E-update From the Desk of Governor Scott Walker
Wisconsin’s Economic Outlook: Positive
In the first two months of this year we’ve added over 17,000 private sector jobs. Our unemployment rate is 6.9 percent, the lowest it has been since 2008.
The outlook for the future is looking better too. The Tax Foundation recently released a new report which ranked Wisconsin 4th in the country for the most favorable environment for new job creators. Wisconsin easily outranks our neighboring states. Some of the changes made during the January 2011 Jobs Special Session contributed to Wisconsin’s favorable rating.
Our actions have also had a positive effect on Wisconsinites looking for work—this year the total number of new unemployment claims so far has declined by almost one-fourth.
We’re seeing a continued increase in the number of open and available jobs. Last year, we had a record 151,000 job postings on JobCenterofWisconsin.com, and the totals for this year are over 15.6 percent higher than where the numbers were at this point in 2011.
Beyond these measures, this week I announced that Spaulding Clinical Research, LLC in West Bend, has worked with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, to create up to 183 jobs related to the company’s expansion of its cardiac safety equipment. Spaulding Clinical Research is planning a significant investment to take its cardiac safety testing services to a new level by developing and patenting equipment and creating a process that will establish Spaulding as a state-of-the-art Cardiac Core Lab.
Wisconsin’s positive economic outlook and the high quality jobs at Spaulding are good news for those seeking work and for employers considering an expansion in our state. We’ll continue to work hard to improve the economy in Wisconsin and keep jobs our top priority.
Bipartisan Bills Aim to Reduce the Cost of Energy
At a time when gas prices are soaring and energy costs are being felt by all consumers, it makes sense to specifically highlight a few energy related issues that I have been working on.
This week I signed legislation that will streamline work at the Public Service Commission (PSC), provide greater regulatory certainty for Wisconsin’s businesses, and save utility customers money. I’m encouraged that the members of both political parties in the Legislature worked with my administration to ease regulatory burdens that could increase the cost of energy here at home.
Beyond the PSC reform, I signed a bill to repeal an antiquated prohibition on certain nonessential uses of natural gas. Signing this bill made sense because natural gas has the potential to be a major source for transportation fuels, and currently supplies are available to help meet existing and expanding future demand.
Cracking Down on Prescription Drug Abuse
Reports have shown that illegal prescription drug abuse is nearing record levels. In an effort to give medical professionals the ability to reduce fraudulent prescriptions, this week I signed a bill into law that allows electronic prescriptions instead of paper copies for controlled substances that have a high potential for abuse and dependence.
In the past medical professionals were unable to send electronic prescriptions for schedule II controlled substances, which include drugs like morphine, opium, methadone, oxycodone, and amphetamine. There was concern that individuals were able to write fake prescriptions on paper to illegally obtain prescription drugs. With this bill, medical professionals now have the ability to ensure that this does not happen with their name, if they choose to transmit their prescriptions electronically.
This common sense reform is an extremely cost effective way of stopping individuals who are trying to illegally obtain prescription drugs.
Just Ask the Governor: Part XI
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: I am 14, and I’m working on my Citizenship in the Community merit badge for Boy Scouts. For one of the requirements, I’m supposed to ask a government official about an important issue in my area. I was emailing you to ask you two questions regarding jobs in Wisconsin. What is being done about jobs in Wisconsin? and How can young people like me help with this issue?
Answer: First, I am an Eagle Scout and I remember working on the Citizenship in the Community merit badge. Good luck!
We have an aggressive goal on jobs: 250,000 by 2015. And since we know that people create jobs and not the government, we are trying to build a better environment for job creators.
During the past year, we lowered the tax burden, streamlined regulations and cut back frivolous lawsuits. We gave small businesses more options for health care from health savings accounts and balanced the state budget.
Each of these items brought greater certainty back to our state.
As a young person, you can help us spread the word that there are good paying careers in manufacturing available today. Employers often tell me that they have jobs open because they don't have enough skilled workers. We need more people to go into manufacturing careers.
It has been a pleasure communicating with you. It is an honor to serve as your Governor and represent the residents of Wisconsin.
Governor Scott Walker