October 20, 2017


A strong crowd of Sheboygan and Fond du Lac County residents made their voices heard last week at a public Department of Transportation briefing on the State Highway 23 expansion project.  There is more that you can do to help see this project through to completion!


Highway 23 (between Fond du Lac and Plymouth) may not legally be expanded to four lanes without federal permits.  To re-obtain the federal permits that Wisconsin once held, WisDOT is writing a new Limited Scope Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (LS SEIS), which is intended to address the issues that led the federal courts to throw out our earlier work.  We expect that a new draft statement will be ready in early 2018; a public hearing will occur in the spring; and a final new statement should be ready by summer 2018.  Meanwhile, your state legislators took special steps several weeks ago to set aside enough state money in the state budget to ensure that these and other necessary short-term actions are fully funded.


Now is an appropriate time for the general public to offer (respectful) comments to WisDOT in support of the project!  Public input regarding highway safety, economic impact, etc. can influence the analysis that WisDOT writes as part of the new LS SEIS.  Public comments are welcomed by WisDOT Project Manager Bryan Lipke via e-mail at bryan.lipke@dot.wi.gov or, alternately, you may click here to print and mail in a postage-prepaid comment sheet.  Members of the public may also find it helpful to regularly keep an eye on WisDOT's State Highway 23 project website for updates, maps, etc.


As always, I encourage you to follow my updates on social media or contact my office directly with your questions.  Best wishes on your weekend!


Steadily Moving Wisconsin Forward


A year ago, my colleagues and I released a 30-page report containing 95 specific ideas for improving Wisconsin's future.  If anybody tries to convince you that Madison is gridlocked or that your state legislature can't agree on any real reforms, don't be deceived!


Already in 2017, the Assembly has achieved (in some form) 47 of the 95 specific ideas we proposed, and at least another 15 of them are currently circulating for debate.  A total of 547 Assembly bills have been formally introduced, which is more bills than had been introduced at this point in any of the past three legislative sessions.  Better yet, in my opinion, is that of the 184 ideas that the Assembly has voted to pass so far this year, 165 of them (that's 90 percent) have bipartisan support.  Although we surely don't always agree, your state government really is working for you!


That's a Win-Win-Win-Win


Did you know?


  • Property taxes on a median-value home in Wisconsin averaged $2,963 in 2010.  In 2018, property taxes will average $2,825, which is not quite a 5 percent decrease.  Keep in mind that the U.S. dollar has experienced an inflationary increase of about 12 percent since 2010.


  • Even though taxes are down, state-level support for K-12 education will reach all-time record highs in 2018 and 2019.


  • The media largely ignored the great news this week that Wisconsin ended Fiscal Year 2017 with a $579 million surplus, which is $112 million better than we had even budgeted.  (Goodness knows that it would have been front-page news everywhere if we'd come up $112 million short of what we projected instead.)  It's further proof that our pro-growth, tax-reducing, regulation-reforming policies are adding up to long-term success!


  • Several weeks ago, I shared the important money-saving news that Moody's Investors Service had increased Wisconsin's general obligation bond rating to Aa1, which is just one step below the highest possible rating.  On top of that news, this week we learned that the Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) has done likewise, upgrading our state from AA to AA+.  These upgrades are extremely important because they reduce the cost of taxpayer-funded borrowing that occurs as a normal part of government operations, transportation and infrastructure projects, etc.  According to KBRA, "The rating reflects that in recent years, Wisconsin has consistently and accurately budgeted within its means and has prioritized a combination of tax, spending and debt restraints that have improved the state's reserves and liquidity."  I couldn't have said it better if I wanted to!




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Room 208 North, State Capitol ● PO Box 8952 ● Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-0656  ●  Rep.Katsma@legis.wisconsin.gov  ●  www.repkatsma.com