MADISON – Governor Scott Walker released his Weekly Radio Address today titled, “Wisconsin is Working.”
Hi, Scott Walker here.
Wisconsin is working, and we are getting positive things done for the people of our state.
Employment is at an all-time high and the unemployment rate of 2.9% is at a historic low. To continue to build our workforce, we invested more actual dollars into schools than ever before and included major increases for our technical college system. We balanced our budget and had yet another surplus yet still eliminated the state property tax. In fact, the cumulative impact of our tax relief through the end of the budget is $8 billion. We froze University of Wisconsin tuition for six years in a row to make college more affordable for students and for working families. And our health care systems are ranked number one in the nation for quality.
To build on our successes, we laid out an ambitious agenda during our State of the State Address in January. A special thanks to the members of the state Legislature who passed our Ambitious Agenda for 2018. Our agenda is made up of issues that matter to Wisconsin citizens, things like education, health care, welfare reform, lower taxes, government accountability, and more.
On top of our historic overall investment in schools in this budget, we gave rural schools with unique costs more aid and low revenue districts more help to ensure that every child has access to a great education. Our plan passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support on votes of 90-3 in the Assembly and 31-1 in the State Senate.
Because growing health care costs are a reality for many Wisconsin families, we proposed a plan that will lower premiums, increase choices, and stabilize health care in this state. This is particularly important for people on the individual market like small business owners and family farmers. Our plan to lower premiums in the individual market passed with bipartisan support on votes of 79-16 in the Assembly and 23-9 in the Senate.
With employment levels at all-time-highs, we need more people in the workforce. That’s why we called a special session on welfare reform. Our plan requires able-bodied, working-age adults to work at least 30 hours a week and to be able to pass a drug test. For those who fail the test, we will provide treatment to get them healthy and ready to work. So far, we’ve helped transition 25,000 people on food stamps into the workforce.
Wisconsin has a larger than expected surplus this year, and we want to send it back to you the hard-working taxpayers. One of the easiest and quickest ways to get it back is through a per-child sales tax rebate. Every resident of the state who is a citizen is eligible for $100 for every child under the age of 18 living at home. Most checks or direct deposits will be received before school starts in September, so parents and grandparents can use the money on supplies and clothing for students. We also provide a sales tax holiday that will help them save even more money. This is in addition to the property tax and income tax relief that we provided to people of all ages across the state. We were happy to have bipartisan support in both chambers.
Back in January, there were many cynics who said we could not accomplish this Ambitious Agenda for 2018 by the end of the legislative session. We not only got it done, but we did it with broad bipartisan support. This proves that these are not Republican or Democrat ideas, but Wisconsin ideas.
You see, Wisconsin is Working. We don’t want to turn back. Together, let’s keep moving Wisconsin Forward.