March 2, 2018

Session Wrap-Up Edition


State Representative Janel Brandtjen

As another legislative session comes to a close, I'd like to use this e-update to highlight some of the most important accomplishments of the Legislature over the past two years. My colleagues and I, along with the help of Governor Walker, were able to implement many bold reforms and pass crucial legislation in order to keep moving Wisconsin forward. Below, you'll find quick summaries of some of the achievements that I believe deserve the most recognition.

Continued Fiscal Responsibility

The commitment of my colleagues in the Legislature, Governor Walker, and myself to fiscal responsibility was clear in this session. I was elected to represent the people of the 22nd Assembly District, and part of that includes being a good steward of the taxpayer dollars. Hard-working Wisconsinites and their families deserve to know that their taxpayer payers are being spent responsibly.

Earlier this session, the Legislature passed a balanced state budget. Every portion and every proposal in the budget has been appropriated, and there will be no deficit. In the 2017 fiscal year, the state finished with a $579 million surplus, the second largest since 2000. Not only was the budget completely balanced, but our cuts to government spending resulted in over half a billion dollars saved. Running a deficit will never be a sustainable model, and the Legislature's actions are not only fiscally responsible, but just plain responsible.

In addition, Moody's Investors Service upgraded Wisconsin's bond rating to 'Aa1'. The last time Wisconsin received such a prestigious rating was 1973, and is an evident reflection of the commitment of the State Legislature and the Governor to spending responsibly and easing the burden on taxpayers within our state.

On top of all that, the state property tax was completely eliminated. That's right, Wisconsinites no longer have to pay state property tax. This is just another step in the history of the Legislature and the Governor lowering taxes over the past few years. Since 2010, taxes in Wisconsin have been lowered by $8 billion, and there's no reason stop lowering taxes now. Lowering the burden on taxpayers should always be a priority, allowing you to keep more of your hard-earned money. After all, you know how to spend your money better than the government ever could.

A Growing, Vibrant Economy

During this past session, Wisconsin's already strong economy grew even stronger and more vibrant. My colleagues in the Legislature and I know that government doesn't create jobs, but that government has the ability to create an economic climate that attracts businesses, encourages entrepreneurship, and provides stable, high-paying jobs. We did just that in Wisconsin.

Last year, the electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn announced they would be building their first American production facility in Racine County. The economic boom from this plant will not be reserved solely for that county, but will benefit the entire state as a whole. Foxconn received bids from numerous other states trying to get them to build elsewhere, but they chose Wisconsin because the reforms and efforts of the Legislature and the Governor are working. Business are taking notice, and many will surely follow Foxconn's lead.

Our state flag proudly displays a miner, a sign how crucial this industry has been to our history. Fittingly, the 20 year old moratorium on mining in our state was lifted this past session. Wisconsin has a vast wealth of precious metals, and should harness the economic benefit that mining those metals would provide.  However, this does not mean that environmental protections are being discarded. Tough regulations will still be in place to ensure that the economic benefit mining will provide will not come at the cost of the environment.

Ensuring Quality Education

This past session, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed the budget, which included historic levels of funding for K-12 education. Over the two years this budget will be in effect, the levels of education funding will be increased by $636 million, bring the total to $11.5 billion. In terms of dollars per student, that's an increase in $200 this year and another $204 next year. Education is crucial to the success of the future generations, and this funding increase is proof of the commitment of the Legislature and the Governor to ensuring every child in Wisconsin receives a quality education.

But our commitment to education is not limited to K-12. After four straight years, the tuition freeze for UW students has been extended for another two years. With the wasteful spending by the UW system and the history of exorbitant tuition increases before the freeze, this is just one measure to help make college education affordable. Over the past four years, the average in-state student has saved over $6,000 in tuition payments. When it comes to the exorbitant cost of college education today, this freeze is a step in the right direction.


God Bless Wisconsin!











 State Capitol Room 221 North - PO Box 8953, Madison, WI 53708 Toll Free: (888) 534-0022 or (608) 267-2367

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