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Another View -- Scott Walker: How we turned things around in Wisconsin

June 01. 2015 9:48PM

The unemployment rate in the state of Wisconsin just hit a seven-year low of 4.4 percent, well below the national average. In December 2010, it was 8.1 percent.

Five years ago, Wisconsin ranked 41st in the country for places to do business, according to Chief Executive Magazine. Since then, the state has moved up to 12th best in America.

Wisconsin has come a long way in a very short time.

A dismal economy wasn’t the only problem. As we came into office, the state faced a $3.6 billion deficit, the rainy day fund was nearly drained and special interests dictated things at the state and local levels.

Thankfully, we changed all of that, and today Wisconsin is a much better place. We turned that deficit into a surplus, and our next state budget starts with a $499 million structural surplus. Wisconsin has the only pension system fully funded, and the rainy day fund is 165 times bigger than when I first took office.

Most importantly, we took on the big government special interests and won. We put the power back into the hands of the hard-working taxpayers. Liberal union bosses didn’t care too much for our reforms, so they organized more than 100,000 protesters to occupy our state Capitol grounds. They wanted to intimidate us. Instead, we thought more about the next generation than the next election.

Our reforms went beyond balanced budgets. Today, we do not require seniority or tenure, so schools can hire based on merit and pay based on performance. That means we can put the best and the brightest in the classroom.

In turn, our schools are better. Graduation rates are up. Third grade reading scores are higher. In fact, Wisconsin has the second best ACT scores in the country for states where more than half the students take the exam.

We reduced the burden on hard-working taxpayers by $2 billion. We cut income taxes in all brackets and lowered the burden on employers. Property taxes on a typical home are lower today than they were four years ago.

To make college more affordable for students and working families, we froze tuition. Plus, we invested in worker training and technical colleges to get people the education and skills needed for careers that pay two or three times the minimum wage.

For those who are able to work, we require job training and drug test screening before we provide public assistance. We want to help everyone who wants a job to find a job.

During the past four years, we passed regulatory reform, lawsuit reform, Castle Doctrine, concealed carry, pro-life legislation and a law requiring a photo ID to vote. Plus, Wisconsin is the 25th state to enact a Right to Work law. It gives every person the freedom to work where they want regardless of whether they are in a labor union.

Bottom line: We found a way to fight and win for the hard-working taxpayers. If we can do it in a state like Wisconsin where the majority of voters have not voted Republican for President since 1984, we can enact common-sense, conservative reforms anywhere in the country.

Many of the politicians in Washington are good at fighting, but they never seem to win those battles. Many others are good at winning elections, but they never seem to fight the important battles. Now, more than ever, Americans need a champion who will stand up and fight — and win — for them and their families.

Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisconsin, is considering a run for President.

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