In Their Own Words: Barrett, Walker on State Budget
Gubernatorial Candidates Tom Barrett (D-Milwaukee), Scott Walker (R-Wauwatosa).
MILWAUKEE - Newsradio 620 WTMJ posed six questions to Democrat Tom Barrett and Republican Scott Walker. We gave each candidate the questions in advance and asked them to formulate 60 second answers that include specifics we can track during their term in office.
Each weekday leading up to the election we'll play you each major gubernatorial candidate's answer to another question at 7:34 on Wisconsin's Morning News and 3:34 on the Greenhouse.
Wisconsin faces major budget shortfalls in the coming years. Will you raise taxes, or cut state spending to close the gap? Name at least one specific tax you would cut, create or raise? Name at least one specific cut to spending you would make.
Transcript of response from Democratic Candidate Tom Barrett
"It's true that we have a pending budget deficit. In fact, $2.7 billion dollars is the structural deficit.
"So this is not the time to raise taxes. It is certainly the time to cut state spending and I've put forth a plan to put Wisconsin and Madison on a diet.
"That includes consolidating the ability for local and state employees to purchase health insurance, eliminating the office of Secretary of State, and cracking down on medicaid fraud.
"Those are places where I know we can cut spending and that's what I'm looking for.
"In terms of taxes, I'm not looking to raise any taxes because I think particularly in the first budget, our focus has to be on doing everything we can to get our budget under control."
Transcript of response from Republican Candidate Scott Walker
&"Clearly, Wisconsin faces a major challenge because of the inaction that Gov. Doyle has had in the last several years in punting the problems into the future.
"As governor, we're going to tackle that challenge a couple of different ways.
"Certainly, we're going to push a growth agenda. It's about our focus in creating 250,000 jobs.
"The states that have lowered the cost of doing business, by easing their tax burden, easing their regulatory and litigation burden, gets you not only more job growth in the past couple of years, they've actually seen greater revenues coming in as more people are working.
"So part of our agenda is to cut the costs of doing business and getting more people working.
"On top of that, it's clear we're going to have to reduce state spending.
"To me, one of the prime examples is we can't have the public employees being the have's and the taxpayers who foot the bill being the have-nots.
"So I'm going to ask more of public employees, simple things like asking state workers to make the employee contributions to the pension system, 5 per cent, exactly what the national average is.
"I'll start making that myself on day one just to show we can lead by example.
"We do those things, we'll get not only this budget intact, but the budgets to come."