can help these businesses carry on.”

— Today, Hughes begins hosting videos highlighting local businesses around the state as she shops for holiday gifts.

“The holiday shopping season is a great time to remember how important our local businesses are, whether it’s that special bakery, gift shop or restaurant, and what they mean to our communities,” Hughes said. “While the COVID-19 pandemic may be changing the way we shop this year, our local stores have found creative ways to still connect with customers.”

Hughes’ videos, declaring “We’re All In” for shopping locally, will be posted on WEDC’s social media channels. Many of these businesses offer online sales, curbside pickup, delivery or other ways that make it easy and safe for shoppers to buy from them. 

She will also be highlighting WEDC’s Main Street Marketplace website, which features links to more than 350 businesses.

See the website: 


# Wholesale Beef Prices Continue to Rise 

# Georgia craft ice cream maker acquires Three Twins plant in Sheboygan

# Experts share ideas on how to encourage more development in Milwaukee’s lower-income neighborhoods 



– Midwest Horse Fair Cancels for Second Consecutive Year 

– Thanksgiving Meal in Wisconsin to Cost About $60.97 


– BMO Harris Milwaukee executive Patty Cadorin to retire after 24-year banking career 


– Cities Big And Small Facing ‘Painful’ Budgets As COVID-19 Hammers Revenue Streams 


– Lake Mills Educators Seek Changes Amid Pandemic 


– Little Plover River Watershed Enhancement Project Exceeds Expectations 


– Many employers avoid Covid-19 tests over cost, not availability 

– Advances In Outpatient Treatment Could Mean Better COVID-19 Outcomes, Fewer Hospitalizations 


– Grants, staff cuts soften blow of projected 60% revenue decline for Milwaukee Film 


– Molson Coors adding 377 new positions in Milwaukee by the end of 2021 


– Gov. Evers office says initial Covid-19 meeting with GOP leaders ‘productive,’ seeks another soon 

– State Election Officials Say Trump Observers Are Slowing Recount Process 


– Waukesha to create new affordable housing programs with about $1.8 million in TIF funds 


– Eight injured in shooting at Mayfair mall 

– Kohl’s reviews approach to promotions, will focus more on price 


– Women entrepreneurs from Milwaukee win funding to grow their businesses 


– Harley-Davidson Museum to close temporarily due to COVID-19 spread 


– Air travel was gaining momentum. Now what? 


– “Home for Thanksgiving” Takes on a New Meaning in 2020 

– Keeping Wisconsin Connected in the Midst of Separation 


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