Chippewa Valley Rally Comes to the Capitol
It was with great pleasure that I was once again able
to host members from the Chippewa Valley Rally at the State Capitol
on Wednesday. This legislative day at the capitol is organized by
the Chippewa Valley Chamber Alliance which is comprised of three
chambers within the Chippewa Valley: Chippewa Falls; Eau Claire; and
Menomonie. Since 1994, members have traveled to Madison with the
purpose of spreading the good word about the great things happening
in the Chippewa Valley as well as sharing concerns that they may
Members are comprised of both community and business leaders from
around the Chippewa Valley. Members, in small groups, visit each
legislative office to discuss the issues of importance to the group.
This year’s issues include:
State funding for the Confluence Project – The 2015-16 state budget
included $15 million in matching funds for this project. This is a
wonderful example of a working public-private partnership that will
benefit economic development and quality of life for the citizens
not only in Eau Claire but the surrounding area and the state.
Strengthen the state’s leadership role in addressing workforce
shortages – Due to the retirements of baby boomers the state is
facing a challenging workforce shortage. The Chippewa Valley Rally
members suggest the state focus on retaining our graduates as well
as helping employees overcome any potential barriers to the
Ensure stable transportation funding to meet current and future
needs – The Chippewa Valley Rally would like state transportation
policy to address the needs of the Chippewa Valley to ensure that
transportation assets provide economic competitiveness and freedom
Complete income tax reciprocity negotiations with Minnesota –
Wisconsin continues trying to reach an agreement with Minnesota
regarding tax reciprocity. Unfortunately, the Minnesota government
and legislature have yet to accept any good faith, qualified offers
presented by Wisconsin these past three years.
Revise outdated sales tax exemption limits for occasional sales by
non-profits – The members of the Chippewa Valley Rally are
requesting support of Assembly Bill 553 which would increase the
limits on the sales tax exemption for occasional sales by
non-profits to 75 days of sales per year, $50,000 in receipts, and
increases the threshold for payment to entertainment $500 to
Thank you to everyone who made the trip to Madison to support our
beautiful Chippewa Valley and my thanks to all my colleagues who
made time to meet with our local leaders. Together we will continue
our work to implement their suggestions while improving the state
for all of our citizens.
Representative Petryk with members from the Chippewa Valley Rally:
Christina Thrun, Louise Bentley, Michaela Stendahl,
and Gregg Moore.
Initiative Would Help Rural Communities
January 24, 2016 by Eric Lindquist, Eau Claire Leader Telegram
As reported by the
Eau Claire Leader Telegram on
January 24th, 2016:
Whether it’s laying broadband cable, recruiting teachers or
attracting workers, some things are harder to do in the country.
For that reason, Chippewa Valley Republican legislators eagerly
jumped on board last week when colleagues launched a package of
bills intended to help rural Wisconsin communities. Area Democrats,
however, saw it as a too-little, too-late effort to make up for past
mistakes in an election year.
The focus of the Rural Wisconsin Initiative, initially comprised of
seven pieces of legislation, is to improve opportunities in
out-state Wisconsin, said state Rep. Romaine Quinn, R-Rice Lake, who
is leading the effort along with Rep. Ed Brooks-R-Reedsburg.
“Just like if Milwaukee fails, the state fails, if rural Wisconsin
falls behind, Wisconsin as a whole falls behind,” Quinn said. “This
is about trying to even out the playing field.”
The first bills introduced as part of the initiative call for:
- Creating rural opportunity zones in which
the state would repay up to $25,000, or 40 percent, of the
student loans for college graduates who settle in a rural
Wisconsin county and maintain a full-time job.
- Expanding funding for broadband expansion to $10 million to enable
more rural parts of the state to offer high-speed Internet
- Adding $250,000 in funding to the Wisconsin Rural Physician
Residency Assistance Program to expand residency programs in rural
communities and thus attract more doctors to practice in rural
- Allocating $1 million per year for the Rural STEM grant program to
help small school districts start, expand and maintain science,
technology, engineering and math education programs.
- Expanding a student loan forgiveness program for teachers in
Milwaukee schools to include teachers who take jobs in rural school
- Bolstering funding to school districts and local partnerships for
youth apprenticeship grants by $500,000 in 2016-17
- Increasing funding for the apprenticeship completion awards
program by $150,000 in 2016-17 to reimburse more apprentices and
their sponsors for training costs.
Area Democrats agreed the ideas may have merit but stressed the
bills were made necessary because of past budgetary decisions made
by Republicans, who control state government.
“I’m glad the Republicans are finally talking about the things they
broke, but it would have been better if they hadn’t broken them in
the first place,” said Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma.
“Every single one of those bills leads back to something the
Democrats put out there, that they voted against, and now they’re
trying to cover their tails, and believe me the people are going to
see through it.”
Rep. Dana Wachs, D-Eau Claire, agreed, saying Republicans wouldn’t
have cut about $2 billion from education funding if they were
genuinely interested in improving education, which is the key to
economic growth in both urban and rural areas.
“There is a lot of damage to repair,” Wachs said. “This is nothing
but a campaign tactic. If they were serious about this, they would
have introduced these bills months ago. Coming this late in the
session, it is highly improbable this package of bills will get
passed this year.”
Wachs said he had not been approached about supporting the
Seven west-central Wisconsin Republicans — Reps. Kathy Bernier,
Warren Petryk, Tom Larson, Bob Kulp, John Murtha, James Edming and
Quinn — account for a third of the 21 initial legislators to throw
their support behind the initiative. While all of them are from the
GOP, sponsors said they would welcome Democratic backing.
“We’re hoping for great bipartisan support on this,” said Petryk,
R-town of Pleasant Valley. “Democrats are from rural areas too.”
The legislation recognizes that rural communities have needs that
are different from urban areas, notably that population has been
shifting away from rural settings for more than 50 years, causing a
downward spiral of failed businesses and declining school funding,
according to the Assembly Republican website set up to promote the
Bernier, R-Lake Hallie, said she was particularly excited about the
prospect of providing a little extra aid for small rural school
districts, which don’t benefit from the economies of scale that help
larger districts cope with tight budgets.
“Rural schools have to be extremely creative in how they provide
opportunities for kids,” she said.
Petryk mentioned the lack of broadband as a significant challenge
for some rural areas, where limited population and rugged terrain
can make it not economically viable for private providers to bury
the cable and offer the service.
Quinn added broadband access can make it feasible for people to
start businesses in small towns and still reach customers around the
world and also give rural residents access to such potentially
life-saving services as the ability for ambulance crews to relay
patient data to an emergency room before arriving at the hospital.
“It’s time for us to get more attention in rural Wisconsin because
we’re a vital part of the economy too,” Petryk said.
Bernier and Petryk cautioned the ability to pass the measures will
depend on state revenues.
“Whether the money is there before we get into the next budget cycle
is still an open question,” Petryk said. “If the money is available,
I think these things would be tremendous for our area.”
Contact: 715-833-9209, firstname.lastname@example.org, @ealscoop on Twitter
Scott Chorski with Representative Petryk during
Wisconsin Broadcasters Legislative Day.
Wednesday was Ag Day at the Capitol. Pictured with
Representative Petryk are Pete Christiansen, Paul Fetzer,
Monica Krings, Peter Kimball, Bryan Thoner, Phil Verges,
and Katie Mattison.
Representative Petryk with Chris Dooley, President of Big Rivers
Representative Petryk with Tony Huppert who was participating in the
Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers Legislative Day.
Representative Petryk with Jennifer McHugh and Nicole Wilson,
both with Royal Credit Union in Eau Claire, visiting the capitol
during the Wisconsin Credit Union Advocates Legislative Day.
Events Around the 93rd Assembly
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
January 29, 30, 2016, 6:30 p.m.
The Oxford, Eau Claire
Distance Running Course
January 30, 2016, 8:15 a.m.
UWEC McPhee Center Rm 162, Eau Claire
February 2, 2016
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
The Hub on Main, Ellsworth
Women’s Business Center’s Introductory Session
February 3, 2016, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Western Dairyland Business Center, Eau Claire
Free Pancake Supper
February 9, 2016, 4:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m.
Zion Lutheran Church, Eau Claire
Sarah Nelson Memorial Pancake Breakfast
Sunday, February 21st, 2016
$5.00 for adults and
$3.00 for kids
93rd Assembly District Local Resources
Representative Petryk Online