Paying special attention to the needs of local governments, Kathleen has been able to secure funds for vital services, change funding formulas, and reduce the burden of local property tax payers. Because of her work:
county nursing homes are receiving increased reimbursements,
the Trempealeau County Health Center got increased funding,
$ 300,000 in a special appropriation
counties will not be charged as much by the state for their youth and elderly residents who require treatment in state mental health centers,
counties, rather than the state, will have the authority to decide whether their residents should be treated in a state mental health center or in county based alternative programs.
By changing the formula for distributing utility tax dollars, Kathleen was able to increase funds flowing to the City of Alma.
$ 172,875 additional dollars in 2010
She was also able to secure the funds necessary for making the Trempealeau County District Attorney a full time position.
$ 53,000 a year to pay the additional costs.
Along with other area legislators Kathleen was successful in keeping open all the existing Department of Motor Vehicle Centers, making it easier for rural residents to take drivers’ tests, get licenses, and title their vehicles.
The La Crosse Tribune recognized her successful efforts on behalf of local governments. “Sometimes legislators’ good work gets lost behind the headlines … Debate on big issues is an important part of the legislative process. But equally important is the accumulation of small victories toward making local government more effective … It wasn’t glamorous. It wasn’t high profile. … But it was the kind of legislation that we will be needing more and more of as local government, school boards and counties find that collaboration is the only way to efficiently deliver services in a tighter and tighter budget environment.” La Crosse Tribune, April 28, 2010.
As co-chair of the Joint Committee on Audit she was instrumental in getting $12 million rebated to local governments from previous excessive payments of property insurance premiums. This new money came at a critical time as local governments were struggling to balance difficult budgets. A total of $650,000 was returned to local governments in the 31st Senate District. Among those receiving larger sums were:
Eau Claire Area School District $ 105,615
City of Eau Claire 44,206
Eau Claire County 41,329
Trempealeau County 46,175
Monroe County 36,018
Pierce County 27,299
City of Tomah 16,294
City of Sparta 16,157
City of Black River Falls 15,261
City of Altoona 10,329
City of Arcadia 10,551
City of Augusta 6,948
City of Medford 14,573
City of Whitehall 7,656
City of Galesville 4,098
City of Independence 4,886
City of Fountain City 3,331
Village of Trempealeau 4,763
Village of Strum 3,387
Cochrane-Fountain City School District 18,922
Tomah Area School District 15,328
Mondovi School District 15,190
Black River Falls School District 14,330
GET School District 18,433
Eleva-Strum School District 8,104
Alma School District 7,390
Melrose-Mindoro School District 7,623
Glenwood City School District 9,182
Plum City School District 5,352
Kathleen led the successful effort to protect the job security of Wisconsin’s volunteer fire fighters and EMTs”, who provide essential services to people in emergencies. Brad Liggett, President of the Wisconsin Fire Chiefs’ Association, and Richard Meeker, President of the Wisconsin EMS Association, lauded Kathleen for her work.
“Senate Bill 308 will protect and promote public safety and emergency service volunteerism. On behalf of Wisconsin’s Fire Chiefs, we applaud Senator Vinehout’s leadership on this job protection issue.”
“Wisconsin EMS commends Senator Vinehout’s dedication on this important issue. This legislation represents a balanced approach to protecting the jobs of our volunteers, while creating a process that serves the employer.”