August Testifies in Favor of Bill to Fine Absent Lawmakers
Bill is authored by Rep. Tyler August and Sen. Frank Lasee
Recently, Representative Tyler August (R-Lake Geneva) and Senator Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) testified before an Assembly Committee in favor of their bill that would fine absent lawmakers. The bill, Assembly Bill 153, was authored by August and Lasee in response to Senate Democrats fleeing the state in an effort to prevent debate on Governor Scott Walker's Budget Repair Bill.
August expressed his extreme disappointment in those who fled the state and held up the democratic process. He advocated for this bill as a tool for constituents in the future to fine their lawmakers if they do not show up to do what they were elected to do.
"We are elected by our constituents to come to Madison and do our job," said August. "That remains true even more so when there are tough decisions to be made that have such a vital impact on the future of our state."
Additionally at the same public hearing, Rep. August registered in favor of AJR 26, a constitutional amendment that would eliminate the offices of the State Treasurer and Secretary of State. August pointed out the offices are no longer needed and their elimination would save tax dollars.
Walworth County Fair
I encourage you to stop by the Walworth County Fair. There are plenty of fun events for everyone. It runs Wednesday, August 31st through Monday, September 5th.
Last Day to Sign up for No Call List
Today, Wednesday, August 31st is a quarterly deadline to register for Wisconsin's Do Not Call List.
Signing up will reduce the number of unsolicited phone calls you receive from telemarketers.
You can sign up for the list by clicking here
or by calling 1-866-966-2255.
Those who sign up on or before August 31st will be part of the updated list, which takes effect October 1st.
Please note that you must renew your spot on the list every two years, and many other questions can be answered at the program's FAQ page
Interesting Story on GOP Freshman
When asked about the first half of this year's legislative session, Rep. August is quoted in the story as saying:
“I think there have been times in the past that everybody campaigns on fiscal responsibility, and the problem is they get to Madison and nothing changes,” said August, who represents the 32nd Assembly District in far southeast Wisconsin. “We did what we were going to do. We solved the problem. We had hard decisions to make between the budget-repair bill and the budget, but we have now put ourselves on the path to fiscal sanity for the first time in a long time.”
Month One: Walker Budget Working
The following is an interesting press release from Governor Walker earlier this month:
Madison—One month after the 2011-13 state budget was signed into law, tangible results from the reforms put in place by Governor Walker and the Legislature are being realized. According to media reports, local units of government and school districts have already saved more than $220 million, with millions more in potential savings not yet reported.
Below is a sampling of local units of governments being able to balance their budget and improve services due to the reforms contained in the 2011-13 state budget and the budget repair bill:
Ashland School District
A health insurance provider switch saved Ashland School District nearly $378,000.
Kimberly School District
The district saved $821,000 by dropping WEA Trust.
Edgerton School District
The district will drop the union's current health insurance carrier, the WEA Trust. The district is gathering bids to change to a different health insurance provider, which Pauli said could save at least $500,000 over the next year.
Baraboo School District
The Baraboo School Board expects to save about $660,000 next year after deciding to change insurance providers Monday evening.
Dodgeland School District
The Dodgeland School Board made the decision to change insurance companies.
Administrator Annette Thompson said the change will help the board deal with the expected $640,000 budget deficit from reduced state aid and expiration of some federal and AARA funds. The change in providers is expected to save the district $260,000 next year.
Elmbrook School District
The district originally had planned for $780,000 in savings through the health-care changes, but Brightman said the actual savings are estimated at $878,000. He said some of that money likely will be needed to pay for staffing - probably a half-time equivalent clerical position - to administer the new plan.
Mequon-Thiensville School District
Delta Dental's quotes also came in lower than those provided by WEA Trust. Beaudry said the district will save $49,000 in the 2011-12 budget cycle by switching to Delta Dental.
Marshfield School District
Marshfield will balance its budget despite the cuts. "Given the cost savings with health insurance and the turnover with staff and new hires, we will be able to preserve our programs and come up with a balanced budget," said Peg Geegan, the district's director of instruction who will assume the superintendent's position Aug. 1. The district will save $850,000 by switching health insurance carriers…
Fond du Lac School District
District leaders believe when school starts in the fall they'll be operating with a balanced budget. They say the savings under the bill will offset their 4.4 million dollar budget shortfall. Class sizes and programs will also remain in tact.
City of Sheboygan and Sheboygan County
City of Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan and Sheboygan County Administrator Adam Payne said the collective bargaining reforms will provide enough savings to make up for the reductions in state aid. "We were able to lock in savings and certainty due to the discussions going on in Madison," Payne said.
Wauwatosa School District
The tax levy is projected to decrease, no programs will be cut, and class sizes won’t increase by any significant measure. School board member Phil Kroner: "When students come to school in the fall, they're going to see the same things, have the same teachers, and they're going to see new things as well.
Laid-off city workers may get their jobs back after the city moves forward with the wage and benefit reforms contained in the budget. And Overtime rules have changed saving the county $100,000.
They will see up to a 9% decrease in the school portion of their property tax levy. "It will be wonderful for our taxpayers, who have been extremely committed to our schools," School Board President Julie Strenn said, noting three years ago, voters approved a three-year revenue cap override that cost taxpayers an additional $175,000 each year… "This is the first year we have not needed to short-term borrow.”
Paul Hauffe, director of business services said, “administrators are poised to introduce a balanced budget in mid-July… We're very close right now, there's nothing monumental that we have to overcome."
Appleton Area School District
They will save $3.1 million just in health insurance costs alone due to competition among health insurance providers. Financial advisors for the school district said:
· Discussions at the state level over collective bargaining and budgeting issues have been beneficial to school districts from the rate perspective.
· It forced a lot of competition. I do think the landscape in the school marketplace has changed significantly over the last year that's put significant pressure on WEA Trust. Previously to this year, they didn't have a lot of competition. Historically, it's very difficult for other carriers to match them.
· The $3.1 million in savings for next school year is just in health insurance premium costs.
Inmates can do routine maintenance tasks so that county employees can spend more time working on projects that improve the community. County Executive Jim Ladwig said inmates will be able to perform more tasks such as landscaping, painting, and shoveling sidewalks in the winter. “We have a win-win when we use the inmates,” Ladwig said. “It gives them a sense of value they are helping the community.” At the same time, he said it will help the county maintain property that has been neglected.
Kaukauna School District
They will hire additional teachers, reduce projected class sizes from 26 to 23 students at the elementary level, 28 students to 26 students at the intermediate/middle level, and 31 students to 25 students at the high school level and set aside money for merit bonuses for good teachers. “Due to the law change the District’s projected operating budget has moved from a negative $400,000 to approximately a positive $1,500,000. Earmarked in the operating budget are $300,000 related to merit pay, a program being explored for all staff by the district for the 2011-2012 school year.”
Hartland-Lakeside School Board
They switched insurance providers and saved taxpayers $690,000.