April 1, 2011



Please feel free to contact me with any concerns or opinions you might have.

Office Phone: (608) 266-7505
Toll-free Phone: (800) 361-5487



Mailing Address:

State Capitol
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707












Supporting our neighbors and being involved in our community is of the utmost importance. Some community events that might be of interest to you and your family are listed below.


33rd Annual Latin American Film Series
April 1 through April 8
The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, UWM Union Programming, the Union Theatre and The Department of Film present this week-long celebration of Latin American film. Admission is free to all screenings, which will be shown in their original language with English subtitles. CLICK HERE for more information and a complete schedule of showtimes and films.


UWM Union Theatre (MAP)
2200 East Kenwood Blvd.

Madison, WI 53211
(414) 229-5986



The Knightwind Ensemble: Music of the Heart

April 3 at 3 p.m.

Attend the Knightwind Ensemble's spring concert, featuring the magnificent "Third Symphony" of James Barnes, along with music by composers Philip Sparke, Richard Wagner and Malcolm Arnold. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Please CLICK HERE for additional information.


South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (MAP)

901 15th Avenue

South Milwaukee, WI 53172

(414) 766-5048



Tornado Alley

Now Showing, Showtimes Vary

Experience the adrenaline and science of nature's most dramatic phenomena. This film takes audiences on a thrilling quest to experience a tornado's destructive power at point blank range. CLICK HERE to find out more.


Milwaukee Public Museum (MAP)

800 W. Wells Street

Milwaukee, WI 53202

(414) 278-2702




























































































Dear Friend,

A big 'thank you' to those who were able to attend the town hall meeting this Tuesday. It was great to discuss education issues important to our community.


Hearings have started on the 2011-2013 Biennial Budget. The Joint Finance Committee conducted agency hearings this week to analyze the contents of various agency budgets. Public hearings will also be starting soon. The time, dates and locations are included in this newsletter. 


As usual, please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or opinions you may have about our community or our state.


Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7




Concerns Grow Over Budget Proposal

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) held agency hearings this week to discuss various provisions in the 2011-2013 Biennial Budget. Committee members heard testimony from a dozen agencies including the Department of Administration, Department of Revenue and Department of Public Instruction (DPI).


As the hearings progressed committee members raised concerns over a number of budget items. One potentially troubling provision in the budget for the Department of Children and Families (DCF) will allow the DCF Secretary to make changes to the WisconsinShares program without legislative input or oversight (LFB Summary, page 102, item 7).


The budget also contains provisions that could have a negative impact on our working families with the reduction and elimination of key tax credits and desperately-needed employment resources. This proposed budget takes away funds supporting the Earned Income Tax Credit, which will result in a tax increase for working families. For a two-parent, two-child family, this will amount to an increase of over $300 on their income taxes (LFB Summary, page 184, item 4). Additionally, the Transitional Jobs Demonstration Project will be eliminated, which will cut approximately 2,000 jobs and instead place these individuals on Wisconsin's unemployment rolls (LFB Summary, page 102, item 6).


Some of the most disconcerting provisions of Governor Walker's budget detail devastating cuts to K-12 and higher education, causing alarm with regard to our children's educational opportunities. Our community schools will lose over $750 million in state funding, as stated in DPI's departmental budget (LFB Memo, 3/15/11). Students seeking to attend college or technical school will also face significant economic challenges including tuition hikes that could amount to as much as a 10 percent increase under this budget as tuition reciprocity parity between Minnesota and Wisconsin is eliminated and UW-Madison is split off from the UW System (LFB Summary page 459, item 1, page 497). Aid to technical colleges is likewise cut by $71 million, limiting Wisconsin's essential job-training programs that retrain our workforce for skilled jobs (LFB Summary, page 533, items 4 and 5).


The Joint Finance Committee agency hearings will continue into next week along with the beginning of public hearings on the budget. CLICK HERE to view the schedule for next week's JFC agency hearings. If you would like to watch the agency hearings but are unable to attend them in person, feel free to view the meetings online at by CLICKING HERE for WisconsinEye's Web site.


To view a copy of the Legislative Fiscal Bureau's summary of the Governor's 2011-2013 Biennial Budget, please CLICK HERE.




Aerotropolis: Vital Local Economic Opportunity

General Mitchell International Airport has long been an important fixture in our community and an economic asset. This January marked the Mitchell Airport's 17th straight month of record passenger growth. Additionally, Mitchell Airport ranked among the top 30 fastest-growing airports in the world in 2010, according to Airports Council International.


The Mitchell Airport is key to improving the vitality of businesses in the surrounding neighborhoods through the creation of the Milwaukee Gateway Aerotropolis Corportaion. This non-profit organization is tasked with marketing the unique economic development opportunities available near the airport to further grow our local economy. Aerotropolis communities, like the one we have have right here in Milwaukee County, have been gaining increasing attention and praise. Time magazine recently named aerotropolis one of the 10 ideas that will change the world.


If you would like to learn more about the aerotropolis concept and how it will benefit our community, I encourage your to participate in the upcoming teleforum on Friday, April 15th. Participants will be able to interact over the phone with John D. Kasarda, leading developer of the aerotropolis concept and co-author of the new book Aerotropolis: The Way We'll Live Next. To participate, either sign-up in advance by CLICKING HERE, or call toll-free to 877-229-8493 at the start of the event, and enter ID code 16290.




Public Hearings on Budget Announced

The Joint Finance Committee has announced the dates, times and locations for the official public hearings on the Biennial Budget Adjustment Bill. The information for these hearings are provided below:


Thursday, April 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Lee Dreyfus University Center's Melvin Laird Room at UW-Stevens Point (Stevens Point, WI)

Friday, April 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Northwood School Richardís Auditorium on Highway 53 (Minong, WI)

Monday, April 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Expo Center Hall A at State Fair Park (West Allis, WI)

Wednesday, April 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Arcadia High School Auditorium (Arcadia, WI)


Because the budget has far-reaching implications for many citizens, including those in our community, Milwaukee Caucus members and I requested that the Joint Committee on Finance hold a formal public hearing in Milwaukee to discuss Walker's 2011-2013 budget proposal. Unfortunately, the committee has not scheduled a public hearing in our state's largest city, Milwaukee. I will be sure to keep you apprised of any changes to the current public hearing schedule on the recently-introduced budget proposal.




UW-Milwaukee Town Hall Recap

Around 150 neighbors attended the Town Hall Meeting at UW-Milwaukee to discuss education-related provision in the 2011-2013 Biennial Budget.
Senators Taylor, Coggs and I participated in the community meeting along with our colleagues in the Assembly, Representatives Pasch, Richards, Sinicki, Zamarripa, Krusick, and Toles. Republican Milwaukee-area legislators were also invited to the meeting, but chose not to attend.

For three and a half hours, neighbors discussed their concerns about how the drastic cuts to education in the current budget will negatively impact our local schools.
Thank you to everyone that attended. There were thoughtful questions and a strong dialogue about the future of Wisconsin's children and schools.



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