Our Agenda:

Bring Back The Middle Class

In 2015, Assembly Democrats announced next steps in advancing key agenda items that will bring back and strengthen the middle class by focusing on the core priorities of the people of Wisconsin. These Democratic proposals stand in stark contrast to the Republican agenda, which includes dismantling Wisconsin’s open records laws, interfering with the investigation and prosecution of political corruption, and turning the state’s non-partisan government watchdog into a partisan lapdog.

“While Republicans focus their attention on shielding themselves from accountability and hiding their actions from the public, Democrats are working for the people of Wisconsin to make college more affordable, ensure Wisconsin’s hard workers can care for their children and loved ones, and provide more retirement security,” Assistant Assembly Democratic Leader Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) said. “Democrats are focused on bringing back our middle class and doing something about the issues. Each of these ideas deserves strong bipartisan support, so we are calling on our Republican colleagues to put their own political interests aside and do the right thing for hard working families in our state. We also must make major structural changes to our state’s jobs agency to protect against outsourcing and cronyism and create good family-supporting jobs.”

Higher Ed, Lower Debt (AB 272/SB 194), lead sponsors Rep. Mason and Rep. Kolste: At least 815,000 Wisconsinites are carrying student loan debt, with an average of more than $28,000 owed. Total student debt in Wisconsin is over $19 billion. Under this legislation, Wisconsin’s student loan borrowers will be able to refinance their student loans like a car or mortgage. The typical Wisconsin student loan borrower would receive $179 in annual tax savings, and some would receive as much as $531 in annual savings.

Childcare Affordability (modeled after 2013 AB 757), lead sponsors Rep. Sargent and Rep. Genrich: Wisconsin was recently ranked as one of the 10 least affordable states for full-time infant care and full-time 4-year old care by Child Care Aware of America. The annual cost of infant care in Wisconsin is $10,775. This bill would provide much-needed relief for middle-class families by creating a nonrefundable individual income tax credit based on the federal tax credit for expenses for household and dependent care services.

Earned Sick Days (modeled after 2013 AB 898), lead sponsors Rep. Mason and Rep. Sargent: An analysis from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research finds that more than one million Wisconsin workers do not have access to earned sick days. This bill would allow workers to earn up to nine sick days each year to be used to recover from their own illnesses, access preventive care, and/or provide care to a sick family member. Workers at businesses with fewer than 10 employees could earn up to five paid sick days each year.

Retirement Security (AB 70/SB 45), lead sponsors Rep. Genrich and Rep. Jorgensen: According to a recent poll conducted by AARP, “over 4 in 10 (42%) working Wisconsin registered voters age 45 and older” said their employer does not offer a retirement plan such as a 401K. This bill would create the Wisconsin Private Retirement Security Board – an independent entity charged with designing a plan that builds on the strengths of the best public pension system in the nation – the WRS – to offer low-cost plans with strong investment returns and provide every participant with a guaranteed monthly retirement benefit.

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