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.
It’s Official: Wisconsin Jobs Up in 2011
The fourth quarter jobs numbers published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) this week show Wisconsin is heading in the right direction. According to the federally published BLS data that is formally known as the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), in 2011 Wisconsin added nearly 20,000 jobs. The QCEW data also shows, among states, Wisconsin gained the 6th most manufacturing jobs in 2011 (11,346).
The media reports various jobs numbers reports and some are more accurate than others, so it’s important to point out that the QCEW is considered the single most accurate series available of actual job counts, as it is based on data submitted by more than 96 percent of Wisconsin employers.
The job growth is a good start, considering the state lost more than 100,000 jobs in the three years before I took office, but there is much more work to be done. Getting our fiscal house in order on the state level paved the way. Every day that we get news of a company investing, expanding and growing jobs in the state, is one more step toward a greater future for everyone.
Just Because It’s Legal, Doesn’t Mean It’s Right
Job creators across the state have told me one of the key barriers to their decision to grow their businesses and add jobs, is instability. One of the sources of that instability is ObamaCare. Small business owners say it’s hard to move forward with an expansion when your future health care expenses are likely to skyrocket.
Shortly after I took office, we joined a lawsuit fighting the constitutionality of ObamaCare. This week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, for the most part, to uphold the so-called Affordable Care Act, which includes a mandate for individuals and businesses. This is a blow to efforts to grow jobs here in Wisconsin, and across the country.
As recently as last year, the State conducted an actuarial analysis of the impact of ObamaCare and found, according to our data, that most people in Wisconsin would pay more money for fewer health care services than they have now.
The ObamaCare ruling results in a massive tax increase on the people of Wisconsin and America at a time when so many are just getting back on their feet.
With the legal challenge behind us, we are now hoping for a full repeal of ObamaCare. We are not going to spend time, effort, and resources on implementation until after the November elections. Just because the court says it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s right.
The best way to reduce the cost of health care for individuals, businesses and taxpayers for the long term, is to shift our focus from treatment to prevention. This week I announced the re-creation of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Health. I’ve tasked the appointees on the Council with focusing on ways to help people live healthier lives. Council members bring to the table background on fighting childhood obesity, promoting healthy eating, and encouraging physical activity. I look forward to their policy and program recommendations.
Maintaining a Fiscally Sustainable Public Pension System
Recently the PEW Center on the States released a study, which ranked each state’s public pension system. Wisconsin’s pension system (the Wisconsin Retirement System or WRS) is the only one in the nation to be 100 percent funded and it was labeled a “solid performer.”
The reforms we enacted last year will only make Wisconsin’s pension system stronger by protecting current and future retiree benefits and keeping the state fiscally strong. Because of our prudent decisions, state programs as well as our employers and taxpayers will not be under the imminent stress of increased taxes and/or cuts like other states. Wisconsin is leading the nation forward to a more prosperous future.
The PEW study also pointed out that Wisconsin is one of only seven states to have retiree health benefit obligations 25% (or more) funded.
For more on the PEW study, click here.
Just Ask the Governor
Each e-update, I will answer a question submitted by a recipient of the previous e-update or from someone who contacts my office directly.
Question: "What can we do about universities in Wisconsin which have become unaffordable without huge loans?"
Answer: That’s a good question and an ongoing challenge here in Wisconsin and across the country.
Recently, I was proud to announce, along with the support of top University officials, the new UW Flexible Degree Program that could begin offering some courses as early as this fall. This revolutionary online program has the potential to drastically lower tuition costs to students, basically allowing them to earn college credit for skills and knowledge they already have. Under this program, students may also be able to take advantage of free courses available online from a variety of sources, and prove their competency and knowledge through rigorous evaluations and testing under the UW Flexible Degree Program. This will help the hundreds of thousands of busy Wisconsin adults, who have some college credit but no degree, gain access to a high quality UW degree. It will help us bring together employers and skilled workers in fields like health care, IT, and more by bridging the skills gap. I’m proud of the collaboration with and effort from UW-Extension and UW System to make this happen.
It has been a pleasure communicating with you. It is an honor to serve as your Governor and represent the residents of Wisconsin.
Governor Scott Walker