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State of the State Light on Specific Upcoming Initiatives
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/14/2015

Though more specific program and policy remarks are expected in Governor Scott Walker's budget address to the legislature next month, his annual state of the state speech was used mainly as a pep rally for the spirit of Wisconsin rather than an itinerary of ideas to come. He used the yearly gathering of state lawmakers to give examples of how the state was thriving and proclaimed the 'Wisconsin Comeback' was working. The GOP governor also garnered applause by mentioning the success of the Green Bay Packers several times.

"The source of our strength is our people," Walker said in his address. "I see it when I tour factories and farms and small businesses; I see it when I visit schools and hospitals and places of worship all across this great state."

Walker said over the past four years, Wisconsin has become more 'free and prosperous,' referring to statistics that show more people are working, while fewer are unemployed.

"According to preliminary numbers from the Department of Workforce Development, there are now 7,600 more private sector jobs in Wisconsin than there were before the recession," he said.

One pledge he did make last night was a promise to lower taxes. He also told the delegation that he will be working with Attorney General Brad Schimel to prepare a lawsuit challenging the newly proposed federal energy regulations from the Obama Administration--which Walker claimed would have a devastating impact on Wisconsin's manufacturing sector.

But not all in attendance saw the picture of Wisconsin as rosy as the governor. Assembly Democratic Caucus Chair Andy Jorgensen said in a statement last night that Iowa voters will hear a similar speech soon and that Walker is not putting Wisconsin families first, referring to speculation that he will run for president next year.

"Wisconsin continues to limp out of the recession at a pace well behind neighboring states," Jorgensen said. "Governor Walker and legislative Republicans have spent us into a staggering budget deficit. And, our public schools are begging property taxpayers to keep the lights on, because the GOP has funneled sorely-needed funds to unaccountable private voucher schools."

Walker is expected to release his 2015-16 budget proposal in February so the Legislature can start drafting its version of the biennial spending package.

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