July 16, 2015

Why I Voted Against the State Budget

The full Assembly passed the 2015-17 biennial budget by a vote of 52-46 late last week.   


Over the past several months, I’ve heard from many of you about ways to improve our state’s two-year spending plan and what I, as a legislator, should work to prioritize. With your feedback, I truly believe that I’ve been effective in taking the governor’s original proposal and making it better for the people of southwest Wisconsin.

I’m pleased that this budget prioritizes our public schools and makes a $200 million investment in our K-12 system. It also moves to save SeniorCare, and ensures our ADRCs and IRIS are maintained for our most vulnerable.

While I am proud of the progress that my colleagues and I made in improving this budget, I felt that ultimately I could not in good conscience support its final passage.
Although there is a reduction in the amount of borrowing in this budget, I continue to fear that our state’s transportation spending is on an unsustainable path. With an aging infrastructure and a stagnant source of transportation revenues, this budget does not go far enough in addressing our state’s long-term transportation needs.

Many of you have also shared with me your concerns with the effects that this budget will have on public education. As a parent of two, I strongly believe that it’s our responsibility to ensure that our students, whether in our K-12 system or in our universities, receive the support they need to be successful. Sadly, I believe this budget falls short in this measure.

As an independent voice for our community in the state legislature, I will continue to work hard to represent your views in our state Capitol. The input I received from many of you was crucial in helping me reaching this decision, and I believe that my vote on this budget best reflects the views of our district.


Message Regarding the Governor's Budget Vetoes

Before signing the state budget into law on Sunday, Governor Walker vetoed a number of provisions within the two-year spending plan. Unfortunately, included in his list of vetoes were a few programs that I had championed on behalf of our district.

We all know that there has been a dramatic uptick in the use of illicit drugs in our community. Since Lafayette County is the only county in our district that doesn’t belong to a drug task force to fight these crimes, I was able to secure $100,000 in this budget to help the county combat this epidemic. Citing the funding as a budget earmark in his veto message, the governor’s office has indicated to me that they support the concept of this program, but would like to see the funding provided through another avenue – perhaps through the state Department of Justice. Although a setback, I’ll continue to work with Lafayette Co. Sheriff Reg Gill to find a way to best address this need.

To see a full listing of items vetoed from the state budget, click here:  Vetoed Items.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation Free Traffic App

511 Wisconsin travel information launches tool for better route planning.

According to a release from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), a new free smart phone application has been launched that provides statewide travelers with information on traffic incidents, delays/backups, closures/detours, work zones, and weather-related road conditions. The application is available on both Apple and Android devices, and provides up-to-date traffic related information via traffic alerts that can be programmed to align with your favorite travel areas.

Other features of the application include:
• Nearly 400 traffic camera live-feeds to view road conditions;
• Travel times and speeds for highly traveled routes;
• Road work information, to include dates and times of full closures and lane restrictions; and
• Incident notifications.

To download the free application:

As safety is WisDOT’s top priority; users of the app must acknowledge that use will not occur while operating a motor vehicle.





As always, if you have any comments or thoughts regarding the subject of this
E-Update, please feel free to contact me.

If you would like to be removed from future mailings, email me and ask to unsubscribe.

State Capitol Room 304 North - PO Box 8953, Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-7502
Email: Rep.Novak@legis.wisconsin.gov