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.
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.
2013-15 Biennial Budget Address
On Wednesday, February 20, I will deliver the 2013-15 budget address at 7:00 p.m.
Earlier this week, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released updated revenue projections, which predicted Wisconsin will have a $419.7 million surplus heading into the FY2013-2015 biennium.
The projected $419 million surplus is good news for Wisconsin taxpayers. Unlike two years ago when we faced a $3.6 billion deficit, Wisconsin is better off. Together, we tackled monumental challenges and enacted long-term structural reforms and, because of our tough decisions, we are moving our state forward.
This projected surplus will allow hardworking Wisconsin taxpayers to keep more of the money they earn because I plan to move forward with an income tax cut targeting the middle class.
The budget will focus on five priorities:
· Creating Jobs
· Developing Our Workforce
· Transforming Education
· Reforming Government
· Investing in Infrastructure
In addition to viewing this speech on television, it will also be streaming live on www.walker.wi.gov. Please join us and watch on air or online, as I outline the 2013-15 biennial budget.
Income Tax Cut
With the introduction of my proposed budget next month, I will lay out a clear plan for reducing the burden on hard-working families by lowering income taxes on the middle class. Putting more money back in the hands of the people – not in the hands of the government – is one of the best ways to improve the economy. Recently, Washington let the payroll tax climb back up to 6.2 percent. A report shows that a household making $50,000 a year will pay an extra $1,000 this year in taxes.
In a tough economy, people are worried about the impact of having less money. Today, our unemployment rate is down to 6.6 percent and we have a budget surplus of $342 million. Now, I believe we should return that budget surplus to the taxpayers. More money in the economy will lead to more consumer spending, which will drive greater demand for goods and services. That, in turn, will lead to more investments and more jobs.
Last year, I called for state agencies to work with the reformed Small Business Regulatory Review Board to identify unnecessary, obsolete, and burdensome regulations. And, last week, a report was released that identified over 300 rule modifications in 218 administrative code chapters. During Talk with Walker events around the state, I repeatedly heard requests for reasonable regulations for businesses. Making these changes will make it easier to do business in the state, while maintaining the safety and health of our citizens.
Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, Robin Vos, has also made regulatory review a priority. This week, he announced that the State Assembly will review the regulations as a way to remove roadblocks to job creation. You can provide input to the Legislature for their consideration by visiting http://righttherules.legis.wisconsin.gov.
Get to Know a Cabinet Member: Dave Ross
As Governor, one of the most important tasks I have is to appoint and communicate with leaders in each state agency. These leaders, called secretaries, ensure agencies run smoothly and efficiently as they operate state government and implement government reforms. For a few weeks, in lieu of the “Just Ask the Governor” section, I will be highlighting a cabinet secretary and providing a brief overview of the department he or she oversees. I hope these updates will provide you with practical information about state government operations, especially as we head into the next budget cycle.
When I was Milwaukee County Executive, I had the opportunity to work on a number of issues with Dave Ross, the former Mayor of Superior. Born and raised in Superior, Dave grew up in a small business family and was self-employed for over 20 years in an upholstery business. He served for two terms as Mayor of Superior and was also involved in a number of local economic development boards and Great Lakes initiatives.
The Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) is a small agency with just under 300 dedicated employees and an annual budget of about $66 million–but it has a large footprint. Among its responsibilities are the processing of thousands of applications for professional licenses and providing administrative support and legal services for dozens of professional Boards and Councils. In addition, DSPS provides services related to the construction and operation of buildings and ensures compliance with health and safety codes through plan review, consultation, inspections, and product evaluation. They also run a program that cleans up leaking underground petroleum tanks.
Dave and his team have been great at finding ways to reduce the burden on taxpayers while improving customer service and maintaining public safety. By merging two divisions, DSPS was able to save $1.3 million in staff and management costs. The merger also saved taxpayers approximately $27,000 per month in lease costs alone.
Dave was married in 1973 to his wife, Lynn, and together they have four daughters and 14 grandchildren.
It has been a pleasure communicating with you. It is an honor to serve as your Governor and represent the residents of Wisconsin.