Our April 3, 2023 meeting was a listening session with four Appleton-area state legislators: Sen. Rachael Cabral-Guevara and Reps. Ty Bodden, Joy Goeben, and Dave Murphy. The four made opening remarks and then took questions from the audience.
Murphy offered a historical perspective on the state budget. He noted for many years the budget offered by the governor would be about $5 billion more than the previous year's budget ... until Gov. Tony Evers' offered budget for the 2023-25 biennium. Murphy referred to it as the "skipped the 90s budget," because Evers is proposing to increase last year's $88 billion budget to $105 billion. That's an increase of $17 billion, nearly 20 percent. Murphy also discussed school choice in Wisconsin, noting the cap on the share of a district's students that can be on vouchers will be removed automatically in 2026. For example, the Appleton Area School District currently can have no more than 10% of its students on vouchers -- that changes in 2026.
Cabral-Guevara noted child care, public education, and special education are the topics on which she is receiving the most emails and phone calls. She has a whiteboard in her office in Madison where she encourages visitors to write down "what they want," in hopes of having people see that there are many demands for limited funds.
Bodden mentioned more money for correctional officers' salaries, offering an anecdote about how the Governor is "playing games" on that issue. He noted the Governor has never proposed increasing pay for correctional officers, but once the Republicans proposed a $7/hour increase, Evers put into his proposed budget a $13/hour increase for them ... just to make the GOP look bad. Bodden also mentioned a "voter roll scrubbing" bill that he's working on with Sen. Andre Jacque; two anti-human-trafficking bill he's working on; and a "windmill bill" that will give townships more say in wind turbine siting decisions.
Goeben said FAMILIES are key to many of the concerns the other legislators mentioned. For example, if families were stronger, there'd be less need for outside-the-home child care. She also urged deregulation of child care, in particular, as a way to increase the number of child care providers.
Questions from the audience included:
Larry Cole moderated the Fox Valley Initiative's Listening Session on April 3, 2023.
Rep. Dave Murphy spoke at the Fox Valley Initiative's listening session on April 3, 2023.
Sen. Rachael Cabral-Guevara spoke at the Fox Valley Initiative's listening session on April 3, 2023.
Rep. Joy Goeben spoke at the Fox Valley Initiative's listening session on April 3, 2023.
Rep. Ty Bodden spoke at the Fox Valley Initiative's listening session on April 3, 2023.
On behalf of the Dan Kelly campaign, Tim Higgins briefly addressed the Fox Valley Initiative's listening session on April 3, 2023.
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