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In This Edition...

  • Middle Class Tax Cut

  • What's in the Hopper? 

  • Student Success 

  • Protecting Native Plants and Endangered Species 

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Ron's Recap: February 15, 2019  

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Hello! Welcome to another edition of Ron's Recap for the 104th Legislative Session. This periodic e-newsletter will keep you up-to-date on news from the Capitol and provide other helpful information. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about information in this email, if you have an opinion on a legislative issue, or if you have a problem with a state agency. 

Assembly Republicans Pass Middle Class Tax Cut

On Tuesday, I voted for a bill that would provide $340 million in tax cuts for working class individuals and families in Wisconsin. The bill passed the Assembly on a party-line vote of 61 – 33 with only Democrats voting against the plan.

I’m excited for the hard-working middle class individuals and families who will benefit from this tax cut. A median-income family filing jointly will see a 10.5% reduction in their tax liability; that’s more than $300 that can go towards savings, a vacation, or whatever the taxpayer sees fit, not the government. 

The bill targets individuals making less than $100,000 and families earning $150,000 or less.  Seventy-five percent of the tax relief will affect filers with incomes between $30,000 and $100,000. State net tax liability would nearly be cut in half for married joint filers making between $30,000 and $40,000.

Governor Evers’ proposal phases out the tax credit for certain individuals and families and only targets individuals earning up to $80,000 and families earning up to $125,000.  Additionally, the Governor’s plan would increase taxes on manufactures to pay for the tax cut and fall $370 million short over the next two years. The Republican bill does not raise any taxes and is fully funded.

Nearly 500 manufacturers in Calumet and Outagamie Counties and almost 60 manufactures in Brillion, Stockbridge, Kimberly, Combined Locks, and Little Chute will suffer under Governor Evers’ plan.  Polices like the Governor’s will stifle Wisconsin’s amazing economic growth and jeopardize good-paying, middle-class manufacturing jobs. 

The bill passed the Senate on Wednesday by a vote of 19-14. It now heads to Governor Evers' desk, where he can either approve the Republican plan or veto it.

You can watch my reaction here or by clicking the image below. 

 

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What's in the Hopper?

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I am busy working in Madison to make Wisconsin a better state. Below is information on some of the bills I am working on and what's next for them. You can sign up for notifications from the Legislature's Bill Tracking Service here. To see all of the bills I have authored and co-sponsored, click here

Over the past few weeks, Sen. Andre Jacque (R - DePere) and I have been collaborating on two common-sense bills that will make our communities and jails safer:

Closing the Child Exploitation Loophole

This proposal would include depictions of a child in sexually suggestive manner in the definition of child pornography. Under current law, child pornography only extends to sexually explicit conduct. The Wisconsin DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation has found this statutory update necessary to catch child predators exploiting this loophole.  The bill is currently seeking co-sponsors and will be formally introduced and referred a committee in the coming weeks.

Prosecuting Jail Contraband Smugglers

I co-authored this proposal with Rep. Jim Steineke (R – Kaukauna) last session, but it failed to advance before business concluded.  County jail officials, including in Outagamie County, have found prisoners attempting to smuggle items not illegal to possess, such as a handcuff key, into jails for personal use. Surprisingly, this particular action is not criminalized whereas bringing drugs or other items for another inmate would be a prosecutable act. This proposal closes this loophole and will keep our police officers, sheriffs, and other inmates safer. I am also seeking co-sponsors for this bill and will formally introduce it in the next couple of weeks. 

 
Student Success

Wisconsin has great schools and once again, students are performing at the highest levels. According to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), more high school students are taking Advanced Placement (AP) tests than ever before! The number of exams taken as well as the total percentage of students taking AP exams are at all time highs in Wisconsin. Nearly 23,000 students took an AP exam and participation in the program increased by more than 1,000 graduates. Wisconsin students reportedly have a better performance record than the national rate. DPI estimates the AP exams save nearly $43 million in college costs. Want to find out more about how Wisconsin students perform? Click here or on the image below to see for yourself! 

 

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Protecting Native Plants and Endangered Species

  • Plant lovers can complete training for Wisconsin’s Rare Plant Monitoring Program and assist in the state’s efforts to collect information on some of Wisconsin’s most rare and beautiful native plants this coming spring and summer.  Training sessions are set to begin in March.

 

  • Wisconsin residents with interest in protecting Wisconsin’s endangered species can donate to the Endangered Resources Fund using their Wisconsin income tax form.  Contributions received from tax filers provide approximately 25 percent of the funding for work done by DNR Natural Heritage Conservation staff, partners and volunteers to protect and restore Wisconsin's rare wildlife, plants and State Natural Areas.