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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My Vote: Transportation Bonding – Borrowing is Not the Answer

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 local roads.

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 leadership model.

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!


Helpful Information


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 10 years.

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
($ thousands)


  FY 2015 FY 2016 % Change
Individual Income 1,493,680 1,576,606 5.6%
General Sales & Use 849,658 862,696 1.5%
Corporate 243,709 229,410 -5.9%
Excise Taxes 126,772 126,546 -0.2%
Other 11,317 14,354 26.8%
Total GPR 2,725,136 2,809,612 3.1%

*Source: Department of Revenue


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