The 2015-16 legislative floor session for the Wisconsin State Assembly came to a close late last week. In my most recent newsletter, I asked you to contact me with your opinions about the issues to be debated during the session's final weeks, and did you ever respond! I can't do my job effectively without hearing directly from you about what you think is important in our communities and our state, and I deeply appreciate all of the hundreds of emails, phone calls and letters that I have received from you recently. It has been my distinct honor to serve the people of Sheboygan County in this session, and I hope I keep hearing from you.
Six bills that I authored were among the dozens passed in the Assembly last week, and I would encourage you to read my full statement about them or contact my office for further background. On the whole, this session marked a lot of progress for Wisconsin. We passed a balanced budget that simultaneously held property taxes in check, cut middle-class taxes, increased K-12 education funding, increased school choice opportunities for low- to moderate-income families, funded our most urgent transportation needs, and still deposited a record amount in the state's "rainy day fund." We are making college more affordable, invested in health care for seniors and the poor and took new steps to combat drug abuse. And we became the 25th Right to Work state, reformed prevailing wage and clarified our unconstitutional, outdated campaign finance laws. Our economy is outpacing the national average, and our state is moving forward.
The legislature's work has made a difference in Wisconsin, but I still want to hear from you about what more remains to be done. As always, I encourage you to follow my updates on social media or contact my office directly with your questions, comments and suggestions. Best wishes as another Wisconsin spring approaches!
Got Cabin Fever?
Now is a great time to start planning a spring or summer getaway, and the beautiful state of Wisconsin has plenty to offer within just a short distance from home. New travel guides from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism for the 2016 spring and summer seasons are becoming available. Print versions of the 2016 Spring/Summer Event Guide, the 2016 Lodging Directory and the 2016 Art and Craft Fairs Directory may now be ordered, free of charge, by clicking here. (Check this website frequently in the next few weeks for more new publications as well as downloadable PDF versions of all new publications.)
Looking for something to do right away? TravelWisconsin.com, the official site of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, has plenty of ideas for places to stay, things to do, the best spots to eat and even suggestions for planning your trip. There is something for everyone!
During the past five tax seasons, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) has prevented $192 million in potential fraud. This is an increase of 170 percent when compared to the previous five tax seasons. In fiscal year 2015 alone, DOR prevented $58 million in fraudulent refunds and credits. These successes are due to ongoing improvements to the state's anti-fraud tools as more criminals attempt to cheat honest taxpayers.
As part of these efforts, you may be required to take a short quiz to help prove your identity before your refund is deposited in your bank account. (This generally delays your receipt of your refund by less than a week.) Important: if you are asked to take a quiz but have not yet filed your 2015 taxes, contact DOR immediately at the phone number provided on the quiz! At any time, you may use this online tool to check proactively whether anyone has filed a state tax return in your name, or you may check the status of a state tax return that you have filed by clicking here to receive an estimated date when you will receive your refund.