Scott Walker on Budget & Economy



Wisconsin Comeback: lower unemployment and lower tax burden

Over the past four years, we put the power back into the hands of the citizens of Wisconsin. In turn, Wisconsin is more free and prosperous. If you remember nothing else, remember this: more people are working, while fewer are unemployed. State government is more effective, more efficient, and more accountable, and the state's financial condition has improved. Budgets are set based on the public's ability to pay, instead of the government's hunger to spend. School scores are up and more students are graduating, and we are helping more of our fellow citizens to transition from government dependence to work.

The Wisconsin Comeback is working. There are now 7,600 more private sector jobs in Wisconsin than there were before the recession. The unemployment rate that peaked at 9.2% in January of 2010 is now down to 5.2%. Trends show it will continue to drop this year. Budget reforms over the past four years reduced the burden on the hard-working taxpayers of this state by $2 billion.

Source: State of the State address to 2015 Wisconsin Legislature , Jan 13, 2015

Blueprint for Prosperity: Lower taxes & $100M Rainy Day fund

Tonight, I propose a Blueprint for Prosperity, which will continue to improve our economy, while preserving our strong fiscal standing. Specifically, I ask you to work with me over the next few weeks to return the vast majority of the new surplus directly to the hard-working taxpayers of Wisconsin and to add more than $100 million to the state's rainy day fund. As it has over the past few years, lowering the tax burden will contribute to a stronger economy and a better fiscal situation in the future.

Our Blueprint for Prosperity will put more than $800 million back into the hands of the hard-working taxpayers all across the state through tax cuts and withholding changes. Once passed, the total tax relief provided since I took office will be roughly $2 billion.

  1. We will reduce property taxes by $406 million.
  2. We will reduce income taxes by $98.6 million.
  3. We have adjusted withholding for state income taxes by $322.6 million.
Source: 2014 State of the State Address to Wisconsin legislature , Jan 22, 2014

Refused to participate in federal stimulus package

As Milwaukee County executive, I had refused to submit a wish list to Governor Doyle for items in the federal "stimulus" package. Like other politicians, Doyle had lined up at the federal trough begging for billions in "free" money to cover budget deficits and to fuel new spending. He and others were outraged that I didn't join them--and that I didn't relent even after the president signed the stimulus bill into law.

My explanation was simple. The "free" money from Washington wasn't free. The stimulus was a classic bait-and-switch. Once the highways were built and social service caseloads had increased, the stimulus funds would disappear and Wisconsin taxpayers would be left with the new to maintain the new roads and services. Moreover, the stimulus was also a bait-and-switch on employment. While stimulus spending might create a few construction jobs in the short term, when the federal money disappeard, so would the jobs.

Source: Unintimidated, by Scott Walker, p. 35 , Nov 18, 2013

Growth agenda: ease tax burden & regulatory burden

Q: Will you raise taxes, or cut state spending to close the budget shortfall gap?

WALKER: Clearly, Wisconsin faces a major challenge. We're going to push a growth agenda. It's about our focus in creating 250,000 jobs. The states that have lowered the cost of doing business, by easing their tax burden, easing their regulatory and litigation burden, gets you not only more job growth in the past couple of years, they've actually seen greater revenues coming in as more people are working. So part of our agenda is to cut the costs of doing business and getting more people working. On top of that, it's clear we're going to have to reduce state spending. To me, one of the prime examples is we can't have the public employees being the have's and the taxpayers who foot the bill being the have-nots. So I'm going to ask more of public employees, simple things like asking state workers to make the employee contributions to the pension system, 5%, exactly what the national average is.

Source: 2012 Wisconsin gubernatorial recall debate on 620-WTMJ , Jun 1, 2012

Eliminating collective bargaining created $154M surplus

For a moment Thursday, the campaign returned to the issue that sparked the historic recall in the first place. The two rivals spent the first 15 minutes of the debate sparring over the governor's decision to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees.

Walker framed his budget bill as a bold but necessary action taken to get the state's finances in order and pointed to a $154 million surplus and the addition of 23,000 jobs this year as evidence his reforms had already produced results. "The mayor has said repeatedly throughout the primary he wants go to back and restore collective bargaining," Walker noted.

Barrett acknowledged as governor he would restore collective bargaining rights, but pushed back on the assertion that he would be a pawn of the unions. "The difference is I'll allow them to be at the table. He doesn't even want to have a conversation with them. They know that I'm not a pushover, but the difference is I respect them to be at the table," he said.

Source: Politico.com on 2012 Wisconsin gubernatorial recall debate , Jun 1, 2012

Wisconsin's once strong economy is in need of repair

We have an economic crisis in this state that demands our immediate attention. The solutions we offer must be designed to address both job creation and our budget problems. Wisconsin's once strong economy is in need of repair. Too many of our people are hurting and too many of our employers are struggling. As I travel the state, I hear too many stories of families struggling to put food on the table; and I learn of too many small businesses who are forced to layoff workers because of the economy.
Source: 2011 Wisconsin State of the State Address , Feb 1, 2011

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Page last updated: Mar 24, 2016