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October 13, 2017
    

Contents

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Blue Books Available

The 2017-18 Wisconsin Blue Books are here! If you would like a complimentary copy, email Rep.Novak@legis.wisconsin.gov  and make sure to include your name and address.

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 Governor Walker Visits Belmont and Dodgeville

This week, Governor Walker visited the 51st Assembly District to advocate for increased sparsity aid and praise new funding for broadband expansion.

On Tuesday, the Governor visited Belmont Community Schools to show his support for increased sparsity aid for rural schools. This bill, authored by Representative Mursau and Senator Marklein would increase the amount of sparsity aid that is received by rural schools to an amount higher than the amount originally proposed in the Governor's budget. I have chosen to sponsor this legislation that would provide an increase from $300 per pupil to $400 in sparsity aid for districts with 745 students or less.

On Thursday, he visited Amery Telecom Inc. to bring attention to $7.5 million in broadband expansion grants in 2018. These grants are intended to provide reimbursement for expenses incurred by constructing new broadband networks. The Governor and I agree that broadband is important to both our local businesses and economic growth as well as for educating both young and old residents of rural Wisconsin. 

Thank you Governor Walker for visiting and showing your support for these important issues.

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Wisconsin Tax Burden Drops Below National Average

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released information showing that Wisconsin's state and local tax burden was .3% below the national average. The data, from 2015, is the most recent information they have available.

The above graphic shows how Wisconsin's tax burden stacks up against the national average. While total taxes and sales tax are .3%  and 17% lower, respectively, personal income tax and property tax are above the national average.

Everybody can agree that efficient government is the best government. I look forward to working to keep a reasonable tax burden for Wisconsin residents.

 

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Foster Care Task Force in Milwaukee

The Speakers Task Force on Foster Care wrapped up its 5th hearing this week in Milwaukee. We heard from both experts and participants in Wisconsin's largest foster care system. With only one hearing remaining, we have begun to work on legislation based on the information we gathered at these hearings.

Continuing education has shown to be a top concern at these hearings. Pursuing a degree after high school is instrumental to a successful transition to adulthood for these youth. Without a steady guardian to help with college preparations, higher education arrangements are frequently overlooked and neglected. Even after enrollment, cost is always a factor. Earlier in the 2017-2018 session, I began to work on a bill to provide tuition waivers for youth who have aged out of our foster care system. After participating in these hearings, I have discovered some ways to improve this legislation to better serve those who have aged out of foster care. 

I look forward to wrapping up these hearings and getting to work on legislation that will hopefully provide some meaningful change to this important system.