Excerpts from Governor Walker’s 2017 State of the State Address
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On the State of the State
More people were employed in Wisconsin last year than at any point in the history of our great state. Unemployment levels are the lowest in more than 15 years. And the percentage of people working in Wisconsin is one of the highest of any state in the country.
Are the people of Wisconsin – you, me, us – better off than we were six years ago? The answer is a resounding yes.
Today, we’ve more than recovered the jobs that departed during the recession, wages are up, more than 50,000 new businesses have been created, and our unemployment rate is down to 4.1%.
Developing Wisconsin’s Workforce
We went from a focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs” to talking about “workforce, workforce, workforce.” This is my top priority for 2017 – and beyond.
We invested more resources this past year into college and career readiness initiatives, including dual enrollment, FAB labs, and youth apprenticeships.
We want every child to prepare a path to a career that is right for them.
Today, I am proud to report that more than 21,000 people have gone through our Food Share Employment Training program and are working in Wisconsin.
A year ago, unemployment rates for vets were among the lowest – meaning the best – in the country. Having visited so many of our service men and women out on deployment, I want to ensure that every one of them has a job when they return home.
Tax Relief for the Hard-Working People of Wisconsin
I am proud to report that, since taking office, we’ve cut taxes by $4.7 billion. That means a cumulative income tax reduction of $1,159 for a typical family.
Property taxes, as a percentage of our personal income in this state, are the lowest they’ve been since the end of World War II.
From 2010 to 2014, Wisconsin outperformed 43 other states in reducing the overall tax burden.
Helping Every Student Succeed
It is a moral imperative that every child has access to a great education. But it is also an economic imperative as we need to grow the workforce in Wisconsin.
When it comes to making the right choice for their daughters and sons, I trust parents.
Families – particularly low-income families – all over the state now have more quality choices in education.
Our budget will include a significant increase for public schools. We will also help rural schools that have unique challenges, such as transportation costs, broadband access, and declining enrollment.
Making College More Affordable and Accessible for Wisconsin Students and Families
For the past four years, we froze undergraduate, in-state tuition for students at all University of Wisconsin campuses. A typical student saves more than $6,300 over four years when compared to the trend before the freeze.
Wisconsin credit unions and banks offer refinancing at rates that are the same or better than what is offered by many government-supported programs in other states.
Investing in Wisconsin’s Infrastructure
My mother was born and raised on a farm. For her parents’ generation, electricity changed the way we farm in America. Access to broadband is like that today in rural parts of our state.
We invested more than $18 billion into our transportation system over the past six years. That’s about $2 billion more than the previous administration did during the same time period.
Safety and maintenance of our existing transportation system is a priority.
Looking ahead, we will provide local governments with the largest increase in transportation aids since the 1990s.
Throughout the past year, I held listening sessions in every county to hear about where we would like the state to be in 20 years.
From students to retirees, I heard from a diverse mix of people. Teachers, small business owners, farmers, factory workers, law enforcement officers, veterans, technical college staff, local officials, community activists, health care professionals, non-profit leaders, clergy, parents, union leaders, loggers, tourism directors…we had a cross-section of different ages, backgrounds, professions, and political beliefs.
The state of our state is strong. Wisconsin’s future is bright.
We are working and winning for Wisconsin.
Press Releases by Scott Walker
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