Creating Opportunity for Hard-Working Families
Our goal is simple: ensure that everyone who wants a job can find a job and that our workforce is prepared for the jobs that are available.
During the four years before we took office, Wisconsin was headed backward with the loss of 133,000 jobs and an unemployment rate that peaked at 9.3 percent. In fact, Wisconsin was in the Bottom 10 for business according to Chief Executive Magazine.
Today, Wisconsin’s economy is strong and moving forward.
Wisconsin is now ranked as one of the top states for business. The unemployment rate hit an all-time low in 2018 and more people are working than ever before in Wisconsin – over 3 million.
To help Wisconsin win the 21st century, stay ahead of the curve and ensure long-term prosperity, we have enacted a comprehensive plan to develop our workforce.
Targeted investments in our schools help students start thinking about their career choices as early as 6th grade. Investments in Dual Enrollment programs will help students achieve credit for high school graduation and get a head start on the associate or bachelor’s degree that is right for them.
The Wisconsin Fast Forward program provides customized worker training in high-demand areas to help fill our workforce needs. And the state has a new labor management information system to track employment needs by region, helping to direct resources to meet specific workforce demands.
Investments in workforce development, lower taxes, reasonable regulations, Right to Work: all of these contribute to a better climate for creating jobs and opportunity. We will continue to move Wisconsin forward with more bold reforms that help the private sector succeed while keeping taxpayers in charge.
Putting More Money Back in Your Pocket
Since taking office in 2011, we reduced the tax burden on working families, senior citizens, small business owners, farmers and others by some $8 billion through the end of the budget cycle. In fact, Wisconsin is ranked as a Top 10 state for reducing the overall tax burden over a 5-year period.
In the decade before taking office, property taxes increased by 27 percent. Thanks to our bold conservative reforms, property taxes will be lower in 2018 than they were in both 2014 and 2010. We even eliminated an entire tax as part of our pledge to keep taxpayers first.
Income taxes will also be lower in 2018 than they were in 2010. This income tax relief helps hard-working families stay ahead and small businesses thrive. We have gone further by virtually eliminating taxes on core Wisconsin industries like manufacturing and agriculture. We even eliminated the tax on health savings accounts.
We believe that you do a better job of spending your hard-earned money than the government does. Looking ahead, we will continue to hold the line on taxes because keeping more money in the hands of taxpayers will help Wisconsin win the 21st century by creating more jobs and leading to higher wages.
Giving Every Child Access To a Great Education
Every child deserves access to a great education.
Thanks to our Reform Dividend, we can invest in our priorities. In fact, our recent budget makes a historic investment in our schools — $200 more per student this past school year and $204 more per student in the fall, more actual dollars than ever before. With our Act 10 reforms in place, these funds are more likely to be spent in the classroom and help our children receive the education needed for a bright future. Our rural schools face unique challenges, especially as it relates to enrollment and transportation. That’s why we increased investments in Sparsity Aid to help ensure our children have access to a great education, no matter their zip code. Wisconsin is in the Top 10 for high school graduation rates and ACT scores, and these historic investments will continue to bolster student success.
My sons, Matt and Alex, went to great public schools in Wauwatosa – as did I in Delavan. Every family deserves access to a great education for their children at the public, charter, choice, private, virtual or home school that is right for them.
To keep the cost of college affordable for students and working families, we froze tuition at all University of Wisconsin campuses six years in a row – the first multi-year tuition freeze in UW history. Needs-based financial assistance is also at an all-time high.
The UW has more than $1 billion in academic research and development, and the overall UW System budget is the largest it has ever been, meaning university resources can be used on priorities in the classroom. And the latest state budget makes a significant investment in higher education so we can focus on more graduates filling high demand positions in our state, and help everyone in Wisconsin win the 21st century
As we continue moving Wisconsin forward, we are focused on finding ways to help students get a head start on higher education credits for our technical colleges, University of Wisconsin campuses and all other in-state colleges and universities.
Supporting Wisconsin’s Entrepreneurs
Small businesses provide the vast majority of jobs in Wisconsin. We have a plan to strengthen our small businesses and help them win the 21st century.
First, reduce business costs through lower taxes, stopping unemployment fraud, streamlining regulations and reducing frivolous lawsuits.
Second, prepare the workforce through investing in K-12 education, increasing worker training, expanding opportunities in our technical colleges and strengthening ties between the University of Wisconsin system and the workforce.
Third, end the public assistance benefits cliff, require able-bodied adults to work or receive employability training — and be able to pass a drug test before receiving public assistance — and target specific populations to enter the workforce.
Fourth, market workforce opportunities within Wisconsin and recruit talent to the state from across the country and around the world.
Fighting For Farmers
Farming is about more than just business – it’s a way of life. Wisconsin farmers and the workers connected to our agriculture industry pump more than $88 billion each year into the state’s economy.
With our conservative reforms in action, we’ve lowered property taxes, eliminated almost all the taxable liability on agricultural production, streamlined regulations, reduced frivolous lawsuits and promoted agricultural exports.
Standing with Wisconsin’s dairy farmers, Gov. Walker created the Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0 that will allow industry experts to work together to create real solutions that can help our farmers, processors, and allied organizations.
We also increased assistance for rural schools, and our record investment in K-12 classrooms will help children across the state. Knowing that access to high-speed broadband internet is crucial to growing our economy and teaching our children, we’ve launched a rural broadband initiative and tripled grants for broadband in rural areas.
To help everyone in Wisconsin win the 21st century, we are investing in our rural communities and fighting for the agriculture industry that is crucial to our economy.
Protecting Our Constitutional Rights
Hunting and fishing are important parts of the fabric of Wisconsin. As someone who enjoys these traditions in our great outdoors, I am always looking for ways to protect our heritage and preserve it for the next generation. We have been aggressive in promoting ways to improve the outdoor experience in Wisconsin.
As Governor, I take an oath to uphold our federal and state constitutions. At the federal level, the Founders clearly defined our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. And at the state level, I voted to amend our state Constitution to include similar language.
During my time as Governor, I’ve signed into law concealed carry and castle doctrine legislation. Both of these reforms help law-abiding citizens protect themselves and their property. I am honored to have an “A+” rating from the National Rifle Association for my record of standing up for freedom and our constitutional rights.
The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative is one of our big successes for those who enjoy fishing in our 15,000 inland lakes. We also improved ways to get more young people involved in our hunting and fishing heritage.
Protecting the Sanctity of Life
Protecting the sanctity of life has always been important to me. Tonette and I share a belief in protecting unborn babies as well as those in need all the way through the natural end of life. I am proudly pro-life.
As Governor, I’ve had the honor of signing into law several pro-life priorities. We defunded Planned Parenthood and directed the resources to non-controversial women’s health programs. We also require an ultrasound to see an unborn child, and we protect an unborn baby at the time when they can feel pain.
We want to make it easier for adoptive parents to provide a great family for children, which is why I have also signed several laws to improve the adoption process.
Supporting Those Who Fought for Freedom
Freedom. Endowed by our Creator. Defined by our Constitution. Defended each and every day by the men and women who proudly wear our uniform. My love for country and public service comes, in part, because of my involvement in the American Legion’s Boys State and Boys Nation programs. I will never forget the Veterans who put on these programs just as I will never forget the men and women who served our country – or their families.
We fully restored the Wisconsin GI Bill so that our Veterans and their families can attend a public higher education institution for free. And we do not tax military pensions.
Since we designated the Year of the Veteran to focus on employment of our Veterans, we have expanded our efforts. During our time in office, the unemployment rate for Veterans in Wisconsin fell to one of the lowest rates in the country.
We will continue to build on our successful efforts to employ more Veterans. We will also continue to strengthen the state facilities for aging Veterans and their families, as well as those with special needs. During my time in office, we opened a new Veterans home in northwestern Wisconsin.
Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic head injuries are major challenges for returning Veterans. We are working with the federal government, local governments and healthcare systems to improve care for our Veterans in these areas.
We want every returning Veteran to have a place to call home, a job they want, good health and high quality of life.
Keeping Health Care Affordable
Wisconsin’s health care system is ranked first in the nation for quality, but costs for hard-working families are rising under Obamacare. This past year alone, health care premiums have skyrocketed 36 percent on average – placing a significant burden on Wisconsin families.
After Washington failed to get the job done and repeal Obamacare, we took action to lower premiums for Wisconsin families. By signing our bipartisan Health Care Stability Plan into law, we’re investing $200 million in market-based solutions to help bring down costs.
In addition, we are working to guarantee coverage for individuals with preexisting conditions in an effort to provide the care they need, regardless of what happens in Washington.
We also requested a permanent waiver for Wisconsin to provide SeniorCare – a program to help make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.
Under our plan, Obamacare costs will drop three and half percent in 2019 for Wisconsin families.
By enacting a comprehensive plan to provide our families the care they need to live a healthy life, Wisconsin is ahead of the curve. In fact, after embracing a plan similar to ours, Minnesota’s premiums dropped as well.
Our efforts to lower premiums, increase choice and provide certainty to seniors and those with preexisting conditions through our Health Care Stability Plan will make health care affordable for Wisconsin families.