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Tony Evers’ First State of the State

On January 22nd 2019, Governor Tony Evers delivered his first “State of the State” address as newly elected Governor of Wisconsin.  After years of now ex-Governor Walker’s highly contentious policies, Evers had the opportunity to showcase his new agenda with his State of the State speech.  While Evers has pledged to work on a bipartisan basis, it is likely he will have a struggle on his hands in terms of selling many of his plans to the Republican opposition.

Here is a summary of what Evers held forth in his address. [1] & [2]

  • Evers announced that he would withdraw Wisconsin from ex-Governor Walker’s state-wide challenge to the legality of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) – one of 20 states that had previously pledged to do so.
  • Emphasizing the importance of affordable, quality healthcare throughout the state and making the “Healthy Communities Initiative” a priority with the Department of Health Services as well as expanding Medicaid to benefit an additional 76,000 Wisconsinites to have medical coverage.
  • Evers has long maintained his focus on the need for all Wisconsinites to have affordable healthcare, with a particular focus on preventative healthcare. As part of his successful election platform, Evers vowed to use federal dollars available for Medicaid expansion – something that his predecessor, Republican Scott Walker, declined to do. [3]
  • A commitment to return to two thirds funding of public schools in Wisconsin as well as an emphasis on ensuring that special needs education is sufficiently funded with an investment of $600 million.
  • Evers’ urban initiative programs will also focus on helping minority students by expanding early childhood education and summer school grant programs. “What’s best for our kids is best for the state” said Evers during his speech.
  • Such programs were also key features of Evers’ electoral campaign strategy, with a particular focus on public education, stressing the importance of investing in early childhood education, childcare and the refinancing of student loans to more affordable, reasonable rates. [3]
  • Implementing the long-needed lead-free water service pipelines program while declaring 2019 to be the “Year of Clean Drinking Water.”
  • A five-fold increase in mental health funding and support for K-12 students in Wisconsin.
  • Evers vowed to tackle the state’s transportation funding crisis by appointing a bipartisan stake-holder task-force, headed up by Secretary-designee Craig Thompson.
  • Thompson has been described:

    “…a powerful influencer of transportation policy with more than 400 business, labor, local governments and other transportation service providers. Thompson has been an outspoken advocate for raising the gas tax and increasing license fees to fund road projects.” [4]

  • A ten percent tax cut for individuals earning up to $100,000.00 a year and for families bringing in up to $150,000.00 a year. To fund that, Evers proposed to cap the Corporate Tax Credit – a generous tax break for those filing more than $1,000,000 a year.

Evers’ speech laid out clearly his vision for the future of Wisconsin, backing up his earlier campaign promises.  Whether the Republican controlled statehouse shares that vision remains to be seen.


Written for Intellegere Project by: David Hewitt, MIS, BSc


References

[1] https://fox11online.com/news/videos/live-gov-evers-2019-state-of-the-state-address

[2] http://www.wtmj.com/news/read-governor-tony-evers-state-of-the-state-address/986357930

[3] https://tonyevers.com/plan

[4] https://madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/what-can-tony-evers-really-do/article_710213e5-3250-5b60-8aa8-42839b1ee006.html

 

 

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