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January 24, 2008

A public statement from State Senator Sheila Harsdorf in response to the Governor’s State of the State Address on January 23, 2008

State of the State Seeks
Common Ground on Key Issues

Governor Jim Doyle is right in focusing on our state’s economy and the affordability of health care in his State of the State Address.

His economic development initiatives, Accelerate and Innovate Wisconsin, can help insulate Wisconsin from a weakening national economy. Using tax credits to foster job growth and business innovation can create opportunities for working families. I am pleased that Republican leadership has expressed support for this economic package, and am hopeful that Senate Democratic leadership follows suit. Our focus should be to work together in a bipartisan fashion to address pressing economic issues.

Secondly, the Governor’s continued efforts to advance important health care reform measures are critical. After successful enactment of BadgerCare Plus, which will expand health care access to all Wisconsin children, the Governor has presented reforms that can empower consumer choice for families and enable options of affordability for small businesses. A small employer pool can stabilize health care costs for small businesses that experience escalating premiums due to employee catastrophic claims. Additionally, if we are to get serious about controlling health care costs, we must consider broad preventative measures, as the Governor is suggesting in his push to ban smoking in all places of employment. Likewise, I am glad that the Governor has rejected the double digit payroll taxes and government takeover of health care relentlessly pushed by Senate leadership that has stalled meaningful reform on affordability issues.

Wisconsin citizens expect us to work together to deal with these economic challenges, and I am heartened by the Governor’s approach on health care reform and the economy – two vital issues to working families.