Thursday, August 6

 
 

Dear Friends,

I am honored to serve as your state representative from the 46th Assembly District.

In this edition of the Hebl Herald, I discuss two major issues from recent floor debates - the state budget and the Bucks arena deal.

Please remember that I am here to serve you. Do not hesitate to contact me regarding state issues that concern you. My door is always open to you. Please stop by and visit to discuss any state matter.

Sincerely,

Gary Hebl
State Representative
46th Assembly District
 

 

During the state budget debate, I rose on the floor of the Assembly to voice my opposition to regressive cuts to the Department of Natural Resources and the stripping of local control on environmental issues.

Priorities Demanded a "No" Vote on the Bucks Arena Bill
 

When it comes to using state taxpayer money, legislators have to prioritize.

On the heels of a Republican budget that failed to prioritize the health and education of Wisconsinites, the majority party introduced legislation to use state taxpayer funds to pay $250 million toward a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Now, Iím a loyal Wisconsin sports fan. I cheer for the Badgers, Packers, Brewers, and Bucks through good times and bad. I want the Bucks to stay in Wisconsin. But I could not support this plan. I could not support using $250 million in taxpayer dollars to benefit a private, multi-billion dollar industry.

It comes down to priorities.

As I travel throughout the 46th Assembly District, I have heard again and again that the legislature should be prioritizing public schools, higher education, and access to health care in Wisconsin.

I want the Bucks to stay in Wisconsin. But more importantly, I want good public school teachers to stay in Wisconsin. Thatís why I have continually opposed the efforts of the majority party to diminish public education and siphon money from our public schools for use by unaccountable private voucher institutions.

I want our universitiesí talented and renowned professors and researchers to stay in Wisconsin. That is why I opposed the latest round of cuts to the University of Wisconsin system. Consider this: the majority party and Governor Walker cut the UW System by $250 million. The public price tag for this Bucks deal? $250 million.

I want our promising young workers to stay in Wisconsin. Thatís why I have joined my Democratic colleagues in calling for sweeping changes to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Gov. Walkerís flagship jobs agency which has been mired in controversy after losing millions of dollars in unsecured loans without creating jobs. A serious lack of diligence at WEDC has cost Wisconsin taxpayers millions, while the jobs Gov. Walker promised have never materialized.

I want to keep Wisconsin healthy. Thatís why I continue to call on Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans to do the right thing and accept federal Medicaid funds, which would save our state $350 million while insuring up to 80,000 more Wisconsinites.

I cannot support a plan to bail out billionaires to keep the Bucks in the state while our students, teachers, and workers are being forced to look for new opportunities out-of-state due to regressive budget cuts.
I donít deny that keeping the Bucks in Wisconsin will benefit the regional economy and offer some benefit to the state. But I cannot understand how Republican supporters of the Bucks public funding plan can voice their support for the planís economic impact and in their next breath vow to diminish public education and the UW system, both of which are established economic drivers in our state.

I hope the Bucks stay. But in a time when our legislative majority is dismantling our schools, gutting our universities, and deteriorating our job prospects, I found it necessary to vote against a proposal to provide a quarter of a billion dollars to a private sports team.
 


 

I was pleased to introduce my summer intern, UW-Madison junior Yuka Shiotani, on the floor of the Assembly. Yuka has done great work in my legislative office!

 

 

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Budget Recap

During the last several months, I've given you a blow-by-blow analysis of the Republican budget and how it will negatively affect our state.

To no surprise, the budget passed, with no Democrats voting in favor and even several Republican members balking.

Gov. Scott Walker signed the 2015-17 budget on July 12, just one day before his official announcement for his candidacy for President.

This budget was and is a disaster for the people of Wisconsin. But donít just take my word for it: legislators from Gov. Walkerís own party complained about the $73 billion spending plan, including Republican state Representative Robert Brooks bluntly describing the budget as ďcrapĒ.

The Republican budget attacks Wisconsinís natural resources, by eliminating staff in the Department of Natural Resources and removing local control in shoreland zoning policies. In addition, the budget jeopardizes the quality of our studentsí education by slashing both K-12 funding and funding for the UW System. Governor Walker and legislative Republicans continue to dig in their heels and refuse to expand federal funding for Medicaid here in Wisconsin, leaving nearly 80,000 Wisconsinites uninsured while actually costing the state more money.

Through the budget, Republicans have waged a war against Mother Nature. The budget eliminated 30 science/education positions from the Department of Natural Resources, leading to a further shift from research-based conservation to pure politics.

The budget targets Wisconsinís invaluable water ways by targeting shoreland zoning policies, which exist to protect our water resources through regulations of activities on land. The budget drastically limits local control for counties over shoreland zoning. Dozens of existing county shoreland zoning ordinances - including Dane County's - have been invalidated because the budget prohibits ordinances that are more stringent than state standards. The Joint Finance Committee slipped in this change regarding shoreland zoning without public input, although there were many that were against this provision, including environmental groups and the Wisconsin Counties Association.

The budget not only targets Wisconsinís natural resources, but also Wisconsinís public education system. The budget expands the state's unaccountable voucher program in Wisconsin. As a result, the budget enables public school funding to be siphoned off to taxpayer-subsidized private schools. In other words, hard earned taxpayer dollars would not be going back into community schools, but going to unaccountable private schools.

In addition, the budget slashes $250 million in funding for the UW system. UW-Madisonís share of the cut is $59 million in base fees - in addition to the other necessary planned spending cuts, the total comes out to be $86 million. As a world renowned university, UW-Madison cannot afford to sacrifice its quality of education offered. It will surely become increasingly difficult for UW-Madison to attract prominent professors because they will choose to go to peer schools that are not under constant 'panic mode' due to budget cuts. A lowered standard at UW schools will eventually result in a lower-quality workforce that will be detrimental to our economy.

Other troubling budget-related items include:

  • Time and again, Republicans rejected hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicaid funds Ė funds that would insure 80,000 more Wisconsinites while saving the state money.
     

  • The budget committee slipped in unprecedented authority for payday lenders. Assembly Republicans doubled down on their support for this predatory industry. Fortunately, Gov. Walker vetoed this provision.
     

  • The budget cut the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund. Assembly Republicans rejected Democratsí attempts to restore this funding.
     

  • Republicans worked to lower wealthy Wisconsinitesí tax burdens while turning a cold shoulder to working families.
     

  • Republicans refused to consider important changes to the floundering Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
     

  • If not for public pushback, Republicans would have slipped in a sweeping repeal of Wisconsinís legislative sunshine law.

I voted against this budget due to its disastrous effects on so many people from all across Wisconsin. If you have any questions about the budget or about my vote, please do not hesitate to contact me.
 



I recently met with two remarkable young constituents who participated in the Wisconsin Youth Leadership Forum. I'm pictured here with Jason Ugarte and Andrew Brehmer, both from Sun Prairie. Also pictured is Ashley Knegendorf of YLF.

 


Please do not hesitate to contact me at:

Rep. Gary Hebl
PO Box 8952
Madison, WI 53708

(608) 266-7678
rep.hebl@legis.wi.gov

 

 

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