Sunday, September 16, 2012

E-update From the Desk of Governor Scott Walker

E-update From the Desk of Governor Scott Walker
One of the most important duties I have serving as your Governor is to provide you directly with updates related to the operation of our state government. I also frequently provide updates on Facebook (Governor Scott Walker) and Twitter (@govwalker). Please feel free to share this update with your family, friends, and others who may be interested in state government operations.


Honoring Those Who Serve
This week, we marked the 11th anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks on our nation on September 11th, 2001. When those who want to destroy our nation senselessly killed innocent citizens, we responded by banding together and moving forward. Wisconsin stands with those who have selflessly served in the past, and those who are currently defending our freedoms abroad.
It is important to remember the price individuals have paid for the freedoms we enjoy today, which is why I went to visit with Wisconsin National Guard Troops deployed to Kosovo last week. They were deployed for Operation Joint Guardian, the NATO mission to ensure a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all residents of Kosovo. Those serving in Kosovo appreciated knowing their home state supported their efforts.
As we remember the devastation caused by terrorist attacks, I encourage everyone to reach out to those families who have loved ones overseas or veterans who have served in the past to offer words of support and encouragement.
To hear my remarks supporting the troops and to view photos of individuals deployed in Kosovo, click here.
Major High Tech, Engineering Expansion

This week, I joined local economic development leaders and General Electric (GE) to announce a $3.1 million Innovative Engineering Center expansion at the gas engine facility in Waukesha. GE plans to hire 115 employees to fill the 22,000 square foot expansion. GE currently employs over 7,000 individuals in Wisconsin.
This major expansion reaffirmed GE’s commitment to Wisconsin. As we move forward, I will continue to work on making it easier for Wisconsin job creators to expand in our state.

Back to School

Like many parents across Wisconsin, Tonette and I are excited to see our two sons head back to school. While our two sons have always attended public schools in Wisconsin, this year is a major milestone for us as parents—our oldest son will be heading off to college. This achievement couldn’t have been done without the hard work and dedication of outstanding teachers, hardworking school board members and school administrators, and a community that values quality education.
Tonette and I are grateful for the work done to educate our sons and all children across Wisconsin.
As the 2012-13 school year begins, I will continue to collaborate with educators and work with Superintendent Evers to improve education in our state.
To view a video we made kicking off the school year, please click here.

Government Credit Ratings, a Stark Contrast

Last week, Standard & Poors (S&P) downgraded Illinois’ bond rating and gave the state a “negative outlook” in the future. Earlier this week, Moody’s credit rating agency issued the following statement regarding our federal government:
Budget negotiations during the 2013 Congressional legislative session will likely determine the direction of the US government's Aaa rating and negative outlook, says Moody's Investors Service in the report "Update of the Outlook for the US Government Debt Rating."
If those negotiations lead to specific policies that produce a stabilization and then downward trend in the ratio of federal debt to GDP over the medium term, the rating will likely be affirmed and the outlook returned to stable, says Moody's.
If those negotiations fail to produce such policies, however, Moody's would expect to lower the rating, probably to Aa1.
Wisconsin is on a different path—just last year Moody’s rated our state budget credit positive.
If political leaders continue to kick the can down the road, raise taxes, and ignore fiscal realities, our nation will face the consequences. Decisive leadership is needed in Washington to reduce government spending and bring debt in line with GDP to avoid credit downgrades and future negative outlooks.
Wisconsin balanced a $3.6 billion budget deficit without raising taxes, reducing services, cutting Medicaid, or engaging in any massive public employee layoffs. We enacted long-term structural reforms, which led to another bond house giving our current budget a “credit positive” outlook. Moving forward, I will continue to reform government by eliminating fraud, waste, and abuse and making it operate more efficiently and effectively.
Additional information about Wisconsin’s credit positive rating can be accessed by clicking here, information about Illinois’ downgrade can be found here, and info about the U.S. government’s credit rating can be found here.

Just Ask the Governor

Each e-update, I will answer a question submitted by a recipient of the previous e-update or from someone who contacts my office directly.
Question: Did the state of Wisconsin submit an application with the Federal Government, I believe the deadline was July 31, to apply for funds to continue Senior Care in the State of Wisconsin for 2013?
Answer: Yes, under my direction Wisconsin applied to extend Senior Care until 2015. The deadline to apply for a federal waiver was August 31.
Since 2002, SeniorCare has provided affordable, comprehensive prescription drug coverage to thousands of Wisconsin seniors. I am committed to making sure SeniorCare remains available to those who need it.
SeniorCare has a simple enrollment process, a $30 annual enrollment fee, an income-based deductible and copayments of $5 for generic drugs or $15 for brand drugs. The program provides exceptional value to both its members and taxpayers. In Fiscal Year 2011, it reduced drug costs for Wisconsin seniors by approximately $114 million.
Below are a few important facts about this valuable program:
  • About 75 percent of those enrolled in SeniorCare are women.

  • Although the majority of members have been enrolled for 2 years or less, 11 percent are charter members and have been enrolled since the inception of the program, 9 years ago.

  • The per member spending has decreased due to a combination of factors including increased use of generic drugs, increased rebates from drug companies, and changes in reimbursement to pharmacists.

  • Many seniors are enrolled in both SeniorCare and a Medicare Part D drug plan or private insurance. Almost 40 percent of those enrolled in SeniorCare have some other type of prescription drug coverage as well.

  • For most seniors, SeniorCare provides a better value than Medicare Part D. However, Part D is better for the lowest income members who qualify for federal subsidies and for members with high drug costs.

  • In state Fiscal Year 2011, the total cost of SeniorCare was $108.9 million. This cost was divided among rebates from drug manufacturers (40%), the federal government (21%), members (19%), state funds (13.6%) and other insurance (6.7%).

  • The Senior Care waiver is estimated to lower total net Medicaid spending by $146 million in 2011, of which $53 million will be state savings.






For additional information about SeniorCare, call the SeniorCare hotline at (800) 657-2038 or visit: www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/seniorcare.

It has been a pleasure communicating with you. It is an honor to serve as your Governor and represent the residents of Wisconsin.
Sincerely,

Governor Scott Walker

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