Our goal is simple: ensure that everyone who wants a job can find a job.
During the four years before taking office, Wisconsin lost 133,000 jobs and the unemployment rate peaked at 9.2 percent.
Since then, we greatly improved the climate for creating jobs in Wisconsin. Back in 2010, our state ranked 41st on Chief Executive Magazine’s Best and Worst States for Business. This year, we moved up to 11th.
Today, more than 3 million people are employed in Wisconsin – the highest number of people employed in our history. The unemployment rate is less than half what it was at the peak.
Looking ahead, we will focus on finding and training the talent needed to fill the many job openings in our state. We will help people get the skills and education they need to succeed in life.
Targeted investments in our schools help our students start thinking about their career choices as early as 6th grade. And investments in Dual Enrollment programs will help students achieve credit for high school graduation and get a head start on the associate or bachelors degree that is right for them.
We doubled the number of youth apprenticeships over the past four years and saw a 30 percent increase in adult apprenticeships. We have expanded the Wisconsin Fast Forward program to provide customized worker training.
Investments in workforce development, lower taxes, reasonable regulations, Right to Work: all of these contributed to a better climate for creating jobs and opportunity. Looking ahead, we will continue to move Wisconsin forward.
With all of the Help Wanted signs posted across the state, we know we can help ensure that everyone who wants a job can find a job.
Finding workers skilled for the jobs available is a challenge now that employment levels are the highest they have been in state history. To stay ahead of the curve on this opportunity, we have a comprehensive plan for workforce development.
Wisconsin schools can start providing academic career plans in 6th grade, thanks to funding included in our state budget. Youth Apprenticeships in the state have doubled over four years. We expanded state support for Dual Enrollment and Career Options programs that help high school students get a jump start on their higher education goals, be it an associate degree, an undergraduate degree or a graduate-level degree.
Through our Blueprint for Prosperity, we helped 5,000 more students enroll in our technical colleges and we recently expanded that number by another 1,000. We increased financial aid to help more students access their higher education dreams, and we froze tuition at all University of Wisconsin campuses to make college more affordable for students and their families.
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 needs.
Since taking office in 2011, we reduced the tax burden on working families, senior citizens, small business owners and farmers by some $4.7 billion.
In the decade before taking office, property taxes skyrocketed 27 percent. Since then, a sustained focus on reducing property taxes has resulted in a decline of 4 percent – and taxes on a median-value home will be lower in 2018 than they were in 2010.
Income taxes are also lower now than they were in 2010. A typical family of four saved hundreds of dollars over the past four years due to our tax cuts. We virtually eliminated taxes on core Wisconsin industries like manufacturing and agriculture. Income tax relief helps small business owners, too.
Further, we eliminated the tax on health savings accounts. I 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 helps create more jobs and higher wages.
Every child deserves access to a great education.
As of July 1, 2016, Wisconsin spends more money on aid to public schools than the state did when Governor Jim Doyle took office. And with our Act 10 reforms in place, these funds are more likely to be spent in the classroom.
Our reforms took the power away from the big government special interests and – instead – put it into the hands of the hard-working taxpayers and the people they elect to run their schools. Our graduation rate was 3rd best in the country last year, and in 2015 we saw the 2nd highest ACT scores in the nation.
My sons, Matt and Alex, went to great public schools in Wauwatosa – as did I in Delavan. Now, I want every family to have access to a great education for their children at the public, charter, choice, private or virtual school that is right for them.
Looking ahead, we will reform the administration of health insurance coverage for state employees and invest those savings in Wisconsin’s public schools. We will also look for ways to give our students a head start on credits for college or university degrees through more programs like Dual Enrollment and Course Options.
To keep the cost of college affordable for students and working families, we froze tuition at all University of Wisconsin campuses for four years – the first multi-year tuition freeze in UW history.
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.
Looking ahead, we are focused on finding ways to help students get a head start on higher education credits for our technical college, University of Wisconsin campuses and all other in-state colleges and universities. We will look for ways to use the surpluses to help re-finance student loan debt rates. Most importantly, we will look for ways to keep costs down in the first place through relief on tuition and fees.
Wisconsin farmers and the employees connected to their industry pump more than $88 billion each year into the state’s economy. Having grown up in a rural community, I know that farming is about more than just business – it is a way of life.
During my time in office, we lowered property taxes, eliminated almost all of the taxable liability on agricultural production, streamlined regulations, reduced frivolous lawsuits and promoted agricultural exports. We also increased assistance for rural schools and tripled grants for broadband in rural areas. All of these things help our family farmers.
Sporting Issues / 2nd Amendment
Hunting and fishing are important parts of our history in 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 outdoors experience in Wisconsin.
As Governor, I take an oath to uphold our federal and state constitutions. At the federal level, our founders clearly defined the 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 had the privilege to sign into law concealed carry and Castle Doctrine. Both 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.
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 to 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 funds to non-controversial women’s health programs. We also require an ultrasound to see the unborn child, and we protect an unborn child at the time when they can feel pain.
Plus, I signed several laws to improve the adoption process. We want to make it easier for adoptive parents to provide a great family for children.
The quality of health care in Wisconsin is ranked 2nd best in the country. We work hard on a good relationship with our health care systems and medical professionals. Reasonable regulations that protect public safety and lawsuit reforms are part of that process.
In Wisconsin we chose to reject the Obamacare expansion, and instead created our own solution that covered everyone living in poverty for the first time in state history – making us the only non-expansion state with no gap in coverage for our residents.
Looking ahead, we will continue to fight to repeal and replace Obamacare. This federal mandate has driven up health care costs for many in Wisconsin. We want to place the power to control your health care decisions back into your hands.
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 designated 2012 as the Year of the Veteran to focus on employment of our veterans, and since then, we have expanded our efforts. I am proud to report that the unemployment rate for veterans in Wisconsin last year fell to 3.6 percent – 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 term, I am proud that 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 health care 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 quality of life.