MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) After two years of fighting with public employee unions and surviving a bitter, recall election, Gov. Walker says it's time for lawmakers to unite. Tuesday night in his "State of the State" address, the governor laid out what he calls "a bold vision for the future."
"We are moving Wisconsin forward, with bold vision and bright hope for the future," said Gov. Scott Walker.
For the third time since taking office, Scott Walker came before a joint session of the Legislature - to share his vision for the future of Wisconsin over the next two years. He acknowledged the tough decisions of the past , which he says have put the state back on firm financial ground. "Unlike the deficit we faced two years ago, we start out in a much better position today because of the tough, but important decisions, we made over the past two years," Walker said.
Two years ago, Wisconsin faced a $3.6 billion deficit. Walker pushed through Act 10 - requiring public employees to pay more toward their benefits. The governor says the controversial law and other reforms, helped create a $342 million budget surplus.
"While many of our nation's leaders fail to make tough decisions, we decided to avoid failure by embracing true reform, "Walker said.
Walker talked of lowering income taxes on the middle class and of committing more funding to infrastructure improvements and transforming education. But continued to stress his top priority remains creating 250,000 jobs by 2015. One way to get people to work - pass a mining bill . "We have the potential for a billion and a half dollar investment here in our state that could lead to as many as 3,000 construction related and 2,800 hundred long-term jobs, "Walker said.
The governor also said his upcoming budget would provide a financial incentive to high-performing schools and offer varied educational choices for all families. "We are turning things around. We are heading in the right direction. We are moving Wisconsin forward."
There are reports that the mining legislation could be unveiled in Madison - as early as Wednesday.