Today marks the first full year in office for Governor Scott Walker. Over the course of the year the Governor did what he said he was going to do on a number of important items, including, but not limited to:
Promise: Balance Wisconsin’s $3.6 billion budget deficit without increasing taxes or requiring massive public employee layoffs
Action: On June 26th Governor Walker signed into law the 2011-13 budget.
“Our balanced budget makes tough choices while providing a path to recovery and prosperity for our state and our people,” Governor Walker said. “Through honest budgeting, we are providing an alternative to the reckless tricks and gimmicks of the past. Just as any parent would dread leaving their kids in debt, it is the dream of every mother and father to leave their children a little better off, and that’s what our budget will do.”
Promise: Call the Legislature into Special Session to pass pro-growth legislation aimed at helping employers create jobs
Action: Governor Walker signed legislation into law improving Wisconsin’s litigation climate, improving the state’s regulatory process, creating the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, creating a tax credit for employers that create jobs, and making health savings accounts tax deductible.
“In these challenging economic times while Illinois is raising taxes, we are lowering them. On my first day in office I called a Special Session of the legislature, not in order to raise taxes, but to open Wisconsin for business,” said Governor Walker. “I am pleased to sign into law bills that provide tax relief to small businesses, create a job-friendly legal environment, lessen the regulations that stifle growth, and expand tax credits for companies that relocate here and grow here.”
Promise: Help the private sector create 250,000 new jobs by 2015
Action: After 3 years of net private sector job losses totaling 150,000, in the first 11 months of 2011 Wisconsin had a net increase of thousands of new jobs.
“Because of the hard work done so far to improve Wisconsin’s business climate, employers are willing to grow and invest in Wisconsin,” said Governor Walker. “That is good for middle class working families and it is good for Wisconsin. We are on our way to creating 250,000 jobs by 2015, but there is more work to be done in order to meet and surpass that goal.”
Promise: Pay off the debts and fund raids of the past
Action: Governor Walker paid off over $800 million in unpaid bills, including $235 million to the Patient’s Compensation Fund and $58 million owed to the state of Minnesota.
“These are huge a steps toward restoring confidence in our state’s ability to manage its finances. The era of illegal fund raids, job killing tax increases, one time money being used for ongoing operations, and massive budget deficits has ended,” said Governor Walker. “Paying off outstanding bills, operating under a balanced budget, and working on bipartisan, pro-growth initiatives sends a clear message to job creators that Wisconsin is open for business.”
Promise: Create a Waste, Fraud and Abuse Commission with a private sector chairperson to help protect taxpayers’ money
Action: The Commission identified millions in potential savings. Departments like Health Services and Corrections are implementing Commission findings to save money. For instance DHS created the Office of Inspector General.
“Right-sizing state government starts by identifying the areas where state government has not been a good steward of taxpayer dollars,” said Governor Scott Walker. “This Commission is a step toward restoring the people’s trust in their government.”
Promise: Focus the state on the importance of literacy at a young age with the goal of every student reading at grade level by the end of the 3rd grade
Action: Governor Walker convened the Read to Lead taskforce, including a diverse group of stakeholders, to examine reading education in Wisconsin. The Taskforce met throughout the year and will have recommendations ready for implementation very soon.
“The Taskforce made a commitment to work together to advance education, help students read, and move Wisconsin’s educational system forward,” said Governor Walker.
Promise: Take the politics out of the woods
Action: The Governor appointed a white tail deer trustee and held a roundtable to listen to the concerns of hunters. The deer trustee will provide an independent evaluation, study Wisconsin’s deer management practices, and make recommendations.
“It is vitally important that hunters, sportsmen and women and conservationists trust the state to be a partner in helping to effectively sustain our deer populations,” said Governor Walker. “The deer trustee will help ensure they have confidence in Wisconsin’s deer herd management practices.”
Promise: Freeze property taxes
Action: The Governor’s reforms and budget are saving homeowners hundreds of dollars. For the first time in six years the school portion of the property tax levy went down one percent on average across the whole state. http://dpi.wi.gov/sfs/taxlevy.html
“Our reforms are protecting taxpayers while keeping our schools great,” said Governor Walker. “Taxpayers are seeing their levies go down for the first time in six years, while our schools continue to meet the needs of Wisconsin students.”
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