June 15, 2017



Congratulations, Miss Ashley Miller (second from right), on being crowned as Sheboygan County's 2017 Fairest of the Fair!  Thanks also to Miss Makayla Klumpyan (second from left), the 2016 Fairest, for her service to Sheboygan County over the past year.


The Fairest of the Fair serves as the official ambassador for the Sheboygan County Fair.  She participates in many local events such as festivals, parades, picnics, etc. as a spokesman for the county fair and, by extension, for all the educational activities that young people in our county are involved with.


I hope you'll take a few minutes to read about the impressive young women who competed for this important role.  Three of them are in college working toward becoming teachers.  Two have future plans in the agricultural and veterinary fields.  Another is studying marketing.  All are dedicated volunteers; all are capable ambassadors in their own right for the communities of Sheboygan County and for Wisconsin.  Sometimes it's easy to complain that young Americans don't work as hard as their parents did, or that they don't appreciate the sacrifices of the people who built the America we live in today.  But let me tell you: the critics are wrong.  These young ladies inspire a lot of confidence in our future.  As far as I'm concerned, these leaders can speak for Sheboygan County any time!


As always, I encourage you to follow my updates on social media or contact my office directly with your questions as 2017-19 state budget deliberations continue.  Best wishes on your weekend!


Bold New Ideas


I want to share a few of the specific ideas under consideration in the legislature right now that aim to make Wisconsin a better place by saving money, encouraging growth and eliminating unnecessary red tape.  Here are a few highlights; what do you think?


  • Just this week, I cosponsored a new proposal authored by my colleagues Rep. Rob Hutton and Sen. Dave Craig that would require every state agency to carefully review its base budget every few years and write a report to the legislature that justifies all of its spending.  (This common-sense transparency measure used to be law in Wisconsin; Governor Jim Doyle repealed it.)  Click here to read the Madison-based Wisconsin State Journal's 2009 editorial on this issue.


  • Today, the Assembly Ways and Means Committee (on which I serve as vice-chairman) held a public hearing on Assembly Bill 340.  Construction contractors are a great example of one of the countless types of Wisconsin businesses who struggle every single day to make heads and tails out of our state's confusing sales and use tax laws.  For example, did you know that if a kitchen remodeling contractor purchases new appliances for your kitchen, the law probably requires that he give the appliance store a tax-exemption certificate proving that the store does not need to collect sales tax at that time; then he is probably supposed to charge you sales tax on the appliances on your final remodeling bill; then he may or may not have to charge you sales tax on the installation of the appliances into your kitchen (and because he doesn't know, he probably charges you tax anyway so that he doesn't get penalized in an audit); but, until AB 340 gets passed into law, all of this depends on what sort of contract you and the kitchen contractor enter into in the first place?  WHAT?  AB 340 is a good bill that makes a small but important change in the short term; I'm also looking forward to conversations that will happen soon regarding some long-term, big-picture structural changes in our state's tax system to fundamentally reduce the confusion.


  • Did you know that a huge percentage of the regulations that govern our state aren't laws at all?  In many cases, state law gives a state agency authority to publish rules (that have the effect of law) that govern certain topics.  But it takes approximately forever to change these rules... and it's not elected officials who make them at all!  On the Assembly floor yesterday, I voted in support of three new laws that would change how administrative rules work.  AB 42 would require legislators to vote on any agency rule that spends more than $10 million over two years.  AB 317 strengthens the review process for existing rules and provides an expedited process for repealing unnecessary rules.  And SB 100 requires state agencies who propose new rules to do so without unreasonable delays, which will reduce uncertainty for businesses.  These changes, if enacted into law, should help make government a lot more accountable and a lot more transparent.







There is more good news this week about Wisconsin's economy.  The state's unemployment rate is down to nearly its historic low, and our labor force participation rate (already significantly outpacing the national average) continues to climb.  The federal government says that, over a sustained period of more than six years, Wisconsin ranks 11th nationally in average weekly wage growth for our workforce.  New ideas and a record level of investment in technical education are matching up thousands of new employees with the skills training they want and the employers who need them to be able to grow our economy.


It's important to look at many factors to determine the overall health of our economy, but many indicators are pointing in the right direction.  I'm eager to keep finding new ways to get government out of the way of the employers who create opportunity in our state and make sure that Wisconsin continues to be a great place to find satisfying work.




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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