Walker's Budget Address: What Did You Think?

Walker focused on job creation, mining, transforming education, and infrastructure, but what did you think of his speech? And if you missed it, we've got the whole transcript.

Gov. Scott Walker gave his budget address tonight at the state capitol, which focused on job creation, workforce development, transforming education, government reform and investing in infrastructure.

He stressed the need for the passage of a mining bill, making Medicaid into more of a safety net, allocating more money for deer management, and tying K-12 school funding with their performance.

Here are some of the highlights from Walker's speech:

"Bottom line—I want more freedom and prosperity for all. Improving the economy is my number one priority.  Over the past two years, we lowered our overall tax burden, we streamlined the regulatory process—so what we do enforce is about common sense and not government red tape—and we put limits on lawsuit abuse that was a hurdle for small businesses and farmers."

"Think about it—more money in the hands of taxpayers will likely drive greater demand for goods and services, which will likely lead to greater production and eventually more hiring of employees. Overall, this would lead to more jobs for the people of Wisconsin."

"As we work to create more jobs, we need people with the skills to fill the jobs.  Our budget includes nearly $100 million in new state support for workforce development."

Some state Democrats have already started criticizing Walker's biennial budget because of cuts to Medicaid and wanting to expand the school voucher program, according to a story in the Green Bay Press Gazette.

Representatives React

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, issued a statement at the conclusion of Walker's address, praising the past budget as providing a road map to recovery and this budget as fulfilling promises made.

"Our last budget allowed us to make deposits into the rainy day fund, eliminate a structural deficit and finish with a surplus; all without raising taxes," he wrote. "We want to do more to help the people of Wisconsin, which is why our 2013-2015 budget will include an income tax cut for the average state resident. I believe that our constituents know best how to use their money, and have said repeatedly that any surpluses should stay in the taxpayers’ pockets."

But, Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, was deeply disappointed in the governor's proposed budget, saying the tax cut for those making $200,000 doesn't fit most people's definition of middle class and criticizing the expansion of education vouchers.

"I don't know what color the sky is in Gov. Walker's world, but here in Racine, $200,000 is well above middle class," he told Patch after the address. "After gutting education two years ago, that line item remains rather flat, which is good, but expanding vouchers just puts more public education dollars into private education and shows the governor does not support our public schools."

Rep. Tom Weatherston, R-Caledonia, was also in favor of the governor's ideas.

"I am encouraged by the Governor’s budget because it will promote job creation across the state by funding economic development and workforce training initiatives," he said in a written statement after the address. "I am especially interested in the income tax plan that will help by providing much needed tax relief for many families in my district.”

Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, sided with fellow Democrats, deriding Walker's support for school voucher programs and pushing for better ideas on how to create more jobs across the state. He also released a written statement.

"The Governor’s education message was heard loud and clear – up to $1,400 more taxpayer dollars per student for unaccountable, underperforming voucher schools and $0 for public school students," he said. "The Governor is pushing the same policies that keep Wisconsin dead last in job creation. We can do better, instead of making new empty promises to cut taxes, Governor Walker should focus more on improving his dismal job creation numbers to fulfill his 250,000 job promise."

What did you think of Walker's speech?


Jay Sykes March 01, 2013 at 11:04 PM
@Greg... Here is a demo on the smoke cloak. The Gov had Batman and the Boy Wonder do the install. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phBYqaogKT8
Lyle Ruble March 01, 2013 at 11:22 PM
@Greg...What is the Progressive Aid Coalition PAC?
skinnyDUDE March 02, 2013 at 12:32 AM
Obama on the national level is the worst job creator ever. Hence, federal policies do matter as the entire GDP for the nation shrunk last quarter . After spending 6 trillion in 4 years it is clear that business recognize bad policy and are either making plans to just survive rather than to grow in the USA .
morninmist March 02, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Whow. Good for these WI Republicans. Wisconsin Senate President Mike Ellis proposes $400 million more for schools http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/senate-president-ellis-proposes-400-million-more-for-schools-el903f3-194394361.html Madison - State Senate President Mike Ellis offered the outlines Friday of an alternative to Gov. Scott Walker's school funding plan - one that would put nearly $400 million more toward schools over two years. The plan would be funded with a mix of state money and increased property taxes. Ellis, a Neenah Republican, called the property tax increase slight, saying it would raise property taxes on a $150,000 house by $16.50 the first year and another $15 the second year. "Both are meager increases," Ellis said. The plan has the backing of Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), the chairman of the Senate Education Committee and a member of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee. Ellis and Olsen said they expected support from other Republicans who control the Legislature because others have been seeking ways to add school funding to the GOP governor's budget.
morninmist March 02, 2013 at 05:05 PM
I agress. Wisconsin needs to have an open discussion on this policy issue. Walker will not allow it because he knows he would lose. Appleton, Green Bay superintendents critical of Scott Walker's school spending plan ow.ly/ibZww #wiunion #wiright ..Green Bay School Board President Brenda Warren said state lawmakers should discuss school vouchers as separate legislation, rather than a budget item.


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