Friday, June 28, 2013

Senator Glenn Grothman: E-Update

Hello Friends of the 20th Senate District,
As many of you may know, the legislature’s work on the budget has finished and it has been sent to the Governor.  Please find below my budget veto letters that I sent to Governor Walker this week.  These issues are of great importance to me and I hope that Governor Walker responds accordingly.  Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns.
Glenn Grothman
20th Senate District
RE:  Support for increase in financial eligibility for married parents in the voucher program
Dear Governor Walker:
The purpose of this letter is to encourage you not to veto the provision adding $7,000 to the financial eligibility amount for married couples interested in school choice.
There are too many government programs that penalize parents (usually mothers) if they get married.  This is true of FoodShare, day care assistance, low income housing, college grants and energy assistance.  We must do what we can to avoid penalizing married families by allowing them to be eligible for vouchers.
In the original substitute amendment in which choice eligibility was set at 185% of the federal poverty level, a single woman with two children would be eligible for vouchers if she made up to $36,137 per year.  If she got married she and her husband combined could make $43,567 a year.  Obviously this would take vouchers away from any working woman who marries a man with even a moderate salary.  By increasing the married couple amount by $7,000 at least some women who choose to raise their children in a married household will not be penalized.
Do not add to the penalties of married couples – please don’t veto this provision.
RE:  Veto of bail bondsmen budget provision
Dear Governor Walker:
I join the Senators who are listed on the attached letter in asking for veto of the bail bondsmen provision in the state budget. You will recall that I asked for a similar veto last budget.
Thank you for your consideration.
RE:  Veto of DNA collection provision
Dear Governor Walker:
I would like to request a veto of the language in the budget regarding the collection of DNA.  This provision is very concerning not only to me, but also to many of my constituents.  DNA collection at arrest takes away the personal freedoms of citizens throughout Wisconsin.
We have a justice system that presumes that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty.  This budget provision is an affront to this standard.
This DNA collection is not just the new fingerprint.  I have spoken to law enforcement officers and sheriffs who are very worried that DNA will be misplaced, misused, and be ripe for fraud in the system.  I am also very concerned that someone’s DNA record cannot be permanently removed from the FBI system.  FBI officials have confirmed that once the DNA is in their system, they do not have a mechanism to remove it.
Please stand up for personal liberty and veto this provision from the budget.
RE:  Veto of expansion of the Public Finance Authority
Dear Governor Walker:
I would like to request a veto of the language in the budget regarding the expansion of the Public Finance Authority (PFA).  Many individuals have expressed concern with this organization and its goals.  The Public Finance Authority often approves controversial deals that are not approved by state or local governments.
Many states have raised concerns about Wisconsin’s PFA, questioning PFA’s authority to override their decisions.  In fact, Illinois and Washington have even passed legislation to discourage PFA from issuing bonds for projects in their states.
With the amount of controversy and ill feelings from other states, I know that it is in the best interest of Wisconsin for you to veto this provision.
RE:  Veto of the repeal of local residency requirements
Dear Governor Walker:
I would like to request a veto of the language in the budget regarding the repeal of local residency requirements.  This is an issue that I have been very vocal about for many years.
We know that this provision is aimed at Milwaukee and has been heavily lobbied on by many organizations.  I would be remiss if I did not one more time bring up the negative effect that this provision will have on Milwaukee.  There may not be problems right away, but in ten years we will have declining property values and increasingly crime ridden neighborhoods.  Lifting residency requirements will only exacerbate the problems that we currently have in Milwaukee.  We will see increasing state aid shifted to Milwaukee and its schools.
Looking beyond Milwaukee this provision is breach of contract between a local government and its workers.  Employees that take jobs with residency requirements know there is a requirement when they take the job and will have to take that into consideration if they decide they no longer want to live in that area.
I am sure your decision has been made in this area, but I wanted to try one last time to show you my side of the argument.  Please veto the repeal of local residency requirements.
RE:  Veto of student data system collaboration
Dear Governor Walker:
The purpose of this letter is to request a veto of the student data system collaboration.  While I realize this was part of your original budget I strongly wish you would reconsider this position.
These are too many government files on people – I don’t even like the statewide data system currently. To add information on behavior in preschool, whether or not you were eligible for free and reduced lunch as a child, whether or not you received unemployment at some time in your life to the government database is something more appropriate for another form of government.
I realize this information is to be kept confidential and people are given a number instead of a name, but any educational institution will have the key.  It has always amazed me how government employees in several departments, even before I was in the legislature, cannot help gossiping about things that are supposed to be confidential.  For a conservative administration to add significant amounts to a lifelong file of Wisconsin citizens is scandalous.  The student information system is something you would more likely see from Barack Obama.  Come to think of it, Barack Obama is for the student information system.
I am sure various big government bureaucrats can think of all sorts of good things we do if we had all the data the government collects on us in our lifetimes in one handy place.  You should be repelled by such people.  We do not need any information that DCF and DWD have in the course of a lifetime added to everyone’s file.  Please veto this provision.
RE:  Veto of tobacco user surcharge for state employee health insurance
Dear Governor Walker:
I would like to request a veto of the language in the budget regarding the tobacco user surcharge for state employees in the state of Wisconsin.   While tobacco usage remains prevalent in today’s society, adding a surcharge to state employees’ health insurance premiums tramples on an individual’s liberty to use a perfectly legal substance and certainly will not diminish its use.
In general I oppose surcharges since those directly impacted by it simply choose not to pay them, but in this particular case they will undoubtedly encourage patients to lie to both the government and their doctors, risking improper future diagnoses and therefore even higher health care costs.  In addition, this fee will open the floodgates for future implementation of other silly charges for decisions deemed unhealthy by the government.  Consuming too much sugar, maintaining an unhealthy weight, and failing to exercise on a regular basis are also predictors of serious health issues and it is only a matter of time before we begin regulating these behaviors as well.
Furthermore, this provision fails to outline who will be in charge of monitoring state employees’ tobacco use and will be virtually impossible to enforce.  Please veto the tobacco user surcharge for state employees.
RE:  Veto of transfer of unclaimed property program administration to Department of Revenue
Dear Governor Walker,
I would like to request that you veto the provision in the budget regarding transferring unclaimed property from the Office of the State Treasurer (OST) to the Department of Revenue (DOR).    The administration of the Unclaimed Property Program under OST is a model for the nation returning in excess of $100 million in the past three years.   This is money that is put back into Wisconsin’s economy.
OST has 4 claims processors that handled 29,000 claims in 2012.  Those 4 individuals returned $35.9 million to Wisconsin residents and businesses in 2012.  This program is fully supported by program revenues operating at no cost to the taxpayers.  I have a hard time believing that DOR can manage this program more efficiently than the treasurer currently does.   Unclaimed Property will become an afterthought taking a back seat to the crusade of all the newly created state auditors.
Please allow efficiency in government to continue and veto this provision from the budget.
RE:  Support for non-mandatory fees for inter-institutional student government organizations
Dear Governor Walker:
I would like to request that you do not veto the provision in the budget regarding inter-institutional student government organizations.  This organization is a thinly veiled progressive group grabbing money from University of Wisconsin System students.
This bloated organization takes almost $1,000,000 each year out of the pockets of our state’s young people.  With the average student loan debt at graduation currently at $27,000, students in Wisconsin cannot afford to have another fee added to their tuition bills.
Students throughout the state, especially students supportive of you, have continually asked legislators to relieve them of the costs of this deceptive organization and help them with the oppressive weight of student expenses.


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