- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Highlights of Gov. Scott Walker’s State of the State speech delivered Tuesday at a joint meeting of the state Legislature:

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WHAT DID HE SAY:

Walker called on the Legislature to pass a school accountability bill, ensure that Common Core academic standards are not mandatory and merge four state agencies into two. Walker promised that property taxes would be lower in four years than they are now, but didn’t propose a specific tax cut for the next two years.

Walker reacted to the terrorist attacks at a newspaper in France and called on Republicans and Democrats to “proclaim that an attack against freedom-loving people anywhere is an attack against us all.”

WHAT DIDN’T HE SAY:

Walker didn’t say how much money his proposed mergers would save, or give details about his plans for solving a $2.2 billion budget shortfall. He also didn’t give details about what he wants to see in the school accountability bill, an issue that’s dividing Republicans who control the Senate and Assembly.

Walker also didn’t talk about the budget shortfall to pay for roads, or a proposal from his own Department of Transportation to raise taxes and fees by $750 million.

Walker also did not mention a looming debate over making Wisconsin a right-to-work state, a discussion he’s said would be a distraction from his agenda.

WHAT WAS THE REACTION:

Democrats and other liberal critics said Walker was positioning himself for a possible presidential run, and not worried about taking care of Wisconsin. “Listening to our governor tonight, I got the sneaking suspicion that Iowa voters will hear a similar speech soon,” said Democratic Rep. Andy Jorgensen.

WHO HEARD IT:

Walker spoke to a joint meeting of the Senate and Assembly. Members of the state Supreme Court, Attorney General Brad Schimel and other special guests were there as well, including Walker’s wife, Tonette, his sons Matt and Alex, and Wisconsin National Guard Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar. Walker also singled out Waukesha County Technical College student Amber Meads. Walker said a grant program he created helped open a spot for her to enter a worker training program.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT:

All attention will now turn to Walker’s Feb. 3 budget address, where he will lay out in detail his plans for solving the budget shortfall and his funding priorities for the next two years. That includes how much money will go to public schools, the University of Wisconsin System, public assistance and every other part of state government.

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