February 9th, 2018


The cold and wind this week didn't stop us from touring the Milwaukee Harbor District and the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences!  Some really exciting revitalization is underway in this historic part of our state's biggest city, including local, state and federal investment and some significant private investment as well.  The plan is the result of several years of hard work and community engagement!  Click here to read more about what's happening.


It's a busy season in the state legislature right now, which means it's a great time to give me a call or send an e-mail to let me know what you think about headlines you've heard or ideas that you have.  As always, I encourage you to follow my updates on social media or contact my office directly with your questions; we'll do our best to help.  Best wishes on your weekend!


Health Care Heads-Up!


Positive changes are coming to the way Wisconsin delivers health care for many adult Medicaid members.  Watch your mail in the months ahead to learn if the changes apply to you or a loved one and what steps you will need to take; in the meantime, click here for a helpful summary of what's coming.


In short: most private and employer-supported health insurance plans these days require folks to choose to enroll in a network of health care providers.  This is not only cost-effective but also generally improves folks' ability to access the care they require, in a timely fashion, with effective coordination among providers, and with capable assistance from network staff as needed.  The Department of Health Services is moving most recipients of state medical assistance toward this same successful model so that quality care continues to reach those who need it most.


Moving in the Right Direction


There is good news on many fronts in Wisconsin these days!  We're keeping our promises to make our state a better place for you to live and work.  But what does that mean?  Here are a few indicators of our progress.


  • Did you know that the 2017-19 state budget expands upon the biggest "rainy day fund" we've ever had in Wisconsin?  We have almost $300 million set aside to help prevent any loss of state services if, say, a surprise economic downturn (like the one we experienced 10 years ago) causes a surprise loss of state revenue.  So far, though, Wisconsin is actually on track to enter 2019 with a $138 million surplus, considerably ahead of our budget estimate.


  • Sometimes I still hear Wisconsin referred to as a "tax hell."  That may have once been true, but it isn't true any longer.  In 1995, we had the 4th-highest state and local tax burden of any state in America.  The most recent data available now says we've moved from #4 all the way down to #21.  (By the way: Minnesota and Illinois are going the wrong direction; they're up to #6 and #7, respectively.)  That's huge progress... but I think we can still do better.  And we will!


  • Our economy has the best kind of problem right now.  Unemployment is so low that businesses are having a hard time finding employees so that they can grow!  Now, even a good problem is still a problem... but it's a great time to be an employee, a student or a young professional in Wisconsin because, boy, do we have work here for you!  As of today, there are 91,213 job openings available at jobcenterofwisconsin.com.





If you wish to be excluded from future mailings, simply e-mail me and ask to unsubscribe.

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