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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

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. I also frequently provide updates on Facebook (Governor Scott Walker) and Twitter (@govwalker). Please feel free to share this update with your family, friends, and others who may be interested in state government operations.

Major Economic Expansion Plan with Wisconsin Employer Reached

This week I announced an agreement between Kohl’s and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), which has the potential to create up to 3,000 new jobs and retain an additional 4,500. Under the agreement, WEDC will create an Enterprise Zone to provide up to $62.5 million in tax credits from the State of Wisconsin over 12 years to support Kohl’s long term growth. The actual amount of the tax credits received by Kohl’s will be completely dependent upon the number of newly created jobs and the amount of Kohl’s capital expenditure.

Strengthening Kohl’s headquarters is good news for Wisconsin. Not only is this a significant number of jobs, but it also signals that Wisconsin’s economic climate is improving.

The agreement has Kohl’s assuming ownership of approximately 100 acres of vacant land in the Woodland Prime office park in Menomonee Falls. Kohl’s will also acquire a small office building adjacent to the vacant land. This real estate will provide Kohl’s the opportunity to develop office space that would serve as a second corporate campus to support the company’s long-term business growth.


Developing Wisconsin's Workforce

For months I’ve heard from employers who want to hire more workers, but who can’t find properly trained individuals. In response we put together a coalition of Wisconsin’s technical colleges, the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation and private businesses to help this skills gap.

This week the coalition produced tangible results. I visited Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac, where we announced a partnership that will result in job specific training for four area employers.

We announced the creation of two 15-week Manufacturing Skills Academy boot camps; one for machine operation and one for welder training. Upon completion, each participant will receive an Entry Level Welding Certificate or a Computer Numerical Control Machine Operator Certificate. Ultimately these boot camps will result in 108 new jobs for skilled workers.

These training programs were created through a grant from the Wisconsin Workforce Partnership Program, which is privately funded by the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation.

This grant will help bridge the gap between people who want jobs and employers who need skilled workers in the Fond du Lac area. I look forward to announcing many more employment and workforce successes all across Wisconsin as we continue to pair those seeking work with employers who are looking to hire.


Saving Money and Making Government More Efficient

This week I signed Executive Order #66 requiring Lean Government initiatives throughout state cabinet agencies. This will improve state customer satisfaction, make state employee duties safer and easier, and save state costs among other positive outcomes.

The Waste, Fraud and Abuse Commission originally recommended the creation of a statewide Lean Government program. Lean has been used to great success in manufacturing for decades and is a growing tool for state and local governments looking to become more efficient and save tax dollars.

Lean is a continuous improvement philosophy. State employees and managers engage in events designed to improve operational efficiencies and maximize financial savings. By mapping current processes, everyone can work together to identify and eliminate non-value-added steps. This can cut down on wasted man-hours, improve state employee work environments, and increase government’s customer satisfaction among other positive outcomes.

Lean produces increased efficiencies in services for the customers of state government and a safer and more streamlined workplace for employees.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been one of the most aggressive in implementing Lean. To view what they and other agencies are doing go to http://www.walker.wi.gov/Wisconsin-Reform/lean-Government. State agencies will post their projects and results to this webpage as well as provide useful tools to help this Lean initiative become a success.

As an example of project goals, here are some highlights from projects the DNR is currently undertaking:

• Complete endangered resources consultations 15% faster.
• Analyze and improve the review process for Nutrient Management Plans.
• Reduce staff workload by 5% and deliver air construction permits faster.
• Improve the Wild Game Serving permit process to reduce staff workload by 10% and deliver permits faster.


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 efforts are being made to rid the taxpayer to rid the burden of property taxes? Wisconsin is in the top ten states for property taxes and I know people who have had to sell their home because they cannot afford the taxes. Why, with so many people hurting, does Wisconsin not do something?

Answer: Great question. For too long middle class families have paid for the expansion of government, in large part, directly through increased property taxes. Before I took office, property tax increases created a huge burden on property owners, individuals on fixed incomes, and small businesses looking for certainty in the marketplace. In fact, property taxes had risen 43% since 1998.

The budget I signed into law last year held the line on property taxes. Tax bills for the median value property taxpayer went down 4% this year. It was the first decline in over ten years.

Individuals on fixed incomes, small business owners, and middle class families who for too long have been burdened with ever increasing property taxes, can rest assured I will continue to hold the line on property taxes, just as I did in the last budget.


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

 

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