MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Here is the text of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s fourth State of the State address as prepared for delivery:
First, before I acknowledge anyone else, I would like to recognize my good friend and fellow Harley rider, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Gary Wetzel.
Speaker Vos, Speaker Pro Tem August, President Ellis, Majority Leader Fitzgerald, Minority Leader Larson, Minority Leader Barca, members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Constitutional Officers, tribal leaders, members of the Cabinet, distinguished guests, members of the Legislature, most importantly, fellow citizens of the great state of Wisconsin, it is an honor to appear before you tonight.
Before we get started, I would like to introduce the First Lady of Wisconsin, my wife, Tonette. Also in the gallery are our sons, Matt and Alex, and my family; my parents, Llew and Pat, my brother, David, my sister-in-law, Maria, and my nieces, Isabella and Eva.
Next to my wife is Major General Don Dunbar, our Adjutant General. I want to thank him and the more than 10,000 members of the Wisconsin National Guard. Thank you for being here.
The state of our state is strong and improving every day. The economy is dramatically better and our finances are in great shape. Still, there is more work to be done.
Thankfully, the days of double-digit tax increases, billion-dollar deficits, and major job loss are gone. We replaced them with massive tax cuts, growing budget surpluses, and significant job growth. Wisconsin is going back to work.
Tonight, we have some really great news about the economy and our fiscal situation. The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau recently verified that the state will have $911 million more than previously projected. These new revenues are not a one-time windfall, or budget gimmick, but come from a strong economic recovery, where more people are working, more employers are hiring, and personal income is going up. They also come from good stewardship of the taxpayers’ money.
What do you do with a surplus? Give it back to the people who earned it. It’s your money. I propose that we deposit a portion of these new revenues in the state’s rainy day fund and use the remainder to provide much needed tax relief to you_the hardworking taxpayers of Wisconsin.
Tonight, I will propose a Blueprint for Prosperity, which will continue to improve our economy, while preserving our strong fiscal standing.
So how did we get these positive results? A true commitment to real structural reforms for state and local government budgets led to our long-term fiscal stability. Meaningful tax cuts that keep more money in your pocket rather than requiring you to send it to Madison, changes to laws and regulations that make sense if you’re trying to start a business or find a job, and bipartisan investments in worker training are some of the driving forces behind the strong economic recovery.
So, how do we measure the impact of the recovery? Well, the unemployment rate in Wisconsin is the lowest it has been since 2008. Initial unemployment insurance claims are at a 12-year low.
Private sector job creation between April and November was the best since 1994. The seasonally adjusted private sector job growth from November 2012 to November 2013 ranked Wisconsin higher than Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois.
According to the latest national report, personal income grew 4.4 percent over the year; faster than the U.S. In fact, Wisconsin ranked as the 4th best state in the country for personal income growth from the second quarter to the third quarter in 2013. After years of a stagnant market, a key component of the American Dream, home sales are up by nearly 11 percent and housing permits are up 12.9 percent. And according to quarterly and monthly job reports, more than 100,000 jobs have been created over the past three years.
Let me introduce you some of the people hired since I took office: Joann Stephens from Appleton is employed as a Quality Engineer at Surface Mount Technology. Heyward Gualandi from Madison is employed as a Sales Supervisor at Beechwood Sales and Services. Ben Lang from Brookfield is employed as a Design Engineer at Metcast Service Tech Resources. Dominic Petri from Cedarburg is employed as a Design Engineer at TLX Technologies. Lucas Klemann from Appleton is employed as a CNC Operator at M & M Tool and Mold. Bob Stoffel from Hartford is employed as a Brake Operator at Steel Craft Corporation. Patti Sharer from New Berlin is employed as an Accounting Specialist at Hastings Air Energy Control. Scott Grinder from Reedsburg is employed as a Maintenance Technician at Milwaukee Valve. Rick Banach from Oak Creek is employed as a Supervisor at Rexnord. Angela Hayward from Madison is employed as a Nursing Assistant at UW Hospital and Clinics. David Sohl from Madison is employed as an Organ Procurement Organization Surgical Recovery Coordinator at UW Hospital and Clinics. And Chris Barber of Two Rivers, is employed as a welder at Ariens Company.