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* Bald Eagle Watching Events in January

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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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From our readers

Editor:

Re: State Budget

As Co-Chair of the Joint Finance Committee, I lead the charge to improve the governor’s proposed 2013-15 budget. During the budget process we committed to using three basic principles to craft the budget: reform the way government works; reinvest in education; and use restraint with government spending. By following these guidelines, Wisconsin taxpayers will see one of the largest tax cuts in state history and counties will receive a funding increase to many community supported programs.

We are standing by our promise to Wisconsin taxpayers, and especially Wisconsin small businesses, to reform government. The majority of lawmakers in the Legislature recognize who the true job creators are in Wisconsin. We took steps to create an environment for small business owners to expand their businesses by stabilizing the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund and reforming the UI program.

At the end of 2012, the state was nearly $900 million in debt to the federal government for UI system payments. This deficit translates into higher taxes on businesses. However, the actions in this budget will help avoid a $26 million tax hit. This move will provide greater certainty and clarity for businesses and their workers.

We reinvested in education by keeping K-12 public education funding a top priority and it continues to be the largest funded program in Wisconsin. We increased per pupil funding $150 in year one, an additional $150 in year two for a total of $289.1 million this biennium.

This budget demonstrates restraint in spending as the state continues to maintain a balanced budget. It is important to stress that we are committed to funding health and education programs. For the first time in Wisconsin history, we froze UW tuition for the next two years. Following the legislature’s bold lead, the Board of Regents chose to extend that freeze to include out-of-state students and graduate students.

The governor proposed an individual tax cut of $321 million, the Legislature added to that plan by $345 million, including a private school tuition tax deduction. In this biennium there will be nearly a $1 billion tax decrease. Previously enacted legislation, such as the manufacturing and agriculture credit and health insurance and child care deductions, contribute to this reduction.

We do believe it’s the government’s role to care for our vulnerables, we also believe that citizens know best where to spend their dollars. With this budget, Wisconsinites will keep more of their money in their pocket. Wisconsin has a long state history of protecting her own. Through hard work and with input from our residents, this budget protects both those in need and the taxpayer’s interest.

State Rep John Nygren

Co-Chair, Joint



Committee on FinanceTo the Editor:

I see that the Marinette County Board seems to be embracing the same policy as the US Government. This is spending money they don 't have. Per your story last week "Committee Okays $9.44 Million Bonds, Wonders About Next Year," I don 't have to "wonder," I expect our taxes will go up eventually regardless of the Board’s direction to the County Administrator to reduce the budget by 10% in the past couple of years. What is going on? Who is in charge? Who is looking after the taxpayers’ interests? The answer seems to be no one! We should have hired someone with real experience for the top job in the county. Perhaps we should replace most of the County Board? It is obvious we need to reduce the size of the County Board, how about by 10% for starters?

Sincerely,

Pete Pfankuch,

Crivitz


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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