February 19, 2021
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Protecting Paycheck Protection Program Recipients

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit folks hard, and while the federal Paycheck Protection Program loans have been able to help many local businesses, an issue has come up that's putting these local businesses in a difficult position. Last spring, the federal CARES Act created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which helped about 90,000 Wisconsin businesses by providing loans that don't need to be paid back if certain conditions are met. These loans helped businesses pay employee payroll, rent, and other essential business expenses involved in staying afloat. 

Unfortunately, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) issued guidance saying that these businesses will owe income tax on these loans, which amounts to tens of thousands of dollars that these business owners were not planning for. As a result, the program intended to help businesses stay afloat is now putting their continued operation at risk. To help fix this problem, I joined my legislative colleagues this week in voting in favor of Assembly Bill (AB) 2, which will fix this DOR issue. It's not right to penalize businesses and their employees for making use of the resources available, so I'm glad that we were able to approve this legislative fix. I'm pleased to share that AB 2 has been approved by both the Senate and Assembly, and Governor Evers signed it into law yesterday. 

Response to Governor's Budget Proposal 

Earlier this week, Governor Evers gave his pre-recorded budget address, where he outlined his spending priorities for the state. Leading up to the address, I joined my colleagues in the legislature in encouraging him to put forward a budget that helps support our hard-working residents, funds mutual priorities, and is financially responsible.

In the last ten years, we've worked to reduce the tax burden on Wisconsinites, and in times like this, that goal is more important than ever. With the economic challenges facing the state, it's important that we continue to be good stewards of your tax dollars, and finding ways to provide needed support without adding additional burdens. Unfortunately, Governor Evers' proposal uses nearly $1 billion in funds that the state doesn't have, which would ultimately result in a tax increase that Wisconsinites should not have to face. 

Though there are certainly items in Governor Evers' proposal that I can get behind, such as school funding, investing in mental health, and expanding broadband, I believe there's still work to be done to get the budget to where it needs to be. I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues in the coming weeks on amending the budget so it responsibly uses taxpayer dollars. 

Budget documents can be found on the Division of Administration's webpage, including a guide on how to navigate the budget, a Budget in Brief summary of the Governor's proposal, the Governor's message, and more.
 

DWD Unemployment Inquiry

While I've seen a number of unemployment claims be resolved recently, we still have many folks waiting to get a response on their claim. As a legislator, I'm able to reach out to DWD and make an inquiry on your behalf if you are experiencing issues or delays with your unemployment claim. Please click the below link and fill out the request form, and I will make an inquiry with DWD on your behalf. 

Click here to request an Unemployment Claim Inquiry

Wolf Hunt Update

If you are looking to finally get outside again after that particular cold snap we had, you may be interested in participating in the DNR's wolf harvest season next week. The application period will be open until this Saturday, February 20, and the season is February 22-28. For more information, check out the DNR's wolf harvest season page

FAFSA Assistance & Information Events

Applying for college and figuring out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be a challenge. That's why I'm pleased to share that College Goal Wisconsin is providing free information and assistance to families and students who are seeking FAFSA financial aid, such as college grants or loans.

There are three upcoming virtual FAFSA completion events, and students are encouraged to participate with a parent or guardian if possible, and have on hand the specific materials needed to complete FAFSA. The virtual event dates can be found on the event flyer, and are:

  • Tuesday, February 23 at 6pm
  • Thursday, March 4 at 11:30am
  • Thursday, April 15 at 6pm
E-update Technical Issues

In recent weeks, the legislature has run into some technical issues impacting our ability to send out e-updates. While our technical support team is actively working on it, and they seem to be making some progress, there may be some gaps between e-updates due to this issue. However, we hope to see it resolved soon. 

COVID-19 Quick Links

Below are some quick links to essential COVID-19 resources and information:

Follow the Legislative Action

In order to stay up to date on any legislation, proposals, or your legislator, a free notification service is available through the Wisconsin State Legislature's website. You can sign up for nightly personalized email notifications based on our state's legislative activity. This is a wonderful way to stay informed about state politics and proposals that you are interested in.