Wisconsin is working.
More people are working in Wisconsin than ever before. Unemployment has been at or below the historic low of 3 percent for eight straight months. And at 100,000 job openings on our state website, there are more career opportunities than there are unemployed people in the state.
We can’t afford to turn back now. We don’t want to go back to the days of double-digit tax increases, billion-dollar deficits and record job loss. Instead, we want to keep moving Wisconsin forward.
Eight years ago, we inherited a giant budget deficit and turned it into a surplus. We used those funds to make record actual-dollar investments into schools — an extra $200 each year for every student in every district across the state. Plus extra funds for rural schools.
The budget was so good State Superintendent of Schools Tony Evers called it a “pro-kid budget.” We put more into our technical colleges and froze UW tuition six years in a row to make college more affordable. We want to do it for four more years.
Local governments received the largest increase in state aid in 20 years to maintain their roads and bridges. And we reduced the tax burden on the hard-working people of Wisconsin by more than $8 billion.
Evers will raise our taxes. He wants to raise income taxes on manufacturers and farmers, costing us jobs and farms. And he would raise the gas tax by as much as a $1 per gallon.
When Obamacare premiums went up 44 percent and Washington failed to act, we put together a bipartisan Health Care Stability Plan. The latest report shows that premiums will go down by more than 4 percent in January and by 10 percent from where they were headed without our plan — a premium savings of nearly $1,000.
In contrast, Evers wants to do what our neighbors did. Two years ago, Minnesota Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton said the “Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable” after Obamacare premiums were going up more than 50 percent. We don’t want that in Wisconsin. Thankfully our plan lowers premiums, increases choices and improves health care.
And we will always cover people with pre-existing medical conditions. My wife is a type-1 diabetic. My mother is a cancer survivor. And my brother has a heart condition. Like many of you, covering people with pre-existing conditions is personal to me.
Finally, we have a plan to grow our workforce. We want to ensure that every student graduates and that every graduate has a career plan. We want to keep our graduates here and attract new talent to our state from young professionals from across the Midwest, alumni and veterans.
We will connect students to careers by moving apprenticeships into seventh and eighth grades as well as provide two-thirds funding for schools. We will provide up to $5,000 to every graduate of a Wisconsin two-year or more college or university if they work in Wisconsin for at least five years after graduation. We will help working families afford child care. And we will help our seniors afford to stay in their homes.
To do all of this and more, I ask for your vote. Together, we can keep moving Wisconsin forward.