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Jennifer Shilling, State Senator Dist 32 (B)

Jennifer Shilling, State Senator Dist 32 (B)

Jennifer Shilling lives in La Crosse with her husband and two children. She currently represents the 32nd State Senate District which includes La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford, and part of Monroe Counties.
She is serving her first full term as the State Senator for the 32nd Senate District after being elected in a 2011 special election. She previously served as the State Representative for the 95th Assembly District and worked as a legislative aide to State Representative Mark Meyer and Congressman Ron Kind. She is a proud graduate of UW-La Crosse and a former La Crosse County Supervisor.
Jennifer was elected by her colleagues as the Senate Democratic Leader. She has served as a ranking member on the Joint Committee on Finance,which is primarily responsible for crafting the state's biennial budget and reviewing state appropriations and revenues. She has also served on the Senate Committee on Government Operations, Public Works, and Telecommunications and the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges.
Locally, Jennifer serves as a member of the UW-La Crosse Alumni Association Board of Directors (past President), the UW-La Crosse Chancellor’s Community Council, the La Crosse Area Habitat for Humanity Women Build (Honorary Chairwoman), the La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce, the La Crosse County Local Emergency Planning Committee, the La Crosse County League of Women Voters, the La Crosse County Democratic Party, the Vernon Women’s Alliance, and the Viroqua Chamber Main Street.

Homeowners shouldn’t be left footing the bill

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator Dist 32 (B)
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator Dist 32 (B)
Jennifer Shilling lives in La Crosse with her husband and two children. She curr
User is currently offline
on Friday, 23 March 2018
in Wisconsin

menards-wiCan you pay lower property taxes by simply saying no one lives in your neighbor’s house? Under Wisconsin’s “Dark Store” loophole, large corporate retailers can.


LA CROSSE, WI - Imagine if you could pay lower property taxes by simply saying no one lives in your neighbor’s house. It sounds ridiculous but the sad reality is that large corporations are increasingly taking advantage of a legal loophole to avoid paying their fair share of local property taxes. As a result of this loophole, their tax burden is shifted onto main street businesses and local homeowners.

All across Wisconsin, large corporate retailers have challenged their property taxes by arguing that the value of their new property is the same as an abandoned, or “dark” property, in a different location. In many cases, the dark property being used to exploit this loophole is property that the corporation recently abandoned to move to a new location.

Wisconsin’s “Dark Store” loophole is becoming a growing problem in municipalities of all sizes across the state. Wealthy corporations have rigged the system and taxpayers are left footing the bill.

In an effort to ensure tax fairness for working families and seniors, Democrats have introduced legislation to close this loophole and prevent corporations from using vacant, abandoned or dark properties as a comparison for determining the value of a fully operational and occupied building.

jen-shillingGiven the overwhelming public support for this proposal, Democrats were hopeful that the legislature would approve this commonsense fix. Unfortunately, Republican lawmakers in Madison sided with special interest groups that have opposed tax fairness for homeowners and local businesses, thus killing the bill. Their failure to lead on this issue will result in homeowners paying millions more in property taxes for years to come.

The opportunity to achieve the American Dream is out of reach for many families in Wisconsin as Republicans continue to rig tax policies in favor of corporations and the wealthy while shifting more of the tax burden onto working families and seniors.

It is disappointing and frustrating that Republicans have adjourned for the session without addressing long-term solutions for tax fairness. Rather than throwing in the towel and calling it quits, we should work together to achieve Wisconsin’s full potential.

Despite these challenges, families know they can trust Democratic leaders to fight for commonsense solutions that promote fairness, expand opportunities and invest in our communities. Closing the “Dark Store” loophole is going to be a top priority for Democrats as we continue fighting to make Wisconsin a place where the next generation wants to live, work and raise a family.

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The Wisconsin Way Forward in 2018

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator Dist 32 (B)
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator Dist 32 (B)
Jennifer Shilling lives in La Crosse with her husband and two children. She curr
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 03 January 2018
in Wisconsin

kewaunee-harbor-familyWisconsin families are working harder than ever but can’t seem to get ahead, while Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans are draining resources from our schools, roads and local communities to fund the huge taxpayer giveaway to Foxconn. We need to work together to move ahead.


LA CROSSE, WI - As I look back at the political battles of 2017, I’m reminded that our state does better when we all work together for the shared values of stronger communities, opportunity and fairness for all. In short, Wisconsin does better when we all do better.

Despite other states rebounding from the Great Recession, Republican policies have shrunk Wisconsin’s middle class, shifted more costs onto working families and created an 111,000 jobs deficit.

Seven years of failed Republican budgets are felt every time we drive over a pothole or cast a ballot for a school referendum. We feel it in our pocketbooks as our wages remain stagnant, while 47 millionaires receive a new tax break.

walker-terry-gou-foxconn-flagWisconsin families are working harder than ever but can’t get ahead because Republicans continue to favor the wealthy and foreign corporations. Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans are draining resources from our schools, roads and local communities in order to fund the largest taxpayer giveaway to a foreign corporation in U.S. history.

Instead of pitting families against one another and favoring out-of-state corporations at the expense of home-grown businesses, we should work to level the playing field and make sure everyone who works hard has an opportunity to succeed.

In 2018 Democrats remain united in our values to create a more fair economy, expand opportunities and strengthen communities.

Democrats have offered dozens of forward-looking solutions to expand access to affordable health care, invest in infrastructure and improve workplace flexibility for hardworking Wisconsin families. We’ve introduced bills to address the sky-rocketing costs of childcare, expand the family medical leave act, provide student loan debt relief, and invest in our local schools.

These are the issues that impact families across Wisconsin and these are the issues that families want fixed. By focusing on policies that encourage growth and drive innovation, we can expand economic opportunities and move Wisconsin forward.

I know we can do better. If we want to grow our middle class and help our next generation succeed in a competitive global economy, we need to invest in our state and retain the best and the brightest. We will continue to fight for common-sense solutions to lower student loan debt, expand access to child care, raise family wages and increase retirement security.

Onward, upward and forward to 2018.

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Expand Family Medical Leave

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator Dist 32 (B)
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator Dist 32 (B)
Jennifer Shilling lives in La Crosse with her husband and two children. She curr
User is currently offline
on Monday, 30 October 2017
in Wisconsin

healthcare-familyEnsuring working moms and dads have access to family medical leave is one way we can strengthen families and expand economic opportunities for all.


LA CROSSE, WI - Whether it’s caring for a newborn or tending to a sick parent, at some point in our lives most adults will have to take time off from work to care for a loved one.

As a working mother with two young boys, my husband and I can relate to the daily challenges that families face when raising children and helping care for a relative. Like many others, we value flexibility and believe that reforming outdated workplace policies will strengthen our state and enable businesses to be more competitive.

Unfortunately, only 11% of U.S. employees have access to paid family leave through their jobs, which means millions of workers are forced to choose between family health obligations and the income they need to cover basic expenses.

Wisconsin was one of the first states in the country to adopt a Family and Medical Leave Act to protect the jobs of workers who must miss work to care for a sick loved one or newborn. Sadly, a recent Republican proposal would reduce access to family and medical leave protections and create more obstacles and barriers for working parents. This will take our state in the wrong direction and severely hinder further progress for the residents of Wisconsin.

Democrats are pushing for solutions to elevate Wisconsin families and address the changing work-life balance of modern families. With more dual-income households than ever before, our economy needs to move past the 1950’s-era family structures and implement workplace policies that ensure flexibility and create a healthier workforce.

Democratic leaders Sen. Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) and Rep. Sondy Pope (D-Mt. Horeb) recently introduced legislation to create a Family Medical Leave Insurance Program that allows employees to contribute a portion of their paycheck into a trust fund. Employees would be eligible to receive a percentage of their pay during the time they take family or medical leave from work, at no cost to the employer. This innovative new proposal has earned the support of organizations that advocate for Wisconsin workers, including 9to5 Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Alliance for Womens Health.

Expanding family leave not only improves health outcomes and reduces health costs, but is an affordable way for businesses to support and retain workers when unexpected family and medical needs arise. All businesses, from Fortune 500 companies down to local mom and pop stores, benefit from a safe and healthy workplace. And so do working families.

If we want to boost our middle class, we need to focus on policies that will help families succeed. Ensuring working moms and dads have access to family medical leave is one way we can strengthen families and expand economic opportunities. Combined with additional Democratic solutions to expand health care coverage, student loan debt relief and affordable child care, we can modernize our workplace policies to be more efficient, cost-effective and family friendly.

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GOP Health Care Repeal Still Cruel

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator Dist 32 (B)
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator Dist 32 (B)
Jennifer Shilling lives in La Crosse with her husband and two children. She curr
User is currently offline
on Monday, 24 July 2017
in Wisconsin

elderly-crowdThe health care repeal, also known as TrumpCare, will affect every single resident in Wisconsin. So why are some politicians still supporting it?


MADISON - After weeks of overwhelming opposition, Republican politicians are still pushing a cruel health care repeal that increases costs, limits coverage and jeopardizes access to care. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the latest repeal plan would double health care premiums and result in 32 million more uninsured Americans by 2026.

The health care repeal, also known as TrumpCare, will affect every single resident in Wisconsin. So why are some politicians still supporting it?

Gov. Walker and a handful of legislative Republicans have been vocal supporters of the health care repeal effort. Rather than lowering health care costs, they have sided with out-of-state HMOs and pharmaceutical companies whose CEOs profit by gaming the health care system.

The latest version of TrumpCare continues to favor these special interests by cutting taxes for the wealthy, raising out-of-pocket costs on working families and making huge cuts to Medicaid. Even more troubling for Wisconsin families, Republicans have refused to stand up and protect individuals with pre-existing conditions from the uncertainty created by TrumpCare.

Roughly half of all Wisconsin residents have some form of pre-existing health condition. From asthma and diabetes to cancer and heart disease, we all know someone who has been affected by a serious health condition at some point in their life. Through no fault of their own, these individuals could see massive price spikes or lose their coverage if the repeal plan approved by Speaker Paul Ryan moves forward.

These consequences haven’t deterred Republicans and their special interest allies. In fact, Gov. Walker admitted early on that he was open to eliminating protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions. His statement shocked and disappointed many families who are already struggling with difficult illnesses and costly treatments.

Rather than siding with big-money special interests, Wisconsin Democrats introduced a series of solutions to protect health care access and lower costs. We believe residents shouldn’t be denied coverage based on a pre-existing condition. We believe access to preventive care shouldn’t come with a premium penalty. And we believe that insurance companies shouldn’t be the ones writing their own rules.

As lawmakers consider major health care changes, local residents need to make sure their voices are being heard. Instead of going back to the days when insurance companies could unfairly discriminate against individuals, we should ensure all families have the opportunity to access quality and affordable health care coverage.

Let’s protect individuals with pre-existing conditions, lower costs for seniors and protect affordable access for working families. As one local resident recently told me: “We all need medical care at some point in life, so let’s take care of one another.”

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Expand Economic Opportunities With Child Care Tax Credits

Posted by Jennifer Shilling, State Senator Dist 32 (B)
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator Dist 32 (B)
Jennifer Shilling lives in La Crosse with her husband and two children. She curr
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 11 April 2017
in Wisconsin

teacher2_childcarePaying for quality daycare has become a major burden for working families, and a targeted tax credit can ease that burden and help our economy.


LA CROSSE, WI - “It’s like we paid off our mortgage.” That’s how one parent described the feeling when their child grew out of daycare and the family was able to pocket more of their paycheck. The extra cash saved each month was a windfall for these working parents who struggled to afford the cost of child care on top of their home payments, student loans, groceries and monthly bills.

For many families in Wisconsin, the high cost of quality child care is a major burden. While we have some of the highest quality child care providers in the nation, the average cost for infant care is over $1,000 a month. That’s more than tuition at UW Madison.

As Democrats push solutions to help working families, access to quality and affordable child care has become a key focus. With more dual-income households, modern families need workplace policies that will ensure flexibility and enable businesses to be more competitive.

Recently, Democratic leaders including Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) and Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) introduced legislation to create a child care income tax credit for working families. As a co-author of this bill, I support the effort to target more relief to working families rather than wealthy special interests and out-of-state corporations.

This issue is particularly important because we know how critical early learning is for a child’s development. Child care providers are highly dedicated and skilled professionals who provide an invaluable service to working families. They’re passionate about their work and often don’t get the credit they deserve.

Parents who work full-time want their children to receive quality care in a safe and loving environment. We should reward quality care providers and find new ways to expand access for working families. By helping families afford the cost of care through a targeted tax credit, we can ease the burden on working families and help businesses retain skilled workers. It’s a win-win proposal for workers, children and employers.

If we want families to succeed, we need to focus on policies that will boost our middle class. Ensuring working moms and dads have access to high quality, affordable child care is one way we can strengthen families and expand economic opportunities. Combined with additional Democratic solutions to expand health care coverage, student loan debt relief and paid sick leave, we can modernize our workplace policies to be more cost-effective and worker-friendly.

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