By Tom Still

MADSON, Wis. – A source close to the toy industry has leaked a copy of Santa’s perks list for Wisconsin politicians, business leaders and other newsmakers. Here’s what the good boys and girls in Madison and Washington will reportedly find in their stocking this Christmas. But they better not pout and they better not cry if an alert district attorney asks why gifts were delivered down chimneys after midnight.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos –What do you get the legislative leader who has everything? Santa could gift him a trip abroad through the National Conference of State Legislatures, where he is president emeritus, but he just visited Brazil and Belgium with NCSL this year. Perhaps a new set of Assembly and Senate district maps? No, the speaker might see that as a lump of coal. Here we go: An honorary degree from the UW-Madison College of Engineering would hang nicely on his wall.

Gov. Tony Evers – The governor officially lit the Capitol Christmas tree recently, and underneath he might find a $500,000 toy choo-choo that could be the first step toward a Milwaukee-Madison-Twin Cities high-speed Amtrak route. Announced recently by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, that planning money is from the Federal Railroad Administration’s Corridor Identification and Development program. Still a long way off but…

The Milwaukee Brewers – Christmas came early for the small-market Brewers in November when lawmakers and the governor wrapped up work on a nearly $500-million, 30-year public funding plan for American Family Field. Some called it a bail-out, but it’s worth knowing the landlord for the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District is none other than the state of Wisconsin. With former manager Craig Counsell now skipper for the Chicago Cubs, perhaps Santa can arrange a Brewers’ home sweep of the North Siders.

Sponsors of the “parent’s rights” library bill – A bill introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature by two Republican sponsors would require school and public libraries to inform parents of children under 18 when those kids check out a book. Santa thinks most parents would be overjoyed if their kids could even find a public library – much less know how to check out a book while there. By the way, parents can already ask libraries for checkout information… this bill would put the burden on librarians. Santa thinks if parents are really concerned about what their kids read and see, they could learn how to check junior’s mobile phone.

Dane County Board of Supervisors progressives who have risked shutting down the airport – The Wisconsin Air National Guard has long provided fire protection from its Truax Field base to the Dane County Regional Airport, a free service that has saved taxpayers from building a redundant fire station at roughly $20 million while allowing the airport to meet Federal Aviation Administration safety standards. Guess what? In the interim between ending the Air Guard service and building dedicated fire station, the FAA would not allow commercial flights into Madison. Santa gifts the progressives behind this idea a flyover from a squadron of F-35A jets.

Organizers of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee – Santa wishes them a peaceful mid-July week in the Cream City with lots of southeast Wisconsin folks opting to head to the Northwoods and put their homes up for rent on Airbnb for the 10,000-plus visitors.

Authors of the state’s new alcohol regulations – For the first time in decades, Wisconsin has updated laws regulating the making, distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages. The so-called “three-tier” system was complicated and seen as unfair by many. Santa’s gift is a mixed case of Wisconsin beers, wines and whiskies to be opened anywhere – except in wedding barns, which will now face some new rules.

Bipartisan collaborators in the state Capitol – Partisan friction is what stirs headlines but progress sometimes goes unseen. Republicans and Democrats managed to pass a budget, increase the research and development tax credit, end the personal property tax and revise the system for returning state dollars to local governments. Santa will bring stocking stuffers to all who helped get it done.

For Wisconsin’s rising political stars: In an era when sharp personal attacks and partisanship can drive more good people away from politics than it attracts, it’s reassuring to know that some quality office-holders continue to be attracted to public service. That’s a gift to Wisconsin citizens. Happy holidays, everyone!

Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He can be reached at