Dear Friends,

At a time when Wisconsin is trying to recruit more Millennials to fill our labor shortage, we are getting some good news. This week, Wisconsin again found itself in the top ten ranking for states - twice! WalletHub ranked Wisconsin as the 6th best state in the natio n for Millennials and one of the least stressed states .

One state that seems to be stressed over Wisconsin's success is Illinois. More and more companies are making the move north because of our business-friendly climate. It wasn't always this way. Here's what one recruiter said about our state's turnaround:

“We used to make regular outreach to Illinois and we could rarely even get our phone calls returned,” said Jim Paetsch, vice president of corporate relocation, expansion, and attraction at the Milwaukee 7 regional economic development partnership. “Fast forward to 2018, I probably get four to five unsolicited calls from Illinois companies a month.”

Thanks to our reforms, Wisconsin is creating family-supporting careers because businesses know they are welcome in our state. That's why our unemployment rate dropped from 9.3% when Democrats were in charge to less than 3% now. Wisconsin is working and it shows.

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.wi.gov .

On, Wisconsin!

Alberta
Senator Darling Statement Paul Ryan's Retirement
Wisconsin has a long history of producing great leaders, and Paul Ryan is one of its greatest. Paul always answered the call when his leadership was needed, yet never lost track of his roots. He worked tirelessly to represent his district and the state of Wisconsin.

Despite all of his accomplishments in Washington, there is no more important task than to be a husband and a father. I know he looks forward to spending more time with his family and wish him well in retirement. I'm honored to have Paul as a friend.
Wisconsin Leading in Welfare Reform Again
Wisconsin has a 30-year tradition of being a leader in welfare reform. That legacy is continuing, with Governor Walker signing nine more bills this week.

With Wisconsin's unemployment rate at an all-time law, our employers need workers. The welfare reform bills we passed are designed to get people off the sidelines and into family-supporting jobs.

The welfare reform package was part of the Governor's agenda and they are expected to be copied by other states. Here is a summary of the bills:

Special Session Assembly Bill 1 - This bill will encourage work by requiring 30 hours a week of work instead of 20 hours a week. The increase will give people a pathway to self-sufficiency while still offering the flexibility to deal with life situations. 

Special Session Assembly Bill 2 - This bill adds the additional work requirement to be eligible for the FoodShare program.

Special Session Assembly Bill 3 - This bill prevents public benefit recipients from shielding liquid assets in non-liquid assets such as a home or vehicles. Reasonable asset limits on public benefit programs ensure benefits are reserved for those who truly need it. 

Special Session Assembly Bill 4 - Giving someone free or reduced housing doesn’t help them rise out of poverty by itself, but housing coupled with a plan towards self-sufficiency will help people break generational poverty. This legislation allows public housing authorities to help develop employment plans for people in public housing.

Special Session Assembly Bill 5 - This legislation helps prepare people for the real world of work by creating a pilot payment plan for the Earned Income Tax Credit. Instead of one lump sum, people will receive payments like a paycheck.

Special Session Assembly Bill 6 - This bill will allow agencies to contract with private service providers and set goals that must be met before funding is provided.

Special Session Assembly Bill 7 - Because the government doesn't have all the solutions, this bill creates a framework to find free-market solutions to social problems by paying for success.

Special Session Assembly Bill 8 - This bill will make sure Medicaid recipients are keeping up with their child support payments.

Special Session Assembly Bill 9 - This legislation requires the state to seek a federal waiver to create a savings program, similar to a health savings account, in the Medicaid program.

I'm thrilled for the opportunities Wisconsin's economy and our reforms are providing for people who need family-supporting careers. Our state is again leading the nation in welfare reform.
HOPE Agenda Bills Signed
Our nation is facing an opioid addiction crisis. Wisconsin is leading the nation in combating this epidemic. I'm proud to work closely with my friend and budget co-chair John Nygren (R-Marinette) on this crucial issue.

This week, Governor Walker signed two more bills in the HOPE Agenda . That makes 30 bills that have been signed into law in our comprehensive effort to fight heroin and opioid abuse in our state.

One of the new laws is from a bill that Representative Nygren and I co-authored, Assembly Bill 907 . It takes important steps to remove unnecessary obstacles for mental health professionals. We need more throughout our state, especially in rural areas. I'm happy to report that not a single lawmaker voted against this bill.

We are making real progress with the HOPE Agenda. It's encouraging to see partisan differences set aside as we work together to end this epidemic.

Wisconsin's Chief Economist on Entrepreneurship
John Koskinen is the Chief Economist for the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. In this video, John talks about Wisconsin's improved reputation for entrepreneurship.
Wisconsin Proud!
  • Wisconsin is ranked in the top 10 for best states for millennials and most relaxed.
  • For the third straight report, Wisconsin led all Midwest states in the Chicago Fed's Midwest Economy Index.
  • Wisconsin's unemployment rate of 2.9% for the month of February is the lowest ever.
  • Wisconsin taxpayers have saved $8 billion over the last eight years thanks to Republican tax cuts.
  • State funding for K-12 education reached an all-time high in actual dollars in the most recent state budget - $11.5 billion!
Around the 8th...
Holy Family Parish School in Whitefish Bay visited the Capitol this week!