Legislators Want to Prohibit Communities from Imposing New Occupational Fees

April 27, 2015

The politically powerful real estate and construction industries are backing a Republican legislative proposal that would prevent communities from imposing new occupational licenses, fees, and regulations on certain professions.

The measure, Senate Bill 81, would allow local governments to continue to impose fees and licensing requirements on professionals that they already regulate, except for photographers, who would be exempt from current as well as future fees and regulations.

The bill is supported by the Wisconsin Builders Association and the Wisconsin Realtors Association, probably because it would prevent communities from licensing local builders and real estate agents and brokers in the future.

Real estate and construction interests contributed nearly $1.6 million between January 2011, and Oct. 20, 2014, to Republican lawmakers who handily control the legislature by margins of 63-36 in the Assembly and 19-14 in the Senate.

The bill’s two main GOP sponsors, Sen. Van Wanggaard of Racine and Rep. Dale Kooyenga of Brookfield, accepted nearly $65,000 in individual and political action committee contributions between January 2011, and Oct. 20, 2014, from builders and real estate interests. Wanggaard received $55,767 and Kooyenga accepted $8,900 from those special interest groups.

Wanggaard’s top contributors from these two special interest groups were Richard Uihlein, of Lake Forest, Ill., owner of U-Line Corp., $21,000; Anthony Bryant, of Waukesha, owner of Century Fence, $3,600; and the Wisconsin Realtors Association PAC, $2,000.

Kooyenga’s top contributor from these two special interest groups was Gary Gorman, of Fitchburg, owner of Gorman & Co., $750. Kooyenga also received $500 contributions from:

Wisconsin Builders Association PAC;

Stephen Mills, of Kenosha, owner of Bear Realty;

Nicolas Alexander, of Monona, owner of the Alexander Co.;

Joseph Alexander, of Madison, owner of the Alexander Co.;

Edward Matkom, of Whitefish Bay, an attorney for Gorman & Co.;

Jess Ripp, of Milwaukee, owner of Ripp Asset Management;

Mickey Ripp, of Hales Corners, owner of Ripp Asset Management.