MADISON (WITI) — Following Gov. Walker’s final State of the State Address, former Trek Executive and Gubernatorial Candidate Mary Burke released the following statement:
“Scott Walker said, ‘The economy is dramatically better and our finances are in great shape.’ He may believe that, but if you spend any time with middle class families across the state, you know its just not true. Too many are worried about finding work or terrified of what they’ll do if they lose their job and are concerned about what awaits their kids as they enter the workforce or post-secondary education.
It’s also important to remember that this is a projected surplus, based on pretty rosy projections, six months into a two year budget cycle. I don’t know too many Wisconsin families who would rush out to spend money they may not even have on new things, particularly when they’ve already racked up a bunch of debt and have other bills coming due.
That said, I’d use the projected surplus to do three things. First, pay down the debt and bolster the rainy day fund so we enter the next budget in a stronger position. Scott Walker has added an estimated $1.2 billion of debt to the state rolls. We have to pay our bills before we put more on the credit card. Second, I’d target property tax relief to the middle class. Walker’s approach dilutes the impact for Wisconsin’s middle class by including businesses that would be better served by more families being able to buy their goods and services. Finally, I agree that we need to put dollars towards worker training that will prepare people looking for jobs right now with the skills they need to fill manufacturing, health care and information technology jobs.
Scott Walker might think the economy’s doing just fine, but I know there’s a lot more to do to give every middle class family a fair shot. Wisconsin has everything we need to be one of the most successful states in the country when it comes to creating jobs. What we lack is the right leadership. I know that Wisconsin can do better, and I know that we will do better when we start strengthening the middle class by improving schools, making job training a priority and ensuring that families have the ability to make the purchases that drive our economy.”