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Letter from Rep. Petryk: State of the State

As Governor Walker recently told the citizens of Wisconsin, the state of our state is good and continuously improving. Wisconsin is moving in the right direction, but together, we can do more. The Governor introduced his “Blueprint for Prosperity,” a plan that will put more money back in the hands of hardworking taxpayers across our state. Allow me to highlight some of our accomplishments and the Governor’s plan. 

Since Governor Walker and I took office, double-digit tax increases, billion dollar deficits, and major job loss are a thing of the past. Today, Wisconsin has a better than projected surplus of $911 million. Thanks to our tough and prudent fiscal decisions, Wisconsin is on the path to fiscal certainty and prosperity. 

Our unemployment rate is also at its lowest since 2008 and unemployment insurance claims are at a 12-year low. Private sector job creation is booming and adjusted private sector job growth from November 2012 through November 2013 has Wisconsin superseding our neighbors, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. Quarterly monthly job reports show that Wisconsin has created more than 100,000 jobs since 2011. That is done in part to the over 13,000 new business that have been created thus far in our state since that time. 

Job creation remains a top priority not only for Governor Walker but for myself and my colleagues. We have enacted legislation this session that will better prepare our workforce for the jobs that are in demand. Currently, there are 50,000 jobs that are not being filled because our workforce doesn’t have the necessary skills. We have made a commitment to those looking for work that they will have access to the training necessary to find meaningful employment. The Legislature and the Governor have invested over $100 million in worker training.

We are also committed to our children’s education. ACT scores continue to be higher than the national average, reading scores are up, and finally, there is a 2-year tuition freeze for the UW System. Also, we have created new laws that will help our children get training in the fields that are in highest demand. We are giving our students the option to work as an apprentice and receive scholarships for degrees in technical education. 

As you can see, together, our state is moving forward. This is why the Governor has laid out a “Blueprint for Prosperity.” The majority of the taxpayer funded surplus will go back to the taxpayers at around $800 million. This will be done by reducing property taxes by $406 million, reducing income taxes by $98.6 million, and adjusting withholdings for the lowest bracket of state income taxes by $322.6 million. Also, $100 million will be added to the state’s rainy day fund. If you would like to see how much you will save under this plan, please visithttp://Prosperity.WI.Gov

I look forward to the special session the Governor is calling so that we can put even more money back in your pocketbooks. I am encouraged by how well our state is doing and though it was a challenging road getting here, it was worth all the hard work. Wisconsin is moving forward!

Midwest Propane Shortage

Many of you are aware that Wisconsin is facing a shortage of propane. Due to the extremely cold winter and a fall crop season that was cut short, the state’s propane supplies have dwindled rapidly. Wisconsin, as well as 17 other states, has issued an emergency declaration to assist in getting propane to those who need it most. 

Governor Walker’s executive order will allow propane truck drivers the ability to driver longer hours so that all families in Wisconsin will have the necessary fuel to heat their homes. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has also authorized a change in the weight limit for trucks transporting propane. Furthermore, Wisconsin and our surrounding states have a federal declaration of emergency from the U.S. Department of Transportation which will assist us in getting the necessary fuel.

Many Wisconsin propane suppliers have been forced to ration their propane supply to consumers. Fortunately, Pierce Pepin Propane Services in our district has not had to take such extreme measures. However, consumers can assist during this time by taking the following steps:

  • Cut back on your overall use of propane and prevent waste.
  • Refrain from using non-essential propane appliances such as a gas fireplace.
  • Set your thermostat lower than normal especially while you are not home.
  • Check your propane tank gauge to ensure that you do not run out of fuel.
  • Please check on your neighbors, especially the elderly.  

The Governor has pledged that he and the legislature will do what needs to be done to ensure that Wisconsin makes it through this difficult time. I will continue to monitor this situation closely.

Upcoming Events in the 93rd Assembly District

Rural Schools Taskforce Public Hearing

January 28, 2014, 1:30 p.m.

Pepin School District, School Gymnasium, 510 Pine Street

Parents Night Out

January 31, 2014, 12-9:00 p.m.

Robbins Elementary School, Eau Claire

13th Annual Spring Valley Lion's Ice Fishing Derby

February 22nd, 2014, 9:00-2:00 p.m.

Educating Veterans on Available Benefits

February 18th

Eau Claire VFW Post 305

1300 Starr Ave, Eau Claire

2014 Hiring Our Heroes Veterans Event

Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 10-1:30 p.m.

National Guard Armory

1730 North Lane, Eau Claire