By Tim Kowols
There is plenty of good news for Door County residents and visitors if the Joint Finance Committee has their way. In addition to allocating up to $750,000 for the reconstruction of Peninsula State Parks’ Eagle Tower, the JFC has decided to bring back “Wisconsin Natural Resources” magazine on a quarterly basis and redistribute 18 beds from the state limit for nursing home facilities to Door County Medical Center. While he is thankful for the JFC for recognizing some of the issues facing the First Assembly District, Rep. Joel Kitchens says he knows Governor Scott Walker still has to sign off on these and other proposed changes to the biennial budget.
The Wisconsin State Legislature is back to work on Tuesday with a budget deadline of July 1.
STATEMENT ON JFC ACTIONS FROM REP. KITCHENS
“Over the past two weeks, the Joint Committee on Finance has voted on several issues important to the constituents of the 1st Assembly District.
“First, I applaud the Joint Committee on Finance’s decision to allocate funding for the building of the new Eagle Tower in Peninsula Park. Eagle Tower was a pinnacle attraction of the park and we are all eagerly looking forward to the new tower being erected so we can all enjoy the breathtaking views of our Peninsula.
“Working with the Friends of Peninsula Park, the DNR and Senator Lasee (R- De Pere), I submitted a motion earlier in the budget process for the state to provide half of the funds for Eagle Tower. This project will be a wonderful opportunity for the state to come together with local supporters of the park and create an attraction that Wisconsinites and visitors will build their memories on.
“Second, the Joint Committee on Finance voted to require DHS to redistribute 18 nursing home beds that are currently available under the statewide bed limit to Door County Medical Center. Door County faces a rapidly aging population, and an increase in available nursing home beds in our area is crucial in order to effectively care for our most vulnerable.
“Finally, I was very happy to see that the Joint Committee on Finance voted in favor of continuing the publication of the DNR’s ‘Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine’. The magazine will now be published quarterly and continue to highlight the valuable natural resources of our great state. Immediately after the Governor released his budget which authorized the elimination of the magazine, I received an outpouring of support for the magazine from my constituents in the 1st Assembly District. Early in the budget process, at the encouragement of countless constituents, I submitted a motion to save the self-supported DNR Magazine.
“I would like to thank the constituents of the first assembly district for their continued advocacy for our area. This is a perfect example of democracy in action. Additionally, I would like to thank the members of the Joint Committee on Finance for prioritizing the important issues of the 1st Assembly District. I look forward to continuing to advocate on my constituents’ behalf as the budget continues.”