In the four years before Governor Scott Walker took office, Wisconsin lost nearly 134,000 jobs and, at the low point, unemployment topped out at 9.2 percent. Our state faced a $3.6 billion budget deficit and our business community lacked the confidence that our state was headed in the right direction.
We made tough, but prudent, decisions and addressed the root of the problem. We enacted structural reforms to build a solid foundation for our future.
Today, Wisconsin’s future is bright. Since taking office more than four years ago, our reforms and investments have made Wisconsin a more free and prosperous state and put the hardworking taxpayers and citizens of this great state back in control.
The unemployment rate has dropped to 4.3 percent, more than 10,000 new businesses establishments have been created. Our rainy day fund is now 165 times bigger than when we first took office. We have changed the opinion of our state’s job creators—for the better. In 2010, a mere 10 percent of employers surveyed by the state chamber said our state was headed in the right direction; in 2015, 91 percent said Wisconsin is headed in the right direction.
Wisconsin’s workforce is among the best in the country and supporting our workers is key to spurring economic growth. Our goal is to help our workers become among the most prosperous and innovative in the country. That’s why Governor Walker has invested over $100 million in workforce development initiatives, like Wisconsin Fast Forward, aimed at equipping workers with the skills they need to find jobs in the modern workforce.
Around our state employers in high-demand areas, such as manufacturing, information technologies, and health care, are looking to hire workers. There are thousands of job openings related to manufacturing posted on the Job Center of Wisconsin webpage. The problem is many in today’s workforce lack the skills and training needed to work in these highly technical fields. These openings, coupled with the tens of thousands more projected to be available due to an aging workforce, are family-supporting careers.
Every child—regardless of their zip code—should have access to a great education; it is a moral imperative. Providing our children with a quality education will equip them with the necessary skills to thrive later in life.
Governor Walker has made significant investments aimed at transforming education to provide our students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. Because of our tough, but prudent, decisions, we are now able to invest in our public, private, charter, and choice schools.
Due to our reforms, Wisconsin can now put the best and the brightest in our classrooms—and we can pay them to stay there. School districts can now hire based on merit and pay based on performance. We finally have a way to recognize our exceptional teachers and reward them for the good work they do for our children. We need to reward and replicate success and provide tools to struggling schools to help them improve. Our goal is to help each school excel, so all of our children have access to a world-class education.
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 to those receiving food stamps and increasing individual control of personal health care choices, while maintaining a vital safety net for our state’s neediest.
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.
Wisconsin’s transportation infrastructure is a part of its heritage as the dairy state. Many of the state’s industries, from manufacturing to tourism, from timber to grain, depend on a healthy transportation system, including roads, bridges, freight rail, ports, and airports.
Businesses across the state depend on a strong transportation backbone. The tourism industry relies on our transportation system to bring people to visit our state’s many tourist destinations. In addition, manufacturing, dairy, and many other industries need a quality transportation system to get product to and from markets efficiently, so they can maintain their competitive edge.