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My Vote: Transportation Bonding – Borrowing is Not the
On Wednesday, as a member of the Joint Finance Committee (JFC),
I voted ‘no’ on the DOT’s request to borrow $350 million to fund
transportation projects because I do not believe we should be
going further into debt when we haven’t created any new sources
of revenue to make the payments on this new debt.
The $350 million in bonds approved this week carries debt
service of roughly $25 million per year for a period of 20
years; that means we have added an estimated $500 million in
debt payments to our state’s obligations!
Throughout the budgeting process, I encouraged my colleagues to
consider alternatives to borrowing. We should not be
unnecessarily burdening future generations with huge debts,
especially with obligations to the general fund, which is where
we fund education, the university system, human services and
other major programs.
As an accountant, I would never recommend this approach to one
of my clients and I do not recommend it to the taxpayers of
Wisconsin; especially because this debt doesn’t fix our problems
in the 17th Senate District. None of the new borrowing will
increase local transportation aids that are used to fix our
So, while we continue to fund mega projects throughout our state
with borrowed money, we also continue to ignore our real
problems and the roads in southwestern Wisconsin that are in
desperate need of repair.
I will continue to fight for reforming our transportation
funding structure and am disappointed in the debt we have added
to our state’s balance sheet today.
My Vote: Government Accountability Board (GAB) Reform
I believe the reforms we passed today will make the GAB more
transparent and fair without completely dismantling an agency
that has provided strong election-related services to our state.
The changes we made in the Senate are a good compromise and
address my concerns about the original proposal.
There are some things that the GAB does well and there are some
things that are not working. We maintained the pieces that work
and reformed the elements that needed improvement. We still have
an agency that will oversee elections and political activities
in Wisconsin, but this agency will be improved by including more
bi-partisan stakeholders in decision-making with a new
The bottom-line is that maintaining status quo for the GAB was
not acceptable. We needed to find a way to maintain the things
that are working well while we make changes in order to insure
that everyone, from both parties, are treated fairly by a model
that includes more information, discussion, transparency and
oversight. I believe we have achieved this goal.
CLICK HERE to
read my full statement and more details on the GAB Reform bill.
My Vote: Campaign Finance Reforms
In 2014, the United States Court of Appeals told us that
‘Wisconsin’s foundational campaign finance law is in serious
need of legislative attention.’ This was written in the decision
for the Wisconsin Right to Life (WRTL) v. Barland II case.
Overall, campaign finance reform was needed to insure that
Wisconsin law is constitutional and easier to apply and
understand. I believe the changes we made today will bring our
laws in line with the constitution, increase transparency and
encourage political discourse by protecting the voice of all
Wisconsinites in the political process.
CLICK HERE to read my full statement and more details on
the Campaign Finance Reform bill.
2015-16 Blue Books
The 2015-16 Blue Books have arrived at the Capitol! If you would
like one, please let me know, I would be happy to make sure you
receive a blue book.
In the District
Wisconsin American Legion - Veterans Affairs &
Rehabilitation Committee Meeting
A couple weeks ago, I had the honor of attending and speaking at
the Wisconsin American Legion headquarters to the Veterans
Affairs and Rehabilitation Committee meeting. I was fortunate to
talk to this group about the important changes to the Wisconsin
Veteran’s Employment Initiative that I am authoring with
Representative Scott Allen.
The Wisconsin Veteran’s Employment Initiative bill creates a
Council on Veterans Employment, which advises and assists the
governor and state agencies with recruitment and employment of
veterans. This initiative requires state agencies to lay out a
plan to recruit and retain more veterans in state government
based on goals in each specific category.
With Veteran’s Day next week, I thought it was important to
again recognize our veterans for their service to our country.
Thank you to all of our veterans for all of the commitments and
sacrifices you have made. God bless you!
First-time Buyer Hunting License
Wisconsin offers numerous resident licenses; and now they are
offering a First-time buyer license for $5.00. This First-time
buyer license is a reduced rate license that is offered to
customers as a means to introduce them to the sport of hunting
or fishing. This First-time buyer license is also available for
any customer who has not purchased a license in any of the last
For more information on all of the different hunting licenses
available, please visit the
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources licensure page.
Revenue Numbers: First Quarter Fiscal Year 2016
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) recently released a
report detailing general purpose revenue (GPR) taxes collected
by the agency for the first quarter of the fiscal year 2016.
The following table shows the GPR collections for the First
Quarter FY 2016.
Department of Revenue Collections, First Quarter FY2016
|General Sales & Use
*Source: Department of Revenue
*Senator Marklein is pleased to provide this
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