Capitol Update

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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
The legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) has been consistently meeting over the last couple of weeks to whittle through Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget. So far, we are staying on track to finish our version of the state budget by the end of the month before it is delivered to the full legislature for a vote and then on to Governor Walker for signature.

Late last week, we received some disappointing news that the new state revenue numbers did not give us additional revenue to use as we work through the budget process. As a result, it is especially important for us to sharpen our pencils throughout the budget process. My colleagues and I continue to seek ways to save funds and apply them to priorities. To date all of our actions have improved the General Fund’s condition by $48.9 million.

The last several weeks, we have worked on low-hanging fruit – all of the things we could do without a clear picture of projected revenue – but now that we know where our numbers are, we will be more aggressively seeking ways to improve the funding for priority areas like education, and reduce spending in others.

This week, the JFC decided to preserve Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) services in our community. I know how important the maintenance of ADRCs is to our community as a whole. I am proud to share this good news and appreciate all of the input and encouragement I received throughout the budget process in support of ADRCs. Our local ADRCs will continue to serve all of the people in each of our communities. As your State Senator, I know the value of the personal connections that are built within ADRCs and I fought to keep them intact. (5/14/15)

We also restored $1.6 million to the Educational Communications Board (ECB) for Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) and Wisconsin Public Television (WPTV). Compared to the nationwide average of state support for public broadcasting, Wisconsin public radio and TV receives 10.9% more state support than other states. The funding restored on Tuesday is 30.9% of the ECB’s budget. This is a reduction of only 5.5% compared to the Governor’s plan which would have reduced it further. (5/12/15)

In addition, the JFC took the following important actions:

  • Mental Health Crisis Service Grants - Increased funding to counties by $1.5 million for mental health support services and changed some of the rules related to this program. (5/12/15)

  • Domestic Abuse Grants – increased funding by $5 million in the second year (2016-17). (5/12/15)
    Human Trafficking Victim Services – increased funding by $2 million in the second year (2016-17). (5/12/15)

  • Collaborative Municipalities – created a levy limit exemption for municipalities who collaborate with other municipalities for various services and projects. We want to encourage policies that promote efficiency and collaboration to minimize duplication of services in our communities. For example – shared ambulance and EMS services. (5/14/15)

  • Carryforward – addressed the “tax to the max” policy. Our current tax limits inadvertently encourage communities to levy taxes to the limit because if they don’t use them they aren’t able to recover these dollars in the subsequent year. This new policy will encourage communities to tax for their needs, but preserve upward mobility in the future. To achieve this, we created a levy limit adjustment allowing a political subdivision to increase its allowable levy by the amount of unused levy authority from prior years and set the maximum carryforward factor to 5%. (5/14/15)

For more information and to connect with me, visit my website http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein. Do not hesitate to call 800-978-8008 if you have input, ideas or need assistance with any state-related matters.

University of Wisconsin Men’s Basketball Team

Last week, the State Senate honored members of the UW-Men’s Basketball team on their incredible season. Special thanks to Nigel Hayes and Josh Gasser for stopping by on behalf of the whole team. On Wisconsin!


*Nigel Hayes, Sen. Howard Marklein and Josh Gasser


In the District

Big Utility Costumer Breakfast
On Wednesday, I attended a breakfast hosted by Reedsburg Utility Commission. Attendees included the utility’s larger commercial customers, including, Grede, Seats, and Nuk. I appreciated the opportunity to discuss issues that are important to their businesses and to learn more about the Reedsburg Utility Commission. Thanks again for having me!

Helpful Information

Recycling Fees
The state of Wisconsin has operated a recycling grant program for 25 years that is designed to assist local communities in their recycling efforts. The program is funded through tipping fees, which are fees imposed on landfills by the state for every ton of waste deposited in the landfill. A portion of these tipping fees is deposited into the environmental management account of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and are then awarded as grants to local communities.

When the program began, tipping fees were relatively low, but they have increased over the years. In the fall of 2007, the fee increased from $3.80 per ton to $5.90 per ton followed by an increase to $13 per ton in the fall of 2009. This fee increase caused a decline in the volume of out-of-state waste. Instead of increasing revenues from out-of-state entities, we saw a major decline in fee collection.


The table below shows the total tons of solid waste disposed in Wisconsin landfills (in-state and out-of-state) for the past six years of available data, from 2009 through preliminary data for the calendar year 2014.

Tons of Solid Waste Landfilled in Wisconsin by Category and Year

  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 (preliminary)
Total waste landfilled in Wisconsin 8,733,704 8,269,945 8,043,899 8,709,842 7,849,970 8,209,326
Percent change in total tons landfilled in Wisconsin   -5.3% -2.7% 8.3% -9.9% 4.6%

Landfilled tons from out-of-state







 *Source: Legislative Fiscal Bureau

Wisconsin Improves Rank as One of Best States for Business
WI moves up two spots according to survey by Chief Executive Magazine

Wisconsin’s business climate continues to improve as we once again moved up two spots to #12 in the annual survey of CEOs. This is a significant shift compared to 2010, when Wisconsin was ranked near the bottom at 41st. Clearly, the reforms enacted by the Legislature and Governor Walker have had a positive impact upon our state.

According to Chief Executive Magazine, “CEOs are confident in Wisconsin’s business-friendly leadership. They say that low taxes and minimal regulations are creating significant new business investment opportunities.”

In the survey, Wisconsin outranked its neighboring states, beating out Iowa (13th), Minnesota (31st), Michigan (43rd) and Illinois (48th).

Wisconsin’s recent rankings:

2015: 12th
2014: 14th
2013: 17th
2012: 20th
2011: 24th
2010: 41st

The Chief Executive Magazine ranking is based on a nationwide survey conducted earlier this year in which more than 500 CEOs across the U.S. graded states on their overall business climates, as well as a variety of specific business climate factors, including taxation and regulation, workforce quality and living.

The report is published in the 2015 May/June issue of Chief Executive Magazine and available at http://chiefexecutive.net/best-worst-states-business/2015


*Senator Marklein is pleased to provide this legislative E-Update to the constituents of the 17th State Senate District. Please feel free to share this update with other interested citizens and taxpayers. You are receiving this update because you have either subscribed or contacted Senator Marklein directly.

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

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