After a successful 2017, Governor Walker introduced the following Ambitious Agenda for 2018 at his eighth annual State of the State Address on Wednesday, January 24.
Governor Walker’s Ambitious Agenda
Provide More Resources for Education
Increase Sparsity Aid
We worked with the Legislature to pass legislation that increases Sparsity Aid for rural schools next school year. This will be in addition to our $11.5 billion state investment in education in the 2017-19 budget, increased support for High-Cost Transportation Aid in rural areas, new support for mental health services, and expanded efforts to provide broadband access statewide included in the state budget.
Pass Our Health Care Stability Plan
Pass Legislation to Cover Those With Preexisting Conditions
We want to guarantee coverage for individuals with preexisting conditions. That way someone who has cancer or another serious disease or ailment will not have to worry about obtaining or keeping coverage. We are providing stability in Wisconsin regardless of what happens in Washington.
Obtain A Permanent Waiver to Support SeniorCare
SeniorCare is a state program that helps certain residents 65 years of age or older with their prescription drug costs. We are officially seeking the longest available waiver under federal law for the State of Wisconsin to provide SeniorCare. Since it was first approved in 2002, the state has asked for an extension of SeniorCare four times. It is time to make this a non-expiring and stable program for those who need it.
Lower Premium Increases for People in the Individual Market Through Reinsurance
Signed into law a market-driven approach to bring stability to those who seek coverage through the individual market. This plan would lower premiums by double-digits for people who are seeing massive increases under Obamacare.
Expand Our Wisconsin Works for Everyone Welfare Reform Plan
Require Able-Bodied Adults to Work or Receive Employability Training
We are working to expand statewide public assistance requirements to include at least 30 hours a week of work or job training to help people transition from government dependence to true independence.
Require Able-Bodied Adults to Pass A Drug Test Before Receiving Public Assistance
We want to ensure that everyone getting public assistance can pass a drug test. If someone fails, we set aside resources to get him or her into rehabilitation because we understand that if we get them healthy, we can find a job for anyone in the state.
Put Asset Limits on Public Assistance
The Legislature passed asset limits on public assistance so people with giant mansions and fancy cars don’t get welfare checks while hard-working taxpayers have to pay the bills.
Pass Our Tax Relief Package
Provide A Child Tax Rebate To Wisconsin Parents
We want to return this to Wisconsin taxpayers with a $100 child sales tax rebate for every child living at home under 18 for calendar year 2018.
Create A Sales Tax Holiday For Everyone
We are working with legislators to enact a new sales tax holiday for early August to provide additional tax relief for all Wisconsinites. Consumers would be exempt from paying state sales tax on all retail “off the shelf” items up to $100.
Develop Wisconsin’s Workforce
Establish A Wisconsin Career Creator Program
We are working with the Wisconsin Technical College System, the University of Wisconsin System and with private colleges and universities to provide graduates with the skills and experience they need to fill the new jobs being created in our state.
Help People with Disabilities Enter the Workforce
We are investing in training to help people with disabilities enter the workforce and enjoy the dignity that comes from work.
Provide Training in Correctional Facilities
We are investing in training for inmates at correctional institutions in order to meet our workforce needs and improve outcomes. Inmates who have a job after leaving an institution are less likely to reoffend.
Pass Wisconsin’s Small Business Plan
Reduce Business Costs
We are continuing our efforts to lower taxes, streamline regulations, and reduce frivolous lawsuits, as well as end unemployment fraud.
End Public Assistance Benefit Cliff
We eliminated the so-called “benefit cliff” for child care to encourage more people to work, take more hours, and advance into higher paying jobs.
Attract New Talent
We are working with the Legislature as we seek to attract to Wisconsin several key groups of potential employees: transitioning veterans and their families, graduates of Wisconsin colleges and universities, and millennials from across the Midwest.
Partner with Local Organizations
We announced major new investments in our ethnic chambers of commerce to help grow minority-owned small businesses and continue to partner with local chambers, county economic development entities, and regional economic development organizations to grow small business.
Meet the Needs of Wisconsin’s Rural Communities
Create A Rural Economic Development Fund
We propose a long-term investment in economic development projects in rural counties across the state to support workforce development and encourage innovation.
Create A Family Farm Fund
To keep more of our family dairy farms, we are creating a Family Farm Fund to provide scholarships to encourage students to take advantage of agriculture-related studies at a Wisconsin technical college or the UW-College of Agriculture that would help them begin a rewarding career in farming.
Expand Resources for Farmers to Reach New Markets
By Executive Order #275, we are expanding resources available to Wisconsin’s farmers to increase their capacity, introduce new products, or enter new markets.
Preserve Clean Water in Rural Areas
We called for an additional $500,000 each fiscal year over the biennium to increase awareness of and participation in farmer-led soil and water conservation projects through the Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grant program.
Expand Broadband Internet Access
The 2017-19 budget allocates a historic $35.5 million in additional spending for broadband access across Wisconsin. Specifically, our budget allocates an additional $13 million for Broadband Expansion Grants over the 2017-19 biennium. This is the largest amount of funding ever for the Broadband Expansion Grant Program.
Advance Television White Space Technology
We are calling on the Federal Communications Commission to finalize rules increasing access to broadband internet by advancing television white space technology. White space is the unused spectrum between broadcast television stations and it can deliver high-speed internet to underserved areas of Wisconsin.
Increase Government Accountability
Reform the Juvenile Criminal Justice System
We are pushing a major reform of the criminal justice system for juvenile offenders. Over the past year, we worked with county officials, members of the judiciary, policy experts and lawmakers from both political parties
*Information updated as of February 28, 2018