1. What relevant experience do you bring to the office you seek?
Eight years ago, the unemployment rate was 9.3 percent and many of our graduates were leaving the state. Eight years later, more people are working in Wisconsin than ever before and we’ve had eight straight months of record unemployment.
Our reforms helped the people of Wisconsin create more jobs and higher wages. Our reforms also helped us invest more actual dollars into schools than ever before and still reduce property and income taxes on workings families and seniors. That’s because our reforms saved schools more than $3 billion. We turned a $3.6 billion budget deficit into a surplus and put more into education, worker training, infrastructure and health care.
Now, we have a plan to continue to grow our workforce by keeping our graduates here and by attracting new talent — like veterans — to our state (we are the #1 state in America for veterans benefits). Our plans call for 2/3rd funding for schools and lower property taxes; lower health care premiums and covering people with pre-existing conditions; maintaining our local roads and bridges without massive gas tax increases. While others talk about ideas, we actually lead.
2. The American Society of Civil Engineers says Wisconsin motorists spend $2.0-billion per year in costs from driving on roads in need of repairs. Name a specific measure you would support that would bring in more money for road projects.
In the recent Marquette poll, 70 percent said their roads were excellent, good or fair. And 61 percent said is more important to keep gas taxes and vehicle registration fees where they are now. I’ve kept that promise and still helped maintain our local roads and state highways.
We gave local governments the largest increase in state aid in 20 years during the last budget. They use these funds to maintain local roads and bridges. Overall, we put $24 billion into the state transportation system compared to $21 billion by Jim Doyle). And we just announced that state transportation aid to counties and towns will be at the highest levels in our next state budget.
Wisconsin taxpayers spent over $1 billion on major interchanges in Milwaukee during the past decade. It is time to stop these new interchanges and spread that money out to the rest of the state.
Tony Evers was asked by the media on August 15, 2018 if he would consider a $1 gallon gas tax
increase. He said “everything’s on the table.” That would cost a typical two-driver family $1,200 more a year. He also wants to undo the reforms that have saved local governments on road maintenance and repair.
Raising taxes is a recipe for recession. Instead, we want to keep Wisconsin working for generations to
3. State aid to local school districts has been reduced, or remained flat for the last few years. Leaders of local school districts say that has resulted in stagnant teacher pay and reductions in educational programs that students need and want. Some worry that we are losing our best and brightest teachers to neighboring states. So many local school districts are now going to voters, asking them to pass referendums that would allow these schools to raise local property taxes to make up the difference. In your opinion, is this the best and most fair way to fund these projects? If so, what is the role of the state to provide further assistance.? If not, what, specifically, would you do to provide more state aid to local schools and where would that money come from?
Here are the facts: our last budget included the largest actual dollar investment in schools in state history: $11.5 billion. That is an extra $200 every year for every student in every school across the state. And for rural schools $400 per student on top of that to help with their unique costs.
The number of youth apprenticeships has nearly tripled while support for Fab Labs (fabrication laboratories) has doubled. TEACH grants and broadband access grants are at an all-time high. We expanded dual enrollment and technical education programs as well as early college credit programs.
There were actually more referendum questions during former Governor Jim Doyle’s eight years in
office than during our tenure.
Our reforms saved school districts more than $3 billion and allowed schools to staff based on merit and pay based on performance. That allows schools to put the best and the brightest in the classroom.
Looking ahead, we will restore two-thirds funding for schools. Former Governor Tommy Thompson enacted it and still reduced the property tax burden. Former Governor Doyle was the one who backed away from two-thirds even as property taxes went up during his terms in office.
The difference between Tony Evers and I is not over funding — we both support two-thirds. The difference is where it will be spent and how to pay for it. Tony Evers will undo our reforms which would take money out of the classroom and away from students. And he’d allow your property taxes to go up to pay for it.
We provided historic funding to schools while still lowering property taxes. With a strong economy, good fiscal management and continuing our reforms, we can do both again.
4. What makes you the best candidate to represent your district?
Real leadership vs talk.
• We put in place reforms that helped the people of the state grow jobs and increase wages. More
people are working in Wisconsin this year than ever before.
• We inherited a $3.6 billion budget deficit and turned it into a surplus every year in office.
• We invested more actual dollars into schools than ever before — an extra $200 every year for
• We lowered the burden on hard-working taxpayers by more than $8 billion with lower property
and income taxes on working families, senior citizens and others.
• We took action when Obamacare premiums went up 44% and Washington failed to act with our
bi-partisan Healthcare Stability Plan that lowers premiums by more than 4% and increases
choices (particularly in rural areas).
• We put more money into infrastructure and gave our local governments some of the largest
increases in 20 years.
• We put in place in Open Book program to track government expenses and were given an A
ranking for openness and transparency in government.
• We delivered on the promises made and will do so again over the next four years.
5. What do you think should be the top priorities for the state and your area over the next decade? If elected to office, how would you advance those priorities?
Grow our workforce through 1) traditional education and training (2/3rd funding schools, apprenticeships, technical schools, UW, worker training); 2) break down barriers to work (welfare reform, vocational training in prison, help for people with disabilities in employment) and 3) recruit new talent to our state (attract Midwest Millennials, alumni of colleges and universities from Wisconsin and attracting veterans as we are the #1 state for veterans’ benefits).
Help our senior citizens afford to stay in their homes through 1) lower property taxes; 2) expanding credit to offset property taxes for seniors; 3) Relief from taxes on retirement income.
Ensure access to affordable and quality healthcare: 1) cover people with pre-existing medical conditions; 2) lower premiums and increase choices; 3) extend SeniorCare so seniors continue to have access to affordable prescription drugs.
Help working families afford to make ends meet: 1) keep property, income and gas taxes low; 2) provide a Child Care Tax Credit; 3) continue the Back to School Sales Tax Holiday.
Make higher education affordable 1) continue tuition freeze; 2) continue historic funding for needsbased financial assistance, 3) provide $5,000 to Wisconsin graduates who work in Wisconsin for 5 years (to help with student loan debt or other costs).