September 28, 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.
Windy? Nope, Just a Sigh of Relief!
Did you feel that strong breeze last Thursday, September 21st? It wasn’t
actually unseasonable warm weather, on the last official day of summer,
moving into Wisconsin. That breeze was the collective sigh of relief from
many Wisconsinites, me included, that the 2017-2019 biennial state budget,
now known as
2017 Act 59
was signed into law. With
Governor Walker signed the 399 page document into law culminating over a
year’s worth of work by everyone in both the state’s legislative and
The new budget funds everything from a new
Inspector General for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation
improvements to a ski jump in Vernon County
and is the most important piece of legislation passed every session by
the state legislature. Here are some of the highlights of the new
From last Thursday’s bill signing of the new budget. I have to remember
stand near taller people at these signings as I look like giant in this
Act 59 increases the Wisconsin’s funding in K-12 schools by $636
million. This increase includes new funding for things such as $3
million for school social workers and $2.5 million of school mental
health services. The biggest item funded in this increase is per pupil
spending. The two-year budget increases per pupil spending by $200 per
student in the first year and another $204 increase in the second
This increase in K-12 funding brings the state’s total commitment for
this budget to $11.5 billion for K-12 education. Making this state
budget the highest amount of money spent on K-12 education in
Wisconsin’s history. The legislature and Governor Walker recognize that
caring for and educating our kids is one of the biggest, most important
things the state government is charged with.
With so many employers requiring additional education and training this
budget helps students and their families affordably obtain the needed
high education. Act 59 freezes tuition at every University of Wisconsin
System School for the sixth year in row while increasing funding for
needs-based financial aid grants to its highest level ever.
This budget creates an
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 technical
school or college degree.
This budget doesn’t raise sales or income taxes, cuts the property tax
businesses pay on machinery and tools they already own, and eliminates
the sales tax on internet services. In addition, Act 59
eliminates the state portion of property tax bills. By ending the State
Forestry Mill Tax the $86 million a year property tax for forestry
programs creates a savings for all Wisconsin property payers.
Act 59 isn’t the first time we have cut property taxes. The Governor
and legislature has been committed to letting taxpayers to keep more of
their own money since taking office in 2011.
I am pleased the budget includes items that will have a direct impact on
the constituents of the first Senate District. The $3.2 million grant
for dock construction and dredging projects in the Sturgeon Bay Harbor
will help create jobs. Act 59 includes funding for studying the amount
and impact of farm and other nutrients in the rivers of Door, Kewaunee,
Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Ozaukee Counties. The new budget includes
funding for rebuilding historic Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park.
I am disappointed that Governor vetoed the 18 additional nursing home
beds for Door County Memorial Hospital that was added by the Joint
Finance Committee. I will continue to work with the Department of Health
Services on getting these much needed additional beds.
The 2017-2019 budget continues Wisconsin on the path of fiscal
responsibility and sensible investment Governor Walker started when he
took office during January of 2011. I look forward to continuing to work
with Governor Walker and my legislative colleagues for a fiscally-sound
Wisconsin that invests in its citizens.
For a complete breakdown of the new budget please visit the
Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s budget page.
Now that the budget has been signed into law the legislature is getting
back to holding committee hearings and getting bills ready for the fall
legislative session. To keep up to date on when committees are meeting
and their agendas check out the
Wisconsin Legislature home page.