Walker sets the stage for the next two years in budget speech

By: Kevin Hurd Email
By: Kevin Hurd Email

(WEAU) -- It's been two years since Governor Walker brought a budget before the legislature and Wisconsinites. He started off tonight's speech by focusing where we were and how far we have come.

He says unemployment is down by about 1% and we have moved from a budget deficit to a surplus.

"To keep this positive momentum going, we need to do more," Walker said.

He announced an income tax cut of $343 million dollars along with holding the line on property taxes. Something he says will benefit lower class and middle class families, saving about $272 a year for families making $80,000 dollars.

On top of that, he says it will drive new hiring and jobs.

"Our budget expands the Capital Catalyst program we just kicked off in Eau Claire and in Whitewater," Walker said. "This program helps new entrepreneurs take that first big step."

He says the budget also includes money for workforce development, including grants for employers, apprenticeships, veterans’ programs, and support for colleges.

His plan includes investing another $500 million in the state's infrastructure and transportation system, including roads, ports, bridges, and more high speed internet in rural areas.

On education, he said high-performing schools will receive more funding to do things like reward exceptional teachers. At the same time, low-performing schools with a plan to improve will get the funding to reach their goals. Then, there is his expanded voucher program.

"While we work to improve under-performing schools, our children can't afford to wait," he said. "This is why we provide new choices for parents in areas where schools are failing to meet expectations."

He highlighted more resources to fight domestic violence and other crimes. Also, changes to healthcare, moving those above the poverty line from Medicaid to private or exchange markets, making room for the uninsured below the poverty line.

Also, requiring job training for those on food stamps.

"I care for the people of this state too much to force them to live a life of dependence on the government," Walker said. "I want those who are able to be prepared so they are ready to fill a job when one is found, so they can have the same type of success that Elizabeth and Alan have had with our program."

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