Budget moves Wisconsin to its future
By: Gov. Scott Walker, Superior Telegram
What a difference a few years can make: In 2011, we inherited a $3.6 billion budget deficit. Today, we have a surplus.
In the four years before I took office, Wisconsin lost more than 133,000 jobs. Since January 2011, Wisconsin has gained tens of thousands of jobs.
When the statewide chamber of commerce did a survey of employers a year before I took office, just 10 percent said our state was headed in the right direction. In the most recent survey, 93 percent now say Wisconsin is headed in the right direction.
We are turning things around. But there is more work to be done.
Our proposed state budget continues to move Wisconsin forward:
Tax relief: More than $630 million in tax relief to cut middle class taxes and lower tax rates; hold the line on property taxes; help key industries like manufacturing and agriculture grow in our state.
Job creation: Additional resources to improve the business climate and promote job growth; new funds to assist entrepreneurs in start-up ventures, as well as aid for military veterans to create new companies; and expands marketing of business and tourism opportunities.
Workforce development: Nearly $100 million in new state dollars for grants, technical colleges and other programs to help train skilled workers for jobs in key industries; funds aid for academic and career assessments in our schools.
Education reform: Some $475 million in new funds for K-12, technical college and UW System support; incentives for high performing and rapid growth schools; help to turn around failing schools; expansion of choice and charter schools; and additional support for early childhood reading skills.
Higher education: The UW System says our budget support will lead to the lowest tuition increase in a decade; new resources in our technical colleges connected to performance.
True independence: Transition people from government dependence to true independence by requiring able-bodied, working-age adults without dependent children to be enrolled in job training to get assistance so they can move into available jobs.
Public safety: More resources to crack down on internet crimes against children; money to use DNA to solve crimes; funds to track restraining orders in domestic violence cases.
Health care: Reduce the number of uninsured by 224,580; increase support for cancer treatment and research; and improve access in rural and impoverished areas.
Natural resources: Implement plan to improve hunting experience; increase resources to monitor frac sand operations.
Honoring our veterans: Hire additional staff to provide exceptional care for our aging veterans; promote benefits for returning service members; help find work for veterans.
Overall, our budget ends with a $23.1 million surplus and the capital budget has less overall spending and less bonding then Gov. Jim Doyle’s last budget. In other words, we have a balanced and prudent budget to help move Wisconsin Forward.
Scott Walker is the governor of Wisconsin.