Sheboygan County residents should feel pretty good about the 2017-19 state budget bill that was advanced by the Assembly this week. Frankly, everyone across Wisconsin should be able to find something to like in this plan, but if you click on the photo above, I'll tell you directly about two of the most important victories for the communities in our area. (You may also read the good news about State Highway 23 and funding for our local school districts in my full statement.)
This week, the Assembly also issued final approval for what I think will be one of the most important moves in our lifetime. Governor Scott Walker is expected next week to sign the legislation that will bring Foxconn to Wisconsin and begin the largest economic development project that our state has ever seen.
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!
It's the Little Things
In my recent messages, I've shared good news about many real reforms and improvements to be found in the state budget: our K-12 schools will receive record-high funding; three taxes are being repealed in their entirety and a fourth is being partially repealed; and we're taking a big step in the right direction on transportation by reducing new borrowing to the lowest level in more than a decade. But there is other good news also that might not have made the headlines:
This budget protects our most vulnerable populations. We're delivering $490,000 annually to the University of Wisconsin (UW) Carbone Center to increase access for cancer patients. We're improving long-term care services, increasing the personal care rate by 2 percent each year, increasing support for the medical facilities that see the most Medicaid patients and increasing the funding for grants that support victims of violence and abuse.
We're providing the tools and the services, at an affordable cost, to ensure that every student can succeed. There will be more than $16 million in new money for special education and student mental health services. Tuition costs for resident students in the UW System will be frozen for two more years, a move that has saved the average student $6,300 over four years already.
News from State Agencies
Consumer safety. In case you missed it, Equifax (one of the nation's three major credit reporting agencies) announced last week that its consumer data has been compromised over a period of months. Hackers may have stolen sensitive personal and financial information from nearly half of all Americans. Click here for some helpful tips from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection about steps you can take to protect yourself. Consider checking with Equifax to learn whether your information was exposed, and consider placing a fraud alert or freeze on your credit reports. Make use of your right to inspect your own credit reports, at no cost to you, regularly. Be especially wary of scam attempts, especially by phone and e-mail; legitimate agencies and businesses -- such as Equifax or your bank or the IRS or the police or anyone else -- will NEVER ask you to "confirm" personal data (i.e., Social Security number, driver's license number, date of birth, etc.) over the phone or in an e-mail. Don't be a victim!
Get out there! As the days get cooler and shorter, the Department of Tourism maintains an online Fall Color Report that you can use to help plan a getaway and see our beautiful state. In fact, if you spend more than a few seconds on the webpage, it will invite you to subscribe to e-mail updates. Peak colors will already be happening in northern Wisconsin by the end of September. Give it a try!
Youth art and essay contests. K-12 students across the state are invited to submit entries for the 100th Anniversary State Capitol celebration essay and art contests. Entries should illustrate or detail what our Capitol means to Wisconsin; one artist and one author from each grade will be recognized by the Governor, and their work will be retained by the State Historical Society, after the contest closes on October 13th. Students in public or private school should be able to receive entry instructions from their teachers, or you may contact my office for details!