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Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

E-update from the Desk of Governor Scott Walker

Below is Governor Walker's E-Update.

E-update from the Desk of Governor Scott Walker

One of the most important duties I have serving as your Governor is to provide you directly with updates related to the operation of our state government. In an effort to improve communication, periodically I will be sending out an e-update to provide you with more information about what is going on in state government. Please feel free to share this update with your family, friends, and others who may be interested in state government operations.


State of the State

Article V Section 4 of the Wisconsin constitution reads:

He [the governor] shall communicate to the legislature, at every session, the condition of the state, and recommend such matters to them for their consideration as he may deem expedient.

This year I fulfilled my constitutional obligation as your Governor and delivered the 2012 State of the State Speech on January 25th. Below you’ll find a few excerpts from the speech:

When I addressed you in this chamber last January, Wisconsin had suffered through three years of 150,000 of our fellow citizens losing their jobs. The unemployment rate was 7.5%. And after years of tax increases and budget tricks, Wisconsin faced one of the largest budget deficits in the country.

Now, our unemployment rate is down from a year ago. In fact, it's the lowest it has been since 2008.

We are turning things around. We are heading in the right direction.

During the past year, we added thousands of new jobs. And we balanced the state budget. We balanced it -- without raising taxes; without massive layoffs; and without budget tricks; all of which allowed us to put more than $1.2 billion of new state money into Medicaid programs like Badgercare and FamilyCare.

Tonight I'm happy to report that after three years of losing 150,000 jobs Wisconsin actually added thousands of new jobs in 2011. New business formations are up by over 2%. And our unemployment rate is down from a year ago.

In fact, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is not only lower than the national average but much better than our neighbors to the south in Illinois.

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Nearly every state in America faced a budget deficit in 2011. So what did other states do? Some, like Illinois, raised taxes - but that only made matters worse. Other states used massive layoffs to balance their budgets. We avoided that in Wisconsin.

Some states cut core services like Medicaid. But in Wisconsin, we added some $1.2 billion to Medicaid and our reforms allow us to expand FamilyCare - our long-term care program for seniors - all across the state. Still other states opted to use budget tricks. But I didn't want to pass that burden on to my sons and their generation. I want our kids and grandkids to inherit a Wisconsin even greater than the one we did. With that in mind, we balanced the $3.6 billion budget deficit with long-term, structural reforms. We thought more about the next generation than we did about the next election.

And isn't that what the people elected us to do? We kept our promises.

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For the five years prior to last year, the average school tax levy increased $220 million per year. Our reforms led to the first decrease in the school property tax levy in six years. The total school tax levy actually went down by more than $47 million.

That means real money in the hands of real people. People like Pam Petry of Rice Lake. Mrs. Petry saw her property tax go down by more than $100 this year. Or people like Gail Griswold of West Salem who was surprised to see her bill go down, too.

Our reforms helped protect these taxpayers and thousands of others across the state.

You can watch the entire State of the State speech by visiting www.walker.wi.gov.

Redesigned Website

This week my office launched a redesigned website (http://governor.wi.gov/) that makes it easier to display information for all residents to view. The website highlights my efforts to improve our education system, help the private sector create jobs, and a number of other government reforms.

A few of the neat features on the new website include:

-Statistics on the 2011-13 biennial state budget;

-A recently released report from the Governor’s Commission on Waste, Fraud and Abuse;

-Copies of previous e-updates;

-The ability to follow changes to the website through an RSS feed; and

-Copies of prepared speeches I have given in the past.

I encourage you to contact my office if you have any specific suggestions or ideas to further enhance the website.

Just Ask the Governor: Part III

Each e-update I will answer a question submitted by a recipient of the previous e-update or from somebody who contacts my office directly.

Question: What is your position on mining in Wisconsin?

Answer: Currently Assembly Bill 426, which updates Wisconsin’s mining regulations by creating new laws specific to ferrous (iron) mining, has passed the State Assembly and is awaiting action in the State Senate. The new regulatory process created by the bill would expedite the approval of a mining application, while maintaining environmental and natural resource protections. A new mine would create hundreds of good paying jobs onsite and thousands across the state.

Mining has been an important part of Wisconsin’s heritage—“badgers” are named after those who worked in mines and a miner is prominently displayed on our state flag.

I believe that to justify risking millions of dollars in capital investments, job creators deserve to have certainty in our state’s permitting process and to know that our regulations are science-based and predictable. At the same time, we can put in place a process that allows us to maintain our high standards for clean air, clean water, and clean land.

I commend Chairperson Mary Williams (R-Medford) and the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economy, and Small Business for travelling to Northern Wisconsin twice to receive input from the citizens who will be most affected by the proposed taconite mine in Iron and Ashland Counties.

I believe the Assembly Republicans took the right action by passing this bill and continuing to focus on the creation of jobs in Wisconsin.

I urge the Senate and Committee Chairman Neal Kedzie to take this bill up quickly in order to continue job growth in Wisconsin.


It has been a pleasure communicating with you. It is an honor to serve as your Governor and represent the residents of Wisconsin.

Sincerely,

Governor Scott Walker


If you wish to contact Governor Walker’s office about an issue, do not reply to this e-update. Instead, please e-mail GovGeneral@wisconsin.gov with any comments that you have.

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