Tag Archives: Scott Walker

More money has not, and will not, improve education for our children

Here is my full column for the Washington County Daily News that ran yesterday.

With school back in full swing, the MacIver Institute’s Ola Lisowski completed a comprehensive review of the state of education in Wisconsin. The data gives some insight into how well our education system is serving our kids and raises some questions. One is left wondering, however, why Wisconsin’s politicians insist that throwing more money into education is the only answer.

Overall, ACT achievement scores have remained flat. In 2017, the average ACT score for graduating students was 20.5. That was the exact same as in 2016. Prior to 2016, the average ACT score remained flat at 22.0 or 22.1, but there was a change in participation requirements in 2016.

Until 2016, students only took the ACT if they were intending to go to college or just wanted to take the test. Starting in 2016, Wisconsin began requiring all enrolled students to take the ACT and taxpayers pay for the exams. Although students can still opt-out, the new rules pushed the participation rate for taking the ACT from the 63.5 percent in 2015 to 92.1 percent in 2016 and 2017. The fact that a much larger number of kids are taking the ACT — including many who do not have any intention of attending college — necessarily lowers the average.

Compared to the other 16 states that require all students to take the ACT, Wisconsin’s average is third best. Only Colorado and Minnesota do better.

Another metric for which longitudinal data is available is Advanced Placement course participation and results. Average scores for AP tests have been trending slightly down since 2010. In 2011, 68 percent of students scored a 3 or better on AP exams and 65.9 percent scored that well last year. But the good news is that more and more kids are taking AP exams. Last year, 57 percent more AP exams were taken as compared to the 2010-2011 school year. Much like with the ACT, broader participation usually pushes the average down, so it is good to see so little decline with the surge in participation.

Graduation rates have increased slightly since 2011 from 87 percent to 88.6 percent in 2017. That beats the national average of 84 percent. The real news in the much better graduation rates for some minority groups. The Hispanic and Latino graduation rate jumped from 72 percent in 2011 to 79.9 percent in 2016. The graduation rate for Native American kids grew from 71.7 percent in 2011 to 77.8 percent in 2016. Asian and black graduation rates increased by 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. More kids are graduating and that is good news.

Unfortunately, we must temper the good news about the graduation rate with the data about remedial education. For many years, colleges have offered remedial education classes for incoming students.

They are classes for kids who are accepted and enrolled into the college, but need to shore up their core math or English skills.

Wisconsin began requiring in 2016 that UW System schools track which students need remedial education and the high schools that graduated those kids. The results are not good. Roughly 20 percent of all incoming students in the UW System require some form of remedial classes. These students graduated from 184 high schools. That means that almost 36 percent of Wisconsin high schools are sending kids to college who are not proficient in math or English. Not only is that indictment of those high schools, but it is a tremendous added expense to those kids who have to pay for remedial education they should have already received.

There is a lot more data on school performance. I invite you to read the overview at the MacIver Institute or dig through the Department of Public Instruction data yourself. A couple of insights bubble to the top after wading through the data. First, Wisconsin’s schools are fairly decent, for the most part, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Second, the performance has remained fairly consistent for the years despite taxpayers spending more and more every year.

This makes the politicians’ response all too disappointing. Tony Evers, the Democratic candidate for governor, has one answer to every question about education: Spend more money. This is despite the fact that spending more has no measurable impact on educational outcomes. Gov. Scott Walker has had a strong record of actual education reform, but has fallen into the same spending paradigm. This election, he is hanging his hat on the fact that Wisconsin increased spending on education and is spending more than ever.

The reason that politicians conflate more government spending with improving educational outcomes is as lazy as it is stupid. It is an easy way for them to demonstrate that they are “doing something.” In fact, they are doing nothing but wasting more money. The outcomes matter — not the spending.

More money has not, and will not, improve education for our children

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online now. Go pick up a paper, but here’s a snippet:

A couple of insights bubble to the top after wading through the data. First, Wisconsin’s schools are fairly decent, for the most part, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Second, the performance has remained fairly consistent for the years despite taxpayers spending more and more every year.

This makes the politicians’ response all too disappointing. Tony Evers, the Democratic candidate for governor, has one answer to every question about education: Spend more money. This is despite the fact that spending more has no measurable impact on educational outcomes. Gov. Scott Walker has had a strong record of actual education reform, but has fallen into the same spending paradigm. This election, he is hanging his hat on the fact that Wisconsin increased spending on education and is spending more than ever.

The reason that politicians conflate more government spending with improving educational outcomes is as lazy as it is stupid. It is an easy way for them to demonstrate that they are “doing something.” In fact, they are doing nothing but wasting more money. The outcomes matter — not the spending.

Keep the Walker economy going

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday.

Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer in Wisconsin, has come and gone. The kids are back in school. Even some of the more eager leaves have begun to turn as a reminder that winter is looming on the horizon. Also looming is the November election, when Wisconsin’s voters will decide whether to change the direction of our state or stay the course.

Gov. Scott Walker has a great case to make for his re-election, but many voters have become complacent after so many years of success. Too often, politics is about “what have you done for me lately.” Walker and the legislative Republicans have made tremendous improvements in preserving and expanding civil rights, protecting life, education reform and many other areas of government. But with the limited space available in this column, let us look deeper at Wisconsin’s economy under Walker.

In 2010, the year that Scott Walker was elected as governor, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate stood at 8.7 percent. Over a quarter-million Wisconsinites were looking for work and could not find it. Per capita income had fallen to $38,598. Businesses were fleeing Wisconsin due to the inflexible regulatory climate, a hostile government and oppressive taxes. The state budget was running yet another massive deficit and voters were facing another round of tax increases.

Fast forward to July 2018 — after almost two full terms of Walker. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate stands at 3.1 percent — a rate below what many economists consider full employment. There are more than 300,000 more Wisconsinites working now than there were in 2010, and they are earning more. Per capita income in 2016, the most recent year for which figures are available, is up to $46,762 — an increase of more than $8,000 per person and the most recent economic data coming from federal number crunchers indicates that income growth is accelerating with sustained high employment.

One might be tempted to dismiss these economic comparisons as unfair given the entire nation’s economy is booming. That is true and a reason that voters should also return Republican majorities to the Congress, but Wisconsin is even doing better under Walker than most other states.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Wisconsin’s percent growth in privatesector jobs in July ranked seventh nationally and first in the Midwest. Our state’s July unemployment rate tied for the seventh lowest in the nation. In the manufacturing industry, Wisconsin ranked fifth nationally in percent growth in jobs over the last year and gained the second-most manufacturing jobs in the last six months.

The evidence is clear that while the nation’s economy is enjoying fabulous growth in jobs and wages, Wisconsin is one of the states leading the pack.

The vast majority of Wisconsin’s economic success is due to the millions of Wisconsinites who work hard, build businesses and create value in the global market. State government’s policies can either retard the innate economic prowess of Wisconsin’s people or help create an environment where that prowess can be let loose. The policies that Walker enacted during his first two terms have enabled Wisconsinites to flex their economic muscles.

For example, Walker set about immediately cutting state regulations and reining in the fearsome Department of Natural Resources. He signed the law making Wisconsin a right-to-work state, thus freeing the people from forced unionization. Walker cut taxes and improved Wisconsin’s transportation infrastructure.

Perhaps most importantly, Walker’s pro-business attitude has permeated state government. During the Jim Doyle era, Wisconsin had a well-earned reputation for being hostile to business. Companies that dared to open in the state were threatened with costly regulations, a DNR that would deny permits and slam them with fines for the most inconsequential infraction and politicians who would cluck their tongues if they were not the “right kind” of jobs.

Under Walker, the state has struck a better regulatory balance that protects the interests of all Wisconsinites — including those who want to work. State agencies still enforce all of the laws and regulations, but do so by helping businesses comply instead of crushing them with fines. When businesses run into some problem with state government, a state regulator is more likely to pick up the phone and ask, “How can I help?” That matters to business owners who are just trying to grow their businesses the best they know how.

Finally, unlike the previous governor, Walker actively recruits businesses to move to Wisconsin. There is no doubt that had it not been for Walker aggressively recruiting Foxconn, that multibillion-dollar investment would have gone to another state. Walker not only asked for the business, he closed the deal. A lesser governor would not have succeeded.

Wisconsin’s economy has made a complete turnaround under Walker and is heading in the right direction. It is a mistake to think that the state’s economy will continue in that direction under Tony Evers. Leadership matters and Wisconsin’s economy needs Walker to remain at the helm.

Keep the Walker economy going

My column for the Washington County Daily News is in the paper today. Go buy a copy, but here’s a snippet:

Finally, unlike the previous governor, Walker actively recruits businesses to move to Wisconsin. There is no doubt that had it not been for Walker aggressively recruiting Foxconn, that multibillion-dollar investment would have gone to another state. Walker not only asked for the business, he closed the deal. A lesser governor would not have succeeded.

Wisconsin’s economy has made a complete turnaround under Walker and is heading in the right direction. It is a mistake to think that the state’s economy will continue in that direction under Tony Evers. Leadership matters and Wisconsin’s economy needs Walker to remain at the helm.

Walker Facing Tough Race

Interesting that The Guardian is covering the Wisconsin election – and that they sought out Charlie Sykes as their primary local political analyst.

Sykes pointed to another potential problem. Walker’s base lies in the suburban counties that surround Milwaukee, areas that have typically given him more than 70% of the vote. But in those counties in 2016, Trump ran far behind other Republican candidates.

Sykes also said, however, that despite the fact Walker is behind, the Republican’s campaign is “comfortable being exactly where they are right now”. He looked back to 2014, when “everybody really thought [Walker] was in trouble and he did just fine”.

Sykes noted that Walker’s campaign is staffed with veterans of electoral dogfights. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a state Republican strategist echoed such thinking, saying the governor was “sailing into a pretty big storm but he’s built a pretty good ship”.

Walker, Sykes concluded, has “been through all of this before and Tony Evers has not”.

Walker Administration to Levy Tax Increase on October 1st

Booooo

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration plans to expand collection of taxes for online purchases by Oct. 1 as permitted by a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

How it will do so — and whether small retailers might be exempt from having to collect and remit taxes for online sales — remains unclear, because the administration isn’t addressing those details yet.

Walker spokeswoman Amy Hasenberg said “we plan to start collections on Oct. 1” but referred other questions to the Department of Revenue, which oversees tax collections.

Foxconn begins to deliver on its promise

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here you go:

While there is still a long way to go before Wisconsinites can evaluate the full impact of the Foxconn development, so far it is proving to be the economic boon for Wisconsin that Gov. Scott Walker and other supporters of the deal predicted. The official groundbreaking ceremony will be June 28, but the work has already started.

When Walker announced the deal with Foxconn, it marked the largest economic deal the state of Wisconsin had ever struck. Liberals vacillated between bemoaning corporate welfare and declaring that Wisconsin should have gotten a better deal. Conservatives cringed at the massive amount of tax dollars involved to lure one company to Wisconsin. Walker touted the deal as a transformational economic development that would benefit Wisconsin for generations. It is possible that everyone was right, but certainly Walker deserves credit for getting it done.

Before the first shovel could be put in the ground, nearly 500 subcontractors, suppliers, service providers, vendors and other companies attended an information session hosted by Foxconn for the projected $10 billion construction project. These businesses came from all over Wisconsin and the world for the chance to participate in one of the largest construction projects in United States history.

Late last month, Foxconn began announcing the contractors that they would use. True to their word, Foxconn officials strongly favored Wisconsin companies. Ninety percent of the contracts so far have been awarded to Wisconsin companies.

In just the first phase of the project, 27 Wisconsin companies and one Illinois company are sharing $100 million to do the preparation work for the site including excavation, erosion control, soil and water testing and stormwater management. A $100 million project would already be one of Wisconsin’s largest construction projects, and that is only 1 percent of what Foxconn is planning to spend to complete the project. Furthermore, as Walker predicted, the economic benefits are not limited to southeast Wisconsin. One of those Wisconsin companies already working is a Black River Falls construction company which has been tasked with moving about 325,000 dump truck loads of dirt and installing 120,000 linear feet of sewer. That company, Hoffman Construction, has indicated that they will need to hire about 150 additional seasonal workers to handle the work.

MJM Truckin’ LLC of Nekoosa, Wood County, Panacea Group LLC of Seymour, Outagamie County, and other businesses throughout the state are already seeing money flow from Foxconn into their businesses.

The reason that all of Wisconsin will benefit from Foxconn is simple. The Foxconn project is just so incredibly huge that southeast Wisconsin does not have the people or material necessary to complete it. Not only will Foxconn need to bring in workers from all over Wisconsin, they will have to bring people from all over the world to Wisconsin to work.

A study by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce estimates that Foxconn’s new Wisconsin plant will contribute about $51 billion to the state’s economy over the next 15 years. Calculating the exact economic impact of the massive Foxconn development is inherently difficult, but Wisconsin is already seeing a ripple effect spread across the state.

All of this positive development makes the stance of some of the Democratic candidates for governor even more puzzling. While some may disagree with the deal that Walker struck with Foxconn, it is done. The contracts are signed and both sides are obligated to honor their side of the agreement. Yet some of the Democratic candidates are hoping to see it all fail and rip a hole in Wisconsin’s economy as it does.

Rep. Dana Wachs has said “we will find a way to end it.” Matt Flynn said that he will end the deal, “no matter what.” Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and Rep. Kelda Roys want to renegotiate the deal — whatever that means. Try to imagine a world in which one of these Democrats wins the governor’s chair and uses it to douse the Foxconn economic fire with a vat of cold water. Not only would it hobble the Foxconn economic juggernaut, but it would neuter Wisconsin’s ability to attract business for decades to come. What company CEO in his or her right mind would make a long-term commitment to Wisconsin if all it takes is a new governor to tear up the contracts?

The argument over whether or not the Foxconn deal was a good one for Wisconsin will be decided in the years to come. One would hope that whatever one thought about the terms of the deal, we could all root for it to live up to its promise. Fortunately for our state’s economy, so far it has.

Walker Pushes for Dem Convention in Milwaukee

While a convention of this scale would be good for the city and state, they need to make sure the contracts are firm. These conventions can be expensive for local taxpayers.

The meeting Monday afternoon at the Wisconsin Center focused on the growth Milwaukee’s tourism economy continues to show, and leaders who attended agree that landing the 2020 Democratic National Convention would only further that growth.

Following Visit Milwaukee’s annual meeting, the president/CEO and board chairman of Visit Milwaukee, Paul Upchurch and Omar Shaikh, respectively, and their counterparts at the Wisconsin Center, president and CEO Marty Brooks and board chair Ellen Nowak, expressed enthusiasm about not only the potential impact of hosting the 2020 convention in Milwaukee, but the city’s chances of securing the quadrennial event. Late last week, Milwaukee was named one of eight finalists to host the DNC in two years, along with cities like New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and Houston, according to reports from CNN and NBC News.

Even Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who sought the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in the 2016 election, said he hoped Milwaukee would win the right to host his rival party’s convention when asked following his introductory remarks at Monday’s meeting.

“I think it would be huge,” Walker said. “I think any convention here of that magnitude is a big deal.”

Wisconsinites Will Continue to Leave State for Legal Sports Betting

This isn’t a surprise.

MADISON, Wis – On Monday, the Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law that prohibited all states except Nevada from allowing sports betting.

New Jersey led the lawsuit, with the support of 18 other states that want to use sports gambling for college and professional teams to bring in more tourism and tax revenue.

A representative with the Wisconsin Department of Administration said “sports gaming is prohibited by the Wisconsin Constitution, state law, and is not allowed under the state tribal compacts.”

“Between the constitution and the compacts that are in place already in the state of Wisconsin, it really won’t have a bearing one way or the other,” said Gov. Scott Walker.

First, Walker is morally opposed to the expansion of gambling, so he’s not going to try to move mountains to get it in Wisconsin. Second, the state compact with the Tribes that protect their gambling monopolies can’t be reopened without the Tribes agreeing. There isn’t much incentive for them to do so with a Republican administration.

Walker Releases School Safety Plan

As I mentioned before, the urge to throw taxpayer dollars at things is a bipartisan disease.

Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday called on lawmakers to take up a $100 million package aimed at providing more security in school buildings across Wisconsin.

But the plan doesn’t call for imposing stricter controls on gun ownership as Democrats have called for, or for arming teachers as some Republicans have said could be a solution to gun violence in the classroom.

[…]

Walker’s plan would create an Office of School Safety within the state Department of Justice; it proposes $100 million in grants to schools, on a one-time basis, to help pay for security improvements, training opportunities and police officers.

It’s unclear how the grants would be distributed, but if the $100 million were divided equally among the 2,261 public schools and 818 private schools in Wisconsin, each school would get $32,478.

Creating another government bureaucracy that will arbitrarily hand out handfuls of taxpayer cash is not a solution. It’s an election year gimmick.

Liberals Sue to Fill Legislative Vacancies

Ummmnnnnn… no.

A group led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday filed a lawsuit against Gov. Scott Walker for his decision to leave two vacant legislative seats open for nearly a year.

Seats in the state’s 1st Senate District and 42nd Assembly District were vacated in late December when Walker appointed Sen. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere, and Rep. Keith Ripp, R-Lodi, to administrative positions.

Walker has argued it makes sense to leave the seats open until the regularly scheduled Nov. 6 elections, but Democrats have argued it’s not fair to leave residents of those districts without representation.

The district offices remain staffed at the Capitol.

“Governor Scott Walker’s refusal to hold special elections is an affront to representative democracy,” Holder said in a statement. “Forcing citizens to go more than a year without representation … is a plain violation of their rights and we’re hopeful the court will act quickly to order the governor to hold elections.”

Here’s what the Wisconsin Constitution says about this:

Filling vacancies. Section 14. The governor shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies as may occur in either house of the legislature.
There’s nothing in there about timelines. And given that the legislative session is virtually over, it’s hard to see what would be gained by holding a special election. In fact, one could argue that calling a snap special election deprives the constituents the time to learn about the candidates to make a good choice.

Walker Proposes Tax Incentives to Other Paper Companies

Wouldn’t it be easier, at this point, to just lower taxes for everyone?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday suggested the state could extend its tax break offer to paper companies besides Kimberly-Clark if the opportunity to prevent job losses is “significant.”

Walker on Monday proposed increasing the tax breaks available to paper company Kimberly-Clark in an effort to prevent the company from shuttering two plants located in Neenah and Fox Crossing, resulting in the loss of 610 jobs from the Fox Valley region.

Under Walker’s proposal, the company could receive a tax incentive of 17 percent of its payroll — up from the 7 percent available under current law. The plan is modeled after the tax breaks offered to Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn, which will receive more than $3 billion in incentives from the state as it builds a plant in southeastern Wisconsin.

Walker moves left in bid for re-election

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here you go:

Gov. Scott Walker is a smart, conservative, savvy politician who has managed to win elections and assemble an impressive resume of conservative achievements over his political career.

Knowing that, it is almost inexplicable why he is choosing to lurch to the left and base his 2018 re-election campaign on the Democrats’ playbook of government gravy and targeted handouts.

The secret to Gov. Walker’s electoral success is no secret at all. He wins elections because Republicans and conservatives turn out in record numbers to vote for him. Very few Democrats voted for Walker. Slightly more moderates voted for Walker than his opponents in the past three gubernatorial elections. But Republicans voted overwhelmingly for Walker and turned out in incredible numbers — especially in the heavily Republican counties of Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington.

The reason that Republicans and conservatives have enthusiastically gone to the polls to vote for Walker is because he ran on a bold, conservative agenda and delivered on that agenda. During Walker’s two terms as our governor, he has amassed a conservative record that is unmatched in the nation. Budget surpluses, Act 10, concealed carry, Right to Work, elimination of the state property tax, welfare reform, education reform, tax cuts, repeal of prevailing wage, frozen tuition at UW and on and on. Any one or two of those accomplishments would be a proud achievement for any governor, but Walker can claim them all.

But while Walker has been mentioning his impressive conservative record on his re-election campaign trail, he has also been touting some blatantly leftist talking points and proposals.

During his State of the State speech, Walker proposed using the state income tax system to give parents a handout at the expense of all taxpayers. It is the kind of proposal that Bernie Sanders would love and is a gross handout of taxpayer money for the purpose of currying votes.

Under Walker’s proposal, the state would take about $122 million in estimated tax overpayments in the current budget and give it to parents at the rate of $100 per child — irrespective of whether or not the parents paid any state income taxes. He packages the proposal as a “reform dividend” that returns the projected budget surplus to the taxpayers. His proposal is actually a crass handout to parents in an election year at the expense of all taxpayers. If it were truly a “dividend,” Walker would be returning the entire surplus, once it is actually realized, to all taxpayers.

Walker is also touting things like more governmentspending on education, a state mandate that healthinsurance companies cannot deny coverage because of a preexisting condition and other talking points that are more commonly found in the speeches of his Democratic opponents.

Some speculate that this new blue hue to Walker’s campaign is a reaction to the recent special election in Wisconsin’s 10th Senate District where a Democrat won a seat that a Republicans held for many years.

But the real worry for Walker should be what happened in the special election in the 58th Assembly District. That election revealed a substantial enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats in the heart of Walker Country.

The 58th Assembly District is overwhelmingly Republican that usually has very high turnout. In the special election in the 58th, only 12.5 percent of voters cast a vote. Of those, only 56.6 percent voted for the Republican when, historically, 70-80 percent of the electorate votes Republican. And the Democrat actually won the city of West Bend.

What should be keeping Walker up at night is not that Democrats and moderates will not vote for him. It should be that his Republican base is not enthusiastic about voting this year.

Instead of resting on the conservative successes of the past while touting a more liberal future, Walker needs to get Republicans enthusiastic about voting for him by writing the next chapter in Wisconsin’s conservative reformation. An agenda that actually reduces state government spending for the first time in generations, eliminates the state income tax like seven other states and reduces the regulatory burden on Wisconsinites to unleash their economic potential is something that Wisconsinites and Republicans can get excited about.

Gov. Walker has a proud record of conservative successes, but politics is often more about “what are you going to do for me now?” Walker’s answer to that question should not be his government picking winners and losers through preferential government handouts. His answer should be to continue to improve the state for all Wisconsinites by getting government out of our way.

Walker Proposes State Child Tax Credit

Booooo.

MADISON – Heading into the most challenging re-election race of his 25-year political career, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker sought to win working voters Wednesday by proposing a $100 per child tax credit and investments in schools and health care.

In his eighth “state of the state” address in the Assembly chamber, Walker spoke for more than an hour and called for the $122 million a year child tax credit that would be paid to parents even if they have no state income tax liability. It’s another step by Walker to rally fellow Republicans and move to the middle after the party’s recent loss in a Senate special election. 

The credit would be paid for by using the state’s expected budget surplus, which was projected last month to come in $138 million better than previously thought.

“As promised, when we have a surplus, we will give it back to you, the hard-working taxpayers,” said Walker, who was joined on the rostrum by children and their parents. “You see, this is your reform dividend. You deserve it.”

This is a transfer of wealth from taxpayers to people – taxpayers or not – with kids. While I do believe that government should have policies that support families, I see no reason why taxpayers without kids should be sending their hard-earned money to their neighbors who have kids.

This is a cheap political handout offered in an election year. I hope the Republicans in the legislature give this proposal the cold shoulder it deserves.

Walker Open to Accelerating Youth Prison Plan

It looks like a good plan. It still needs form debate and deliberation, but there’s no reason that can’t be moved along at something faster than government speed.

Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to move youthful offenders from prisons in northern Wisconsin to new regional facilities wouldn’t kick in until at least 2019.

But with some Dems complaining the transition of offenders wouldn’t be fast enough, Walker’s office signaled late this afternoon he was ready to work with lawmakers to speed up the process.

“Governor Walker’s plan significantly reforms our juvenile corrections system and we want to work with all parties to implement it in a thoughtful and purposeful way,” said Walker spokesman Tom Evenson. “If the Legislature wants to advance the plan sooner we would be supportive of those efforts.”

In announcing the plan, Walker’s office highlighted support from some Dems, including Rep. Evan Goyke, of Milwaukee, and Milwaukee County Exec Chris Abele.

Soglin Likely to Challenge Walker

This would be fun.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said Tuesday he will “most likely” run for governor and will make a formal announcement in early 2018.

In an interview with the Cap Times, Soglin said he wanted to see the city budget formalized and adopted in early November and then wait beyond end-of-year holidays to when people are paying more attention to public affairs.

“I’ll have an announcement after the first of the year and it is most likely I will run,” Soglin said.

If he runs, Soglin would join a crowded Democratic primary field against Gov. Scott Walker, the presumed Republican candidate, who will launch his campaign Sunday.

Soglin, 72, has served intermittently as Madison’s mayor since 1973 and was most recently elected in 2011 and re-elected in 2015. His current term ends in 2019.

Other Democratic candidates include state schools superintendent Tony Ever, Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik, activist Mike McCabe, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout of Alma and state Rep. Dana Wachs of Eau Claire, among others.

One thing I do like about how this race is shaping up is that no matter which Democrat wins the primary, there will be a stark contrast for voters. The Democrats seem determines to nominate a hardcore lefty – again. This makes the election really about two different visions for Wisconsin. The differences between those visions are not nuanced. They are diametrically opposed.

Walker Stands Up to Anti-Semitism

Good for him.

(JTA) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed an executive order that prohibits state agencies from entering into contracts with companies that boycott Israel.

Walker, a Republican who briefly ran for his party’s presidential nomination last year, signed the executive order late on Friday.

“Israel is a firm and faithful friend of the United States,” the legislation reads.

Walker Issues Budget Vetoes

You can read the full list of vetoes here.

I’m still reading through them, but they look good! It looks like he stuck to his promise to the conservative senators who held out and he took a few further steps to make this budget a little better.

Walker Signs Foxconn Deal

Excellent.

STURTEVANT — Gov. Scott Walker signed a $3 billion incentive package Monday for Foxconn Technology Group to build a flat-screen plant in southeastern Wisconsin, a deal he says will provide thousands of jobs for generations.

The governor signed the bill during a packed ceremony at Gateway Technical College in Sturtevant in Racine County, where the plant likely will be located. Legislators from around southeastern Wisconsin attended the signing. So did dozens of supporters.

“This is about far into the future,” Walker said. “This is about ensuring our children and our children’s children will have generational opportunities. This is one of those things that’s transformational.”

The governor told reporters after the signing that next steps call for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to finalize a contract with Foxconn to execute the provisions in the bill. WEDC’s board is scheduled to meet Sept. 28 to approve the agreement. Foxconn executives will then likely reveal the precise location for the plant before the contract is signed in early October.

Walker told WTMJ-AM radio on Monday morning that he expects groundbreaking this spring. Foxconn hopes to open the plant in 2020.

Democrats Opposing Manufacturing Jobs in Wisconsin

If I were Governor Walker, I’d say, “bring it.”

MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker has called it a game-changer for Wisconsin, but all of the Democrats challenging him in the 2018 governor’s race are against the deal in which Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn would build a massive plant and receive cash payments from the state.

Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik, who initially supported the jobs deal, is now against it. He and state schools Superintendent Tony Evers said they would try to renegotiate the agreement if elected governor. A third candidate has launched a petition asking the Wisconsin Senate to reject the $3 billion incentives package.

This is a very risky gamble for the Democrats. If the Foxconn deal falls apart and Wisconsin is our millions or billions of dollars, they they can say “I told you so.” But if it is a massive success and tens of thousands of Wisconsinites are getting jobs and the economy is booming, then they have completely kneecapped themselves. Even if it does fail, Walker can say that he was trying to bring jobs to Wisconsin while Democrats whined.

In any case, we likely won’t know the full results of this deal before the election next year. Democrats are going to run on a campaign of rooting for Wisconsin to fail.