Category Archives: Federal Issue

U.S. House Passes Tax Code Overhaul Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of a mammoth federal tax reform plan yesterday on what was essentially a party-line vote.  The final tally on H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), was 227 to 205, with all but 13 Republicans voting in favor of the measure and all Democrats voting against it.

The massive overhaul package, which would slash taxes for businesses and corporations and makes numerous tax changes for individuals, would also increase the national debt by up to $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

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WASB Board of Directors Adopts 2018 Legislative Agenda

The 2018 WASB Legislative Agenda has been approved by the Board of Directors and is now posted on our website. The agenda outlines the top priorities for the Government Relations (GR) team to focus on in our advocacy efforts during the coming year.

The Legislative Agenda is approved annually in November by the WASB Board of Directors and is guided by the Resolutions adopted by the Delegate Assembly. Continue reading WASB Board of Directors Adopts 2018 Legislative Agenda

Key House Committee Begins Deliberations on Federal Tax Reform Package

The House Committee on Ways and Means convened this afternoon in a  “markup” session to begin consideration of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), a tax reform package that would slash corporate income tax rate and some individual income tax rates and raise the standard deduction, offsetting the cost by eliminating some cherished itemized deductions. The legislation is the first draft of a bill for tax reform and is expected to be under consideration by the Committee throughout this week with many possible amendments likely to be taken up.   (A markup session is the name given to when a Congressional committee or subcommittee meets to debate, amend or rewrite a bill. The committee has the option of either accepting or rejecting the final version of the bill that comes out of the markup session.)

Several of bill’s provisions would likely impact school districts in a negative way.  These include:

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Senate Vote Sets Stage for Party-Line Consideration of Federal Tax Reform

Last night (Oct. 19), the U.S. Senate approved a federal fiscal year 2018 budget resolution, a key procedural step in setting the stage for the Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Republicans, to pass a federal income tax reform bill along party lines.

The budget resolution passed by a 51-49 vote, with all Republicans except Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky voting in favor and all Democrats opposing.

The U.S. House of Representatives, which is currently in recess until Oct. 23, has already passed a budget resolution of its own.  The Senate’s action, passed as an amendment to the earlier House-passed budge resolution (H.Con. Res. 71), continues momentum toward debate and passage of tax reform.

The final measure will provide instructions for fiscal year 2018 appropriations for education programs for education programs, as well as for tax reform and health care reform.  Moreover, the budget resolution will determine the scope of most legislative priorities for the current session of Congress.

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Wisconsin Is One of Nine States to Receive New Federal Charter School Grants

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education awarded approximately $253 million in new federal grants to fund the creation and expansion of public charter schools across the nation.  The grants were awarded to state educational agencies and other state entities, charter management organizations (CMOs) and other non-profit organizations across the country. Continue reading Wisconsin Is One of Nine States to Receive New Federal Charter School Grants

State Submits Plan to Comply with Federal ESSA Education Law

Perhaps overshadowed by all the focus this week on the 2017-19 state budget was the submission by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) of Wisconsin’s Consolidated State Plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  As required by federal law, Wisconsin submitted its plan to the U.S. Department of Education on the deadline date of last Monday (Sept. 18).

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Federal Appropriations Bill for Education Gains U.S. Senate Subcommittee Approval

Today (Sept. 6), the U.S. Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee unanimously approved a bipartisan FY2018 funding bill for the federal Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies, that is $3 billion above the FY2017 level and $27.5 billion above the President’s budget request.

The Senate subcommittee also rejected President Trump’s proposed cuts to teacher training and afterschool funding (see below).   Full Senate committee consideration of the funding measure is scheduled for Thursday.  The 2018 federal fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

Here are capsule descriptions of some of the key funding provisions for K-12 education:

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