“The blessings of a free government can only be maintained by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”  --  The 1848 Wisconsin State Constitution, Article 1, Section 22

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Representative Petryk E-News Update


State of the State
 

On Tuesday, Governor Walker delivered his sixth state of the state address where he described not only how great Wisconsin is doing but also that our state’s future is bright and moving in the right direction. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is at a historic fourteen-year low, the lowest since March 2001; more jobs are being created, last year we saw the largest monthly jobs gain since April 1992; and those who want a job are more able to obtain a job with the percentage of people working in Wisconsin at 67.8 percent, 5.3 points better than the national rate, putting Wisconsin in the top ten states in America.

It is exciting to report that more people in this state are working. As the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Workforce Development, my top priority is helping prepare our state’s current and future workforce for the high-demand jobs available in our state. Current employment statistics and local area unemployment statistics show that more people were working in 2015 than at any time in the past twenty-years. That being said, with more people working comes the development of more businesses in Wisconsin. New business creation was up 3.6 percent last year. With all this growth, Wisconsin will close out the 2015-17 biennium with a gross positive balance of $135 million as reported by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Of that $135 million, $65 million will automatically be set aside for reserve, as required by law, leaving the state with a net surplus of $70 million.

Not only is our state’s economic outlook and employment rate improving but our students continue to achieve. In 2015, Wisconsin graduates had the second highest ACT scores in the country. This is primarily due to the fabulous teachers that we have across this state; teachers who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of our state’s future leaders. Also, Fourth and Eighth grade reading scores increased in 2015 and graduation rates were also improved.

Moving forward, the Legislature and the Governor will work together to continue our efforts to improve worker training and ensure that the skilled workforce needed for today’s jobs is available. As a member of the Speaker’s Task Force on Youth Workforce Readiness, I am pleased that the Governor is supporting initiatives to help our young people find exciting and rewarding careers in high-demand employment fields. Also, we will address other important issues such as: the state’s heroin and opiate epidemic; Alzheimer’s and dementia; lowering student debt and making education more affordable; and public safety.

The Governor’s report to the state was very positive and optimistic and I look forward to the new challenges ahead including: continuing to put people back to work; preparing our students today for the jobs of tomorrow; supporting our service men and women; further eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse within state programs; and continuing to look for savings and reforms to better our state.

 

 

Petryk Legislation Receives Hearings in the Senate and Assembly

In the past two weeks, I was fortunate to have three bills of which I am the primary Assembly author receive public hearings in the State Senate and Assembly. Those bills include Assembly Bill 748 (Senate Bill 523), Assembly Bill 591 (Senate Bill 441), and Assembly Bill 636 (Senate Bill 483). The following is a brief description of each piece of legislation:

Assembly Bill 748/ Senate Bill 523 – Technical Education Equipment Grants

Senate Bill 523 will provide grants to school districts to encourage participation in technical education courses and ultimately, family-sustaining careers in manufacturing. Under our bill, a school district could apply for a matching grant ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. Schools would need to secure matching funds from area private businesses and/or other community assistance. With this bill, we will become more able to help students transition into high-demand, good-paying jobs across Wisconsin. This bill will encourage public-private collaboration and investment in local schools across the state, which will be a key component in the success of young people seeking to enter high-demand technical careers.

The Department of Workforce Development would be responsible for administering this program through additional funding added to the Wisconsin Fast Forward program. Also, the bill requires the Department to establish a public and private sector Committee comprised of five people from the department, private organizations in advanced manufacturing, and anyone else the Secretary deems suitable for this Committee. This Committee would establish the grant criteria and would accept and award the grant applications.

Assembly Bill 591/ Senate Bill 441 – Professional Credentials

Senate Bill 441 recognizes and protects a variety of professional credentials in fields important to public safety and will help those who have earned professional credentials in these fields by recognizing them in statute. Under the bill, misrepresentation of having earned these credentials would be punishable by a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1000.

The credentials covered under Senate Bill 441 are: certified dangerous goods professional; certified hazardous materials manager; certified hazardous materials practitioner; certified health physicist; certified industrial hygienist; certified safety professional; and registered radiation protection technologist.

Senate Bill 441 does not create any new licenses or bureaucracy to support its implementation but it simply provides an enforcement tool if anyone falsely represents themselves as having obtained these credentials. At this time, similar legislation has passed in at least 19 other states. Through Senate Bill 441 we want to ensure that those representing themselves as holding these particular credentials have in fact met the minimum qualifications required by the state, and thereby, safeguarding the public.

Assembly Bill 636/ Senate Bill 483 – Creative Economy

Arts and cultural experiences account for a significant number of small business that stimulate Wisconsin’s economy. According to Arts Wisconsin, the nonprofit arts and cultural sector in Wisconsin generates $535 million annually in economic activity, of which $65 million is local and state revenue and $479 million is resident income. The industry also employs over 42,000 full-time workers among 10,000 businesses.

Under this bill, applicants can apply for funds through this grant program for up to $40,000 and must have secured at least a two-to-one match of non-state funds for the project. Under the legislation, the Arts Board would be required to not only develop a process for the grants but also report back on the effectiveness of the grant program to the Joint Finance Committee.



DATCP NEWS RELEASE: Keep an Eye Out for Tax Preparation Fraud


From the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection:

As we enter another tax season, two issues stand out as particularly important when prepping for your return: making sure you have all your necessary documents and finding a company you can trust to help you file your taxes. After all, you are entrusting this company or individual with your most valuable personal and financial information. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) asks the public to be on the lookout for questionable tax practices in the months ahead and to report any suspicious behavior to the agency.

“By and large, Wisconsin tax preparation businesses are legitimate and provide an extremely valuable service to consumers,” said Frank Frassetto, Division Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection. “A handful of shady businesses pop up each year, however, collecting personal financial information under false pretenses or secretly filing customer’s tax returns and stealing from the refund.

“We ask that consumers who see questionable tax practices contact DATCP immediately so that we can take quick action.”

A common type of tax and loan scam involves tax prep businesses filing returns on behalf of consumers without their consent. These businesses initially solicit the consumers with a promise of providing short-term loans and then pocket exorbitant fees from the tax refunds they file in the consumer’s name.

Here are some tips to avoid becoming the victim of tax preparation fraud:

  • Be alert to promotions such as “holiday loans” or other short-term loans that can be used to gain the personal financial information needed to file an individual’s tax return.
  • Be careful providing personal financial information to a business unless you want the preparer to file your taxes.
  • Make sure you provide clear direction and that the company specifically advises you on whether they intend to file your tax return.
  • Never sign an authorization permitting a company to file your taxes if you do not want the company to do so.
  • Never sign a document without first reading and understanding what it says.
  • Always insist upon receiving copies of all documents that you are required to sign or that identify the terms of a transaction and the charges you will be required to pay. Confirm, before signing, that you will receive copies. If a business does not agree to provide copies, don’t sign.

DATCP works with the Wisconsin Departments of Justice and Revenue to detect tax preparation fraud. Anyone suspecting fraudulent activity is encouraged to file a complaint with DATCP. Complaints can be filed online through the DATCP website (http://datcp.wi.gov) or a complaint form can be requested by calling the state’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-422-7128.

Constituent Corner

Representative Petryk (center) along with Dan Conroy of Nexen Group Inc. (left) and Mark Tyler of OEM Fabricators (right) testifying before the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Commerce on Senate Bill 523 of which Representative Petryk is the primary assembly author. 

Events Around the 93rd Assembly District

Thank you all for letting us know about upcoming events in the 93rd Assembly District.  It is my pleasure to share them with others through this newsletter.  If you have an event, please share them with me a month in advance and my staff and I will do our best to share in our e-update.  

Annual Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre
“Luck Be A Murder Tonight”
January 22, 23, 29, 30, 2016
The Oxford, Eau Claire
http://www.ecct.org/

Candlelight Snowshoe Hike
January 22, 2016, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Beaver Creek Reserve Wise Nature Center, Fall Creek
http://web.eauclairechamber.org/events

Introduction to Snowshoeing
January 23, 2016, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Beaver Creek Reserve Wise Nature Center, Fall Creek
http://web.eauclairechamber.org/events

Used Book Sale
January 25-29, 2016
Ellsworth High School, Ellsworth
http://www.ellsworthchamber.com/events

Bingo Night
January 26, 2016, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
The Hub on Main, Ellsworth
http://www.ellsworthchamber.com/events

Free Pancake Supper
February 9, 2016, 4:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m.
Zion Lutheran Church, Eau Claire
*Donations accepted

 

Sarah Nelson Memorial Pancake Breakfast

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

8:00-1:00 p.m.
Cleghorn Fire Station

$5.00 for adults and $3.00 for kids
 


93rd Assembly District Local Resources

Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce:
http://www.eauclairechamber.org/

City of Eau Claire:
http://www.eauclairewi.gov

Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce:
http://www.ellsworthchamber.com/

Village of Ellsworth:
http://www.villageofellsworth.org/

Prescott Chamber of Commerce:
http://www.prescottwi.com/

City of Prescott:
http://www.prescottwi.org/

Menomonie Chamber of Commerce:
http://www.menomoniechamber.org/

City of Menomonie:
http://www.menomonie-wi.gov/

Village of Spring Valley:
http://springvalleywi.com/

http://www.springvalleywisconsin.org/index.html

The Village of Pepin:
http://pepinwisconsin.com/

Representative Petryk Online
http://petryk.assembly.wisconsin.gov

www.facebook.com/Rep.Petryk

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Mailing Address:  Representative Warren Petryk, 103 West, State Capitol, P.O. Box 8953, Madison, WI  53708
Phone Numbers:  Toll Free (888) 534-0093 or (608) 266-0660