The following is the statement of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning with regards to Gov. Scott Walker’s budget address:
“For years, Democrats have asked the Governor to fully restore cuts made to public education and the UW-System, invest more funds into workforce development, expand high-speed broadband internet access to rural communities, make it easier for students to earn a degree, make it easier for entrepreneurs to start new businesses, and work to create an economy that works for everyone – not just those at the very top.
“Democrats were rebuffed at every turn. Instead, Gov. Walker issued the same failed policies each legislative session that put our state in a deep financial hole today. His cut to public education funding was the largest in state history. Since 2011, 139 school districts agreed to raise their own property taxes just to keep their school’s lights on. Walker cut $250 million from the UW-System and campuses all over the state were forced to do more with far fewer resources. Gov. Walker also ignored one million student loan borrowers looking for relief from their monthly student loan bill.
“For years, Walker delayed major transportation projects that will now cost an additional $20 million per year just to be maintained. He’s hurt rural communities and students by failing to fully commit to expanding broadband access. Worst of all, he’s failed to create the jobs he said he would – Wisconsin still ranks 32nd in the nation in private sector job growth.
“Meanwhile, we’ve been able to look right next door to see what real governing and leadership looks like. When Democratic Governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, invested billions in early education, public education, broadband infrastructure, and other programs to help working class families, the result was a $1 billion projected budget surplus. Compare that to Wisconsin’s budget running projected deficits for multiple years under the tutelage of Gov. Walker.
“After a failed bid for president, Gov. Walker is looking to keep his political career alive and is desperate to win re-election in 2018. But one budget address focused solely on doing enough to win votes next year won’t fix the real problems facing our state. After years of failure, Gov. Walker can’t just talk the talk and expect to earn another term. He’ll have to walk the walk and work with Democrats to pull our state out of the hole he put us in.”