March 15, 2013  

St. John Lutheran School came to visit me in the State Capitol on February 21st.  It was a pleasure meeting everyone!

Visit the State Capitol

The Capitol is open to the public weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and weekends and holidays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Free tours are offered daily, year round except on the following holidays: New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas. Tours start at the information desk Monday through Saturday at 9:00, 10:00, 11:00 a.m. and 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 p.m.; and Sundays at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 p.m. A 4:00 p.m. tour is offered weekdays (Monday - Friday), excluding holidays, during Memorial Day through Labor Day. Tours generally last 45-55 minutes. Groups of ten or more can make an on-line reservation for a tour of the State Capitol or call (608)266-0382.


Focusing on Jobs this Session

During my first three months in office my primary focus has been on strengthening Wisconsin’s job market. I was proud to co-sponsor and help guide AB-1/SB-1, also known as the mining bill, to the Governor's desk. It is exactly the kind of legislation we need to help boost our economy. It streamlined a mining permitting process which had become so antiquated that the state virtually had a mining moratorium in place. The mining bill will lead to thousands of much needed jobs while keeping all of our environmental protections in place. It is important to note that SB 1 itself does not permit a mine. It is the Department of Natural resources that will ultimately issue any mining permits.

I also co-sponsored and supported AB-14, also known as “Fast Forward.” I am confident that this legislation will help close the skills gap in Wisconsin. Time and time again, employers in our district have told me they had positions available, but couldn't find people with the experience needed to fill them. The bill provides $15 million in worker training grants and crafts worker training requirements to what employers say they're looking for. It also creates a website that uses real-time data to match companies with qualified workers. I am looking forward to seeing this system in action.


Rep. Jagler's Thoughts on the Milwaukee School Choice Program

"Be careful what you wish for." It's a familiar warning that often causes us to take a closer look at a topic or think about something from a different perspective. I spent the week talking with school administrators and school board members from all around the 37th Assembly District and it was the message I gave to them when the topic of school choice came up.

A constituent stopped by my office this week and spoke passionately about her dislike for giving vouchers to low income children to attend private schools. She told me if she had a magic wand, she would wave it and eliminate the Milwaukee voucher program and return that money to taxpayers.

If she got her wish, hundreds of students currently thriving in an educational setting that they and their families believe is best for them would end up returning to failing public schools. As troubling as that thought was to me, she seemed to be okay with it. I believe that allowing parents to choose where their child is educated isn't just good policy-- it's the right thing to do. Based on her reaction to that statement, it was clear that we didn't agree.

I decided to turn the conversation to what was important to her: the money (it clearly wasn't the future of low income kids in Milwaukee). What would really happen if she got her wish and the Milwaukee voucher program went away? The truth is that the students and taxpayers in our district and others all across Wisconsin would take a dramatic hit.

It's simple math. Last year it cost taxpayers roughly $13,000 to send a child to a Milwaukee public school. Because the district is so large, a majority of that money came from the rest of the state, not just taxpayers from Milwaukee. By comparison, taxpayers paid $6,400 for voucher students.

So if the choice program was wiped out by her magic wand, taxpayers would have to pay substantially more and, as a result, there would be much less money available in our district and the rest of the state.

That is exactly why Politifact and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel gave Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca a "False" rating when he said that lawmakers who supported choice expansion
"voted to take funding away from their public schools in their districts to give it to private Milwaukee voucher schools."

The figures, according to a memo from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, are staggering. Here is how much money school districts in the 37th Assembly District would lose if the Milwaukee Choice Program was eliminated and those students returned to an MPS school.

Columbus - $325,268
Deforest - $1.005,494
Waterloo - $184,497
Watertown - $933,915

Be careful what you wish for indeed. Eliminating the Milwaukee School Choice program would leave school districts scrambling for funds and taxpayers digging deeper into their pockets.

I don't think I was able to convince her on the merits of the choice program. It's likely we will never agree. But we did find some common ground. We both believe more money should be included in the upcoming budget for K-12 public education. I am committed to finding a way to increase per-pupil spending without raising property taxes.

It's time all of us -- parents, teachers, administrators, taxpayers and legislators work together to ensure every child has access to a great education. Now where's that magic wand?


The Assembly Chamber



DOT March law of the month - Drivers are responsible for all unbuckled passengers

Like an airline pilot, all drivers must ensure that all their passengers are buckled up before departing for their destination whether they’re traveling just down the road or across the state. In fact, drivers may be charged with a safety belt violation for each unbuckled passenger.

If a child is unrestrained in a vehicle, the cost to the driver will increase significantly. A violation of child safety restraint requirements costs from $150 to $263 depending on the age of the child and the number of offenses within a three-year period.

Job Center of Wisconsin adds new jobs

6,038 new jobs have been added in the last week. 24,609 new jobs have been added in the last month. Job Center of Wisconsin is a one stop portal to information about employment, recruitment, retention and training to help grow and support business. Post job openings, search for candidates, and access resources to help recruit and manage employees.


Use These Tips to Make Tax Filing Easier

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) is urging taxpayers to electronically file their income tax returns this tax season. DOR expects about three million tax returns this year and more than 80 percent of those will be e-filed. DOR is focused on making taxpaying easier, so here are five tax season tips to help you file your income tax return:

1. Try e-filing! E-filing is more secure and faster than filing on paper. DOR offers a free e-file program called Wisconsin e-file, which is available 24/7 at

2. Use direct deposit or pay online.

3. Explore the many useful resources on the DOR website –

4. Use local tax filing help. Free tax assistant is available by calling 211 to find a Volunteer Income Tax Assistant or Tax Counseling for the Elderly site in the area

5. File by April 15, 2013. The deadline to file your tax return is Monday, April 15th.




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