Friday, October 18, 2013

Senator Tiffany's E-Update



October 18th, 2013

Additional $100 Million Property Tax Cut
Just a few years ago, Wisconsin was facing a $3.6 billion budget deficit and out of control taxes.  As a result of the tough decisions that we have made, Wisconsin’s state surplus has grown to $759 million.  The state is in a better position today than it has been in decades.  Property tax relief for Wisconsin’s families, farmers, seniors, and small businesses has been a top priority of mine since coming to the Legislature in 2010.  I am pleased to have supported this week's actions on behalf of the property taxpayers of the 12th Senate District.
I am disappointed in the amount of property tax relief that was sent to the 12th Senate District but it brings to light a larger problem with the school funding formula and how much the Northwood's school districts rely on local taxpayers instead of state support.  I am optimistic that the Speaker's Taskforce on Rural Schools will address the inequities within the funding formula and I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that the needs of rural districts are better understood.  Rural schools can find some solace in the 2013-15 Biennial Budget with the addition of categorical aids, including high cost transportation and additional National Forest Income, that I worked hard to include.
 

No Call List To Be Permanent
Consumers will no longer have to call the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) every two years to be placed on Wisconsin’s No Call List with legislation recently passed that I authored.  Senate Bill 155 (SB 155) will make numbers added to the list permanent until the number changes ownership and will merge Wisconsin’s Do Not Call List with the Federal No Call List. 
Forcing consumers to continuously add their number on two different No Call List’s is confusing for consumers and a costly duplication of services at the state and federal level.  Combining these lists and making them permanent only makes sense.  Wherever we can find efficiencies in government that helps consumers is really a win-win for everyone.
Currently DATCP promotes quarterly registration deadlines which can be confusing to consumers to whom may not remember when and if they registered for Wisconsin’s No Call List.  Consumers also may have registered with the Federal Trade Commission, but not registered for Wisconsin’s list which can cause confusion and frustration.  SB 155 will be a substantial benefit to consumers as registering for one list is simpler and they will still be covered by Wisconsin’s more consumer friendly laws.
DATCP presently contracts with an outside vendor to manage the list.  Combining the state and federal list, would save the state around $190,000 per year while maintaining consumer protections.  DATCP has 11 No Call List enforcement agents which would continue to mediate complaints and enforce the state’s more consumer friendly laws.  No call complaints make up about 25% of the total number of formal complaints received by the department. 
Telemarketers pay registration fees to Wisconsin which provides them with the No Call List.  Fees will remain unchanged, but instead of two lists they will receive one which is more efficient for businesses.  SB 155 passed unanimously in the Senate and now goes to the Assembly before Governor Walker gives his final approval.  The next deadline to sign up for the state do-not-call list is December 1st.  To put your phone number on the list, go to https://nocall.wisconsin.gov/web/home.asp, or call (866) 966-2255.

Listening Sessions Scheduled

I will be holding joint listening sessions on October 28th, 29th and 30th with state Representatives Mary Czaja (R-Tomahawk), Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) and Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz). 
This is going to be a great opportunity to hear what constituents from throughout the district have to say about their state government.  I am looking forward to talking with the people of the Northwoods about the upcoming fall legislative session.

“I am very pleased to host listening sessions within Vilas County at the end of this month,” added Rep. Swearingen. “Our past listening sessions have proven to be very productive. I enjoy the one on one discussions with the people in my district.”
“Legislative session ends in April 2014,” Mursau said. “If citizens need us to change a law, we need to hear from them as soon as possible.”

“Being responsive to constituents is my top priority,” said Czaja.  “These listening sessions will be a time to hear directly about concerns, questions, or problems with state government that we can work together on solving.”
The listening session schedule is as follows:
October 28th
(w/ Rep. Mursau)
 
10-11 AM
Oconto Falls City Hall
500 N. Chestnut Street Oconto Falls
 
1-2 PM
Suring Village Hall
604 East Main Street
Suring
 
3:30-4:30 PM
Wabeno Town Hall
4473 Hwy 32
Wabeno
 
October 29th
(w/ Rep. Swearingen)
 
9:30-10:30 AM
Eagle River City Hall
525 E. Maple Street
Eagle River
 
11:45-12:45 PM
Land O’Lakes Town Hall
4331 Hwy B
Land O’Lakes
 
3:00-4:00 PM
Manitowish Waters Town Hall
Hwy 51 & Airport Rd
Manitowish Waters
 
October 30th
(w/ Rep. Czaja)
 
9-10 AM
Hamburg Town Hall
8230 3rd Lane
Marathon
 
12-1 PM
Matsche Community Center
362 Railroad Street
Birnamwood
 
2:15-3:15 PM
Bowler Village Hall
107 West Main Street
Bowler
 

Microsoft IT Academy Program
Computer science is driving innovation and economic growth in Wisconsin and across the country.  By the end of the decade, jobs in computing will comprise over half of all jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields in the country.  Furthermore, computer science skills prepare students for careers in a variety of sectors beyond information technology, such as manufacturing, healthcare, and defense.  If current trends continue, however, Wisconsin's students will not be prepared for the STEM jobs of the future.  Despite computer science's central importance to the state's high tech economy, only a small fraction of Wisconsin's students are taking computer science courses at the K-12 level.
Learn more at:  Microsoft IT Academy
 

Deadline For SBA Loan Applications is Approaching

The deadline for Wisconsin homeowners, renters, and businesses to submit disaster loan applications for damages suffered during the severe thunderstorms and tornadoes of August 6-7, 2013 is quickly approaching.  These low-interest disaster loans are available in Brown, Calumet, Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca, and Winnebago and are due on October 21, 2013.
Homeowners and business owners are encouraged to apply for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s loans, if your home or business was damaged in the storm.  However, the deadline for these loans is quickly approaching.  These low-interest loans can help homeowners, their families, and local businesses get back on their feet.
Loans up to $200,000 will be available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate.  Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.  Businesses and non-profit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.
For information is available at www.sba.gov/disaster or by calling 1-800-659-2955.
 

2013-14 Blue Books and Maps Available

Complimentary copies of the 2013-14 Wisconsin Blue Book and the 2013 Wisconsin State map are now available.  The Blue Book, which is published on a biennial basis, serves as the official guide to Wisconsin’s state government, history, and culture.  This edition represents the 91st volume in a series that began in 1853, shortly after Wisconsin became our nation’s 30th state. 
As you begin to read and enjoy your Blue Book, you will find it contains a wealth of useful information.  Each edition includes the biographies of our elected state officials, information on the three branches of state government, a copy of the Wisconsin State Constitution, and much more.  The Blue Book not only serves as an excellent reference to state government, it also provides enjoyable reading.  This year’s edition features a special article entitled: “The Wisconsin Historical Society: Collecting, Preserving, and Sharing Stories Since 1846” by John Zimm.
If you would like a copy of either the Blue Book or state map, please reply to this E-Update with your name and address.

Calendar of Events

Upcoming Events
Start Date
Event
 
10/19/2013 Northwoods Wildlife Center Open House Minocqua
 
10/19/2013                                          Antigo Junior Women Craft Fair                           Antigo
 
10/19/2013                                               3rd Annual Fall Craft Fair              Laona High School Gym
 
10/19/2013 Raffi Besalyan Three Lakes
 
10/22/2013 Lake Land Performing Arts presents Allan Harris Minocqua
 
10/25/2013 A Night at the Museum Eagle River
 
10/25/2013 Nightmare in the Woods Boulder Junction
 
10/25/2013 Spooks-n-Spoofs Arbor Vitae
     
10/25/2013 Not So Scary Halloween Trail Rhinelander
 
10/26/2013 Boulder Junction Trick or Treat Boulder Junction
 
10/26/2013                   Goodman Armstrong Creek Varisty Club Fall Harvest Craft Show
 
10/26/2013                                             Wabeno Festival of Leafs                                   Wabeno
 
10/28/2013 Great Pumpkin Glow Contest Minocqua
     
10/31/2013 Three Lakes Lions Halloween Party Three Lakes
 

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