• Unemployment Lowest since 2000
  • Budget Update 
  • Armed Forces Week

Unemployment May.jpgThe U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released that Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has dropped again – it is currently at 3.2 percent. This is the lowest it has been since February 2000. Our labor participation rate also improved to be one of the top ten in the country; more people are working in Wisconsin right now than ever before. When I came into the building unemployment was over 9 percent, but we will continue to help workers gain the skills that employers are looking for.

Budget Update 

The Joint Committee on Finance continues to make improvements to the governor's proposed budget for the next two years. This past week, the committee voted to provide more oversight on the Veterans Trust Fund, an important fund that helps care for our veterans. In addition, members of the committee made an increased commitment in the fight against child sex trafficking.

I was happy to see the committee voted to provide money for local governments for fraud prevention and investigations of possible abuse in the FoodShare (food stamp) and Medical Assistance (MA) programs.  Preventing waste, fraud and abuse in our government assistance programs is one of my priorities.

Two executive sessions have been scheduled for next week. Tuesday, the committee takes up the UW System budget and on Thursday, members vote on the Medicaid budget. Once the committee finalizes changes to the budget, it will go to the full Assembly and Senate for consideration.

Armed Forces Week

Governor Walker declared May 15-20 “Armed Forces Week” in recognition to all branches of the military. This week is meant to draw awareness to what those in our military and their family’s experience, both at home and abroad. Securing and protecting our nation and freedom is a difficult job, and these remarkable men and women give freely, sacrificing their personal comfort, their time with their loved ones and what Abraham Lincoln referred to as “the last full measure of devotion.”

In honor of this week, I have included some organizations that support our service members: 

Hope for the Warriors: Founded by military wives, their goal is to enhance the lives of post-9/11 service members who have physical and psychological wounds.

United Service Organization (USO): non-profit chartered by Congress that provides care packages, entertainment and recreation services, and family services such as counseling and nursery facilities.

Puppies Behind Bars: trains prison inmates to raise service dogs that help mitigate the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Homes for our Troops: this organization builds mortgage free and specially adapted houses for multiple amputees and veterans with traumatic brain injuries. It also adapts existing homes to make them handicap accessible.