Superior Days Lobbying Effort Returns To Madison For 2022
For Superior business and community leaders - all roads (eventually) lead to Madison. At least they have in the past. For the past 37 years, the February page of the calendar has included the annual trip to the state capital to lobby and network with legislators with the aim of making sure that Northwestern Wisconsin doesn't get overlooked or forgotten.
Except that the last two years have brought cancellations and significant changes to the event. Now, organizers are hoping to bring it back for 2022 - with dates planned for February 22 through February 23, according to details shared in an article in the Superior Telegram [paywall].
After a two year absence, the agenda list of items to discuss is long. Douglas County Board Chair Mark Liebaert explains: "We've got issues here that aren't being addressed, and they need to be".
Organizers of the Superior Days lobbying effort have tacked a lot of items on to an ever-growing list: Medicaid reimbursement rates, tuition reciprocity, even an increase for sales tax by 0.5% to help pay for roads. They also hope to discus "retaining graduates, medical license reciprocity, broadband, and the federal infrastructure bill".
One other item that is also being included on the list is the tax reciprocity with the State of Minnesota. Since it ended in 2010, Minnesota and Wisconsin residents have incurred additional burdens and expenses by having commitments to two states for tax purposes. "The agreement allowed residents of one state to file a single income tax return with their home state if they worked across the border".
Even with a return to an in-person session this year, the delegation will be significantly smaller. According to Superior Mayor Jim Paine, the changes include not including students as part of the lobbying body (something that has been done in years past):
"It's something of a smaller affair. We're pretty determined to go...we're going to do as close to the traditional lobbying as we can. The goal is to minimize the risks, but we've now missed two planned Superior Days trips down to Madison, so we're pretty committed to getting down there in February."
Although Superior Days organizers attempted a virtual model last year, it wasn't well attended or well received. It also didn't accomplish much. In-person is meaningful according to Paine:
"We've been gone for a while, and part of the power is that we are physically in the Capitol meeting people and that it's a citizen-run effort. I can drive down to Madison any time I want to as a representative, but representatives in Madison need to actually hear from the citizens of Superior about the issues that they care about."
Whatever accomplishments are or aren't made with this years' Superior Days Event, local officials believe that having it is the most-important thing. They say that "canceling again would make it harder to come back".