“Forgotten” in The State of the State

In the pomp and circumstance which evolved over history, once per year Wisconsin’s governor presents the State of the State address during a joint session of the legislature, with judicial and executive branches in attendance.

After beginning introductions in his first State of the State, Governor Evers identified: “Fixing our economy remains a top priority.” Conveniently, Governor Evers forgot to include all the key data in the state of Wisconsin’s economy.

Forgotten - Governor Evers inherited a fiscally strong state with the unemployment rate at or under 3% for the 11th straight month. During the past 8 years, Wisconsin has been open for business so much so new businesses have increased by almost 7%.  From November 2017 to November 2018, Wisconsin had the best manufacturing job growth of any state in the Midwest and second to only Texas in manufacturing jobs created.  Our state employers added 44,900 private sector jobs in the last year.

Forgotten - With workers in such demand, employers are raising their pay. Wisconsin’s private sector wages grew approximately 5.7% in the first half of 2018 compared to a 2.7% national average by Census Bureau data. Last year, Wisconsinites median household income rose more than $1000.00 to roughly $59,300.00.  Furthermore, more employment with higher wages has equated to the lowest number of home foreclosures statewide in 18 years.

Forgotten -   Economists cite our state’s economy is stronger than it has been in decades. Goods exported out of Wisconsin are up 3.2%. We have a budget surplus of $588.5 million.  Our Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) deficit has been cut by 58% since 2009.  State debt has declined in five of the last six years and is the lowest it has been since 2009. Additionally, the state Budget Stabilization Fund has a balance of $320.1 million, its largest balance ever. And all this was done while lowering Wisconsin’s tax burden to its lowest point in almost 50 years.

Forgotten – At the end of his term in 2010, Governor Doyle left Wisconsin with a $3.6 billion budget shortfall, an unemployment rate of 8.2%, and $1.7 million in the state’s rainy day fund.

The state of our state is historically strong, because of tough choices and votes cast by my colleagues and me.  I am looking forward to working with Governor Evers on bipartisan legislation which continues to move Wisconsin forward, not backward.