Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Two houses, two parties, one Wisconsin

[media-credit name=’JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]Doyle_JS[/media-credit]

With stock markets plunging and a potential American
recession on the horizon, Gov. Jim Doyle emphasized a promise of growth in his
State of the State speech Wednesday.

Doyle pledged to continue his Grow Wisconsin strategy,
calling for an increase in the state?s minimum wage, rewarding businesses for
research and development and encouraging businesses to ?unleash the
entrepreneurial spirit of Wisconsin.?


During Doyle?s first term as governor, the state raised the
minimum wage to $6.50 per hour, and Doyle called for an additional hike to
$7.25 per hour.

?Imagine trying to pay $3 a gallon for gasoline when you?re
making $6.50 an hour. Imagine trying to clothe your children, pay for college
or buy groceries on $260 a week before taxes,? Doyle said. ?We can do better.
We must do better.?

The governor also called for the state to reward businesses
dollar for dollar when the company increases research by at least 25 percent.

Doyle warned the impact of economic decisions made in
Washington will spread to Wisconsin and other states across the country.

?Make no mistake: challenging days are ahead,? Doyle said.
?But one thing is for certain. In Wisconsin, we are hardworking people. And
when challenges arise, we meet them head-on.?

Calling health care the ?most significant burden on our
economy,? Doyle said too many citizens do not have affordable health insurance.

?I think we can all agree,? Doyle said. ?No child ? should
go without health care.?

Doyle said it is significantly harder for families with
small businesses to obtain health insurance and said, ?The system isn?t

The governor unveiled his BadgerChoice initiative, creating
a competitive marketplace for residents to find health insurance.

But Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch, R-West Salem, said he
would have liked to hear more from Doyle in regard to health care reform to
benefit all residents of Wisconsin.

?In order to be successful, we’ve got to look at
everything,? Huebsch said. ?We need to get by on less money, just like so many
families are across Wisconsin.?

Huebsch was critical of Doyle, saying with the state in the
seventh month of the biennial budget cycle, there is still time to find ?an
economic solution.?

Continuing on his theme of economic growth and criticizing
the nation for its ?addiction? to foreign oil, Doyle laid out several
initiatives to help jumpstart renewable sources of energy.

?Our country is sending over a billion dollars a week in oil
payments to the Middle East,? Doyle said. ?Just imagine if we were investing
that kind of money right here in Wisconsin.?

In introducing the Wisconsin Energy Independence Fund, Doyle
said Wisconsin will invest $150 million for businesses to produce and create
renewable energy and increase the availability of renewable fuel by one billion

Additionally, Doyle said the state will set aside $95
million to encourage Wisconsin families to use renewable resources.

And just weeks after his increase in the cigarette tax took
effect, Doyle said the state is directly saving lives by encouraging more
people to quit smoking.

The Wisconsin Quit Line has been swamped with calls since
Jan. 1 and offers residents tools to help them quit.

Doyle directly called on Wisconsin to become smoke-free as
neighbors Minnesota and Illinois have done in recent months. A Senate committee
took up the proposal, which will move on in the legislative process amid
criticism of infringement on personal rights.

The governor will undoubtedly face challenges with his bold
initiatives, as the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled
Assembly continue to butt heads.

?We need to get back to core priorities,? Huebsch said. ?We
know they are important to the state.?

State Sen. Ted Kanavas, R-Brookfield, said many initiatives
Doyle introduced were brought to the forefront by Republicans earlier this

?Doyle needs to lead,? Kanavas said, adding, ?It’s his

Kanavas said it is up to Doyle to make sure the Senate
follows through on the proposals he brought up Wednesday night.

Calling the split political climate at the state Capitol a
?source of strength and a source of weakness,? Doyle acknowledged the
four-month-late budget, but praised the Legislature for finally cooperating and
producing results.

?If we stay true to that which is most important, ? if we
act responsibly and demand accountability for what we do, if we recognize that
we are all tied and are stronger when we look out for each other, then we will
fulfill the promise of the greatest state in the United States,? Doyle said.

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