Reforming Government

Reducing Waste, Improving Services, and Making Government More Efficient

Governor Walker’s focus is simple – more prosperity, better performance, and true independence for all citizens across the state.  We need to be putting people on a path towards greater independence through successful worker training for those receiving food stamps and by increasing individual control of personal health care choices, while maintaining a vital safety net for our state’s neediest.

Hardworking Wisconsin families should be able to keep more of the money they earn, so they can build a bright future of their choosing for their children and grandchildren.  That’s why Governor Walker believes in moderation when it comes to government spending.  Money left in the hands of families is spent more wisely than government could spend it for them.  Keeping more money in the hands of families and achieving more efficient government are vital steps toward achieving the goals of a higher standard of living for our state residents and greater overall economic growth.

As government grows larger, it often becomes wasteful and inefficient. If wasteful spending continued unabated, Wisconsin families would be paying thousands more than what they pay today to operate state government.  Governor Walker put into place long-term structural reforms, which have already saved taxpayers well over $3 billion.  These reforms will continue to save taxpayers billions more year after year that they are in place.

Right-sizing state government and reforming it to be more efficient will allow us to invest in areas of need – such as education, health care and worker training.  By becoming more efficient and controlling the cost of state government, it can be more nimble and have more resources to react to the future needs of the state.

We must adapt to the marketplace of the 21st century and create a dynamic system of government.  We can protect the most vulnerable, while giving people the resources they need to get back on their feet.  We should give our friends and neighbors in need a hand up, so they can get back on their feet and provide for themselves. 

Governor Walker’s 2015-17 Biennial Budget builds on the successes of his first term by continuing to reduce the size of government with additional common-sense reforms to ensure state government is more effective, more efficient, and more accountable to the public:

  • Repeals Prevailing Wage:  This depression-era prevailing wage mandate artificially increases the cost of construction.  Under the repeal, local governments are exempted from this mandate, saving potentially millions for our schools, technical colleges, and other local governments.
  • Increases funding for program integrity in our unemployment insurance program by $1 million annually when fully phased in by increasing penalties for fraud.
  • Capitalizes on existing expertise in insurance and increases efficiency by transferring certain Worker's Compensation functions from the Department of Workforce Development to the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and Department of Administration's Division of Hearings and Appeals.
  • Creates an Office of Marketing in the Department of Tourism to utilize the department’s expertise to provide centralized marketing services to all state agencies.  This includes transferring positions from other Wisconsin state agencies to the department to staff the office and avoid duplication of work.

Additional highlights of Governor Walker’s 2015-17 Budget include initiatives and programs which ultimately aid in efforts to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of government here in Wisconsin:

  • Lean Government Initiative:  The budget creates in the Lean Government Initiative at the Department of Administration for the purpose of enhancing Lean initiatives and finding efficiencies across the enterprise.  The initiative continues improvement efforts to eliminate waste, save time and cost across agencies, and improve government services for citizens of Wisconsin, as well as state employees.  It will work to implement the Lean philosophy of continual improvement across state government.
  • Broadband Expansion: One of Governor Walker’s central priorities is improving economic development in Wisconsin, and to reflect this, the 2015-17 biennial budget triples funding for broadband expansion grants to extend and improve broadband service in underserved areas of the state.  This expansion includes:
    • Increasing the annual grant amount from $500,000 to $1.5 million annually.
    • Providing an additional $6 million from USF cash reserves to fund the grant for the next four years.
    • Adding scalability requirements to prioritize investments that will help meet higher capacity demands in the future.