State Senator Van Wanggaard's eNewsletter 2016
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Current State Spending for Milwaukee Unsustainable without Changes

Photo courtesy of Northwestern Mutual
I wrote the following column for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which was published on July 10:  

Recent complaints from Milwaukee leaders about their lack of state funding are misguided and lack perspective. One Milwaukee alderman claimed that Milwaukee gets mere "peanuts" in funding. Another Milwaukee leader told state legislators to "leave us alone." They can't have it both ways.

In 2015, state taxpayers invested over $1 billion in Milwaukee. That amount does not include medical assistance benefits or transportation dollars. If Milwaukee was a single government program, it would be the third largest expenditure in the state, behind K-12 education and medical assistance. If you include MA and transportation, that billion-dollar amount skyrockets.

Aside from the constant complaints, what do we get for our billion-dollar investment? It seems like more costs to state taxpayers.

The $600 million that the state gives Milwaukee Public Schools has given us a school district in which 75% of elementary schools fail to meet expectations, 86% of students aren't proficient in reading and 93% of students aren't proficient at math. Two schools had nobody proficient in math. This is unacceptable.

MPS has performed so badly for so long that almost 20 years ago, Gov. Tommy Thompson proposed the state take it over. The plan didn't pass, but MPS promised improvement. In 2009, Gov. Jim Doyle and Mayor Tom Barrett said that MPS performance was unacceptable, and proposed a mayoral takeover. Again, despite promises, there was little to no improvement. And this year, when a plan to remove the worst performing schools from MPS passed, people cried about a takeover, and we have been promised improvement, again.

The answer is not, and cannot be, more money. That isn't fair to state taxpayers who have spent $12.5 billion on broken MPS promises...


Racine County Chosen to Pilot Drunk Driving Program 

I am pleased that the Department of Justice announced last week that Racine County will be one of five Wisconsin counties to pilot a new program designed to reduce repeat drunk driving. The program, dubbed "24/7 Sobriety" has been successful in other states, and I was proud to co-author the legislation to start a pilot program in Wisconsin last session.

Sadly, we know that for some drunk drivers, the usual preventative measures are ineffective. The 24/7 Sobriety program requires participants to be under near-constant monitoring for drug and alcohol use, which not only helps reduce drunk driving rates, but also helps participants successfully stay sober.

In other states, the program has reduced recidivism rates by up to 50% for those who are in the program (compared to non-participants). In South Dakota for example, overall drunk driving rates decreased by 12%, and there was evidence that the 24/7 program reduced domestic violence by 9%. These are encouraging results, especially because we designed the program to cost Wisconsin taxpayers nothing.

Wisconsin has a lot to be proud of, but our high drunk-driving rates are not one of them. I am looking forward to seeing this program help reduce drunk driving and save lives in our state.

In the District

On Wednesday, July 6, Representative Samantha Kerkman, Representative Tom Weatherston and I met with UW-Parkside Chancellor Ford for a budget. Always a pleasure visiting the beautiful Parkside campus!

On Sunday, July 10, Speaker Vos and I were honored to recognize Mike and Kathy Schaal with a Legislative Citation. This award is for all the hard work and planning they did when they hosted the 2016 Racine County Breakfast on the Farm. Thank you, Mike and Kathy- what an awesome event!


Best Wishes Eric!

Today marks our Intern's last day at the Capitol. Eric, who recently graduated from UW-Whitewater, has been a wonderful asset to our team, and he undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of him. Thank you for all your exceptional work, Eric, and best of luck in your new position. Fine Job!
Connect with Van:


State Senator Van
21st Senate District 

Wisconsin State Capitol 
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, Wisconsin 53707
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Local Events

6th Annual Waterford Balloonfest
Evergreen Elementary School
July 15-17

Family Day, Backyard Bouncers
North Park, Kenosha
July 3, 8:30 am

Music on the Monument
Monument Square, Racine
Every Friday, 11:30 am - 1:30 pm

Reefpoint Marina, Racine
July 9 - 17

Friends of the Museum Art Fair
Kenosha Public Museum
Sunday, July 17, 10 am - 2 pm

Lincoln Park Live!
Lincoln Park, Kenosha
Wednesday, July 27, 6:30 pm

Kenosha Kingfish
Baseball Games
Simmons Field, Kenosha
July 16 & 23 at 6:05 pm & July 24 at 1:05 pm

Aquaducks Water-Ski
Fischer Park, Burlington
Every Thursday, 5 pm
June through Sept.

Dino Digs
Dinosaur Discovery Museum
Every Sat and Sun 

Racine Zoo
2131 North Main St.
9 am - 6 pm

If you would like to add an event to the Local Events calendar, please send information to: Colleen.Moran@legis.wi.gov
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