The Blueprint: Vukmir and Nicholson Address WBA Board of Directors


ALSO: Over $20,000 Raised During July Event for Governor Walker • Bipartisan Pushback Against Trump Tariffs • BOD Votes to Endorse Walker and Schimel  • WBA Advocacy Group Meeting Highlights •  From NAHB: A Looming $1 Billion Tax on Housing

Vukmir and Nicholson Address WBA Board of Directors

Summary of Recently Passed Housing & Development Bill Now Available

Recently, the WBA Executive Committee asked that we have both candidates running in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, State Senator Leah Vukmir and businessman Kevin Nicholson, address the WBA Board of Directors to get more information prior to the August 14th primary.

We were pleased that both candidates were able to join our meeting and took time for questions.

Both candidates stressed their credentials and background, and made the case that they were the strongest candidate to go up against Senator Tammy Baldwin in November.

Vukmir stressed her background as a member of the Wisconsin Legislature to pass a number of reforms during her time in office, while Nicholson stressed his business background and being an outsider to address the problems facing Wisconsin.

For those who were not able to attend the WBA Member Meeting Day but want to learn more about each candidate, click here to view the TMJ4 debate between the two candidate that took place on July 26th. 

Over $20,000 Raised During July Event for Governor Walker

With the support of WBA members from across the state, we were able to raise over $20,000 for Governor Walker’s reelection during an event that was held after the WBA Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday, July 18th.

A very special thank you is in order to those that were on the host committee for the event, including Don Tierney as a platinum host, Brandon Bartow, David Belman, Ron Derrick, Kevin Dittmar, Mark Etrheim, Steve Gryboski, Mike Howe, Chad Lawler, Brian McKee, Matt Neumann, Craig Rakowski, and John Stoker as gold hosts, and Jason Blenker, Mike Check, John Siepmann, and Jack and Sue Sjostrom as silver hosts.

This event will help provide the funds he needs to get out his message this summer and fall, ensuring four more years to work with the WBA on legislative efforts to keep down the cost of housing for Wisconsin families.

Bipartisan Pushback Against Trump Tariffs


During a time when relatively little seems to get done on a bipartisan basis, there was recent pushback against the Trump administration’s “international tariff dispute with our trading partners and its potential negative impact on Wisconsin farmers, companies, and employees.”  

A letter was recently circulated for signatures by Democrat State Representative Peter Barca of Kenosha and Republican State Representative David Steffen of Green Bay. 

This letter to Wisconsin’s congressional delegation was signed by members of the republican and democrat caucuses in the state assembly and two members of the republican caucus in the state senate.  A total of 30 members of the Wisconsin legislature signed the letter which stated, “As members of the Wisconsin Legislature, we call on you to take actions to protect our state’s trade-based industries and employees by ensuring reciprocal tariff increase from foreign countries are mitigated and minimized.  It is our shared belief that an approach that puts America first can be achieved without sacrificing critical Wisconsin industries and jobs in the process.”

BOD Votes to Endorse Walker and Schimel

Just prior to the fundraising event for Governor Walker the WBA Board of Directors voted to formerly endorse Governor Scott Walker and Attorney General Brad Schimel in their reelection bids this fall.

In keeping with our endorsement policy, this request was first received from a member and considered by the WBA Executive Committee on June 7th.  The WBA Executive Committee voted unanimously to forward both endorsement requests for consideration to the WBA Board of Directors on July 18th.

We will be reaching out repeatedly to the WBA membership over the next few months to spread the word on this endorsement.

WBA Advocacy Group Meeting Highlights


Recently, the WBA Advocacy Group meet to discuss a number of immerging issues related to our legislative agenda for 2019-2020 and to get an update on the state political races for this fall.

Below is a summary of some of the highlights of the meeting:

  • Vice Chair Andy Voeltner was introduced to the group
  • Political consultant and adviser to Governor Walker Keith Gilkes addressed the group to kick off the meeting, highlights included: 200,000 swing voters in Wisconsin typically decide statewide elections; some of the likely priorities if Gov. Walker is elected to a third term will include tax reform and reform of entitlement programs; the state assembly appears safe to remain in GOP control and the races for majority control in the state senate appear much closer
  • The group decided that DSPS communications stating that repairs to a home are not required to be built to the Uniform Dwelling Code and that no contractor credential is needed for those seeking a building permit for repairs is consistent with past practices, with no legislative change necessary
  • Some additional items were offered to be added to the final Advocacy Agenda that will be presented in October, including clarification to change TRANS 233, possible changes to state statutes dealing with the use of bonds, and possible changes to state statutes on conditional use permits
  • The group approved moving forward with setting up an online system to collect contributions to the Building a Better Wisconsin PAC using a personal credit card
  • The group decided to more frequently identify members who are involved in state councils or are local elected officials and have those leaders posted on the WBA website

A Looming $1 Billion Tax on Housing

President Trump’s proposed 10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports — including nearly 500 products used in residential construction — could have major ramifications for the housing industry.

Of the planned $200 billion in tariffs, NAHB economists estimate that $10 billion of goods used by the home building community would be subject to the 10% levy.

Put another way, if the tariffs take effect, this would represent a $1 billion tax increase on residential construction.

Keep in mind that this tax increase would come on top of the current 20% tariffs on softwood lumber imports from Canada. Since the beginning of last year, lumber prices are up more than 40% due in large part to the tariffs, and this higher cost has added several thousand dollars to the price of a typical single-family home.

This is why it is absolutely imperative that the Trump administration resumes talks with Canada to find a long-term solution to this trade dispute that will ensure American home builders and consumers have access to a reliable supply of softwood lumber at reasonable prices.

At NAHB’s urging, 171 House members have sent a letter to the administration urging the United States to re-start softwood trade negotiations with Canada.

NAHB continues to urge the administration and Congress to oppose tariffs and to resolve international trade disputes in a manner that won’t tax American workers and consumers. We are also continuing to work on all fronts to find solutions that will ensure a lasting and stable supply of lumber imports into the United States at a competitive price.

For more information, contact David Logan at 800-368-5242 x8448 or Alex Strong at x8279

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