February 13, 2015

 
 
Dear Neighbor,

With the new year comes a new legislative session here in Wisconsin. I am honored to serve as your state representative from the 46th Assembly District.

I am now starting my sixth term in the state legislature, and I hope that legislators on both sides of the aisle can come together to pass meaningful policy that will benefit Wisconsin workers, protect the health of all Wisconsinites, and support our children through a strong public education system.

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.

With Warmest Regards,

GARY HEBL
State Representative
46th Assembly District
 

 

On January 5, I was honored to be sworn in for my sixth term as the State Representative for the 46th Assembly District

 


BREAKING DOWN THE BUDGET

You may be familiar with Wisconsin's popular SeniorCare program, which provides low-cost, life-saving prescription drugs to approximately 85,000 Wisconsin residents aged 65 or older.

Unlike Medicare Part D, SeniorCare has a simple enrollment process, a $30 annual enrollment fee, income-based deductibles and co-payments of just $5 for generic medications. SeniorCare has no strict enrollment period or penalty and no gaps in coverage. Most participants save hundreds of dollars each year by utilizing SeniorCareís prescription drug benefits instead of Medicare Part D.

Through SeniorCare, the State of Wisconsin is also able to save taxpayersí money, because, unlike the federal government, Wisconsin can negotiate the lowest prices for prescription drugs. That bargaining process has been so effective that in 2009, the average cost to support a SeniorCare enrollee was $588 a year, less than half the $1,690 cost to subsidize a Part D participant. That difference accounts for an annual savings of more than $90 million.

Governor Walkerís budget proposal would gut SeniorCare, cutting it by $15 million. This move would eliminate SeniorCare as we know it, forcing Wisconsinites on to Medicare Part D, a move which would reduce their coverage and increase their costs.

Governor Walker first tried to kill SeniorCare in his 2011 budget, which was met with great public opposition. Assembly Democrats organized a statewide petition drive, gathering and delivering 15,000 signatures to Republican leaders, pressuring them to save the popular prescription drug program.

We need to work hard to save SeniorCare. Once again, Assembly Democrats have begun a petition drive. You can sign the petition online here.

If you can help circulate SeniorCare petitions, I urge you to contact me at (608) 266-7678 or rep.hebl@legis.wi.gov and I can send you petitions for signatures.

Together, we can save SeniorCare!

 

Earlier this week, I visited several retirement homes in the 46th Assembly District to gather signatures to save SeniorCare. If you'd like to sign the online petition, go here.

 


 

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Governor Walker Unveils 2015-17 Budget Proposal

On February 3, Gov. Walker released his state budget proposal. Like many of you, I was shocked and disappointed by many of the provisions included in the budget. Over the next several e-updates, I will be including a segment called Breaking Down the Budget, in which I will dissect specific provisions in the budget that I find troubling. Here is a list of items I'll be discussing:

  1. A $300 million cut to the UW-System, including a $57 million cut to UW-Madison.
     
  2. Gutting SeniorCare by cutting $15 million from the program over the next two years.
     
  3. A move to create an autonomous UW.
     
  4. A freeze on the state's Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund.
     
  5. Turning the Natural Resources Board into an advisory board.
     
  6. Lifting the cap on private school vouchers.
     
  7. Borrowing $1.3 Billion for highways.
     
  8. Cutting Public Radio/Public Television by $2.5 million over the next two years.
     
  9. Changing the pay structure for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
     
  10. Changing School Accountability standards.
     

BREAKING DOWN THE BUDGET
 

UW-System Cuts Would Be Devastating to the 46th Assembly District

I have numerous concerns regarding the governorís budget plan, but felt it especially important to draw your immediate attention to the governorís proposal to gut the University of Wisconsin system by slashing $300 million from its budget.

This decision, if left unchanged, will have long-lasting, devastating effects on the economic wellbeing and the quality of life of those residing and operating businesses in the 46th Assembly District.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison estimates that this latest round of cuts, along with Gov. Walkerís cuts from 2013, will result in a $91 million budget hole for the university next year.

Given the governorís continued tuition freeze, UW-Madison will have few opportunities to offset these unprecedented cuts.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank has said that the university has already lost a preeminent researcher from the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, who withdrew from consideration due to proposed budget cuts. Top educators and researchers will inevitably look elsewhere if we continue to defund our universities, leading to a lower-quality education at what is now a top public university. The eventual result will be a lower-quality workforce in our area and across Wisconsin.

Businesses consistently list educational opportunities as one of the most important factors when looking to locate or expand in a certain area. They also consider local quality of life. UW-Madison serves as an economic and cultural hub for our district, and cutting its budget so drastically will have enduring, disastrous effects on our areaís growth potential.

Under Governor Walkerís budget, our higher education foundation will be crumbling. That foundation supports business interests across the state Ė and especially to local economies in close proximity to the stateís flagship university.

Our Assembly District includes some of the fastest-growing communities in the state. Our continued growth is unquestionably tied to the continued success of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

I urge you to contact Governor Walkerís office and express your opposition to these unacceptable and unforgiving cuts to one of the greatest economic partners our district has.

Governor Scott Walker
115 East Capitol
Madison, WI 53702

(608) 266-1212
govgeneral@wisconsin.gov

A successful UW means continued success for our communities. I donít see this as a partisan battle. I see it as a fight for the continued growth and wellbeing of our district.

It is imperative that we fight for the best interest of the 46th Assembly District.

On Wisconsin!

 

 

On Wednesday, February 11, my Assembly Democratic colleagues and I unveiled our '15 for 2015' economic agenda. The package includes 15 economic development bills that will help our state recover economically. Learn more about the package here.

 


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