It was difficult at times to decide who Walker is campaigning against, Doyle or Barrett, since he listed the many ills of the Doyle administration during his stump to the Milwaukee Press Club on Friday.
“I am the clear choice and a referendum on the policies of Doyle,” Walker said. “Barrett is just the Doyle 3rd term.”
He noted that in 2003 Doyle said he would not raise taxes, but over his eight years as governor, Doyle did just the opposite which led to the economic downturn. Walker described Barrett’s 2009 gubernatorial announcement transcript as saying “state tax increases have to stop,” but by the time he met the press in his front yard the speech had changed to “the people want fair taxes.”
“Barrett’s 2010 budget increased property taxes 4.4 percent, along with furloughs for the police and the elimination of a firefighter from each engine,” Walker said.
He added that he did not raise taxes in 2010 and did not furlough public safety or emergency services, as Barrett did. However, there was the caveat that it was his 2010 “proposed” budget and in reality taxes have gone up as Walker always begins the budget process using the previous year’s approved budget that is added to by the county board.
When asked for what he will specifically do as governor, Walker did not stray from the conservative “all taxes are bad” script.
He will end the high-speed train, even if some of the $810 million for engineering and construction is spent before he takes office. He equates his stand on this to a diet, saying if you “fall off a diet by eating one doughnut, it doesn’t mean you should continue to eat the entire dozen.”
“We can’t afford this,” Walker said. “We can’t afford the annual $10 million operating cost.”
Walker doesn’t believe that the $810 million is only for trains. He recalled the reallocation of the $91.5 million in transportation funds that Barrett initiated with the help of the Wisconsin congressional delegation. “I will do the same thing. I will ask them to reprogram the $810 million to spend it on the Zoo Interchange, I-94 or the expansion of I-90. We have real needs today.”
He also wants to see an RTA, but not if it means regional taxing authority. “Regional cooperation on transportation makes sense with efficiencies of scale. I want regional operations, but not a funding source.”
Walker was also pressed to release details of an economic development plan. He said he is waiting to release the details, because he wants it complete so the voters know exactly what he will do. However, he did share two major components — to keep policy changes, such as the increase in auto insurance liability minimums, out of the budget process and to reduce the wages and benefits of state employees. He added that government has to get out of the way of business, so they can create more jobs.
Walker also promised to end Doyle and Barrett’s planned global warming initiatives, saying they were to expensive and intrusive on businesses. “I’m all for being green,” he said, “making green or saving green, but not for taking green out of my pocket.”
Being from Milwaukee is something Walker is proud of, along with his ties to small-town Wisconsin as a child in Delavan. And he doesn’t apologize for traveling the state on a regular basis each year. “I know why Murphy Oil is important. I know when I walk in a Kwik-Trip that they have 1,000 employees in this state.”
It is the people that Walker sees as the sleeper issue in the race. He said the people don’t feel that the government cares for them or is on their side. He added that his past performance as county executive is a clear indicator that he does care. “I said what I would and I did it. I listen to the voters.”
A conservative message to stop spending and cut taxes. Pretty much the same story we’ve been hearing from Walker since he began running for governor in 2006.