Wisconsin’s Veteran Affairs Secretary Mary Kolar and Peter Barca, Department of Revenue Secretary Discuss State Budget at Social Development Commission
After selecting SDC’s North Avenue headquarters to announce highlights from Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers state budget, Department of Veteran Affairs Secretary Mary Kolar and Department of Revenue Secretary Peter Barca explained how the 2019-2021 budget will impact Wisconsin communities including Milwaukee County.
Calling it the state’s most important document, Secretary Barca said the state budget reflects Wisconsin’s values. He emphasized Governor Evers’ four priorities that include health care, education, infrastructure, and tax policy. According to Secretary Barca, here’s what the new funding means to the community SDC serves:
- There is more money available to invest in education, specifically special education.
- There is more money available to improve state roads.
- There is more money for programs that help veterans re-enter the workforce.
As the largest Community Action Agency in the state and an organization that services Milwaukee County veterans experiencing poverty, among other services, the Social Development Commission plays an important role in sharing this information with residents. SDC’s CEO George Hinton also said the visit was important because as a Community Action Agency created to assist in the War on Poverty, SDC serves as a watchdog monitoring policies that affect people experiencing poverty.
“We’re not only a service agency, but we’re also an advocacy agency,” Hinton said. “We look at policies and work with our legislators every day to make sure there are no barriers that prevent people from reaching their goals.”
“Our top priority for the department was the Veterans Outreach and Recovery program,” says Secretary Kolar. “They go out and find veterans. We work with our partners (like SDC). We develop relationships. This ensures veterans get the help they need to overcome mental health, substance abuse, and finance issues.”
The announcement of secured funding for veteran services compliments SDC initiatives, including a construction pre-apprenticeship program that targets out-of-work veterans.
Also noted during the secretaries’ visit was the importance of SDC’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.