I had the great honor this week to be present this week when AT&T Wisconsin presented the Lakeshore Technical College (LTC) Foundation with a $4,500 AT&T Innovation and Investment Award to support Project GRILL in Sheboygan County. Pictured with me are LTC Development Director Katie Willinger, AT&T Wisconsin Director of External Affairs Julie Tonkovitz, Project GRILL Chairperson Keith Anderson, Project GRILL Vice-Chairperson Jodie Senglaub and Project GRILL Secretary Andrea Berlin.
Project GRILL (Growing Readiness in Learning and Leading) pairs high school students from across Sheboygan County with local manufacturing companies to build customized grills from scratch. The goal is to expose students to new technologies, provide mentors to them and demonstrate the opportunities that can be afforded by careers in manufacturing. Through their participation, high school students can earn up to nine technical college credits. A huge percentage of jobs in Sheboygan County (nearly 40 percent) are manufacturing jobs, and this program helps our young leaders achieve highly and see how rewarding such careers can be. These young adults do some fantastic work; I highly recommend that you take a moment to visit http://projectgrill.org/ and see some of their projects for yourself!
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!
Speaker's Task Force on Alzheimer's and Dementia
I was also honored this week to be appointed by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to the Speaker's Task Force on Alzheimer's and Dementia. I'm really looking forward to working with my colleagues to explore how these conditions affect patients, families and loved ones across our state. We will be looking for possible ways in which the state can do a better job of delivering resources and improving care. This is one of the few remaining diagnoses for which even modern medicine can offer no cure and no treatment, and I hope to hear from you about what you think Wisconsin can do to improve its support to the countless families who are affected by this issue.
Also announced this week were the formation of the Speaker's Task Force on Urban Education and the Speaker's Task Force on Youth Workforce Readiness. The goal of each bipartisan task force (with an Assembly Republican chair and an Assembly Democrat vice-chair) is to explore possible solutions and recommend legislation to the full Assembly before the end of the session. The task forces will travel around the state to gather input as they compile ideas.
Property Taxes Drop Under Republican Leadership
According to a recent report by the nonpartisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, total property taxes fell 2.3 percent in 2014-15. And the 2015-17 state budget that I recently supported will cut property taxes again for the 5th and 6th consecutive years; in 2016, property taxes on the average Wisconsin home will be less than they were in 2010. Before Governor Scott Walker and Republicans took charge in 2010, property taxes had increased for 11 straight years, increasing by 27 percent over a decade. But since 2011, the typical homeowner has seen a decline of 4.4 percent on their tax bill.
In contrast, the tax-and-spend policies of Illinois have caused the property taxes of our neighbors to the south to increase by an outrageous 18 percent between 2010 and 2012. More work remains to be done, however, before Wisconsin will again be competitive with other states that have much more favorable property tax rates.