Dear Friends,

I hope each of you have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend!

Because of heavy rains, tornadoes, and flooding, Governor Walker declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Wisconsin. Our area has been hit hard by flooding. If you are a victim of these storms, please contact your insurance agent or call 211. You can also fill out a damage report here.

The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance recommends that you make a list and take photos of damaged items for your adjuster. They stress that it is important to take photos of cracks in walls, damage to floors, and missing roof tiles. Be safe!

Technology giant Foxconn is making it very clear that they are committed to the state of Wisconsin. In addition to bringing next-generation manufacturing and 13,000 direct high-tech, family supporting jobs to our state, they made two more major investments in our state's future this week.

On Monday, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou announced a $100 million investment in engineering and innovation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Foxconn is making the single largest industry research partnership in the university’s history, the institute will help make our state a world leader in research and technology.

Just a day later, Foxconn joined Advocate Aurora Health, Johnson Controls, and Northwestern Mutual to form a $100 million venture capital fund to invest in startup companies.

It disappoints me to see some people actively rooting against Foxconn and Wisconsin. In addition to these investments, Foxconn is building their North American headquarters in downtown Milwaukee and creating technology centers in Green Bay and Eau Claire. It's obvious Foxconn is committed to the future of Wisconsin. 

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
State Finances Remain Solid
This week, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau issued their report on general tax collections for 2017-18. I'm happy to report Wisconsin’s financial situation continues to be strong. 

Tax collections are up 4% from 2017 and 2018’s collections are $18.4 million higher than expected.  Our state’s economy is on solid financial ground and is growing, thanks, in part, to reforms and careful budgeting.

Under Governor Walker’s leadership, Republicans cut taxes, made historic investments in education, while borrowing less than any budget in a more than a decade. Republicans eliminated the state’s portion of the property tax bill and the alternative minimum tax. Parents received $100 million in tax credits and we created our first sales tax holiday. Since 2011, we’ve delivered more than $8 billion in tax relief.

For the first time in state history, our unemployment rate dropped below 3% for six straight months. And Business Insider ranked our economy as the 10th best in the nation. Our reforms are working and Wisconsin is on a roll!
AG Schimel, Darling Announce TAD Funding
This week, I joined Attorney General Brad Schimel to announce more funding for our state's successful Treatment Alternatives and Diversion (TAD) programs. The TAD program is really making an impact as we battle the opioid crisis in our state. The program grew from seven counties in 2015 to 50 counties and two tribes in 2018.

Throwing someone struggling with opioids in jail won't break their cycle of addiction. Most drug users don't have the mental health treatment they need to fight their addiction. TAD programs are a proven way to reduce recidivism by giving people struggling with addiction access to treatment in lieu of incarceration.

I'm proud of the work with Attorney General Schimel to increase access to TAD programs throughout Wisconsin.
Study Committees Tackle Important Issues
This summer, I've had the honor of serving on a few study committees that are set up to help lawmakers dig deeply into important issues.

On Tuesday, the Juvenile Corrections Study Committee met to discuss the future of our juvenile justice system. Earlier this year, Governor Walker signed Wisconsin Act 185 which closes the Lincoln Hills youth prison in 2021 and created a committee to work on the issues that come with creating new programs and facilities to replace Lincoln Hills. Our goal is to make sure we provide the services these kids need to become productive members of our society. 

Also this week, I chaired another a study committee on Direct Primary Care. Direct Primary Care allows doctors to work separately from a health system. Patients pay a monthly fee and receive primary care from these doctors.

It's already happening in Wisconsin and many patients and businesses have seen significant savings through Direct Primary Care. Our committee is looking at how Wisconsin could use this method of health care to provide better outcomes and save money. Stay tuned!
Zoo Interchange Complete
This week, I joined Governor Walker to announce the Zoo Interchange Core is complete and on budget. The core project is expected to last 75 years!

That's great news for our state. Around $55 billion of freight is transported through the mega project every year!
Wisconsin Proud!
  • Wisconsin's unemployment rate remained below 3% for six consecutive months.
  • Wisconsin added 21,300 manufacturing jobs from July 2017 to July 2018. That ranks us second in the nation, just behind Texas which added 21,400 in the same time period.
  • Business Insider ranked Wisconsin's economy as the 10th best in the nation.
  • Fifty of Wisconsin's 72 counties met or broke their all-time low unemployment rates in May.
  • CNBC ranks Wisconsin as the 17th best state in the nation for business.
  • All 12 of the state's metro areas and all our 32 largest cities have seen a year-over-year drop in unemployment. 
  • The number of people employed in Wisconsin is at an all-time high of 3,090,200, and the unemployment rate is at all-time low at 2.8% for May.
  • Construction wages in Wisconsin are up 7.5% from 2016-2017.
  • Wisconsin ranks 7th in manufacturing job creation from 2016-17, and wages are up 15% since 2010.
Around the 8th...
I'd like to thank Will Eisner for working so hard for the people of the 8th Senate District this summer. Will is heading off to the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh this fall. Good luck!