The Budget Writing Committee has been working diligently to craft a state budget, moving agency by agency to complete the task.
This last week, the Committee made significant investments in Wisconsin's infrastructure through expenditures in the state's Capital Budget. As a member of the State Building Commission, I am pleased to support strong, prudent investment in state owned buildings, focusing on maintenance, repair, and helping prepare the workforce for future generations. During these past several months serving on the Building Commission, I have grown increasingly aware of the needs of our state assets, as well as the tremendous value they bring to Wisconsin. It was important to see firsthand the infrastructure needs of our State and to increase my awareness of project goals. With the knowledge gained from visits and tours, my colleagues and I were able to present capital project recommendations to the Joint Finance Committee.
By strategically examining needs across the state, we were able to make several significant investments in the University System. We will complete projects from each corner of Wisconsin: UW Green Bay to UW Stevens Point; down to UW Oshkosh and Milwaukee and over to UW Madison; then up the western side of the state to UW Lacrosse and UW River Falls. Each project focuses on classroom modifications and health and safety standards for students. We also included necessary funding for the Milwaukee Public Museum where the largest collection of Indigenous artifacts is housed. It was an honor to visit many of these facilities in recent months. Seeing firsthand the needs of each project helped form my decisions.
In addition, the Committee authorized the commencement of two separate building projects dedicated to mental health services in Wisconsin. The need for mental health services was already great before our state shut down; these facilities will help serve the people of Northern Wisconsin.
The Finance Committee continued it's investment in Wisconsin's infrastructure by also examining the Transportation Budget this past week. By significantly supporting local transportation aid increases, increasing state highway rehabilitation funding and enumerating the I-94 E/W project, we hope that Wisconsin will continue to move Forward.
The work of the budget writing committee will continue for the coming weeks. You may be interested in personally reviewing the work they do by watching the committee on Wisconsin Eye at www.wiseye.org, and you may find their schedule and work at 2021 Joint Committee on Finance.
On Wednesday, the State Assembly passed legislation to address Wisconsin's critical workforce shortage. “I am pleased to have supported Assembly Bill 336 today, getting Wisconsin back to work and supporting our local businesses is of the utmost importance”.
Wisconsin’s economy continues to thrive and considering our acute worker shortage statewide, we must focus our efforts on getting workers back to work. Is it any wonder that hiring is difficult when currently unemployment insurance exceeds earnings for 68% of people who are collecting benefits? Assembly Bill 336 will end Wisconsin’s participation in the federal unemployment compensation that de-incentivizes a return to work. We cannot let Wisconsin lag behind our neighboring states. Click below to view my speech in support of this bill.
Jobs & Economy Committee
This week, the Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy, which I chair, held an information hearing showcasing Careers Industries in Racine and Burlington, a community-based facility providing employment, educational and life experiences for people with disabilities. It was an honor to host Executive Director Joe Greene (pictured below), who with his team, assists in seeing that everyone has a chance to work and have fulfilling life experiences.