What You Won’t Hear In Gov. Scott Walker’s State of the State Address

MILWAUKEE — Today, Gov. Scott Walker is set to give the annual State of the State Address, but here’s what you won’t hear from the Governor this afternoon: the truth that the state of Wisconsin is broken. Our healthcare system is broken – Walker left Wisconsinites behind by refusing to support the Affordable Care Act and leaving tens of thousands of Wisconsinites priced out of healthcare. Our state’s infrastructure is physically broken – Walker allowed our roads to fall apart and become the second worst in the nation. Our funding for public schools is broken – Walker made school districts routinely turn to ballot referendum to grovel for money to keep the lights on. And, as if that were not enough — Walker broke our economy, rendering it stagnant and forcing people in our state to work harder and longer for less, living paycheck to paycheck with no chance of getting ahead.

Check out the series of debacles created by seven years of Gov. Scott Walker:

  • A miserable 34th in the nation in private-sector job growth since 2010. [1]
  • Missed out on more than 100,000 jobs due to Wisconsin’s private-sector job growth lagging behind the national average. [2]
  • Hemorrhaged jobs from the manufacturing industry to the tune of 3,996 jobs lost in 2016 alone. [3]
  • Finished dead last in business start-up activity over the past three years. [4]
  • Made Wisconsin the 10th most moved from state in the country. [5]
  • Made claims to care about hard-working Wisconsinites while rejecting more than $500 million in federal funds available to expand BadgerCare — costing taxpayers $679 million to date. [6][7]
  • Facilitated more than one billion in cuts to education funding which starved schools of the resources needed to succeed and forced educators from the profession and state. [8]
  • Cut $250 million from UW-System funding — costing the state nearly $8 million in research grants, $24 million in retention bonuses to keep professors who were lining up to leave the state –all while watching UW-Madison drop out of the Top 10 national rankings and lose world-leading researchers in the position to spin off profitable Wisconsin businesses that could have created good-paying, family-sustaining jobs.[9][10][11][12]
  • Watched as the number of student loans climbed to one million borrowers while student debt balloon to $24 billion. [13]
  • Sat on his hands and watched our roads deteriorate into the 2nd worst in the nation, costing drivers an average of $637 per year. [14] [15]

The following is the statement of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Gronik ahead of this afternoon’s State of the State address:

“I’m expecting Scott Walker to try to convince Wisconsinites that he cares about their lives and carefully craft statistics to make his case.  But, the problem is real people can’t feed themselves with statistics. Real people eat food they purchase from stores. But, that’s gotten harder and harder to do for people living paycheck to paycheck in Scott Walker’s economy.

“Walker touts a low unemployment rate while oblivious to the fact that thousands of those working families are never home because they’re working two, three or four jobs.  They never see their children and they’re not even thinking about taking a vacation in our beautiful state because they can’t afford to miss work. Walker might want to characterize these conditions as low unemployment, but that’s only one part of the bigger picture. When all you’re doing is working and aren’t able to enjoy a high quality of life from you’re labor — that’s not living.  That’s not my Wisconsin!

“Let’s face it, we have a Governor who looks working people right in the eye and tells them he cares about them, but then goes back to Madison and clobbers them every chance he gets. If you don’t own a private jet, play at a private golf course, or own a private company,  Walker’s Capitol might as well hang a sign that reads ‘Private. Keep Out.’ Wisconsinites have finally figured out that it’s not about what Walker says, it’s about what Walker does and that’s why he is running scared.  He knows I’m calling him out on his empty words and he knows that I’ll apply my 35 years of experience in the real world helping to create good-paying jobs to make life in Wisconsin better for everyone.”

Background:
[1] “Wisconsin’s private sector job growth remains well behind the national pace of growth. Since December 2010, Wisconsin’s private-sector job base has grown 7.9 percent. Nationally, the private sector job base grew by 13.2 percent over the same period. Wisconsin private sector job growth over that period ranks 34th. This means two-thirds of the states in the nation posted stronger growth over the same period.” The State of Working Wisconsin 2017: Facts & Figures, Center on Wisconsin Strategy, Laura Dresser and Joel Rogers, 8/31/17

[2] “The state is currently 120,000 jobs short of where we would be if we just grew at the national rate.” The State of Working Wisconsin 2017: Facts & Figures, Center on Wisconsin Strategy, Laura Dresser and Joel Rogers, 8/31/17  

[3] “Wisconsin lost nearly 3,800 manufacturing jobs from December 2015 to December 2016, a decrease of nearly 1 percent, according to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wage Data. Wisconsin’s decline was far steeper than the national average in the factory sector, which was essentially flat in 2016, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.” Report: Wisconsin Lost Manufacturing Jobs In 2016, Associated Press, 6/7//17

[4] “For the third year running, Wisconsin has placed 50th among the 50 states in startup activity as measured by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, one of the country’s leading entrepreneurship advocacy and research organizations. Not only was Wisconsin last; the gap between Wisconsin and the next-lowest states widened significantly from 2016 and 2015. While other states are clustered with relatively small differences from one state to the next, Wisconsin stands as an outlier – on the low end.”For third straight year, Wisconsin ranks last in business startup activity, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/18/17/

[5] “Wisconsin has been named one of the most moved from states in 2017, according to a new study. The 2017 National Movers Study by United Van Lines says more people moved out of Wisconsin than into it in the last year — with 55 percent of moves being outbound.” Study: Wisconsin is 10th most moved-from state in 2017, Fox 6 Milwaukee, Megan Pospychala, 1/2/18  

[6] “With its new two-year budget in place, Wisconsin now has passed up more than $550 million in federal money available under the Affordable Care Act.” With millions of dollars at stake, Wisconsin leaders hold fast in opposition to Obamacare, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Guy Boulton, 8/1/15

[7] “Already, Wisconsin taxpayers have had to spend $679 million more than they would have under a full expansion of Medicaid, according to the Legislature’s non-partisan budget office.” Wisconsin continues to lose out under Republicans’ Obamacare repeal legislation, Jason Stein, 6/13/17

[8] “Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature have cut over $1 billion from K-12 public schools since taking office and, by the end of the current budget cycle, will have doled out in excess of $1 billion in taxpayer dollars through the private school voucher program to unaccountable private and religious schools.” One Billion Dollars in cuts to K-12 Public Schools…And Counting, One Wisconsin Now Institute, 2/10/16

[9] “Walker on Sunday signed a new state budget that, among other things:slashes $250 million from the University of Wisconsin, one of the country’s great public institutions of higher education, and ensures that most K-12 school districts will get less funding than they did last year;” Gov. Scott Walker savages Wisconsin public education in new budget, Washington Post, Valerie Strauss, 7/13/15

[10] “More than 140 Wisconsin faculty members were approached with job offers by other universities, including Harvard and Temple, last year, a third more than the year before. Most of them stayed, thanks in large part to salary increases of as much as 49 percent, plus inducements like new research equipment and teaching and research assistants. All of that cost the already cash-strapped university nearly $24 million. Still, 29 faculty members left, and with each one of them what the university calculates is an average of $271,795 worth of research funding, or nearly $8 million total. That included the award-winning chemist Laura Kiessling and the biochemist Ronald Raines, who both went to MIT.” The Decline of the Midwest’s Public Universities Threatens to Wreck Its Most Vibrant Economies, The Atlantic, Jon Marcus, 8/15/17

[11] “The University of Wisconsin-Madison spent $23.6 million last year convincing faculty to not move on to other jobs, Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf said Friday.” UW-Madison spent $23.6 million to keep ‘loyal’ faculty from taking other jobs, Capital Times, Pat Schneider, 10/17/17

[12] “UW-Madison is among the top public universities in the nation, according to new rankings from U.S. News and World Report, but it dropped two spots from last year. The university ranks 12th among public colleges, tied with the University of California-Davis, and 46th among all colleges in the nation. Last year, UW-Madison ranked 10th among public universities and 44th overall.” UW-Madison drops out of top ten among public schools in U.S. News ranking, Daily Cardinal, Noah Habenstreit, 9/12/17

[13] “In their recently released “Snapshot on Student Debt” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, based on consumer information compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, pegged Wisconsin borrowers’ share of the $1.4 trillion-plus student loan debt held nationally in 2016 at $24.4 billion. Earlier figures from the federal government reported there were nearly one million borrowers in the state with federal student loans alone.” Wisconsin student loan debt tops $24 billion, La Crosse Tribune, Dorothy Robson, 11/28/17

[14] “Wisconsin ranks #49 in quality roads and #41 for transportation.US News Best State Ranking, WI roads #49, Transportation Development Association, 3/1/17

[15] “While the nation’s infrastructure earned a “D+” in the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, Wisconsin faces infrastructure challenges of its own. For example, driving on roads in need of repair in Wisconsin costs each driver $637 per year, and 8.7% of bridges are rated structurally deficient.”2017 Infrastructure Report Card, American Society of Civil Engineers, 3/9/17