July 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


Web Site:












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.



Summer in Wisconsin
Now Through Sept. 3

Exuding the energy of the gallery's favorite time of year, this comprehensive, biennial exhibition features new work by 33 of Wisconsin's talented artists in a diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, photography and furniture. CLICK HERE for additional information.

Tory Folliard Gallery (MAP)
233 N. Milwaukee Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 273-7311



Fireworks Kite Festival

July 3 Starting at 11 a.m.

Kick-off the 4th of July holiday with some kite flying and fireworks on Milwaukee's lakefront. The Kite Society of Wisconsin and Illinois in conjunction with U.S. Bank and Milwaukee County Parks hosts the event which will aim to fly as many kites as possible and then watch fireworks shoot off right over the water. This is a great event to enjoy with family or friends. Kites will fly from 11 a.m. through 6:30 p.m. and then again from 7:30 p.m. until fireworks begin at 9:25 p.m.


Veterans Park (MAP)

1010 Lincoln Memorial Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202

(414) 257-7275



Independence Day Celebration

July 3 at Noon
Celebrate our country's birthday at this kid-friendly event by creating a paper flag from noon to 2 p.m. in the Artist's Studio. This event is free with regular admission. Please CLICK HERE for additional information.


Betty Brinn Children's Museum (MAP)
929 E. Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 390-5437








































































































































































































































































































































Dear Friend,


Thank you for contacting me previously about important local and state issues. Given your advocacy and interest in staying informed on what is going on across Wisconsin, I have added you to my Larson Report email distribution list. I created the Larson Report to be a free, weekly email newsletter that provides timely legislative updates.

If you do not wish to continue receiving these updates, please reply to this email with the word “unsubscribe” in the subject line.

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




Budget Goes Into Effect Today

The irresponsible actions by the Republican majority are moving Wisconsin in the wrong direction and it will take years to correct the damage that has been done. This backwards budget will be remembered when regular citizens seek to hold Republicans accountable for their broken promises and misplaced priorities. Continue reading for brief summaries detailing how this budget will affect education, health care, public transit, the environment, and taxes and spending in our communities.



Education faces substantial cuts under the Republican budget, which will strip approximately $1.6 billion from education statewide. These decimating cuts will hit some communities harder than others and are expected to be especially detrimental to children in Milwaukee and the surrounding area. To see how much our children's education and the funding for neighborhood schools will be cut by the budget, please see the chart below:



Cuts Per Pupil1

Cuts Per District2

Cudahy $1,086 $4,949,481
Milwaukee $1,012 $161,659,072
Oak Creek $978 $10,854,467
Saint Francis $1,022 $1,754,714
South Milwaukee $1,006 $5,799,512


The next generation should have the same or better educational opportunities than we enjoyed. These devastating cuts break that promise by severely limiting educational opportunities. Programs that were cut completely from the budget include: P-5 grants, Advanced Placement, nursing service grants, and children at risk.3


Unfortunately, the damage that will be done by this budget will have a lasting impact. Our children only have one shot at third grade, fourth grade, and so on. I do not know anyone who would trade in their child's education just to have a wider road, but that is exactly what this budget does by not making education a priority.


Fiscal References:

1. Legislative Fiscal Bureau, "Potential Revenue Limit Changes for School Districts Under Governor’s and
Legislature’s 2011-13 Budget," pgs. 6-14 (CLICK HERE)

2. Department of Public Instruction, "Comparison of Revenue Limits Changes: Current Law and JFC Action," pg. 7 (CLICK HERE)

3. Department of Public Instruction, "General School Aids and Revenue Limits," pg. 492 (CLICK HERE)



Our state's health safety net was also attacked under the Republican's budget proposal. Nearly $500 million was cut from Medicaid programs, which will have an especially devastating effect on neighbors living in Milwaukee County. Notable health care cuts are listed below:

  • Only extends SeniorCare through 2012, bringing uncertainty to the long-term availability of the program, which is a cheaper option to Medicare Part D for our seniors and taxpayers.

  • Places a cap on the FamilyCare program, which provides access to vital health services for frail seniors and individuals with disabilities. There are currently 2,000 people on the FamilyCare waiting list in Milwaukee County alone.

  • Substantially restricts women's access to preventative health care, including: cancer screenings, pap tests, birth control and medical exams.

  • Reduces the eligibility and services for BadgerCare, which provides services to working families and had a wait-list of 50,000 Wisconsinites in June 2010.

These vital health care programs ensure that our families and neighbors are able to receive quality, affordable health care to prevent costly emergency room visits. These programs also help keep loved ones out of nursing homes and in-patient facilities, saving taxpayers money.


According to a recently-released WISPIRG study, Wisconsin taxpayers will be footing roughly $2 billion to fund questionable and unnecessary transportation projects in the Republican budget rather than putting those funds towards local roads and public transit. In addition to a loss of $77 million in shared revenue, the following communities can expect cuts to state transportation funds in the amounts listed below:


Cudahy = $98,181

Milwaukee = $2,546,188

Oak Creek = $164,524

Saint Francis = $65,933

South Milwaukee = $90,118


Having a well-supported public transit system is vital to maintaining and creating jobs in our community. According to the Milwaukee County Transit systems, on average 140,000 rides are provided daily. Of these, 39% are commuters traveling to and from work, another 5% are heading to job interviews, and 11% are students making their way to classes to learn valuable skills for their future careers.



Wisconsin has a long tradition of protecting our natural resources, as they are not just a part of our landscape, but a part of who we are as stewards of this great state. The Republican budget contained several provisions that leave our state's natural resources and remaining wild areas vulnerable, including:

  • Cuts funding for recycling programs by 40%, shifting the burden to our local communities. According to Recycle More Wisconsin, current recycling programs keep 1.69 million tons of materials out of Wisconsin's landfills, supports 97,000 jobs and contributes $5.4 billion to our state's economy.

  • Eliminates $26 million in Stewardship program funding, which safeguards Wisconsin's precious lands and valuable natural resources for today and tomorrow.

  • Reduces funding for the Focus on Energy program that promotes in-state economic development, helps Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, and protects our environment. In the past 10 years, more than 91,000 businesses and more than 1.7 million residents used the program and saved $2.20 for every $1 spent on average.

  • Eliminates the Office of Energy Independence, which provides long-term planning and development of fuels, technologies and business practices in Wisconsin to reduce our state's dependence on foreign energy resources.

  • Eliminates the Renewable Grants and Loan Program and the Green to Gold Program. The former provides incentives for Wisconsin businesses to develop renewable technologies including biofuels, while the latter helps Wisconsin's industries lower their energy costs and encourages job creation and growth.

  • Repeals water quality standards that require communities to reduce the total amount of suspended solids in local water supplies. Without such regulations to protect our water quality, sewerage waste, toxic chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides could make their way into our drinking water and lakes, and significantly harm the health of our families and communities.


The Republican budget broke significant fiscal promises by increasing spending by over $1 billion compared to the last budget, raising taxes and fees by over $180 million, and raiding $411 million from segregated funds. Not only did they increase spending and raise taxes, but they did it on the backs of Wisconsin workers, middle-class families, children and seniors rather than having all Wisconsinites share the burden. This budget also favors CEOs and big corporations by creating a $196 million corporate slush fund and $2.3 billion in tax giveaways.


All of the information from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau about the budget, unless otherwise specified, can be found by CLICKING HERE.


Information specific to the City of Milwaukee is also available. Please CLICK HERE for a budget impact summary provided by city officials.




50 Budget Provisions Vetoed

Governor Walker signed the Republican budget into law this past Sunday, June 26. Given that Wisconsin currently has one of the most powerful executive branches in the country, Governor Walker had the ability to make significant alterations to the budget through line-item vetoes.

I joined fellow legislators in submitting bipartisan requests to veto provisions that were slipped into the budget by Joint Finance Committee Co-Chairs Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. Robin Vos in the middle of the night. Governor Walker vetoed 50 items from the budget, and while he vetoed provisions to reinstate the Milwaukee mandate, he decided to leave anti-small business provisions related to craft brewers in the final version of the budget.


The Milwaukee mandate provision that was vetoed would have once again stuck taxpayers with covering the salary and benefits of Milwaukee police officers who were fired with cause, such as violating our laws. When this unfair mandate was previously in place it cost taxpayers over $4.5 million. In 2008, the Legislature voted 95-0 in the Assembly and 30-3 in the Senate to repeal the mandate by passing 2007 WI Act 114. This legislative change has saved Milwaukee taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past two years and we can assume it will result in additional savings for years to come.

Unfortunately, the new provisions placed on craft brewers, supported by Governor Walker and Republican legislators, remained in the final version of the budget and will prevent local craft breweries from being able to expand and create much-needed jobs in Wisconsin. Motion #414 makes sweeping changes to Chapter 125 of Wisconsin Statutes including taking away the wholesale and retail licenses from brewers and eliminating the ability of brewers to sell existing retail or conduct wholesale operations separately from the brewing operation.


Please CLICK HERE for more information from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau about the 50 executive vetoes.

To view a copy of the letter requesting a veto of the mandate on Milwaukee, please CLICK HERE.


To view a copy of the letter requesting a veto of the budget provisions related to craft breweries, please CLICK HERE.



Changes to Voting Laws in Wisconsin

Primary, general and special elections are fast-approaching. Given the recent changes to Wisconsin's voting laws, I have included a handout to provide you with updated information on voting procedures for this summer's elections. Please contact me if you have any questions.


CLICK HERE to view the changes to Wisconsin's voting laws.




Celebrating the 4th of July

The anniversary of our nation's Independence Day is this upcoming Monday. Join family, friends and neighbors in celebrating the past events that cemented our nation's fundamental rights and freedoms. It is also an important time to remember those in uniform who have served or are currently serving to protect our freedom and keep us safe.


Almost every city in our community will be hosting 4th of July events this year that will include parades, games, ceremonies and fireworks. Continue reading to see what events will be going on in the Milwaukee area on Monday, July 4.



Neighbors will be meeting in Cudahy's Sheridan park this year to celebrate our nation's independence. On Monday, July 4, join in celebrating with the community by attending the morning parade, listening to music performances by local artists, playing games, enjoying various ceremonies and watching fireworks after dusk. CLICK HERE for more information.



Join in celebrating the 4th of July holiday with Milwaukee in parks throughout the city. Families and friends can gather throughout the day for picnics, games, performances and parades. At night the sky is filled with fireworks bursting across the city. CLICK HERE for a list of participating parks and the events that will be available at each location.

Oak Creek

Attend Oak Creek's annual celebration on Monday, July 4, which will include a parade with the theme "America the Beautiful," baseball games, and fireworks.  The parade starts at 9 a.m. on the corner of Groveland Drive and Shepard Avenue and winds its way through the city ending at the Legion. CLICK HERE for more information about the day's events.


South Milwaukee
July 4th festivities for the City of South Milwaukee will be located at the Brown Pavilion (Areas 5 and 6) in Grant Park. Community members and visitors will be able to participate in races, games, parades and enjoy a spectacular fireworks display. Food and refreshments will be available in the Brown Pavilion. Please note that the parking lot on the east end of area 5 will be closed for the day for the fireworks display. CLICK HERE for more information and a listing of events for the day.

St. Francis
Celebrate with your neighbors at this year's 4th of July event at Vretenar Park in St. Francis. Celebration-goers will experience a parade, flag raising, games, pie baking contest, talent show, karaoke, fireworks and more. Concessions will be available throughout the day. Please leave your grills and coolers at home as this event is sponsored by local businesses. Proceeds will be used to fund future 4th of July celebration events. Please CLICK HERE for a more detailed event list.



Our community will be hosting its cornerstone summer celebration, Summerfest, from June 29 through July 10. Over the course of 11 days, Marcus Amphitheater plus an additional 10 stages will present over 700 bands for music lovers to enjoy at Henry Maier Festival Park against the backdrop of Milwaukee’s downtown and beautiful Lake Michigan. Along with over a week of music, festival-goers can enjoy a diverse selection of foods and beverages, marketplaces, interactive exhibits, family-focused entertainment and activities, and fireworks on opening day.

Summerfest attracts 800,000 to 1 million festival-goers each year, rightfully earning the title of the “World’s Largest Music Festival.” It gives people in our community an opportunity to partake in a unique music and entertainment experience by enjoying popular performers such as Jason Mraz, Elusive Parallelograms, Girl Talk, and REO Speedwagon, and also provides emerging artists a venue for displaying their talents.

Summerfest is a great way to support our local economy, while at the same time enjoying music from both local and nationally known talent. Last year Summerfest generated approximately $180 million in direct and indirect economic impact for our community. Summerfest helps to boost sales for neighborhood restaurants and businesses while simultaneously supporting local musicians and artists.

For more information on the activities and line-up for this year's Summerfest, please CLICK HERE.




Summer Activities in Our Community

Our community offers a wide variety of summer activities for families, children and adults alike. Below are just a few activities that you can take part in this summer.


Visit Our Neighborhood Pools

Get some relief from the heat this summer by visiting our local neighborhood pools. Many of the pools in our community offer swimming lessons or open swims. CLICK HERE for a list of neighborhood pools, hours of operation and pricing information.

Third Ward Ghost Walk

The original Milwaukee ghost tour introduces you to the history, folklore, and modern paranormal reports of this unique, storied community. Enjoy largely unknown tales uncovered and the latest updates gathered from a network of local historians, academics and paranormal researchers.

You will hear tales of haunted history, ghost stories, folklore, and recent reports of paranormal activity as you stroll through this charming art district once a rough and mysterious 19th Century ghetto known as the "Bloody Third." Ghost walks are available Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. or by appointment from May through November. The cost is $10 per person. To make a reservation, please call (414) 367-8326 or CLICK HERE for more information.




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