• JFC Week in Review
  • One the Right Track
  • Poverty Rate Falls

JFC Week in Review

This past Wednesday, the JFC voted on several notable budget provisions dealing with the DNR, workforce training, and the Department of Corrections.

The committee altered Gov. Scott Walker's plan to eliminate the DNR's Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine. Instead of halting publication of the magazine entirely as the governor's budget proposed, the committed agreed to allow publishing the magazine four times a year rather than the current six.

They retained the governor's ask for giving the DNR secretary authority to raise daily entrance fees by $5, and nightly camping fees by $10 at most state parks and forests. The budget had contained a $10 increase for annual passes, however this was not approved.

The DNR will no longer be responsible for removing deer hit by cars from the side of the road. Instead, that responsibility will be handed to the DOT. Under this change, the DOT will be required to contract with private vendors, counties or municipalities to remove deer carcasses, but it wouldn't get any additional funds to do so. 

The budget originally called for the 8 member Parole Commission to be eliminated. However, the JFC decided that it would be best to reduce the number of members down to four rather than completely terminate it.

During the last few legislative sessions, workforce training has been an emphasis of the governor as well as the Legislature. The JFC has continued this commitment by approving the governor’s recommendation to invest $11.5M for Fast Forward grants which fund workforce training programs. 

In addition, the committee adopted motions to increase funding for Career and Technical Education grants by $1M, $1M for grants to school districts for the purchase of technical education equipment, and to support the Building Occupational Skills for Success (BOSS) program in Milwaukee which trains students to be business owners.

That’s it for now, I will have more to share after the JFC meets next week.

On the Right Track


In a previous update, I shared how Wisconsin unemployment has reached its lowest since 2000. This week we received more positive economic news! According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Wisconsin has shown the strongest economic growth in manufacturing, and the service industries for three straight months among its five state region. Wisconsin consumer spending was matched only by Illinois according to the study. While all states showed a positive increase in economic activity, our state enjoyed the greatest increase when compared to its contemporaries. The states in the region include Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Indiana respectively.


You can see the full report here.

Poverty Rate Falls

 Poverty Stats.jpg


The  Wisconsin Poverty Measure (WPM) showed an overall rate decline from 10.8 percent in 2014 to 9.7 percent in 2015, marking the lowest rate recorded since the WPM began nine years ago. According to this latest study, the WPM child poverty rate also reached an all-time low of 10.0 percent, more than 5 percentage points below the official poverty measure’s rate for children of 15.4 percent. A difference between the WPM and the official measure is that the WPM counts resources from tax credits and noncash benefits like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (called FoodShare in Wisconsin) in addition to earnings. Thus, these rates reflect both the improvement in Wisconsin’s job market and the continued importance of the safety net in protecting Wisconsin families.