Official Government Communication
Welcome to my email newsletter. There is a lot happening at the State Capitol and it is my hope that this email will help you stay in touch with your government. As your Senator, I truly believe in public service. If there is anything my office can do to assist you, please feel free to contact us.
Here to serve,
Sen. Lena Taylor
Menominee approve marijuana referendum
The Menominee tribe may soon begin growing marijuana after an advisory vote last week paved the way for both medical and recreational marijuana on tribal land. The question of whether the tribe should enter into the marijuana business has been percolating since last year, when the U.S. Department of Justice told federal prosecutors not to prevent tribes from growing or selling cannabis on their reservations, even in states such as Wisconsin that ban the practice.
Growing marijuana on the reservation could result in huge economic gains for the community, but the legality of the process is still unclear. Click here to read more.
Average Wisconsinite pays more in taxes than average Minnesotan
Governor Scott Walker brags about having collapsed our income tax brackets and having delivered tax breaks to Wisconsinites. In fact, under Walker's watch, he's reduced the average income tax rate from 6.4 percent down to 5.9 percent. Meanwhile, Minnesota added a tax bracket for individuals earning over $150,000 and couples earning over $250,000 who are taxed at 9.85%, among the highest rate nationally. As a result the average tax rate is 7.5 percent.
So, taxpayers in Wisconsin have it better than in Minnesota, right?
According to a recent article in the MinnPost, the average Minnesotan actually is better off under their overall taxing system than Wisconsinites. That's not all. Minnesota, who implements higher sales and property taxes, is winning in nearly all indicators of economic health. According to David Ross, President and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of commerce, this is largely a result of a better quality of living. Public schools, safety, recreation, and a strong work force are what attract business, says Ross. He also warns that states with systems looking to help business, like Wisconsin, could benefit from rethinking our approach.
Governor Walker came up well short of his promised 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin despite creating what Republicans call a better tax environment for businesses. What they neglected to create was a better overall environment, which would lure businesses here to utilize our workforce. In a separate article, a UW-Oshkosh economics professor even said, "I see no evidence that he's had any positive impact on the state's economy."
Honoring Julian Bond
Julian Bond, a civil rights activist, politician, professor, and writer passed away on Saturday August, 15th at the age of 75.
We’ve truly lost one of the great champions of my lifetime. Julian Bond fought every step of the way to bring justice to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged among us. Bond spent his early days as an important political organizer, was a member of the Georgia legislature, was the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and former chairman of the NAACP. Bond’s mission was equality and his vision and energy was relentless; it is our duty to continue his life’s work. His influence will be felt for generations to come.
While in college, Bond was fortunate enough to have taken a social philosophy class with only seven other students, taught by the great Martin Luther King Jr. One year later, King gave his famous “I have a dream” speech. Bond died a hero, a husband, a father and a grandfather. Certainly, his legacy will continue for years to come.
Legislature to consider adding photo ID to FoodShare program
A bill introduced by Representative Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) and Senator Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) that would require food stamp recipients in Wisconsin to make their purchases with a photo ID received a public hearing in the Assembly’s Public Benefits Reform Committee on Tuesday August, 18th.
The bill would require recipients to produce a photo identification card prior to participating in FoodShare, the state's successor to the food stamps program. FoodShare recipients would have to show their photo ID when making purchases.
Proponents of this bill argue it is an effort to crack down on waste, fraud and abuse. However, advocates for low-income individuals testified against the bill. This is just one bill introduced by Republicans restricting use of the FoodShare program. Another bill would micromanages food purchases of recipients. Where have all the compassionate conservatives gone? Our legislative priority should be waging war on poverty, not poor people.