Federal Stimulus

This week as extremely busy in Madison, as many committees held hearings on proposals for allocating the $3.2 billion in discretionary funding Wisconsin will receive through the federal American Rescue Plan Act.  In fact, I had three different committee hearings on April 6, all of which included ARPA proposals:

  • Workforce Development
    • Assembly Bill 237 requires the Governor to allocate sufficient funds to the state unemployment reserve fund as necessary to maintain the lowest unemployment insurance contribution rates.
  • Rural Development
    • Assembly Bill 235, which I introduced, requires the Governor to allocate $50 million for rural economic development programs and another $50 million for grants to farmers suffering financial hardship due to COVID.
    • Assembly Bill 239 requires the Governor to allocate $500 million for broadband expansion grants.
  • Jobs and the Economy
    • Assembly Bill 233 requires the Governor to allocate $200 million for grants to small businesses that suffered economic damages due to COVID.
    • Assembly Bill 234 requires the Governor to allocate $50 million for grants to nonprofit and governmental organizations that promote and develop tourism and another $25 million to amusement or theme parks for tourism marketing.

These committees approved each of these bills on April 7 and 8, with my support.  The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee held a hearing on the Senate companions to these and other ARPA proposals on April 7, and the Assembly will meet next week to vote on the package.

Budget (and Listening Sessions) Update

In addition to holding a hearing on the ARPA package, the Joint Finance Committee held agency briefings on the following agencies' budget requests:  Public Instruction, Workforce Development, Natural Resources, and the Public Services Commission.  The finance committee has also begun its "roadshow" public hearings, starting in Whitewater (April 9) and continuing through Rhinelander (April 21), and Menomonie (April 22), concluding with a virtual hearing on April 28.

I am happy to announce that I will be holding listening sessions of my own in the 75th Assembly District.  I will be taking comments from constituents about the budget at the following dates, times, and locations:

Monday, April 19, 1:30-2:30 PM

Barron County Government Center auditorium

335 E Monroe Ave, Barron

Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam), Assembly co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee, has graciously agreed to attend the Barron session, as well as a meeting with school officials from around the 75th District earlier that day.

Friday, April 23, 10:30-11:30 AM

Washburn County Services Center boardroom

304 2nd St, Shell Lake

Friday, April 23, 12:00-1:00 PM

Cumberland City Hall

950 1st Ave, Cumberland

Friday, April 23, 2:00-3:00 PM

Chetek City Hall

220 Stout St, Chetek

These listening sessions will be opportunities for residents of the 75th Assembly district to share their thoughts about the budget with me.  They are not opportunities to engage in debate, and while I don't know how many people to expect at each session, it's my hope that each attendee will be respectful of other attendees' time.  Attendees will be expected to follow any health and safety measures the host locations may require, including any masking or social distancing requirements.

If you're not able to attend an in-person listening session, feel free as always to contact my Capitol office to share your comments about the budget or other issues.  You may also submit budget comments directly to the Joint Finance Committee through their website or at Budget.Comments@legis.wisconsin.gov.

Legislative Website

If you are interested in learning more about bills that I have authored, co-sponsored, or voted on, please click here.  This link will take you directly to my Wisconsin State Legislative page.  Also, if you are interested in viewing my office website, click here.