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Legislative Responsiveness

 
On November 2nd, 2010 voters throughout Wisconsin went to the polls and voted for a change of direction in our state government. Throughout the summer and fall last year you were telling us that you were tired of the tax and spend policies of the past. You stated your concerns over the future of the state as you saw businesses leaving, massive job losses, and government spending that was beyond your ability to pay. You were demanding that whoever got your vote must cut spending, eliminate the deficit, and do it all without raising your taxes.

We listened, and we took action.

Unfortunately, the media has focused all of their attention on the controversy over a single bill that reigned in the collective bargaining powers of public employees. What little we have seen reported on the other bills that have made their way through the legislature has had a decidedly negative slant. Furthermore, while the national economy continues to struggle and is showing signs of slowing, the good news in Wisconsin is barely making the back pages of our local paper. So in order to keep my constituents and the general public informed, I have decided to provide the following list of what has happened since January 3rd.

Legislation signed into law….

SSAB-1 Provided much needed Tort Reform to end frivolous and unwarranted lawsuits which are not only costly but damage the entrepreneurial spirit.

SSAB-2 Helps curb skyrocketing health care costs for consumers and small businesses by making Health Savings Accounts tax deductible.

SSAB-3 Creates a two year income tax holiday for businesses that relocate to our state, encouraging companies from around the globe to “Escape to Wisconsin” and bring jobs with them.

SSAB-4 Provides funding for the already successful Economic Development Tax Credit program.

SSAB-5 Protects taxpayers by requiring a two-thirds “super-majority” vote to raise state income, sales or franchise taxes.

SSAB-6 Re-organizes the state Commerce Department into a public-private hybrid which will allow the state to be more nimble in responding to business needs and unemployment.

SSAB-7 Provides a $4,000 tax deduction for small businesses for every new job created. Larger companies will receive a $2,000 deduction for every new job they create.

SSAB-8 Streamlines the government’s rule making process which will limit bureaucrats’ ability to put up hurdles that discourage job creation.

AB 2 The ‘Rural Jobs Act’ creates additional Enterprise Zones across rural Wisconsin. Enterprise Zones are wildly successful and have created thousands of jobs in our state.

AB4 Repealed costly Doyle-era auto insurance mandate that raised rates by as much as 33 percent for Wisconsin drivers.

AB5/SB9 The Dairy and Livestock Farm Investment Credit will result in investment and expansion throughout one of Wisconsin’s most vital industries.

AB7/SB6 Protects the integrity of our elections by requiring a photo ID in order to vote.

AB86/SB57 Repealed the Early Release program instituted by Governor Doyle that put dangerous criminals out on the street
 

 
State Budget

 
We are working to pass the most fiscally responsible budget in a generation. We have protected core services, nearly eliminated a $3.6 billion deficit, and have done it without the smoke and mirrors budgeting tricks used in the past. We have also balanced the budget without raising your taxes. We have changed the Governor’s proposed budget so that we could save SeniorCare, keep the recycling program, and increase the UW system’s flexibility while keeping UW Madison in the fold. There have been cuts to nearly all programs across the board, including education. However, even after these cuts to education we will still spend more per child than most of our neighboring states and more than the national average.

 

 
The Economy

 
 Nationally, we have seen a slowdown that is shaking consumer confidence and has brought job creation to a standstill.
In Wisconsin, we are heading in the opposite direction. Wisconsin has jumped 17 places, from 41st in the country to 24th in the best places in the country to do business as reported by CEO’s throughout the nation. It is the single biggest jump in the history of the survey. In the same survey, Illinois has dropped from 8th to 48th in just five years While the national unemployment rate is rising again (now back up to 9%), in Wisconsin we have seen the rate drop to 7.3%, down 1.5% since the same time last year. We have seen nearly 30,000 private sector jobs created in the first four months of 2011.