from Rep. Rohrkaste
Thank you for taking the time to view my
latest e-update. After the election, I'm excited to get back to Madison
working on your behalf. My colleagues and I were able to accomplish a lot
last session and are looking to continue that trend in the 2017-18 Legislative
Session. From legislation helping those living with Alzheimer's and
dementia to assisting citizens battling heroine and opioid addiction,
the State Assembly worked hard to combat serious problems which plague
thousands of our fellow Wisconsinites.
I'm proud of what the Assembly was able to
get done last session, but there is still more work to do. I look forward to
continuing to work on issues important to you this coming session. As
always, I am more than happy to discuss any concerns constituents may have, so
please don't hesitate to contact my office in the future.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
from Majority Leader Steineke
Wish Lists and Our Biennial Tradition
As we near Thanksgiving, we often think about
traditions. Part of what makes this time of year so special are the routines
we hold dear – carving the turkey, breaking the wishbone. However some
traditions, like being the one stuck with the dishes, are not as enjoyable.
Unfortunately we also have to humor another tiresome tradition around this
time every two years: the unfounded worry that Wisconsin is running out of
You may have seen reports that Wisconsin is facing a $693 million shortfall
based on agency requests and revenue projections. You may recall seeing the
same story a few years ago, with a $2.2 billion figure attached. That number
even made its way onto factcheck.org during the Presidential Primary. I’ll
wager that two years from now you’ll be seeing the same headline. So, when
you do, here’s what you need to know:
State agencies begin the budget process by requesting funding from the
Governor. To continue with our holiday thinking, this is a “wish list.” As
you go shopping for the items on your family’s wish lists, you may see items
ranging from gift cards to new watches to new phones. Weighing your income
against the cost of these items, you may spring for the watch or gift cards
and leave the phone for another day. This is how the state will treat these
budget requests. Choosing to not fulfill a shopping request does not mean
that you have run out of money, just as choosing to fund only portions of an
agency request does not mean Wisconsin is going to come up short.
It is also important to remember that Wisconsin, by law, is required to have
a balanced budget. Assembly Republicans have a track record of going above
and beyond this constitutional requirement, ending last session with a $131
million balance. The budget also reduced bonding to its lowest level in 20
years and maintained the largest rainy day fund in Wisconsin’s history, with
$280 million. Going forward, we are committed to protecting K-12 and higher
education, finding a sustainable solution to transportation funding, and
making government as efficient as possible.
The budget process is long and we as lawmakers do our best to give our state
programs opportunities to succeed while managing your tax dollars
responsibly. It is important to stay informed of these agency requests,
because they signal priorities and set the framework for the eventual
budget’s passage next summer. Just remember to take them for what they are,
and not get too lost in the weeds. There are many better traditions to focus
on this holiday season.
If you are interested in learning more about
bills that I have authored, co-sponsored, or voted on please
click here. This link will take you directly to my Wisconsin State
Legislative page. Also, if you are interested in viewing my office