Gov. Scott Walker gave his eighth annual State of the State address Wednesday, in which he laid out his self-proclaimed “ambitious agenda” for 2018 and called upon lawmakers to take rapid action in seeing this agenda through.
To “keep Wisconsin moving forward,” Walker highlighted seven “common sense parts” to his agenda, including the improvement of ways in which bolster classroom success, the creation of a Small Business Plan to help employers grow, the push for a major reform of the criminal justice system, the implementation of a Healthcare Stability Plan and the development of opportunities that will allow young people to pursue rewarding career that keep them in Wisconsin.
Walker proposed a new child tax credit as his way of giving back to taxpayers due to the current half a billion dollar budget surplus. Families across the state will receive $100 for every child, under 18, living at home with an estimated 671,000 families would benefit from this tax credit.
“A couple hundred dollars more in the family budget could really make a difference, particularly when getting ready for the next school year,” Walker said.
This tax credit will be added to the existing $1,000 partially refundable tax credit that will increase to $2,000 under the new tax bill.
Walker frequently referred to the state of Wisconsin under past Gov. Jim Doyle. He denounced Doyle’s budget deficit, lack of investment in transportation, funding cut from schools and long-term care waitlist for the disabled.
“Eight years ago, things were not very good in our state,” Walker said. “There were double-digit tax increases, billion dollar budget deficits and record job losses. State aid to schools and local governments were cut with no new tools provided. UW tuition was continuing to go up faster than inflation. And Wisconsin consistently ranked in the bottom ten states for business. We don’t want to go back to those days”
In highlighting the great year Wisconsin has seen, Walker said he is proud to declare the state as being ”historically strong.” With employment at historic highs, more money being invested into schools than ever before, the state property tax gone and Wisconsin’s health care system ranked number one in the nation for quality, Walker was eager to repeat “we are getting positive things done for the people of Wisconsin.”
Walker also focused on his accomplishments in 2017. Wisconsin’s current 3 percent unemployment rate, the freezing of the University of Wisconsin system tuition and financial assistance for all undergraduate in-state students, its unwavering legacy in agriculture and its administration of the most veteran benefits in the country, among others.
Walker closed his address with confidence in the people and Wisconsin lawmakers to work together is seeing these reforms through.
“I ask you, the members of the state Legislature to move on these important items,” Walker said. “These are not Republican or Democrat issues. These are just Wisconsin issues.”