Lasee's Notes
September 7, 2017

Lasee's Notes is a way for me to communicate directly with you on key issues of our day
and to champion limited government, lower taxes, and individual liberty.
How we respond to these issues today, will affect the direction of our state and nation tomorrow.

I look forward to hearing from you about the issues of concern to you. Please feel free to contact me, Sen.Lasee@legis.wisconsin.gov or (608) 266-3512. If you are planning to be in Madison, please visit, I look forward to seeing you at the Capitol.

Hello September


 

There are always a couple of things you can count on when the calendar changes to September in Wisconsin. The sight of school busses on the roads, a grandmother asking a grandchild which wide receiver she should take in her fantasy football draft, and people going weirdly crazy for anything containing the words “pumpkin spice” all alert us to the fact that it’s probably time to remember where we put our sweatshirts and long pants.


The start of the September of 2017 means something else this year: The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) has completed its work on the 2017-2019 state budget. Last night, Wednesday September 6th, JFC held its final vote on the biennial budget.
 


The proposed budget passed by JFC contains an additional $639 million over the prior budget for K-12 education. An increase of $200 per pupil in the first year of the budget and another $204 increase in the second year. The 2017-2019 budget creates the Early College Credit Program to help high school students take college and technical school courses while in high school. This new program will cut down on the cost and time it will take a student to earn a post high school degree or certificate.


The JFC’s budget proposal sticks to Legislative Republican’s and Governor Walker’s belief that allowing taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned money not only drives the economy but it’s the right thing to do. The fiscally responsible proposal doesn’t raise property, sales, or income taxes, cuts the property tax businesses pay on machinery and tools they already own, eliminates the sales tax on internet services, and abolishes Wisconsin’s Alternative Minimum Tax.


I am proud to have worked with my Senate and Assembly colleagues and their staffs to make sure needed items for the Senate District 1 are a part of JFC’s proposed 2017-2019 budget. With Door County’s aging population and lack of nursing home beds. I was able to get approval to require the Wisconsin Department of Health Service (DHS) redistribute 18 nursing home beds that are currently available under the statewide bed limit, to Door County Medical Center. Door County Medical Centers wants the beds, will pay for the beds, and can fill the beds.


DHS estimates that between 2015 and 2040 the population ages 65 and older will increase by 72% in Wisconsin with Door County leading the way
 


I am pleased to have been able to secure a $750,000 matching grant to the Friends of Peninsula State Park for the reconstruction of Eagle Tower. This matching grant and the private funds being raised by the Friends of Peninsula State Park will help to rebuild the 1932 tower that was torn down in Peninsula State Park due to safety concerns in 2016.
 


Eagle Tower before being torn down in 2016


Another great thing for my senate district in the state budget is a $3.2 million grant from the Harbor Assistance Program for a dock construction and dredging project in the Sturgeon Bay harbor. This grant will assist Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding of Door County in phase III of the harbor project. The construction and dredging project will increase vessel construction and winter repair capacity in the Sturgeon Bay Harbor. Having room for additional vessels in the harbor will create even more employment opportunities than the 1,000 full time employees already working throughout the year at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. The $3.2 million investment approved by Joint Finance Committee will help keep the company vibrant and anchored to Sturgeon Bay.
 


I worked with JFC members in obtaining funding for a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study of the introduction of nutrients into the East and West Twin Rivers, Manitowoc River, Sheboygan River, and any streams that outlet into Lake Michigan between Ahnapee River in Door and Kewaunee counties watershed and Ozaukee County’s Sauk Creek watershed. This study will collect water quality data, identity the amount of nutrients being introduced into the water, and come up with tools and resources to reduce the nutrients.
 


The Ahnapee River near Algoma


Were there other things I advocated for that didn’t make the final budget JFC passed on September 7th? Yes, of course there is. I, along with Representative Dave Steffan worked hard to include language requiring the Department of Administration to solicit bids for the private construction and ownership of a new maximum security prison to be located in Brown County or a county adjacent to Brown County. This facility would replace the 119 year old Green Bay Correctional Institute. Unfortunately, our request didn’t make the cut. However, we will continue work to get this proposal passed as standalone legislation, Senate Bill 228 and companion bill, Assembly Bill 292.


So what happens to the budget now? The Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) will now take a couple of days to compile all the changes made by JFC with hundreds of motions, during the committee’s 12 executive session. When LFB is ready they will hold briefings for legislators giving the full run down of JFC’s proposed budget and answering any questions. The proposal will then head to the floor of the State Assembly for debate and a vote. Leadership in the Assembly has told members to keep September 14 through 19 open for the vote. After the Assembly takes action, the budget will then move to the State Senate for debate and a floor vote. After the legislature votes the bill will be sent to Governor Walker for action. The governor can veto any part of the budget before signing the legislation into law.


The Joint Finance Committee’s 2017-2019 state budget proposal is good for Wisconsin because it prioritizes our schools without raising taxes, cuts the state property tax, and eliminates obsolete and unused taxes all without saddling current and future Wisconsinites with debt from borrowing.



 
 

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State Capitol Room 316S, PO Box 7882, Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-3512
Email: Sen.Lasee@legis.wisconsin.gov