Krug column: Budget moves Wisconsin forward

7:55 PM, Jul. 2, 2013  |  Comments
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It has been a great pleasure working to get to know my new areas in Portage and Waushara counties this last year or so.

The priorities of the new parts of my district sometimes vary from other parts of the district, and it was with this in mind that I held listening sessions in all of the new areas of the 72nd District. From Almond to Wautoma and everywhere in between I met with constituents through March, April and May to work on district budget priorities.

There were several themes that I took away from these meetings and worked to have those concerns addressed by making budget amendments. The biggest accomplishment for this area was working to save good paying Wisconsin jobs for residents of Portage, Waushara, and Wood counties.

Restoring a multi-vendor system for student information has allowed Skyward in Stevens Point to continue to compete in the Wisconsin marketplace. In turn that saves close to 300 local jobs and helps lead to future job creation as Skyward may expand in the near future. Not only does Skyward provide jobs, they are a great conduit for students graduating from local colleges to enter the job market and start a life in Wisconsin, rather than fleeing to another state for other opportunities.

The net effect of Skyward on the regional economy is even more important as we see other businesses leaving the area or going out of business. I have heard from constituents and colleagues alike that jobs are the highest of all priorities.

With the major impact on Portage and surrounding counties hanging in the balance, I was dismayed to see that area Democrats voted against a budget that saves Skyward.

Thankfully Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield) and I voted with many other members to pass the state budget without the Democrat votes and saved those good paying Wisconsin jobs.

I know that there are items in each budget that would make legislators vote against an overall bill, however, nothing has been more important to both Republicans and Democrats in the area than jobs. We all stick our necks out on budget votes even when some items are not ideal so a no vote is the simply the easy way out in my mind. It took a great deal of political capital on my part to move forward an agenda item important to state Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), and her no vote disappoints me.

Other area budget wins include helping local K-12 schools pay for transportation costs in rural areas while increasing aid to every school at the level of $150 per pupil each year of the budget. We helped fund an additional assistant district attorney position to help combat massive case loads.

Working with other rural Republican legislators we were able to secure funding for town road aid increases, municipal funds for road aids, the restoration of county conservation positions, an expansion of the Wild Rose fish hatchery, the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program and more.

We helped counties secure more funding for child support enforcement decreasing the reliance on public assistance and funding for Treatment Alternatives and Diversion programs for counties with increasing drug abuse problems to keep jail costs down. Statewide wins includes more funding for domestic abuse prevention, a tuition freeze for University of Wisconsin students, the biggest income tax cut in recent state history to put more money in the hands of those who earned it, overall tax relief totals close to $1 billion.

We expanded school choice while still making sure we didn't hamstring local districts with decreasing enrollment problems. The caps in place, combined with the income limit restrictions, on top of stating no more than 1 percent of each district's enrollment may attend choice schools, are very reasonable limits when it comes to maintaining the importance of the public education system.

I encourage everyone to take the time to sign up for our e-update that lists many more good provisions of this budget. Call our office at 888-529-0072 or email

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

Retrieving results.
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I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
1025 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
1279 votes

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Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports