Gov. Walker: Back to Work Wisconsin Session Includes Bipartisanship

Scott Walker, Wisconsin's governor, delivers a weekly radio address. This is a transcript of that address.

Every Thursday, Gov. Scott Walker delivers a weekly radio address. This Thursday's address was titled Back to Work Wisconsin.

The state has partnered with the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association to produce and distribute brief radio address once a week.  Audio files and a written transcript of this radio address can be accessed on http://www.wi-broadcasters.org and http://walker.wi.gov/section.asp?linkid=1761&locid=177.  To download an mp3 file you can visit http://walker.wi.gov/section.asp?linkid=1761&locid=177, right click the radio address link and click “save link as.”

Here is the transcript from this Thursday’s radio address:

Hi this is Scott Walker.  On our first day in office on Jan. 3 of this year, we called a Special Session to Open Wisconsin for Business.  We sent a message to job creators in our state and across our nation that Wisconsin welcomes and values jobs.  We implemented one of the most ambitious legislative agendas in the nation and we saw results. 

After our first Special Session Wisconsin jumped up 17 spots in CEO Magazine’s list of business friendly states – the largest jump in the nation.  Wisconsin job creators also had renewed confidence; in fact, 88 percent said the state was going in the right direction, that’s up from 10 percent the year before. 

Most importantly, over the first six months of the year Wisconsin created jobs at nearly twice the rate of the nation, until uncertainty over the debt crisis stalled the national economy. 

After traveling the state and hearing concerns about our national economy, I have a called a second special session named Back to Work Wisconsin. By calling another special session we are demonstrating to job seekers and businesses alike that jobs remain our first priority. Doing so will increase certainty and confidence in our state’s economy which will encourage businesses to add jobs.

This call for a special session is also where the rubber meets the road with regard to bipartisanship. For months I have been talking about the need to work together to move the state forward. Today, in my call for special session, I have included bills that are authored by both Republicans and Democrats. Some good ideas proposed by Democrats include making modifications to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, providing incentives to improve Wisconsin’s Technical College System, and providing tax exemptions for employers who provide bus passes to employees. Republicans have proposed making changes to the way we allow local units of government to tax and engage in financing, incentives to workplace wellness programs, and a number of other government reforms aimed at making state government more focused on partnering with businesses to create jobs. 

In this call for special session I asked the Legislature to work together to pass more than 20 legislative proposals built off of the collaborative work we began earlier this year.  Moving forward this will be an important step to show that getting Wisconsin back to work will remain my top priority. The Back to Work Wisconsin special session will help achieve the goal of ensuring our state has the business climate necessary for the private sector to create 250,000 new jobs by 2015. 

Brian Dey October 05, 2011 at 11:48 AM
Like I stated before, you lefties think there is this cash cow called the taxpayer, and obviously from the right, our solutions do not include raising taxes, but first seeking cuts because we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. I would even agree to raise taxes if all practical cuts didn't achieve the goal of a balanced budget and there better be a pretty compelling case to do so, not because the unions are going to whine. Finally, your last paragraph is laughable (Solyndra comes to mind). But I do agree that small businesses are the job creators, not government.
Lyle Ruble October 05, 2011 at 02:01 PM
@Brian Dey...In cutting expenditures i want to catagorize the issue of government spending. The first issue is that of public unions. Public unions have to be recognised as not a single entity that the Governor and Republicans have mistakenly portrayed, but are segmented into teacher unions represented by WEAC and public employee unions represented by AFSME. The problems surrounding the teachers unions were not experienced by the other public unions. State employees were never given a choice as to the retirement system or the healthcare providers. The state provided four optional carriers that the state negotiated with. As far as state wages, again the unions had very little impact and in the last ten years, state wages had only increased a little over 5%. As it stands right now, the loss to state workers and other public employees, exempting public school teachers, will be $300 MM over the biennium, while the projected suplus of $300 MM is equal to the emmployees' loss. I don't think it was unreasonable for public employees to contribute more to their healthcare, but the 5.8% pension contribution is a direct pay cut since state contributions to the pension are defined as deferred earnings. The situation with teachers is an entirely different matter. It was the local school districts that have created the mess. with complicity of WEAC. Instead of limiting teacher's unions collective bargaining, I would taken all healthcare plans off the table. (continued) .
Lyle Ruble October 05, 2011 at 03:27 PM
@Brian Dey...(continued) I would have encouraged school districts to sign on to the state healthcare system. If they did not, then the overage they paid for healthcare would be subtracted from their shared revenue grant. Also, instead of cutting the revenue sharing by $800 MM, I would have cut the shared revenue by $350 MM and limited property tax levy rates to 1.5% each year for two years. Also, to further cut spending, I would impose a modified state hiring freeze for two years with a provision to limit new hires to replacing retirees at a rate of for every two that retired one would be replaced. All supervisor positions would be filled from within an agency. I would also improve contract oversight and eliminate overages. The only funds that could be expended for transportation would be limited to revenues collected through gas taxes and transportation fees. I would reorganize legislative districts to 21 senators and 79 assmeblymen/women. I would make all elected legislative positions part time and impose term limits to 4 consecutive terms for assembly representatives, 2 consecutive terms for senator and 2 consecutive terms for governor and lieutenant governor.. I would repeal truth in sentencing laws, accelerate early release and close several prisons. I would abandon W2 and create a new AFDC program. AFDC was actually cheaper than W2.
Mrs. R October 05, 2011 at 03:45 PM
That would be significant, as long as, private farms benefit vs. corprations.
Jay Sykes October 05, 2011 at 04:12 PM
@Lyle Ruble... Does the State self insure? Can school districts offer the state plan(s) now? If they do self insure, the cost of insurance would be: actual total health benefits paid + 7 to 11% of the benefits paid. (near the medicaid administration costs of 7%). Employers with total workers> 500 can lower the cost of health care through self insurance. Most large insurance companies offer this service, and it appears / performs for the employee as a standard purchased health plan.


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