Capitol Update

Helpful Wisconsin Links

Visiting Madison?
I would be happy to arrange a capitol tour for you.  Call my office at (608) 266-0703 for more info.
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Joint Finance Committee

As a member of the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC), I am working to understand the specifics of each provision contained in the Governor’s proposed budget and their implications. The Joint Finance Committee is currently considering and taking votes as to whether we will adopt, amend or delete the Governor’s proposal and whether to include ideas proposed by individual legislators. A final budget is expected to be approved by the legislature by the end of June.

This week, I supported the following adjustments to the budget:

  • Property Assessment Policy – as a part of a wider sweep to remove non-fiscal policy from the budget, the JFC removed proposed changes to property assessments for municipalities and counties. We will keep our property assessment policy untouched. (4/15/15)

  • DNR Board & DATCP Board – two additional deleted non-fiscal policy items were changes to make the Natural Resources Board and the Board of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection into advisory committees. These provisions were removed. (4/15/15)

  • Railroad Safety – provided funding for a Railroad Safety Inspector position for the Railroad Commission to ensure that railroads in our state are compliant and safe. I have seen the railroad traffic increase significantly and understand the importance of railroad inspections. (4/15/15)

  • Broadband Expansion – tripled funding for Broadband Expansion Grants from the proposed $500,000 per year to $1.5 million annually over the next four years. These grants provide reimbursement for equipment and construction expenses incurred to extend or improve broadband telecommunications service in underserved areas of the state. (4/15/15)

  • Local Property Insurance Fund – the Governors original proposal would end the program for local governments to get insurance from the state. Our motion delayed the elimination of this fund by 2 years so that local units of government will have time to figure out new plans. The current program is operating at a $1.4 million deficit and has been mismanaged, which creates a large liability for the state. Regardless, premiums will go up an average of 45%, so this will give the local units of government the opportunity to shop around for the best price on insurance. (4/17/15)

I look forward to seeking common-sense budget ideas that will ensure quality government programs and services for all of our residents and taxpayers. As I continue to review the budget bill, I appreciate your input.


For an Executive Summary of the budget, as well as full details, please visit: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/lfb/publications/budget/2015-17 Budget/Pages/publications.aspx

Click here for a printable version of this update.


In the District

Congratulations, Marie Hunt!
I want to congratulate Marie Hunt of Spring Green on being awarded an honorary high school diploma from River Valley High School. Marie was raised within a mile of my home farm in Wilson Creek. Growing up, Marie lived too far from the high school and had to leave school to care for her eight younger brothers and sisters. If she had graduated on schedule, she would have finished high school in 1928. Instead, she received her diploma 87 years later.

Marie was awarded an honorary degree by River Valley High School last week at her assisted living center.

Congratulations on your accomplishment, Marie!


Wonewoc-Center Middle School Visits the Capitol
On Thursday, I was able to join Representative Ed Brooks to meet with students from Wonewoc-Center Middle School as they finished their capitol tour! I hope you enjoyed your visit!


Myself and Representative Ed Brooks and students from Wonewoc-Center Middle School



Helpful Information

Equalized Levy Rates (Mill Rates)
Public school property taxes are the largest component of our tax bills. Recently, we have had the opportunity to analyze the mill rates for the 17th Senate District.

Mill rates are the amount of tax payable per dollar of the assessed value of a property. The mill rate is based on "mills"; as each mill is one-thousandth of a currency unit, one mill is equivalent to one-tenth of a cent or $0.001. Property tax in dollar terms is calculated by multiplying the assessed property value and the mill rate and dividing by 1,000. As a property may be subject to tax by a number of different authorities, mill rates are set by each taxing authority to meet the revenue projections in their budgets.

It is important to note that the different mill rates could have different variances due to local referendums taking place. The following table demonstrates the wide breadth of mill rates in our communities.

School District

2014-2015 Mill Rate

Argyle 11.00
Belmont Community 8.65
Benton 13.55
Black Hawk 9.59
Boscobel 8.60
Cassville 17.05
Cuba City 11.30
Darlington Community 10.45
Dodgeville 11.05
Fennimore Community 9.46
Highland 15.17
Hillsboro 10.14
Iowa-Grant 11.19
Ithaca 11.62
Lancaster Community 11.05
Mauston 12.15
Mineral Point 11.49
Monroe 10.65
Necedah Area 12.14
New Lisbon 10.09
Pecatonica Area 12.43
Platteville 10.73
Potosi 12.64
Reedsburg 10.29
Richland 9.39
River Ridge 12.83
River Valley 11.18
Riverdale 10.72
Royall 11.56
Shullsburg 10.98
Southwestern Wisconsin 8.38
Weston 12.75
Wonewoc-Union Center 12.84
FYI: State Totals - All Districts 10.25

*Source: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Governor Approves Improvement Project at Mauston New Lisbon Union Airport
Governor Scott Walker announced a $266,667 project to install a new automated weather observation system (AWOS) at Mauston New Lisbon Union Airport. The funds will also cover the cost of rehabilitating deteriorated airport pavements with crack filling and seal coating.

David Montesinos, project manager with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), said that the project will make travel to and from the airport safer by providing real-time local weather and improving the existing pavements.

Funding Breakdown
• State = $13,333
• Mauston New Lisbon Airport = $13,334
• Federal Aviation Administration = $240,000

Work on the project is expected to begin this month and be completed by July 2015.

Mauston New Lisbon Union Airport is one of 98 facilities included in the Wisconsin State Airport System Plan, which makes it eligible for state and federal funding. Airport improvement projects are administered through WisDOT’s Bureau of Aeronautics.



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State Capitol - Room 8 South - Post Office Box 7882 - Madison, Wisconsin 53707 - Phone: (608) 266-0703

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