How Much Does the State of the State Matter?

By: Allison Miller
By: Allison Miller

Political analyst John Frank says the State of the State is a chance for the governor to make his vision for Wisconsin clear.

The problem is that vision later has to meet legislative reality.

"Without good health little else matters, that's why my affordability agenda starts with health care," Doyle told Lawmakers last year.

But Doyle's proposals on health care started and pretty much ended with last year's State of the State address.

In it, the governor pushed for a low rate, large catastrophic insurance pool for employers.

That plan died in committee.

Doyle's push to make big businesses like Wal-Mart provide health insurance or pay the state the difference, suffered a similar fate.

And Doyle's support of an ethanol bill with a flex fuel tax credit also died without a floor vote, as did his request for more stem cell research money.

"My first priority as governor has always been education," Doyle said last year, prompting some Democrats to get to their feet and clap.

But it wasn't enough to pass the governor's proposal for more math and science classes in high school.

Nor was it enough to pass Doyle's Wisconsin covenant providing all B-average 8th grade students a state-paid college education.

About the only thing that did come of last year's speech was senate bill 459 ensuring 10% of Wisconsin's power comes from renewable fuels by 2015.

Doyle also pushed last year for an ethics reform bill.

That idea went nowhere last session, but has since been revived, revamped and is ready for passage.

Analyst John Frank says that bill is the best indication Doyle's speech this year may get more action, than lip service in Madison.


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