Shankland Talks Plans for Finance Committee

Published by WSAU News

MADISON, WI (WSAU) -- Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) is Central Wisconsin's voice on the Joint Committee on Finance in the state legislature this session, and she's not planning on taking the role lightly.
 
Shankland says her first day back in session was full of discussions of common ground, despite being a member of the minority party in both houses.
 
"I hope that we can all spend lots of time in our districts this session listening to the will of the people, hearing from them about their challenges, what keeps them up at night... We have to make sure that our government is working for everyone and that we're representing everyone," said Shankland.
 
"There were definitely issues talked about today where I think we can find some common ground, like the projected workforce shortage in Wisconsin and investing in workforce development, which in turn advances our economy, so I think there are some good things."
 
Shankland is hoping to convince the committee to put more funding towards education at every level, including K-12 up to the UW System.
 
She said, "We've heard from rural school districts, especially, that they've been having a very challenging time keeping the lights on and many schools across the state have gone to referenda as a result. It's really important that we honor our commitment to the people of Wisconsin by first investing in education."
 
Shankland isn't alone in these sentiments. Newly elected Republican Representative Pat Snyder (R-Schofield) has said he won't vote for a budget that doesn't increase funding to public schools.
Perhaps the most heated debate will be over solving Wisconsin's transportation funding issues. Shankland wants more information before making a decision that could limit future revenue options.
 
"Toll roads, for example, people are talking about. My question is, how will that affect commerce and tourism revenue? I have a lot of questions that I'm planning on bringing to the Joint Finance Committee."
 
Shankland is not a supporter of any reductive fee, such as an increase in vehicle registration fees, that would be harder for some to pay than others. 
 
Shankland is one of only two Democrats on the Joint Committee on Finance, along with Rep. Representative Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh).