Dear Friends,

On Thursday night, Governor Evers unveiled the most expensive budget in state history. It will cost an astounding $84 billion to pay for it all. That's a $7 billion increase from the last budget. While I agree on some issues Governor Evers included in his budget plan, I have serious questions about how he pays for them.

Wisconsin can’t afford Tony Evers' liberal wish list budget. He’s spending our record surplus and billions more. His budget increases spending by $1,000 for every man, woman, and child in our state, raises taxes, and eliminates the reforms that worked over the last eight years. Governor Evers is digging another hole that Republicans will again have to fill.  

It’s important to point out that the reason Wisconsin is in such great shape financially is because of the responsible budgeting of Republicans. According to Governor Evers' own estimates, his spending will leave a negative structural balance of $833 million. We just can't afford that much spending. If Governor Evers is serious about passing a bi-partisan budget, he needs to get serious about your money.

I am willing to work with the governor, I won’t let him take us back to the dark days of 2009. Back then, our state faced a multi-billion structural deficit, taxes were going up by double-digits, and the unemployment rate was above 9%.

After eight years of Republican reforms, we are in much better shape. Our budget has a $2.4 billion surplus, property taxes are lower now than they were in 2010, and our unemployment rate has stayed at or below 3% for 11 straight months. We can't let Tony Evers' spending spree and tax hikes take us back. 

Republicans in the legislature have set the stage for a great budget, but Governor Evers is jeopardizing the continued surpluses, increased revenues, historic tax cuts, and expanded economic opportunity created by making fiscally responsible decisions. Some of those decisions were not easy, but time has shown that they worked.

Our next step is a thorough review of the Governor’s budget by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. I am looking forward to travelling around the state to help craft a budget that works for all 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!
Senator Darling Reacts to Governor Evers' Budget
Governor Evers unveiled a very, very expensive budget last night. Click on the video above to see how all that spending can affect you.
Evers "Pro-Kid" Budget Locks Poor Kids Out of Good Schools, Refuses to Reform Failing Schools
Children in the School Choice Program rally against the Governor's plan to freeze the program before his budget address on Thursday.
Thousands of poor kids in Milwaukee will remain trapped in failing schools if Governor Tony Evers gets his way. 

Governor Evers' "pro-kid" budget locks out low-income families in Milwaukee from finding the best possible opportunity for their child. Evers also wants to prevent the state from turning around historically failing schools in our state. I don’t see how Governor Evers could claim his budget is ‘pro-kid’ when it traps poor students in failing schools.

For many students and families in Milwaukee, choice and charter schools are the only viable option for a chance at a quality education. Tony Evers is shutting the door on their future by forcing kids to attend an under performing school.  

A four-year ban, like he is proposing, will have long-term adverse effects on a child’s education. They may never recover academically. When Tony Evers ran DPI, his own report cards showed many choice and charter schools out performed many MPS schools.  

It is clear Tony Evers is more interested in protecting adults instead of protecting kids. For the sake of the school children in Wisconsin, his choice and charter ban is dead on arrival in the Legislature. Let’s continue to go forward instead of backward.

Unfortunately, Governor Evers has a history of turning his back on Milwaukee schools. As Superintendent for nine years and now Governor, it is clear Tony Evers has no interest in improving failing schools in Milwaukee and certainly doesn't want parents to choose the best opportunity for their kids. Governor Evers is telling every parent that protecting bureaucratic interests is more important than if their children succeed.

Around 23,000 students attend schools in the MPS system that fail to meet expectations. In 2015, I worked with Senator Dale Kooyenga and offered a comprehensive plan to turnaround failing schools in Milwaukee. To help stabilize students' life away from school, their plan targeted continually low-performing schools in MPS and provided support services for the community. Governor Evers plans to eliminate this reform tool. 

"There is a real crisis happening in Milwaukee's public schools," Darling said, "I believe every child should have access to an affordable, safe, and effective school of their choice. Despite historic investments in public education, Tony Evers ignored the turnaround initiative and now wants to lock kids into failing schools." "It is time to put politics aside and do what's best for our kids."

Senator Darling on UpFront
On Friday, I had the honor of being one of the first guests on WISN TV's UpFront program with new host Adrienne Pedersen.

We had a great discussion about Governor Tony Evers' budget and what happens next. Tune in this Sunday at nine a.m. to watch!
Audit Committee Reviews School Safety Funding
Senator Darling asks Wisconsin AG Josh Kaul to help local law enforcement with ways to deal with children who may be a risk to themselves or others.
On Thursday, the Legislative Audit Committee met to approve an audit of School Safety Grants and Plans. We invested $100 million so schools could better protect our school children. It's also important to protect taxpayers. An audit will help make sure that money was spent wisely and that our schools are now safer. I look forward to the results of that audit.
Darling Named Guardian of Small Business
Thanks to the National Federation of Independent Business for naming me a 2017-2018 Guardian of Small Business.
Medical College/Children's Hospital Praise Darling Bill to Expand Child Psychiatry Consultation Program
According to the 2018 report by the Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health, 24% of young adults in Wisconsin have been diagnosed with a mental illness.

Here in Wisconsin, help can be hard to find. In 20 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, there is no practicing psychiatrist. In the counties that do, ten have less than one full-time equivalent psychiatrist because one is shared across multiple counties. State Representative Jim Steineke of Kaukauna and I are working on a bill to provide funding for an expansion to make sure every child in Wisconsin has access to help when they need it.

I am happy to report that our bill is drawing praise from the Medical College of Wisconsin and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. Dr. John Lehrmann, Charles E. Kubly Professor and Chair in Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the Medical College, had this to say:

“We wish to extend a heartfelt thank you to Sen. Darling and Rep. Steineke for their longstanding commitment and support of this crucial program, which dates back to 2013. Expanding the Child Psychiatry Consultation Program will help ensure thousands more children and adolescents in Wisconsin have greater access to mental health care.”

I'm thrilled to have their support. Representative Steineke and I are currently seeking co-sponsors to our bill.
Around the 8th...
I had a fantastic time joining State Representative Jim Ott, the Thiensville Police Department, and Chief Kleppin for "Coffee With the Cops" on Wednesday!
Proud to meet with these amazing teens from Menomonee Falls High School FACT. FACT is Wisconsin's youth tobacco prevention program. It's made up of teens who are making a positive impact in their school by informing their peers about the dangers of tobacco.
Scholarships for Students in Grafton Available
The Grafton Chamber of Commerce awards over $5000 annually to Grafton High School Students who plan on attending 2 year and 4 year colleges and universities.  Scholarship Applications for 2019 graduates are now available!
 
Please note: All applicants are required to obtain a letter of recommendation from a Chamber Member Business. If you have any questions, please contact the Chamber Office by email at chamber@grafton-wi.org or by phone 262-377-1650.