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Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District

Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District

Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd District which covers La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford and parts of Monroe County.

Blog entries categorized under Wisconsin

Leverage Investments to Spur Job Growth

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 16 July 2015
in Wisconsin

lacrosseharborLA CROSSE, WI - Wisconsin is struggling economically. While other states have invested in their communities and boosted family wages, So where do we go from here?

It’s simple. Stop cutting and start growing.

By working together to strengthen our schools, expand access to health care and invest in modern infrastructure, we can grow Wisconsin’s middle class and create thousands of good-paying jobs.

We are a diverse and hardworking state. In order to succeed, we need a team approach to leverage our shared assets and lift all communities equally.

Whether it’s an energy-saving upgrade to reduce utility bills at a local school, a broadband project to boost internet access in a rural community, the construction of a cultural center to encourage creative thinking and tourism or a highway expansion to improve safety and reduce traffic, communities across Wisconsin rely on one another to leverage our public resources and maximize private investments.

Like many in our state, I was skeptical when Governor Walker first proposed borrowing millions to help pay for a new arena facility in Milwaukee. I recognized the importance of this project and what it meant for our state, but I didn’t think it was the best deal for taxpayers or workers. I knew we could do better.

I wanted to see a more fiscally responsible plan that strengthened our state's bottom line and included stronger protections for all Wisconsin families.

By listening to local residents and working to find a more bipartisan solution, we have been able to leverage additional private investments, reduce the amount of state borrowing, increase the amount of state funding available for schools and create thousands of quality, family-supporting jobs for Wisconsin workers.

Keeping the Milwaukee Bucks in Wisconsin and encouraging more than $1 billion in private sector economic development will benefit everyone in Wisconsin. Best of all, the new plan doesn’t raise taxes and it ensures first and foremost that Wisconsin workers are protected. The state won't be on the hook for future maintenance or repair costs, and we can invest additional revenue into our schools and communities.

With these improvements to the governor’s original proposal, this investment is good deal for taxpayers, workers and families across Wisconsin.

But the same can be said for other state investments as well.

We all know it’s better to invest in quality schools and affordable higher education than additional prison cells. It’s better to help working families get regular health checkups and preventive care than pay for expensive emergency room visits. It’s better to keep our lakes and rivers free from arsenic and mercury than clean up industrial pollution later.

Across Wisconsin, I want to make sure that we are strengthening communities by responsibly leveraging our public resources to encourage private investments and expand economic opportunities.

Generating more revenue for our schools and creating thousands of family-supporting jobs with a new Milwaukee arena project is a good deal for working families that I am proud to support. I know it is a much better deal for families than the “cut and borrow” alternative and I hope that this spark of bipartisanship will renew our desire to come together and invest in other forward-looking priorities across our state.

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Dogged by scandals at home, Gov. Walker sets his sights on D.C.

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 14 July 2015
in Wisconsin

scott-walkerLA CROSSE – Despite ongoing questions about potential corruption, criminal pay-to-play activity and another financially reckless $1.2 million taxpayer giveaway at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Gov. Walker is set to abandon his post as chairman of the troubled agency and focus on his presidential campaign.

While the rest of the nation is enjoying strong economic growth, family wages are declining in Wisconsin and the state ranks dead last in the Midwest for job creation.

With a record of ethics problems, a lagging economy and declining family wages, Gov. Walker has proven that his priorities are more in line with Washington D.C. special interests rather than hardworking Wisconsin residents. Over the last four years he has devastated our schools, cut middle class wages and sold out Wisconsin families to benefit the special interests behind his presidential campaign.

While Gov. Walker continues to campaign full-time for president on the taxpayers' dime, families here in Wisconsin are being left behind. We need a full-time governor who is going to put the needs of Wisconsin families first and work to restore education funding, invest in infrastructure and expand access to quality health care.

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State Capitol Update - votes “Under the Dome”

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 09 July 2015
in Wisconsin

capitol-domeMADISON - This update is provided to keep citizens informed about important decisions happening at the State Capitol and to help you stay updated on how elected officials are voting on key issues in Madison.

Senate Extraordinary Session – July 7
The State Senate met in extraordinary session on July 7 to take up the 2015-17 state budget (Senate Bill 21). A full list of session activities, budget amendments and votes can be found here.

K-12 school funding (Senate Amendment 4 to SB 21)
Summary: The Department of Public Instruction estimates that more than half of all Wisconsin school districts will see a reduction in state aid next year as a result of cuts to school funding. Democrats proposed investing an additional $270 million in categorical school aid to restore the local public school cuts and ensure that all children receive a quality education.
How they voted: Senate Amendment 4 was rejected by the majority party on a 19-14 party line vote.
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) opposed the amendment.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) supported the amendment.

Voucher school accountability (Senate Amendment 5 to SB 21)
Summary: Despite promises to increase voucher school accountability before further expanding the program and increasing the risk of fraud and abuse, no action was taken in the Joint Finance Committee to strengthen standards. In an effort to strengthen student and taxpayer protections, Democrats introduced this amendment to eliminate the expansion of private voucher school subsidies, increase education standards and strengthen public accountability.
How they voted: Senate Amendment 5 was rejected by the majority party on a 19-14 party line vote.
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) opposed the amendment.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) supported the amendment.

University of Wisconsin System funding (Senate Amendment 6 to SB 21)
Summary: This amendment would restore the $250 million cut to UW System schools, 2-year campuses and Extension programs.
How they voted: Senate Amendment 6 was rejected by the majority party on a 19-14 party line vote.
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) opposed the amendment.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) supported the amendment.

BadgerCare expansion (Senate Amendment 12 to SB 21)
Summary: This amendment would expand access to affordable health care and lower state taxpayer costs by accepting available federal funds to strengthen BadgerCare. The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau concluded that Wisconsin would save $360 million in the 2015-17 budget if federal health care funds were accepted.
How they voted: Senate Amendment 12 was rejected by the majority party on a 19-14 party line vote.
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) opposed the amendment.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) supported the amendment.

Preserve long-term care, IRIS and Family Care (Senate Amendment 13 to SB 21)
Summary: The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee made a number of sweeping changes to Wisconsin’s long-term care programs which will eliminate the popular IRIS self-directing care program and jeopardize access to critical services. Additionally, new requirements for an individual assessment prior to receiving personal care services will result in a reduction of $19 million in services available to people with disabilities.
How they voted: Senate Amendment 13 was rejected by the majority party on a 19-14 party line vote.
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) opposed the amendment.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) supported the amendment.

Special education funding (Senate Amendment 14 to SB 21)
Summary: The end of the 2015-17 budget will mark the eighth consecutive year that special education funding has remained flat. Costs associated with educating students with disabilities have increased over time, resulting in an overall decrease in the average reimbursement rate the state provides to school districts. In 1980, the special education funding rate was 66.1% of total costs. By the end of the 2014-15 school year, the rate fell to just 26.8%. This budget amendment would have increased the reimbursement rate to 33% of schools’ special education cost.
How they voted: Senate Amendment 14 was rejected by the majority party on a 19-14 party line vote.
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) opposed the amendment.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) supported the amendment.

Funding for state parks, science and educator positions, recycling grants and Stewardship (Senate Amendment 17 to SB 21)
Summary: This amendment would restore funding to numerous programs that were cut in the budget including state parks, DNR educators and scientist positions, recycling grants and bioenergy research initiatives. Additionally, it would maintain current bonding authority for Stewardship land conservation efforts and provide additional funding for urban forestry grants.
How they voted: Senate Amendment 17 was rejected by the majority party on a 19-14 party line vote.
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) opposed the amendment.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) supported the amendment.

Higher Ed, Lower Debt student loan relief (Senate Amendment 20 to SB 21)
Summary: With over 800,000 Wisconsin residents impacted by student loan debt, Democrats have advocated for additional relief from high interest rates and burdensome debt payments. The Higher Ed, Lower Debt amendment would allow individuals to refinance student debt at lower interest rates similar to options currently available for home mortgages and car loans.
How they voted: Senate Amendment 20 was rejected by the majority party on a 19-14 party line vote.
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) opposed the amendment.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) supported the amendment.

WEDC accountability and prohibition on outsourcing Wisconsin jobs (Senate Amendment 22 to SB 21)
Summary: After years of troubling audits and revelations of potential criminal violations at Gov. Walker’s flagship jobs agency, government watchdog groups have called for greater accountability and public transparency. This amendment would prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to outsource Wisconsin jobs, require employees at the WEDC to report instances of fraud to law enforcement, and subject agency officials to state laws governing misconduct in public office.
How they voted: Senate Amendment 22 was rejected by the majority party on a 19-14 party line vote.
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) opposed the amendment.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) supported the amendment.

Final passage of the 2015-17 Wisconsin State Budget (SB 21)
How they voted: Passage of the 2015-17 state budget was approved by the Senate on a 18-15 vote
Sen. Lasee (R-Marathon), Sen. Olson (R-Ripon), Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac), Sen. Roth (R-Appleton) and Sen. Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) supported passage of the budget.
Sen. Hansen (D-Green Bay) and Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay) opposed passage of the budget.

 

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This State Capitol Update is provided by Senator Jennifer Shilling, the Minority Leader in the Wisconsin State Senate. For additional information on legislative or committee action, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 608-266-5490.

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After Years of Cuts, Schools Deserve a Raise

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd
User is currently offline
on Friday, 15 May 2015
in Wisconsin

middle-school-studentsMADISON - Imagine you took a pay cut each of the last four years. Now suppose you were pulled into your boss’s office and told that you wouldn’t get a raise this year, even though the company is growing and seeing record profits. Would that seem fair?

Well, that’s the position our local schools are in after years of historic cuts. Despite spending billions more, the current Republican budget continues to roll back state funding for our schools to 2010 levels.

While avoiding another round of cuts is certainly important, is that really a victory? Should we be satisfied with the broken status quo of school funding that forces communities across our state to go to referendum year after year?

Democrats believe that education must be our top budget priority. That means putting the needs of children and our schools ahead of tax breaks for the wealthy and giveaways to special interests.

We know the funding is available. It has been for years. But Republicans made the decision to prioritize tax breaks for special interests and the wealthy while forcing our schools to do more with less.

To fully restore the cuts our schools have seen over the past four years, we need to invest an additional $200 per student above what Gov. Walker and Republicans have proposed. In the grand scheme of multi-billion dollar special interest tax giveaways, surely we can find $200 per student.

If budgets are about priorities, it’s time we invest in our children first and give them the same shot at the American Dream that our parents handed down to us.

Let’s not settle for the broken status quo. Let’s invest in our state and make our schools a shining beacon of opportunity for Wisconsin’s children once again.

On Tuesday, the Legislature will be voting on whether or not to restore the historic funding cuts to our local schools. I encourage everyone to contact your legislative representatives toll-free at 1-800-362-9472 and urge them to support our children by voting for a $200 per pupil increase in school funding.

Anything less than that amount continues the troubling trend of chronic underfunding that has forced larger class sizes, more local referendums and higher property taxes.

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Walker’s Subsidies to Corporations that Outsource Jobs to Mexico

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator 32nd District
Jennifer Shilling serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and represents the 32nd
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 29 April 2015
in Wisconsin

walker-no-jobsScandal-plagued WEDC agency linked to business outsourcing again.


MADISON – Multiple news reports have revealed that a Wisconsin company that received $370,000 in taxpayer subsidies from Gov. Walker’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) plans to cut 93 positions and outsource Wisconsin jobs to Tijuana, Mexico. The Eaton Corporation in Pewaukee, WI had previously outsourced 163 Wisconsin jobs to Mexico in 2013. Governor Walker serves as the Chairman of the WEDC.

At a time when Wisconsin is facing a $2.2 billion budget deficit, it is unacceptable that Republicans would provide taxpayer subsidies to a company with a history of outsourcing Wisconsin jobs. It’s time to start investing in Wisconsin families and stop subsiding corporations that outsource jobs.

While Gov. Walker continues to travel around the nation preparing for his presidential campaign, Wisconsin has plummeted economically. Recent reports have shown that family wages are declining, poverty rates have increased and Wisconsin has dropped to 40th in the country for job creation.

Rather than catering to out-of-state special interests, we need to invest in local businesses that are going to stay in Wisconsin and pay their workers a fair wage. Democrats remain committed to boosting family wages, creating quality jobs and investing in the 21st century infrastructure that is needed to move our state forward.

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