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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It was another busy week at the Capitol this past week, and another one in store this week as well. This week has back to back committees in store, lobby days, and special visitors to the Capitol. To catch up on all that happened last week keep reading to learn more about how voucher schools cause taxpayers to pay twice, the Governor's People's Maps Commission, and more!

My office still has a good supply of Blue Books and State Highway Maps, so if you have interest in receiving one or both, please fill out this form or contact my office at rep.subeck@legis.wi.gov.

Hope you have a good week even though Jimmy the Groundhog saw his shadow yesterday, and also great Black History Month. If you have any questions or need assistance with any matter, please feel free to contact my office.

Lisa Subeck
State Representative
78th Assembly District

In This Weeks Update:

Supporting Two School Systems Means Taxpayers Pay Twice

Creation of the People's Maps Commission

The Abandonment of the Special Session on Agriculture

Memorial HS Gender Equity Association Visits Capitol

Tax Preparation Assistance Available

The Impact of UW on the 78th Assembly District

Week in Review

Wisconsin Fun Fact

Whats Happening?

Contact Me:

418 North, State Capitol

P.O. Box 8953

Madison, WI 53708

Phone: (608) 266-7521

Toll-Free: (888) 534-0078

Fax: (608) 282-3690

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Supporting Two School Systems Means Taxpayers Pay Twice

This week Legislative Democrats focused on the impact of private voucher schools on our public education system. As part of that discussion, I joined many of my colleagues in urging a hearing on Assembly Bill 299.

Our Wisconsin families overwhelmingly support our neighborhood public schools because these schools are the backbones of our communities. During the last election cycle, communities around the state resoundingly approved over $770 million in additional funding for their school districts through local referenda, despite the fact that this increases their property taxes.

As state funding of public education declined under the previous administration, property taxpayers have been forced to pay more. Locally, the statewide voucher program, which siphons money away from our neighborhood schools and gives it to private schools, has cost taxpayers in the Madison Metropolitan School District $656,753 and taxpayers in school districts statewide $110,125,445. While state funding for public schools increased in the most recent budget under Governor Evers’s administration, the voucher program continues drawing money out of public schools. We cannot afford to continue funding two school systems.

Taxpayers deserve to know the true cost of the private school voucher program. Earlier this session, Democratic legislators introduced Assembly Bill 299, which would provide taxpayers with an itemized accounting on their property tax bills of funding diverted from public to private schools. While private school special interest groups gathered in the State Capitol this week with their continued demands of more taxpayer dollars, I urge State Assembly leadership to allow a hearing on AB 299. Wisconsinites deserve to know how their tax money is being spent.

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Creation of the People’s Maps Commission

Gov. Evers this week signed Executive Order #66, establishing the People’s Maps Commission through an executive order, charging the commission to use the 2020 Census data to craft electoral maps free of partisan bias or advantage.

Democracy only works when constituents choose their representatives, not the other way around. Forty-six of Wisconsin’s seventy-two county boards have passed resolutions calling for these reforms. This speaks to the broader frustration that many in our community have expressed regarding the lack of transparency in state government and the blatant tampering with our voting districts.

It is clear that the state and the public lose out when politicians draw their own boundaries, and this the People’s Maps Commission will work to restore faith in the electoral process by making sure election rules and districts are fair, transparent, and non-partisan. I firmly believe that our state government should be more easily accessible and serve the needs of its voters rather than its politicians. Redrawing our state maps is a vital step in this endeavor.

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The Abandonment of the Special Session on Agriculture

In Governor Evers’s recent State of the State Address, he called for a special session to address the farm crisis in Wisconsin. Farmers are the backbone of our state’s economy, and they deserve our support as they and the communities they live in face increasing challenges.

Here of a full list of the proposals that were slated for the special session:

  • Farm Center Expansion
  • Wisconsin Initiative for Dairy Exports
  • Dairy Processor Grants
  • Regional Mental Health Coordinators
  • Value-Added Grants & Technical Support
  • UW Extension Agents
  • Farm-to-School Grants
  • Small Farm Diversity Grants

While the special session was scheduled for Tuesday, January 28th, the Republican leadership in both houses of the legislature decided to ignore this issue and refused to convene the session.

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Memorial HS Gender Equity Association Visits Capitol

It's always great when constituents stop by to chat, and on Thursday, I had the pleasure of speaking with the Gender Equity Association from James Madison Memorial High School about what it’s like to be a woman in the legislature. These young women definitely have bright futures, and are brimming with leadership potential! I look forward to see how they will change the world for the better.

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Tax Preparation Assistance Available

As you are likely aware, tax season started on January 27, 2020 meaning that as of this past Monday, you can start filing your tax returns with both the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR).

I wanted to take this opportunity to promote two helpful programs that the DOR is extremely proud to have developed. The first is VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program and the second is our Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program. Both programs are operated in partnership with the IRS, and the TCE is also operated in conjunction with the AARP Tax-Aide Foundation.

The goal of both programs is to recruit and train volunteers to provide free basic tax preparation for the disadvantaged, veterans, and the elderly. The eligibility guideline for VITA is generally persons with income of $56,000 or less, persons with disabilities, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. The (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly for those that are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.

Last year, the VITA and TCE sites filed 68,906 tax returns for Wisconsin residents. If we assume the average cost for a return prepared by a paid professional is $150, our volunteers saved Wisconsin taxpayers approximately $10.3 million in tax preparation fees. Also, through these programs, families and individuals in Wisconsin recovered approximately $75.5 million dollars in federal and state refunds; our VITA and TCE volunteers ensure that Wisconsin taxpayers are able to get the benefit of their Earned Income Tax Credit, their Homestead Credit, as well as other tax credits for families who qualify and that otherwise would not be able to claim.

There are close to 200 VITA and TCE sites throughout the state.

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The Impact of UW on the 78th Assembly District

This week I was provided a snapshot of how the the University of Wisconsin impacts the 78th Assembly District, Dane County and Wisconsin as a whole.  I thought I'd share with you some of the facts and statistics:

78th Assembly District
UW-Madison undergraduates living in the district: 487
UW-Madison employees living in the district: 2,553
UW-Madison Alumni living in the district: 9,347
Dollars Spent on vendors in district: $6,940,887.62

Dane County
UW-Madison undergraduates from Dane County (2019): 3,479
UW-Madison alumni living in Dane County: 60,000

UW-Madison undergraduate students: 16,863
UW-Madison new freshmen: 4,233
UW-Madison total state alumni: 169,550
UW-Madison's economic impact on the state: $15 Billion

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Week in Review

Governor Evers signed Executive Order #67, which creates a task force to address the student debt crisis in Wisconsin. The task force will provide long term strategies to reduce education-related debt, increase financial literacy education, and protect students from abusive loan practices. My Democratic colleagues and I are committed to finding solutions to help students and families avoid crippling debt.

Legislative Democrats this week unveiled a package of bills aimed at improving broadband expansion in Wisconsin. The "Better Broadband" package invests a $100 million increase to expand broadband access. The bills include grants to municipalities for improving broadband access,  protections for consumers, and legislation that address inaccuracies in the current service map. My colleagues and I believe that our state government should prioritize expanding rural broadband access. 

Governor Evers also signed several bi-partisan bills:
Assembly 119, which awards grants to homeless shelters and modifies administrative rules promulgated by the Department of Administration.

Assembly Bills 706-711, which ratifies the collective bargaining agreement for University of Wisconsin- Madison employees in the building trades crafts collective bargaining agreement for fiscal year 2018-19

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Wisconsin Fun Fact

Did you know Wisconsin banned the sale and use of yellow margarine from 1895 to 1967 in order to protect our dairy farmers? Wisconsinites could purchase an unappetizing white oleomargarine, but with a tax. When other surrounding states began to relax their oleo bans, many people drove across the state line into Iowa, Michigan or Minnesota to get their hands on the forbidden butter substitute.

While the ban has long been lifted, some restrictions on margarine remain today. It’s still illegal for a restaurant to serve margarine as a butter substitute unless the customer specifically requests it! It's also illegal for a school or prison to serve margarine unless an exception is specifically made for specific individuals.

Legislators in 1895 must have known what they were doing because at it turns out, margarine has four times the amount of trans-fat over good, old fashioned, Wisconsin butter.

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Things happening in the district & around Madison:

2020 Census Applicant Days
Monday, February 3, 2020

9 AM - 2 PM 
Madison Public Library - Central
201 W Mifflin St.

April 1, 2020 is Census Day and only 2 months from now! The Census Bureau needs to hire a lot of Madison residents to ensure a complete count of everyone who lives here - especially people who will not initially participate by phone, mail, or website. Recruiters from the U.S. Census will be spreading awareness and helping people apply on the spot with Applicant Days. Following up with every missed individual requires the work of many Census Takers. It's a great part-time job that will pay $22/hour in Dane County. (ages 18 and up)

Tax Assistance
Tuesday, February 4, 2020

9:30 AM - 1 PM
Sequoya Library - Meeting Rooms A & B
4340 Tokay Blvd., Madison

Tax assistance at Sequoya is by appointment only. Come in or call 266-6385 to register. We will begin taking appointments on January 21.

The VITA program is an IRS and Wisconsin DOR initiative designed to support free tax preparation service for the under served. In conjunction with the AARP, the VITA program offers free tax help to people who generally make $56,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns.

Some situations are outside the scope of the service -- ask if in doubt. You must have lived in Wisconsin for ALL of 2019 to use this service.


Scottish Country Dance: Adult Beginner Class
Wednesday, February 5, 2020

7 PM - 8:15 PM
James Madison Memorial High School
201 S. Gammon Rd., Madison

Jig instead of jog! Registration is now open for the Winter 2020 Adult Beginner Class through Madison School & Community Recreation. No partner necessary. Join us for 8 nights on Wednesdays beginning February 5, 7:00-8:15 pm at Memorial High School on Madison's west side. Register for Scottish Country Dance, course #23900 at http://www.mscr.org/

Neighborhood Meeting with Alder McKinney
Thursday, February 6, 2020

6 PM
Homewood Suites Madison West
479 Commerce Drive, Madison

Please join Alder Barbara McKinney for a neighborhood meeting where you will hear about Continental Properties' proposal to construct "The Springs at Pleasant View" at 3306 CTH M, located along S. Pleasant View Road, north of Mid Town Road.  The proposal is for 300 apartments with a mix of studio, 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom units in 15 two-story buildings on the 22.82 acre site.  The site is currently unincorporated and would require attachment to the City of Madison.  It is also currently zoned A-1 (Agriculture) and would require rezoning.  As part of the project, Mansion Hill Avenue would be extended to connect with S. Pleasant View Road.


UW American Indian Studies - 23rd Annual Evening of Storytelling
Friday, February 7, 2020

7 PM - 9 PM
UW Discovery Building, H.F. Deluca Forum
330 N. Orchard St., Madison

Traditional stories shared in Indigenous languages followed by English translation. Funding provided by the Anonymous and Knapp Funds and co-sponsored by the Departments of English, Anthropology, and Language Sciences.

Winter Carnival Family Fun
Saturday, February 8, 2020

12 PM - 3 PM
Alumni Park at UW-Madison
724 Langdon St., Madison

Join Badgers of all ages for an afternoon of family-friendly, winter-themed activities. This is a great chance to experience Alumni Park in winter as you enjoy an outdoor dance party and views of Lady Liberty on the lake. Then, head inside One Alumni Place to warm up with winter-themed storytelling, art activities, and complimentary hot cocoa and apple cider.

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