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.
The State Senate 2011-12 General Legislative Session ended today. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald 's closing comments follow:
Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau)
Final Floor Speech
March 14, 2012
Well, this was an incredible, historic session. I’m sure we’ll all remember it for different reasons. But what is going to truly matter most… is what we did for the future of Wisconsin. Last January, at the start of session, I promised that there were going to be some very real changes to the status quo. I think we can all agree that the Senate Republicans kept that promise…
But we needed to.
- After the election, we inherited a $3 billion dollar structural deficit.
- Our jobless rate was too high, and Wisconsin lost 150,000 jobs from 2007 to 2010.
- Our business climate was in the tank, with only 10 percent of businesses believing our state was on the right track.
Frankly, we were underwater as a state. And with higher taxes, higher property taxes, and more government, the water was still rising. That’s why I say that what we accomplished this session was truly incredible. It wasn’t just Collective Bargaining reform… although that reform has made a world of difference in communities throughout Wisconsin. Even the city of Milwaukee… under Mayor Barrett… saved $25 million dollars. Without Collective Bargaining reform, the only other options Wisconsin had were massive layoffs -- impacting real families -- or massive tax hikes -- making our business climate even worse. I’m more confident than ever that we made the right choice. Wisconsin set the national standard for getting our government back on track. I’m proud that Republicans chose Jobs over Politics. Here’s what we accomplished:
- We had two separate special sessions on jobs, even though the Democrats opposed and criticized us at every step.
- The Associated Press said we were “In Hyperdrive” on jobs.
- We replaced Commerce with the WEDC.
- We passed HSAs.
- We passed Tort Reform to crack down on frivolous lawsuits.
- Tax Credits for businesses that relocate to Wisconsin, and tax credits for Wisconsin businesses that create jobs.
- Regulatory reform.
- Rural Enterprise Zones, from the Senator from the 29th.
- The “Wisconsin Wins” jobs bill, from the Senator from the 21st.
- The Small Business Jobs Tax Credit, from the Senator from the 23rd.
- Infrastructure investment in the budget.
- The Manufacturers tax credit.
- A better property tax picture.
- Cutting borrowing in half.
- The list goes on.
The reforms this body passed weren’t limited to jobs, but they were all long overdue.
- I’m proud that we passed Photo ID, to make sure that our elections are clean and fair.
- I’m proud that we helped people in Wisconsin defend themselves… and their families… with Concealed Carry and the Castle Doctrine.
- I’m proud that we provided the best property tax picture in 15 years.
- I’m proud of all that.
It all made a difference. And the results are starting to show. We’ve improved on nearly every business ranking.
We gained 15,700 jobs last month, which only a Democrat running in a recall could hate. Remember that 10 percent number, of businesses that said we were on the right track? Today, 94 percent of businesses say Wisconsin is on the right track thanks to what we’ve done.
That’s why I’m proud to run on my record and my plan for the future. In the recalls, and in November.
There’s still plenty of work to do. I still believe we should improve our state’s mining regulations, and I wish that the mining company were making plans to cut a ribbon, instead of looking to do so in Michigan. There’s plenty of uncertainty for businesses, from political uncertainty to larger fears about the national economy, the deficit and Europe. We are closing out on a session that none of us will ever forget. But before we hit the campaign trail, I want to bring up one thing about this session that everyone will probably forget.
92.7 % of the bills that have been signed into law this session had at least some bipartisan support in one house or the other. Only nine (9) of the 123 bills signed into law so far were strictly on party-line votes through the Legislature. That might seem hard to believe, but it’s true. And I think that’s a testament to the fact that there’s more that brings us together than brings us apart.
I want to thank the members of this body for a historic and incredible 100th session of the state Legislature – the members, the support staff, the clerk’s office and Sergeant’s office.
It does us all quite a bit of good to remember… that the challenges still facing us as a state are tough. But the people of Wisconsin are tougher.