Dear Friends,

Thanks to careful budgeting and tax relief, Wisconsin's budget is in better shape than anyone imagined. According to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Wisconsin is expected to see an unprecedented $4.4 billion above predictions by 2023. This is great news for the future of our state. You can read more about it below.

My constituents are frequently citing unprofessional behavior by Department of Workforce Development (DWD) representatives, with several people documenting encounters with rude, untrained, non-responsive, and combative DWD staff. This is unacceptable. My constituents who need their unemployment insurance are already in a tough spot, and the Evers administration is making it worse. I won't stop fighting for you in Madison. You can read more about this latest Evers debacle below.

Everyone in Wisconsin 12 and older is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. If you are eligible and are having trouble finding the COVID-19 vaccine in your area, the State of Wisconsin now has a map of vaccine providers. The website not only helps link people to the vaccine but also provides information on how the state is distributing doses. The state also has a COVID-19 Vaccine Assistance Hotline. The hotline is offering personal assistance for vaccine-related questions. The toll-free number is 1-844-684-1064.

As always, if you have any concerns or ideas on how to improve our great state, please do not hesitate to contact me by phone at 608-266-5830 or by email at Sen.Darling@legis.wisconsin.gov.

On, Wisconsin!
Unprecedented Surplus Should Lead to Tax Cuts
Last year was tough for everyone in our state and our nation. Now is not the time to change course and raise taxes on the Wisconsin families and businesses like the Governor proposes in his biennial budget.

This surplus came from the hard-working people of our state and should go back to those same people. Income, property, and personal property tax cuts should all be on the table.

With a new estimate this week of $800 million automatically going into the budget stabilization fund, I urge my colleagues to reinvest the $350 million allocated to the fund for education purposes. This allocation should instead be spent on special education reimbursement rates and per-pupil funding.

These critical investments in the classroom will help offset the loss of revenue from COVID-19 expenses and address the learning loss that took place last year. This investment will ensure we receive the full amount of funding available from the federal government while also giving schools the ability to plan for the future.

We should continue to reject the Governor’s tax hikes and deliver another responsible budget, invest in our priorities, and lowers the tax burden for everyone in Wisconsin.
Evers Administration Continues to Mishandle Unemployment Claims
Despite billions in federal funding and claiming to have cleared their massive unemployment backlog, Tony Evers continues to mishandle claims. According to constituents from the 8th Senate District, Evers’ Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is unprofessional, rude, and still takes weeks to respond.

Quotes from constituents from the 8th Senate District:
  • “I need help getting my claim processed. I waited for April-September 2020 January-March 2021 and now again April 10-now. I can’t get a job without a working phone. I need to pay my bills, already experienced homelessness and bankruptcy.” 
  • “It has been 9+ weeks and still nothing”
  • “According to my portal, I am owed 26 weeks of UI…[I] was told if I didn’t like it then to contact my republican legislatures [legislators] and let them know how I feel because it’s their fault. This was just one instance of a lack of professionalism. We have been told that it was representatives 4th week and didn’t know what to do. That did not fill me with confidence.”
  • “I am an unfortunate victim of DWD roadkill, called my unemployment claim that has been mismanaged since December 12, 2020. I waited a month and still have no new letter, I called DWD on January 12, 2021, for an update. I talked to the rudest person I can ever recall regarding the status of my unemployment claim. He was personally insulted for calling him (even gave me a lecture for doing so) and wasting his time. He was very demeaning, but I kept my composure, trying to find a solution.”

Last year, an audit from the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau showed the Evers administration wasn’t even answering the phone from people desperate to collect the benefits they were owed. According to the audit, only 0.5% of calls were answered from March to June of 2020. 

The Governor is sitting on millions of dollars from the federal government, he has a non-partisan audit as a blueprint and months to implement changes. Yet he still won’t fix his disastrous Department of Workforce Development. My constituents and everyone in the state deserve better.
More Election Reforms Pass
Voters could soon have another convenient and secure option for voting. On Wednesday, the Wisconsin State Senate approved a bill I authored that would make voting drop boxes legal.

Current Wisconsin law does not address drop boxes at all. In August of 2020, in the middle of an election, the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) issued guidance for drop boxes. However, guidance from WEC does not carry the force of law.

Drop boxes are an added convenience, and voters will still have the option of mailing their ballot. Having legal and standardized drop boxes will help our elections run smoothly and restore confidence in our system.

It’s important to make it easy to vote and to protect the integrity of our elections. If Governor Evers signs this important reform, voters will be able to vote in person, by mail, or with a secure drop box.

Senate Bill 209 was approved on a voice vote. The bill now heads to the State Assembly for further consideration.
COVID-19 Vaccine, Testing Information
Please Donate Blood, Plasma
One way you can help is by donating blood. If you have recovered from COVID-19, please especially consider donating your plasma.

You can find out where to donate here and here.
COVID-19 Cases in Our Area
The table above contains data reported on June 9, 2021 from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on coronavirus cases in our area.
Emergency Room Visits with COVID Symptoms
Around the 8th...