This legislative session promises great opportunity to continue moving Wisconsin forward.
But, before moving forward, a glimpse at results from the prior session is in order.
Two years ago Wisconsin faced a $3.6 billion structural deficit.
Tough decisions were made on reforms, and as of the start of this session, Wisconsin now has a positive fund balance of $342.1 million.
The Department of Administration also reported to the governor that “revenue estimates are up $1.5 billion for the FY13-15 budget, and the state will deposit money into the rainy day fund in back to back years for the first time in state history.”
Recently, Governor Walker and legislative leaders announced priorities for the upcoming biennium.
Following are some of the priorities the legislature will be focusing on.
First and foremost is creating jobs.
Job creators are optimistic with the achievements from last session.
However, more needs to be done to build on the pro-growth environment for creating new businesses and growing existing ones.
Along with job creation, developing a modern workforce is imperative.
Between 2012 and 2015, forecasts predict over 63,000 new jobs will be available in manufacturing and construction.
Those jobs will require a skilled workforce.
Therefore, the skills gap must be bridged by helping Wisconsinites learn new skills for these well-paid jobs.
As part of developing a sound work force we need to continue transforming education.
Access to a great education for every Wisconsin child is important for the state’s ultimate health.
More work will be done to ensure we prepare our children for the future, whether they are going to college or practicing a skilled trade.
As stewards of taxpayers’ money, the legislature must be continually looking for ways at reforming government.
Not only should measures to eliminate waste while maintaining quality services be continued, but additionally, all regulations should be reviewed to ensure a friendly employer environment while protecting Wisconsin’s citizens.
This past summer a special Legislative Council Committee on Income Tax Reform was convened to take a close look at Wisconsin’s income tax code.
Nearly every tax expert who testified during hearings arrived at the same conclusion. Wisconsin’s tax code is way too complicated and complex.
One of this biennium’s goals is looking at easing the tax burden for Wisconsin’s taxpayers.
This is just a glimpse of what the legislature will be working on this session.
The 101st Legislature will certainly have a demanding calendar in continuing toward making Wisconsin a great state to live, work, raise a family, and retire.
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