WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | News

Walker's State of the State address focuses on 250k jobs plan

(WEAU) -- In Governor Scott Walker's third State of the State address, the focus narrowed down on his promise to create 250,000 jobs, taxes and education.

"Two years ago, when I first stood here as your new governor, Wisconsin was facing a $3.6 billion budget deficit, property taxes had gone up 27 percent over the previous decade, increasing every year, and the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent," said Walker.

It was his official night of giving Wisconsin an update on the State of the State.

"Today, Wisconsin has a $342 million budget surplus, property taxes on a median valued home went down in each of the last two years, and the unemployment rate - well - it's down to 6.7 percent," said Walker.

WEAU political analyst John Frank said the State of the State is Walker's chance to layout his general plan for the year.

"It's basically kind of looking into the crystal ball and saying this is what I predict, this is what I see, this is my vision, this is how I want to lead the state," said Frank.

Frank said there's a major difference between this year's speech and last year's.

"Last year with respect to create 250,000 jobs - in his speech he didn't talk about it. It wasn't mentioned. It wasn't even referred to. This year on the other hand, he fully embraced it. Not only did he embrace the promise that 'I'm going to create 250,000 jobs', he laid out a very substantial roadmap, not real specific, but real generalized step-by-step of how he's going to get there."

Among Walker's plans, a brand new mine which is slated to create up to 3,000 jobs in northwestern Wisconsin.

"A mine would be a lifeline to people in northwestern Wisconsin, where the unemployment rate in Iron County is the 2nd highest in the state at nearly 12 percent. But the benefits will be felt all across Wisconsin."

"What he wants to do is put things out there and say if you want 250,000 jobs, you need to work with me on this."

Other items on Walker's agenda, lower small business taxes, and performance based education funding, regulatory reforms, access to better venture capital opportunities and improved infrastructure.

"All of those things, if you roll them together, will create an atmosphere for businesses to succeed and if businesses succeed, they hire more people, that will make it to those 250,000 jobs," noted Frank.

Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) issued a statement saying he applauds Gov. Walker for stressing on job creation but that there's still much work to be done.

"I am confident that if my Assembly Republican colleagues stick to their promise to work in a bi-partisan fashion, we will create jobs, grow our economy, and give Wisconsin citizens the better quality of life that they deserve," said Wachs.

And the State of the State address also marks an unofficial, early kickoff to re-election in 2014 for Walker, said Frank.

"What you saw tonight was something that's been advanced four to six weeks, a kinder gentler Scott Walker, basically one that said 'we've had to make tough but prudent decisions. But the bottom line is we've done them. Now let’s go forward together'," said Frank.

Frank said Walker shows he is mindful of a couple of things: Wisconsin is clearly a swing state after being won over by President Barack Obama and Senator Tammy Baldwin. And if the state will be better off than four years ago by the end of Walker's term.

Therefore he is going after in this speech the re-election tri-fecta; lower property taxes, lower unemployment, lower income taxes. He's got the property taxes and unemployment already. This budget he's going to go after the income taxes then he's going to say two years later 'folks you're better off now than you were four years ago.'"

For a full transcript of Walker's State of the State address click HERE


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