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A Note from Rep. Edming

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Welcome to another edition of my e-update. It is hard to believe that it is already the middle of March. Along with many events in the district, I have been very busy in Madison, now that the state budget process is underway.

I look forward to sharing with you what I have been up to this week. If you have any comments on the state budget or anything else regarding state affairs, I would like to hear them. Feel free to contact my office and let me know.


First Glance at the State Budget

In my job as your state representative, one of the most important things that I do each session is help decide on a new two-year spending plan for the state during the state budget process.  That process began when Governor Tony Evers announced his 2019-'21 State Budget proposal on February 28th.  Since the introduction of that 1,148-page bill, I have been reviewing this proposal and having conversations with my legislative colleagues on how to create a budget that works for the people of Wisconsin.  While my review of the governor's budget is far from complete, I wanted to share some of my thoughts from my review so far. 

As I mentioned in a previous e-update, Governor Evers' $83.5 billion budget proposal increases spending by over $6 billion compared to the current state budget.  Last fall while running for governor, Governor Evers said that he was not planning to raise any taxes.  However, under the budget he proposed late last month, taxes and fees would rise by about $1.3 billion over the next two years.  Recently, the governor referred to this increase as "small."  I am not sure how anyone could call a tax increase of over a billion dollars small.  With Wisconsin’s strong economy and a budget surplus in the range of $600 million, I see no need for the massive tax increase that the governor has proposed.

In addition, if the governor's budget became law as introduced, it would create a structural deficit of approximately $1.7 billion going into the 2021-'23 State Budget.  Due to responsible budgeting by Republicans over the past eight years, Wisconsin is fiscally strong.  I am concerned that if Governor Evers' budget is enacted as written that it could set up our state for fiscal problems down the road.

Along with the fiscal concerns, I am concerned with a number of policy items the governor proposed that are well out of line with the priorities of many people in the 87th Assembly District.  These include things like the repealing of our state's Voter ID law, repealing the work requirements for people on welfare, redirecting state funding to Planned Parenthood, and providing in-state tuition at our state's tech colleges and universities to illegal immigrants.  I know that many of my constituents are opposed to these policy changes and many more contained in the governor's budget proposal.

With that said, as I often tell folks around the district, Tony Evers is my governor and I am willing to work with him when I believe his policies are in the best interest of the people of the 87th District.  I believe that there are some areas where Republicans and Governor Evers have some common ground such as better supporting our state's criminal justice system and continuing the effort from the last budget to provide more resources for K-12 education.  As the state budget process unfolds over the next several months, I hope the governor is willing to come to the table and work with the Republican-controlled legislature to craft a budget that is fiscally responsible and funds our priorities.  


Bear Management Plan Update

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been working on updating its bear management plan and will begin taking public comment starting on March 25th.  The DNR will also be presenting the plan at six informational sessions around the state.  The nearest sessions to the 87th District are on Monday, April 1st at UW-Eau Claire-Barron County in Rice Lake and Tuesday, April 2nd at UW-Stevens Point-Wausau in Wausau. Both meetings are scheduled from 7-9 PM.  Click here for more information on these sessions.  I encourage anyone interested in learning more about the department's plan to attend one of these sessions and provide your feedback.

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Under the Dome

Meeting with the Wisconsin Association of Professional Agricultural Consultants 

On Tuesday, I met with Rod Ellwanger, a constituent visiting the Capitol with the Wisconsin Association of Professional Agricultural Consultants.  Rod is a crop consultant who assists farmers with nutrient management and other planning. I enjoyed speaking with him about the association's priorities for this legislative session.

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Around the 87th

Congratulations to the 87th's Newest Eagle Scout

This past Sunday, I was honored to attend the Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Kodiak Calkins of Troop 45. I am always amazed by the young men who are able to attain this distinguished achievement. Congratulations, Kodiak, and keep up the great work!

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Holy Rosary Lenten Fish and Shrimp Dinner

Last Friday, I enjoyed a delicious fish and shrimp dinner at Holy Rosary Parish in Medford.  In addition to an outstanding meal, it was great to chat with a number of my constituents as well.  If you missed out on last week's dinner you're in luck.  Holy Rosary will be holding another dinner on Friday, March 22nd from 4:00-7:30 PM.

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Stay Up to Date

One of the best ways to stay up to date with what is going on in Madison is to sign up for the legislature's notification tracking service. This service allows you to follow legislative activity in Madison. Once you create a free account you can sign up to receive notifications about specific bills or committees as well as legislative activity pertaining to a subject area (i.e. agriculture, veterans). You can sign up for this service at notify.legis.wisconsin.gov.