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!





UW System by the Numbers

As a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), numbers paint detailed and thorough pictures for me. While others analyze state agencies by anecdotal evidence, I turn to numbers to seek a deeper understanding of their programs, processes and financial health.

Numbers, especially financial reports, tell a story. We can see successes, failures, decisions and opportunities through numbers. We can also tell a lot about priorities and strategy when we consider the way an agency or organization spends or saves money, manages staff and invests in infrastructure. Financial reports offer an opportunity to assess the financial health of state agencies, how they’re performing, and the direction we are heading in the future.

Recently, the State of Wisconsin released its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). I have been spending time reviewing its pages and analyzing information on our state agencies. One of the agencies that I follow closely is the University of Wisconsin (UW) System. As a graduate of the UW System, its mission and health are important to me. While there have been many headlines about the UW System’s finances recently, it is important to look at the numbers to see the full story.

One important chapter of this story includes the UW System’s cash balances which are a financial signal that I have been watching for several years. Cash balances, in any organization, are a part of the financial picture. The UW System’s cash balances accumulated for many years without much notice before a group of CPA-legislators brought the numbers to the attention of the public in 2013. At that time the UW System had cash balances of $1.2 billion.

The most recent State of Wisconsin CAFR indicates the University System was holding more than $1.5 billion in cash at the end of last year, an increase of approximately $300 million over the last three years. Despite a tuition freeze for the past four years the UW System has more cash on hand then last year, and the second highest amount ever on record.

In 2014-15 the UW System spent $6.l billion, the highest spending in the system’s history. This represents an increase of $1.4 billion in just five years. The current average annual cost for an undergraduate student is $19,657. This represents an increase of $2,177 per student in five years. Importantly, spending and costs matter because ultimately students, families, and tax payers pay the bill. To lower the pressure of higher education costs on families, spending needs to be a focus.

Another area I monitor is outcomes in higher education; this means putting a focus on ensuring that students not only attend college, but successfully complete and earn degrees to propel them forward. In 2014-15, the system had a total enrollment of 180,979 students. Ten years ago, 168,504 students attended our system universities and colleges, demonstrating strong enrollment growth as the importance of a college education increases for students and families.

The UW System awarded 34,612 individual degrees in 2014-15. Tracking this number and comparing it to how many students are enrolled is important. Graduation rates have been slowly improving across the university system. 32.6% of students graduate within four years, 59% within five years, and 66% within six years. Sadly, this still means students in Wisconsin are less likely to graduate in four years, than they are to graduate at all.

Higher education is important to our state and the success of our communities. Our University System is educating many students, improving graduation rates gradually, but we must continue to improve. Meanwhile, spending and cost-per-student continues to rise and the system continues to hold large amounts of cash. We must continue to focus on offering quality education at reasonable costs. I will keep working and monitoring the progress on these goals.

To access the most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report please visit: http://doa.wisconsin.gov/Documents/DEBF/Financial%20Reporting/CAFR/2015_CAFR_Linked.pdf

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


Sen. Howard Marklein was honored to join Janet Hottenstein, Deputy Ric Hottenstein, Garrett Hottenstein, Rep. Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City) and Grant County Sheriff Nate Dreckman to commend and recognize the service of K9 Diego who passed away unexpectedly earlier this month.


Diego was deployed 1,094 times in the past six years and successfully assisted with 355 arrests and 17 apprehensions, demonstrating the tremendous value of a K9 unit in the fight against drugs in Grant County.

Diego and Deputy Hottenstein received 585 hours of training, participated in 12,385 training exercises and together honed Diego’s narcotic detection skills to 99.97% reliability.

Diego was dedicated to serving the citizens, excited to come to work every day and worked hard to get drugs off of the streets to protect the people of Grant County. 


He will be greatly missed by all members of the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, but especially his handler Deputy Ric Hottenstein, his wife Janet and their son Garrett who considered Diego a part of their family.  In fact, Diego's service made such an impression on Garrett that he is now serving in the United States Army as a handler for bomb-detecting dogs.  Thanks to the entire Hottenstein family for their service to the people of our community.


In The Capitol

Josh Weaver, a junior at Darlington High School, visited with Sen. Howard Marklein during his experience as a Senate Scholar this week.  Josh is one of three students from the 17th Senate District who was selected for the prestigious Senate Scholar program.  Last week, Nate Buss from Mauston High School visited with us 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 Southwestern Wisconsin Technical College students from the 17th Senate District on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 during Student Government Day in the State Capitol.  It was great to hear their stories and learn about the academic goals they are pursuing and reaching at our local college.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016, Sen. Howard Marklein (right) testified before the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges with Rep. Dave Murphy (R-Greenville) on the College Affordability legislation package.  For more information about this package of bills, please take a look at Sen. Marklein's E-update from January 15, 2016.

Useful Information

Traffic Fatalities in the 17th Senate District

The following table shares the traffic fatalities, by county, in the 17th Senate District for the last five years.  It also includes data for year-to-date figures.  This data is compiled by the Department of  Transportation Accident Records Unit and is kept up-to-date on their website

Traffic Fatalities by County & Statewide

  Year-to-date Year-end total figures 2011-2015**



2015 2014 2013 2012 2011



1 7 5 6 4 6 6


2 6 1 6 7 8 6


0 3 2 7 2 4 4


0 7 5 6 6 8 6


1 1 2 5 1 5 3


0 4 4 7 4 2 4


0 0 7 4 3 3 4


1 9 13 4 9 4 8


0 0 5 4 10 7 6


50 561 494 527 601 565 550

*The year-to-date figures are as of February 14, 2016. ** 2015 and 2016 data are preliminary.

Source: Department of Transportation Wis-DOT-DMV Accident Records Database


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