GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is embarking on a "Talk with Walker" tour. The Governor will travel the state of Wisconsin for the next several months, speaking with the people of his state about their priorities and ideas for building a better Wisconsin.
A main focus of his tour are his five areas he wants to address in the budget he will introduce in February:
Creating Jobs: Before 2010, Wisconsin lost more than 100,000 jobs. While the state is growing jobs and job creators are optimistic, more needs to be done. Wisconsin will continue to build off of the pro-growth environment already established to attract and create new businesses and grow existing ones.
Developing Our Workforce: There is a growing demand for skilled workers to fill great jobs in manufacturing and construction. Between 2012 and 2015, the new job growth forecast estimates Wisconsin will have more than 63,000 available skilled trade, manufacturing, and construction jobs, but skilled workers are needed to fill those openings. Wisconsin must help people learn the skills they need to meet the requirements of in-demand jobs. By fixing the skills gap, more people can get good-paying jobs and help Wisconsin's economy grow.
Transforming Education: Giving every child in Wisconsin, regardless of their zip code, access to a great education is the right thing to do. Together, we initiated bold reforms allowing local leaders to make the decisions they feel are best for the students in the classroom. In just the first year, school districts saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in health insurance costs alone, so they can put more money into our kids' classrooms, instead of into administrative costs. While the reforms enacted in the last budget allow schools to make sure they have the best and brightest teachers in classrooms, more can be done to recruit and retain great teachers.
Following through on Read to Lead will ensure kids learn to read by third grade, so they can use that fundamental skill of reading to learn throughout their lives.
Wisconsin's children must be well prepared for their futures, whether at college or practicing a skilled trade. The new school report cards are a good start in improving transparency and accountability because they let parents and school districts know how their kids' schools are actually performing. More work must be done to put in place accountability measures to make sure our kids are learning from great, dedicated teachers.
Reforming Government: Finding efficiencies is a priority for government as a whole. Over the last two years, the state has made strides by reaching out to state employees and citizens to find more ways to eliminate waste, while maintaining quality services. Better use of office space and elimination of duplicated services across state agencies are just a couple examples of money-saving solutions. Spending less allows the state the focus to be on what government should be doing.
Investing in Infrastructure: Every industry depends on roads, railways, and harbors. The challenge is funding. Previous administrations used the money that was supposed to be for long-term transportation projects to balance their budgets. A robust public debate to decide how best to repair the damage done to the transportation fund will be healthy for Wisconsin.
Governor Walker visited KARE 11 Sunrise, kick off his tour, to talk about his upcoming budget, the collective bargaining rights in his state, and his trip to Washington D.C. to talk about the fiscal cliff with President Obama.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)