tv Wisconsin State of the State Address CSPAN February 1, 2017 11:24pm-12:09am EST
felt like all they were seeing on tv about race was bad news. and here was first a white man admitting that he was prejudiced, which for people of color we kind of all just said finally. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q & a." last month wisconsin governor scott walker delivered the annual state of the state address. he spoke about the state budget, tuition for undergraduate students attending the university of wisconsin, and health care coverage for low-income residents. from madison. this is 45 minutes. [ applause ]
[ applause ] thank you. speaker voss, speaker pro tem august, pro tem roth, assistant majority leader vukner, minority leader schilling, minority leader barka, supreme court justices, constitutional officers, tribal leaders, members of the cabinet, members of the legislature, distinguished guests, and most
importantly fellow citizens of the state of wisconsin, it is my honor to appear before you today to report on the state of our great state. first i would like to introduce the first lady of wisconsin, my wife, tonnette. [ cheers and applause ] thank you for all that you do for the people of the state of wisconsin. and next to her, our sons matt and alex. we're proud to have both of them here today. [ applause ] and next to our family is the adjutant general of the wisconsin national guard, major
general donald dunbar. [ applause ] on behalf of the citizens of this great state, i want to thank you and the more than 10,000 strong members of the wisconsin national guard. [ applause ] at the start of december i had the opportunity to travel overseas to visit wisconsin troops in the national guard, reserves, and on active duty in places like kuwait, the united arab emirates, afghanistan and germany. then at the end of last month general dunbar and i traveled to guantanamo bay to visit members of the 32nd military police
company from the wisconsin arm any national guard. i am so proud of the men and women from wisconsin. please remember all, all of our service members in your prayers now and in the future. [ applause ] i also want to thank the members of our national guard for all that they do within our state. last summer parts of northern wisconsin were paralyzed by severe storms and floods. roads and bridges washed out. lives devastated by loss. we sent in the national guard and acting quickly, they were on the ground working together with state and local agencies to help in the recovery. it was an amazing team effort. i joined the local residents from that area in thanking everyone who responded and helped in their time of need to
all. to all of our men and women in uniform we appreciate all that you do, here and abroad, on behalf of all of us i want to say thank you to each and every one of you and to your families. tonight i am happy to report that the state of our state is strong. more people were employed in wisconsin last year than at any point in the history of our great state. unemployment levels are the lowest in more than 15 years. and the percentage of people working in wisconsin is one of the highest of any state in the country.
we are working and winning for wisconsin. in the kenosha area joshua, a former marine staff sergeant, was hired as a maintenance technician at colbert packaging. the company just announced in october it was relocate to kenosha and plans to hire 100 employees this year. over the past three years 7,900 jobs have been created in this county alone that borders the state of illinois. in addition to the $1 billion in capital investment and more than 9.5 million square feet of development. in the fox valley amy was hired in the hr department at
ameriquip in keel. she joins us here today along with ameriquip ceo mike vander zan dech zanden. thank you for joining us. now, amy specializes in recru recruitment and works with our technical colleges on youth apprenticeships. since 2011 ameriquip has invested more than $20 million into improvements for its facilities and the company recently doubled its welding capacity. these stories show the faces of record employment in the state. which begs the question, are we, you, me, us, are we better off than we were six years ago? the answer is a resounding yes.
[ cheers and applause ] that's right. it may seem hard to believe now but during the four years before we took office wisconsin had lost 133,000 jobs and the unemployment rate peaked at 9.2%. when we first took office, the biggest challenge in our state was helping to create more jobs. today we've more than recovered the jobs that departed during the recession. wages are up. more than 50,000 new businesses have been created. and unemployment rate, well, it's down to 4.1%. in fact, our biggest challenge is not creating jobs but finding
people to fill them. we went from a focus on jobs, jobs, jobs to talking about workforce, workforce, workforce. that will be my top priority for 2017 and beyond. during the past four years we invested millions into workforce development. this helps people like gary, ryan, and jeff who are part of our wisconsin fast forward program. today they work at catalyst producing mechanical printing paper. these are just a few of the people who are trained through the wisconsin fast forward grant program-k and they're here with us today.
gavin, matthew, kaitlin and brianna are just a few of the students who got a head start on their career through youth apprenticeships offered while they're in high school. this program has more than doubled since we took office. thanks to all of you for being here this afternoon. and madeline and jordan graduated from our project search program here in wisconsin. each of them is working. and each of them are part of a program for people with disabilities that has a success rate of 88%. i'm proud that the number of
project search sites has grown from two when we first took office to 18 today. and by this next school year we will have 27 sites across the state. maddie and jordan, thank you for joining us here today and for being a great inspiration. as you can see and hear, we are working and winning for wisconsin. in addition to a growing economy, i'm happy to note that our finances are stable. we finished the fiscal year yet again with a surplus. our rainy day fund is 165 times bigger now than it was when we took office. and wisconsin had the fourth lowest overall long-term debt obligation of any state in the country.
getting our finances under control allows us to reduce the burden on the hard-working taxpayers. i'm proud to report that since taking office we've cut taxes by more than $4.7 billion. that means the cumulative income tax reduction of $1,159 for a typical family. we also cut property taxes. since december of 2010 the cumulative reduction is $426 for a median value home. remember this. in the decade before we took office, property taxes went up. 27%. if that trend had continued, the
difference is a savings of $1,700. now, folks, that's real money we're talking about. and property taxes as a percentage of personal income in this state are the lowest they've been since the end of world war ii. think about that. since the end of world war ii. plus here's another piece of really good news. from 2010 to 2014 wisconsin outperformed 43 other states in reducing the overall tax burden. 43 other states. remember, since taking office we've cut the tax burden by $4.7 billion, and we're not done yet.
just as i promised when running for re-election, property and income taxes will be lower in 2018 than they were in 2010. that's great news for families like jeff's and patricia's, who told me how surprised they were to see their property tax bills going down. yes, we are working and winning for wisconsin. in addition to providing more tax relief, getting our finances in order allows us to focus on other priorities. for example, we invested more than $18 billion into transportation over the past six years. put that in perspective. that's about $2 billion more
than my predecessor put into transportation during the previous six years. we also invested more than $14 billion into programs to help needy families, children, and seniors over the past six years. our reforms allowed us to cover everyone living in poverty under medicaid. no other wisconsin governor has been able to make that claim. in fact, we rank as one of the best states in the nation for health insurance coverage. and even though we did not take the obama medicare/medicaid expansion we actually outrank every one of the states that did and every one of the 21 states that did not.
a few years ago they argued we should take ought bamacare medicare/medicaid money. i argued it would hurt taxpayers. what happened in minnesota this past year suggests we were right. late last year health insurance premiums there increased by as much as 67%. the governor of minnesota declared the affordable care act is no longer affordable. and just last week he actually called the -- called on the legislature to spend $313 million to buy down health insurance premiums, putting minnesota taxpayers on the hook. in contrast, we have a surplus in medicaid while covering everyone living in poverty, all without putting the taxpayers at risk through a state exchange or by taking the obamacase medicaid expansion. we are working and winning for wisconsin.
our improving financial situation allows us to do more for students preparing for college and careers. it's an imperative that every child have access to education but it's also an economic imperative that we need to grow the workforce in wisconsin. we invested in career readiness initiatives including fab lab and youth praentisships. the state started providing funding for school districts to do academic and career plans as early as sixth grade. we want every child to prepare a path to a career that is right for them. across the state our students are doing well. we just started including everyone in the a.c.t. test. and wisconsin is one of the best states in the country in that category. students here have some of the best graduation rates in the
nation. on top of that more than 90% of the school districts in the state meet or exceed expectations according to the report cards. one of those districts is nina. today we are joined by students and teachers from nina. and families, particularly low-income families all across the state, now have more choices for quality education. for many like my family it will be a traditional public school. for others it will be a choice or a charter school. some will choose a virtual school while others prefer to home school their children. whatever the option, when it comes to making the right choice for their daughters and sons i
trust parents. many of the areas of new investment in our schools are giving students a jump start on their careers. our initiatives are helping many students get through college sooner and into the workforce, earning college credits in high school also helps reduce the cost of higher education. in addition to reducing the time needed to receive a degree, we need to focus on the price of going to college in the first place. for the past four years we froze undergraduate in-state tuition for students at all, at all university of wisconsin campuses. a typical student saves more than $6,300 over four years when compared to the trend before the
freeze. tonnette and i still have a son at the university of wisconsin, and we appreciate the freeze just like families do all across the state. now, during the decade before our freeze tuition went up 118%. ironically, some of the people who were around when the uw tuition went up by more than 8% on average each year now want the state to create a new government bureaucracy to refinance student loans. but here's the good news. we found a better way to help people with high debt. our administration worked with wisconsin's very own financial institutions to promote refinancing options available to knows with student loan debt. wisconsin credit unions and banks offer refinancing at rates that are the same or better than what is offered by many government-supported programs in other states. i encourage anyone, anyone who's dealing with student loan debt, to visit lookforwardwi.gov.
that's lookforwardwi.gov. to find out what free financing options are available in your area. we also provide the greatest amount of need-based financial aid in wisconsin history. we're making college more affordable. and at the same time the university of wisconsin is thriving. the uw system had the largest overall budget in history this year. u.s. news & world report moved the ranking of uw madison up on their list of the best public colleges in the country. they also gave positive mention to ten, to ten other uw colleges. in addition, we invested nor into the wisconsin technical college system. our blueprint for prosperity plan opened 5,000 more slots for students in high demand areas. and this past spring we expanded the wisconsin grant program. our technical colleges continue
to be a super option for so many students looking for a rewarding career. we are working and winning for wisconsin. place plaus [ applause ] now, last year i spoke about plans to travel the state as part of a long-term planning process called 2020 vision. throughout the past year i held listening sessions in every county to hear about where we would like the state to be in the next 20 years. from students to retirees. i heard from a diverse mix of people. teachers, small business owners, farmers, factory workers, law enforcement veterans, technical college staff, local officials, community activists, health care professionals, non-profit leaders, clergy, parents. union leaders, bloggers, tourism directors. we've got a cross-section of different ages, broujds, professions and yes, political beliefs. on top of that we're connecting
in other ways too. for example, we will host another facebook live session next tuesday, january 17th at 4:00 p.m. feel free to join us at facebook.com/governorsco facebook.com/governorscottwalker or follow us on twitte twitter @govwalker. several suggestions came out of listening sessions across the state. student success, accountable government and rewarding work with consistent themes. these are the areas we'll talk about today and these will be the focus of our next day budget. as promised, we will increase funding for public education. i love public schools. both of my sons -- [ applause ] both of my sons graduated from public schools in the city of
waletosa. i graduated from public school in the small town of duleman. and my nieces are attending public schools today -- well, it's about time they're out. so they're probably out of public school right now. but i want strong public schools. in fact, i want great schools for every student in the state. our budget will include a significant increase for public schools. we will also help rural schools that have unique challenges such as transportation costs, broadband access, and declining enrollment. college affordability was also a major issue at our listening sessions. but it wasn't just students who raised it as a concern, as they're concerned about the cost of higher education. it was parents, grandparents, educators and many others. that's why i'm pleased to
announce that our 2017 through 2019 state budget will do more than just freeze tuition. we will actually cut -- that's right, cut tuition for all wisconsin undergraduates throughout the uw system. that's right. we're working and winning for wisconsin. in addition to student success we heard people say they want a government that is accountable to the taxpayers. overall, many of our listening sessions, many of the people at our listening sessions took pride in the fact that we're self-reliant here in wisconsin. with this in mind we'll continue our efforts to streamline government, to make it more effective, more efficient, and more accountable to the people. access to high-speed and reliable internet service is something we heard about at nearly every listening session.
therefore, i'm proposing the state invest $35.5 million more to expand our broadband access grant program and for our efforts to help upgrade technology and train teachers from small and rural school districts. this will bring our total investment to $52 million. the great thing about the broadband expansion grant program is that once the high-speed network is in the rest is up to the local telecommunication provider. there's no need for a permanent government program. now, my mother was born and raised on a farm. for her parents' generation electricity changed the way we farm in america. access to broadband is like that today in rural parts of our state. this afternoon i call on you, the members of the wisconsin legislature, to pass our plan as soon as possible to help connect
everyone, everyone in the state. good internet and cellular connections are important for a strong economy, quality of life. so is a solid transportation system. as i stated earlier, we invested more than $18 billion into our state transportation system over the past six years. that's about $2 billion more than the previous administration did during the same time period. in fact, the previous administration and legislature actually raided $1.4 billion from the state transportation fund. we reversed that trend and restored a commitment to a strong transportation system in the state. safety and maintenance of our existing system is a priority. last year alone there were more than 300 road construction
projects going on in the state. you probably drove through one of them. looking ahead, we'll provide local governments with the largest increase in transportation aids since the 1990s. that includes an investment of 25% more over the last budget alone in the local road improvement program. $65 million more in local roads -- local road aids. and the largest increase in the local bridge improvement program in over 20 years. local governments can use these funds to fix roads and bridges and potholes all throughout their communities. we also provide more money for state highway rehabilitation than ever before. to meet our commitment to safety and maintenance of the existing system. altogether the budget we propose represents a 39% increase in maintenance and safety over my predecessor's last transportation budget. we can do all this and more
without raising the gas tax or the vehicle registration fee. i will keep my promise i made to the voters in the last election. whether you agree with me or not, i hope you can respect that i keep my word. i believe firmly we were not sent here by the people of wisconsin to raise taxes. those at our listening sessions told us they want to keep the tax burden down while finding unique ways to improve education, train our workers, and make investments in our infrastructure. we are working and winning for wisconsin. another way to provide more accountable government is to change the way we operate. with that in mind, i've asked my wife, tonette, to come to the
podium and join me as she talks about an issue that's close to her heart. >> good afternoon. as scott mentioned, i want to share with you a new way of delivering service to children and their families. several years ago i put together a group of leaders and experts to explore innovative ways to work with wisconsin's families. we call our initiative fostering futures. fostering futures is about creating hope by advancing principles of trauma-informed care across wisconsin. let me give you an example. if a child is belligerent and angry as he meets with his child welfare worker, we used to say, what's wrong with that child? but with trauma-informed care we teach people to ask the question what happened to that young
person. instead of labeling the child as good or bad, this approach moves us to a better -- this approach moves us to better understand what could be causing the behavior. just so we're clear, we know there still has to be consequences for their actions. but shifting to trauma-informed perspective gives us access to more tools for success and better outcomes. sadly, too many children and adults too struggle because they have experienced some form of trauma and early adversity. maybe it was drug abuse in the home. maybe they saw domestic violence. or maybe they were victims of child abuse. trauma-informed care offers strategies for understanding what is at the root of their struggle and can help identify more effective solutions. i'm proud scott is supporting
fostering futures as we train county workers and state government staff to use trauma-informed care. we know this approach will not only support government employees in their work but will also improve the lives of wisconsin's children and families. thank you. >> good way to get upstaged, right? well, thank you, tonette. thank you for your chiommitmento changing the way that we help children and families in our state. in addition to student success and accountable government people told us over and over again that we need to be rewarding work. today i'm proud to report that
more than 21,000 people have been through our food share employment training program and are working here in the state of wisconsin. if people like sandy in northern wisconsin. she was struggling as a single mother of four when she signed up for the program. within weeks, sandy had multiple job offers and is now employed full-time. sandy's story is a model of success and now she gives back as a speaker and mentor in the eagle river area. people like leon who now works in wisconsin rapids. our program staff helped get him the skills he needed to get employed. and now he has a dream of starting his own business. these are just a few of the great stories of people who turned their lives around through our programs and reforms. it's good for the taxpayers. it's good for employers.
but most of all it's good for people like leon and sandy as we give them a chance to head toward prosperity in their lives going forward. you see, without a doubt wisconsin is working. a number of people on the state's w-2 wefrm program dropped 27% to near historic lows. continuing -- continuing unemployment insurance claims are at a 40-year low. that unemployment rate, once the lowest it's been since february of 2001. think about that. my sons who are up there, alex and matt, are 21 and 22 years old. the last time the unemployment rate was that low, they were 5 and 6 years old. it seemed like an eternity for them. all this points to an obvious fact. we need more people in the workforce.
this week alone there were nearly 80,000 job openings listed on jobcenterwisconsin.com. earlier i mentioned many of the things we're doing to improve education and training in the state to prepare and grow our workforce. still we need to do more to get people into jobs. specifically, i'm proud of the work we're doing to help work we're doing to help veterans get into the workforce. captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 captioning performed by vitac