2015-16 Blue Books

2015-16 Blue Books are a useful summary of information about our state.  These books are printed every session and are complimentary for every resident of Wisconsin. 


If you would like one delivered or shipped to you (no charge to you), please reply to this email and include your street and mailing address.


The full content of the book is also available online.  Click Here!





Working In My Wheelhouse


Legislators specialize in specific issue areas for a wide variety of reasons. My focus areas include rural issues because I live in and represent one of the largest rural districts in the state; agricultural issues because I have a farming background and serve the most agriculturally-dependent districts in the state; transportation and veterans issues because I serve on the Senate Committee on Transportation & Veterans Affairs committee; and tax, revenue and financial issues because they fall directly into my wheelhouse.

We all have a wheelhouse. In baseball, the wheelhouse is the part of a batter's strike zone most likely to produce a home run. For all of us, our wheelhouse is our area of expertise; the place we perform well; the wealth of our knowledge and experience; the things we know.

In the legislature, each legislator brings a unique set of experiences, professional roles and background to our collective conversation. We rely on each other for input and ideas based on our experiences as we seek to make decisions that will be positive for the people of Wisconsin. As a result, many of us work in our wheelhouse and add this area of specialization to our legislative repertoire.

My wheelhouse is generally based on my professional experience as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with a focus on taxes. I have the most experience among my colleagues in studying, analyzing and managing finances for individuals and companies throughout our state. This unique perspective allows me to approach tax and finance-related issues with a thorough and thoughtful perspective based on my experiences in the private sector. The questions I ask and the approach I take are directly influenced by my personal history.

Other legislators approach other issue areas in the same way. For example, Representative Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville), who also serves as the Mayor of Dodgeville, is a great resource for local government issues. Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) is the Senator we talk to when we have a healthcare-related issue. Her experience, as a Registered Nurse and educator gives her a much deeper knowledge of these issues. Likewise, Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhust) is our go-to Senator for natural resources issues because of his involvement in these issues in northern Wisconsin. Sen. Rick Gudex (R-Fond du Lac) has been a tremendous resource as we discuss issues related to manufacturing because of his position at Brenner Tank LLC for the past 24 years.

Unfortunately, compared to many of my legislative colleagues, my wheelhouse is really boring to most people. Tax laws are tedious and complex, but they impact nearly every single person in our state as a taxpayer or a consumer.

My role, as the legislator focused on taxes, has far-reaching implications and potential for significant impact. This session alone, I have authored and co-authored nearly 20 bills specifically focused on taxes and other functions of the Department of Revenue and the Department of Financial Institutions.

Among these 20 bills are several that create Wisconsin tax deductions and exemptions for teachers who purchase supplies (SB 130), student loan interest (SB 622), commercial radio and TV station property (SB 590), out-of-state emergency responders (SB 334), building materials for non-profits (SB 227) and more. I also authored a bill to create a continuing education requirement for CPAs (SB 532) and a bill to create a process by which to cash unclaimed savings bonds (SB 603).

Again, my wheelhouse may not be the most exciting place in the legislature, but these issues are important to every Wisconsinite in some way. I am proud of the work I do in my wheelhouse and will continue to look for ways to improve the tax and financial environment in Wisconsin.

For more information and to connect with me, visit my website http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein and subscribe to my weekly E-Update by sending an email to Sen.Marklein@legis.wisconsin.gov.  Do not hesitate to call 800-978-8008 if you have input, ideas or need assistance with any state-related matters.

In The 17th Senate District


Last weekend, Peggy and I didn't have to cook.  We enjoyed delicious meals throughout the 17th Senate District and took the opportunity to meet with many of you while we enjoyed a fish fry, pancakes and steak dinners.


On Friday night, we treated the staff of the 17th Senate District to a fish fry at St. Luke's Catholic Church in Plain.  Saturday took us to the Masonic Center in Monroe for Pancake Day and we finished the day with the Fish Family Bowling Tournament and Steak Feed cancer fundraiser in Reedsburg. Sunday morning, we enjoyed pancakes again with the West Grant Lions Club at River Ridge High School in Patch Grove.


Thank you to all of the hard-working volunteers who dedicate their time and talent to serve delicious meals to our communities.  These are great opportunities to support worthy causes and connect with others during our cold, winter months.

In The Capitol

Nate Buss, a senior at Mauston High School, visited with Sen. Howard Marklein during his experience as a Senate Scholar this week.  Nate is one of three students from the 17th Senate District who was selected for the prestigious Senate Scholar program.  Next week, Josh Weaver from Darlington High School will be our Senate Scholar and Saafia Masoom from Platteville High School will be participating in March. Congratulations to all of our Senate Scholars!

The Senate Scholar Program, coordinated by the Senate Chief Clerk, is an intensive week-long educational program offered by the Wisconsin State Senate. Admission to the program is highly competitive and is limited to 33 academically exceptional high school juniors and seniors from around Wisconsin. Each Senate Scholar receives a hands-on, up-close view of the Legislature’s role in our democracy.

Sen. Howard Marklein met with nearly 20 local librarians from the 17th Senate District on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 during the Wisconsin Library Association "lobby day" in the State Capitol. It was great to see so many familiar faces and to learn about their priorities.

Useful Information

Largest Employers In Wisconsin

The following table shares the top 10 employers in Wisconsin as of 2013 with a comparison to similar data from 2005. The growth of some organizations, compared to changes and stability in others is an interesting study in the strength of certain industries and agencies in our state.

Principal Employers in Wisconsin



2013 (a)








Wal-mart Associates Inc.

Greater than 9,999 1 Greater than 9,999 1


Greater than 9,999 2 Greater than 9,999 2

Milwaukee Public Schools

Greater than 9,999 3 Greater than 9,999 3

US Postal Service

Greater than 9,999 4 -- --

Menards Inc.

7,500-9,999 5 7,500 - 9,999 5

Department of Corrections

7,500-9,999 6 Greater than 9,999 4

Marshfield Clinic

7,500-9,999 7 5,000-7,499 10

Department of Veterans Affairs

7,500-9,999 8 -- --

City of Milwaukee

5,000-7,499 9 7,500-9,999 6
University of Wisconsin Hospitals 5,000-7,499 10 -- --
Kohl's Department Stores, Inc. -- -- 5,000-7,499 8
Kohler Co. -- -- 5,000-7,499 7
Target Corporation -- -- -- --
Walgreen Co. -- -- 5,000-7,499 9

*Source: Department of Workforce Development


Senator Howard Marklein is pleased to provide this legislative E-Update for 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