LARSON REPORT

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER


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December 04, 2014

     

 













 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONTACT ME


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

Email:
Sen.Larson@legis.wi.gov

 

Mailing Address:

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

 

Web Site:

SenatorChrisLarson.com

 

Find Me on Facebook and Twitter:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMUNITY EVENTS
 

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. 


 

Disney's The Lion King

Date: Friday, Nov. 14 through Sunday, Dec. 7.

Location: Milwaukee

Description: The award-winning musical returns to Milwaukee on Friday, Nov. 14. From the unforgettable score, to the breathtaking sets and props, you will not want to miss this show. Tickets range from $24 to $116. CLICK HERE for more information about the show.

The Milwaukee Theatre (MAP)
500 W. Kilbourn Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53222

 

 

Skywaukee

Date: Saturdays, November 15 through December 13, 1:00 p.m.

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Take a winter walking tour of historic Milwaukee, all without braving the cold. The "Skywaukee" indoor tour of Milwaukee's best sites takes place in Milwaukee's skywalk system. Skywaukee is operated by Historic Milwaukee, Inc., and is led by a certified HMI tour guide. The tour is free for non-HMI members and children under 6, and $10 for all other adults. CLICK HERE for more information.

 

Plankinton Building (MAP)

161 W. Wisconsin Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53203
 

 

Milwaukee County Winter Farmers Market

Date: Saturdays, Nov. 1 through Apr. 11.

Location: Milwaukee

Description: The indoor Milwaukee Farmers Market starts early November, and encourages community members to buy local. The Farmer's market takes place at the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory. On Saturdays from 9 AM to 1 PM, enjoy the wide array of Farmer's Market offerings including fresh herbs, grass-fed meats, free-range eggs, baked goods, seasonal jams, and more.

 

Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (MAP)

524 S Layton Blvd
Milwaukee, WI 53215

 

 

Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival
Date: Now through Sunday, Dec. 28
Location: Milwaukee
Description: This six-week festival will spread holiday spirit with animated light displays in Cathedral Square Park, Pere Marquette Park, and Zeidler Union Square, as well as hundreds of events. Marvel at the spectacular sights aboard the convenient Jingle Bus, a Coach U.S.A. bus that takes visitors on a 40-minute tour. For $1 per person, visitors can relish in the holiday spirit while admiring a festive panorama. The tour is narrated by Milwaukee Downtown's Public Service Ambassadors who will acquaint riders with key attractions and landmarks. Tours operate Thursdays through Sundays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. from the Shops of Grand Avenue.

South Milwaukee Christmas Market

Date: Saturday, Dec. 6, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: South Milwaukee
Description: This indoor version of the Downtown market features a variety of vendors selling arts, crafts, organics, baked goods, and more. For this special market, live music with the Horns a Plenty Christmas will be featured at 11:00 a.m.

South Milwaukee High School (MAP)
801 15th Avenue
South Milwaukee, WI 53172

MKE Foodies Holiday Bake Sale
Date: Saturday, Dec. 6, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Downtown Milwaukee
Description: The third annual MKE Foodies Bake Sale is a great place to pick up holiday treats, and all for a good cause! Proceeds from the bake sale will go to the Cookies for Kids' Cancer charity. Items on offer will include cookies, candies, and treats made by local bakers. As a special treat, Santa will be making an appearance to greet children and hand out special prizes to guests!

Hudson Business Lounge (MAP)
310 E. Buffalo St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Gingerbread House Display
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 9 through Tuesday, Dec. 16
Location: Downtown Milwaukee
Description: Enjoy a colorful display of gingerbread houses created by the Milwaukee Area Technical College baking and pastry students at the Milwaukee Public Market. Attendees can bid on their favorite gingerbread houses, and even build their own gingerbread house on Dec. 14. Proceeds from the event will go to scholarships for students of the MATC baking and pastry program.

Milwaukee Public Market (MAP)
400 N. Water St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202


 



 



 

 

Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,

 

After months of denial, the truth has finally come out: Wisconsin faces a self-inflicted, multi-billion dollar deficit. As budget proposals from state agencies roll in, Republican legislative leaders are forced to face this harsh reality. According to Governor Walker's own Department of Administration, Wisconsin is facing a $2.2 billion deficit for the 2015-2017 biennium -- a deficit Democrats have seen coming for years and tried to warn about.

How did we get here? What options are being proposed to fix the Walker deficit? Continue reading this week's Larson Report for more and other important local issues. 
 


Sincerely,

Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7

 

DOA Budget Projection Shows Multibillion-Dollar Shortfall

The Department of Administration (DOA) released Wisconsin's projected revenues in late November. The DOA report indicates that, in the 2015-2017 biennium, Wisconsin will face a budget shortfall of $2.2 billion. In the 2014-2015 period alone, Wisconsin's general fund faces a shortfall of $132 million. The DOA reached these deficit figures by combining the upcoming budget requests from all state agencies.
These figures come as no surprise to those who have been following earlier projections from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, who released in September that Wisconsin faced a budget shortfall of approximately $1.8 billion. However, these figures may come as a surprise to some, given Governor Walker's and other Republicans' refusal to address the deficit, and even made statements indicating a surplus prior to this month.


Most Wisconsinites are painfully aware that the state is spending more than we have in the history of the state and are borrowing more than we have in a generation. Because of the reckless spending decisions made by legislative Republicans, Wisconsin will now face repairing the deficit: either decimating our valuable programs and services by significantly cutting funding, or by shifting more taxes and fees on our already struggling Wisconsin neighbors and families. 


The second option, where taxpayers pick up more of the tab for GOP giveaways, has already made its way into a few agency requests. The Department of Transportation's budget request, for example, includes a tax increase on gas and diesel fuels, additional fees for new vehicle purchases, and an added $50 per. year fee for hybrid and electric vehicle owners. These increased taxes and fees not only place an additional burden on our middle-class families, but they create a negative incentive for forward-thinking objectives like energy efficiency.

 

At this point, Republican leaders have not proposed solutions to the budget shortfall, saying that not all agencies will be fully-funded. However, it is important to take into account that the $2.2 billion deficit in the DOA report does not account for the property tax cuts already promised by Walker and Republican lawmakers. In order to accomplish both property tax cuts and a balanced budget, there would be significant slashes in funding to schools and state programs, the very same "slash-and-burn" mentality that created our dangerous economic state.


Based on these figures, it is safe to say that Wisconsin legislators need to make serious changes to our state in order to get back on track. Over the past few years, devastating cuts to our most important programs have decimated Wisconsin's economy, and created this deficit. In the next session, my Democratic colleagues and I will work to create a strong, prosperous economic environment for our hard-working neighbors and families.

 

Move To Amend Referendum Gains Popular Support

In addition to BadgerCare, Minimum Wage, and Transportation Fund referendums, some Wisconsin communities saw a referendum questioning whether we should amend the U.S. Constitution to reflect that money is not a form of speech, and that only real, living persons, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights and freedoms.


Twelve communities across Wisconsin saw this referendum on their Nov. 4 ballots, including Milwaukee County. In each area, the referendum passed overwhelmingly. In Milwaukee County, the referendum passed with 70% of voters voting "yes," to add a constitutional amendment.


This referendum comes after the nation experienced the effects of the controversial Citizens United court decision. In this case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, it was determined that the government does not have the ability to limit independent political spending by nonprofits, for-profit businesses, labor unions, and other organizations. This court decision has impacted the United States' political sphere in a number of ways. It has, in general, made it possible for politics to be a pay-to-play game, as elections and lawmaking can be influenced by outside spending. In his dissenting opinion to the Citizens United case, Supreme Court Justice Stevens wrote, "A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold."


Many people today feel that "big money" has too much influence in politics, and that our system of equality -- the basis of our democracy -- is being jeopardized. Representatives for the Move To Amend movement hold that individual citizens' rights and votes are not being respected in the current system, and that changes need to be made to reduce the influence of big spenders on our politicians and political system as a whole.

 
While the referendum gained large support, it was an advisory referendum only, meaning its results are meant to show Wisconsin's elected officials the popular opinion on a given issue. Considering this referendum's results, it should indicate to our legislators that changes need to be made to reduce the influence of money in politics.


I hope that in this legislative session, my colleagues and I are able to put aside partisan differences, reach across the aisle, and put an end to corruption in Wisconsin and national politics.
 

Ask Chris

I often have neighbors contact me looking for my perspective on various local and state issues.

I very much appreciate our neighbors' questions and want to dedicate a portion of my newsletter to common questions that I hear to maintain an open dialogue. Please continue reading for this week's question.

Q: What is the progress on the new Milwaukee Bucks stadium?

A: The Milwaukee Bucks' co-owner Marc Lasry has indicated interest in creating a new stadium for the Milwaukee Bucks in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. The BMO Harris Bradley Center, where the Bucks currently play, was opened in 1988 and is no longer able to draw big names in entertainment in off-seasons.


The proposed Bucks stadium would act as a sports and entertainment facility, would cost up to $500 million, and would have a seating capacity of approximately 18,000. The preferred area for construction is on W. Kilbourn Ave., where the UWM Panther Arena and the office of Journal Communications currently reside. Should the Bucks stadium be constructed in this area, Bucks owners have indicated that they would accommodate UWM athletics.

 

NBA commissioner Adam Silver weighed in on the potential stadium to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, noting that Milwaukee residents should consider the revenue to the area, and impacts on Milwaukee business.

Currently, Bucks owners have raised $300 million to fund the project. The expected source of the additional $100-200 million is unknown at this point, as no public funding proposal has been submitted. An announcement of the stadium's location, according to Lasry, should be made by the end of the year.
 

Did you know...?

Wisconsinites are no strangers to early and chilly winter weather. But did you know that November 2014 was one of the coldest Novembers in Milwaukee history?


November 2014 tied with 1871 for 11th coldest winter in the history of Milwaukee. November's temperatures averaged 32.4 degrees, which is 6.6 degrees below general estimates for this time of year.


According to the National Weather Service, the significantly below-normal temperatures from Nov. 14 to Nov. 21 were the cause of this November's "coldest" ranking.


2014 was just shy of 10th place, currently held by 1911, with an average temperature of 32.2 degrees. The coldest November on record was in 1880, with an average temperature of 27.9 degrees for the month.

 

December is Universal Human Rights Month

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948. The document, created after World War II, is meant to instill in nations the rights it must provide to all citizens.


Every December is Human Rights Month. The purpose of Human Rights Month is to raise awareness throughout the world about human rights, and to improve human rights situations worldwide.


As citizens of a free nation, we should take this time to celebrate our rights to peace, liberty, and freedom. Our human rights enable us to enjoy the many opportunities we have available to us today.
In other nations around the world, citizens are subject to gross human rights violations. Simple rights, such as voting, freedom of speech, and freedom of education are being denied.


This Human Rights Month, educate yourself and your neighbors on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and volunteer to safeguard human rights globally.

Click here to read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
 

Holiday Events Calendar

The Holiday Season has officially begun in our neighborhood, and the community has started celebrating. Continue reading to see a list of family-friendly holiday events taking place throughout our neighborhoods around the holidays.


Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival
Date: Now through Sunday, Dec. 28

Location: Milwaukee
This six-week festival will spread holiday spirit with animated light displays in Cathedral Square Park, Pere Marquette Park, and Zeidler Union Square, as well as hundreds of events. Marvel at the spectacular sights aboard the convenient Jingle Bus, a Coach U.S.A. bus that takes visitors on a 40-minute tour. For $1 per person, visitors can relish in the holiday spirit while admiring a festive panorama. The tour is narrated by Milwaukee Downtown's Public Service Ambassadors who will acquaint riders with key attractions and landmarks. Tours operate Thursdays through Sundays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. from the Shops of Grand Avenue.

Click here for more information.

South Milwaukee Christmas Market
Date: Saturday, Dec. 6, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Location: South Milwaukee
This indoor version of the Downtown market features a variety of vendors selling arts, crafts, organics, baked goods, and more. For this special market, live music with the Horns a Plenty Christmas will be featured at 11:00 a.m.


South Milwaukee High School (MAP)
801 15th Avenue
South Milwaukee, WI 53172

 

MKE Foodies Holiday Bake Sale
Date: Saturday, Dec. 6, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: Downtown Milwaukee
The third annual MKE Foodies Bake Sale is a great place to pick up holiday treats, and all for a good cause! Proceeds from the bake sale will go to the Cookies for Kids' Cancer charity. Items on offer will include cookies, candies, and treats made by local bakers. As a special treat, Santa will be making an appearance to greet children and hand out special prizes to guests!


Hudson Business Lounge (MAP)
310 E. Buffalo St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202
 

Gingerbread House Display
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 9 through Tuesday, Dec. 16

Location: Downtown Milwaukee
Enjoy a colorful display of gingerbread houses created by the Milwaukee Area Technical College baking and pastry students at the Milwaukee Public Market. Attendees can bid on their favorite gingerbread houses, and even build their own gingerbread house on Dec. 14. Proceeds from the event will go to scholarships for students of the MATC baking and pastry program.


Milwaukee Public Market (MAP)
400 N. Water St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

 

 

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