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Thu January 23, 2014
Legislators React To "State of the State" Address
Governor Walker Thursday said he has called a special session of the legislature to work on his Blueprint for Prosperity announced during his "State of the State" address.
Walker announced that a major portion of a projected $911 million surplus will be returned to property taxpayers and workers.
Not surprisingly, area legislators had differing views depending on party affiliation. Republican State Senator Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst felt Walker's approach will put money in people's pockets. He agrees with Walker that more investment in technical jobs are needed. He says one way to do it is for the state to pick up more of the costs of technical college support...
"....most of the technical colleges funding off the local levy to the state. For example, on my tax bill, about 10 percent of the bill is(for) the technical college. So your going to see a significant tax cut there...."
But Democratic Representative Janet Bewley...whose district includes Iron county and portions of Vilas county... said she doesn't think the "Blueprint" will help people in the north very much...
"....it remains to be seen how much better off we're going to be by these so-called tax cuts as opposed to reinvesting in the very-deeply-cut transportation fund, technical colleges, school districts that were so gutted in previous budgets...."
Besides the tax cuts, Walker's proposal would support dual enrollment programs between school districts and technical colleges targeting high demand jobs. Extra money to technical colleges to eliminate waiting lists in high demand fields like manufacturing, agriculture, and Information Technology... and support for programs helping people with disabilities enter the workforce. Representative Bewley says the last time a property tax was implemented, people in the north didn't fare very well.