Friday, February 25, 2011

Budget Repair Bill passes Assembly 51-17; Dems furious about procedures

After 60 hours of nearly constant debate and 86 amendments, State Assembly Republicans passed Scott Walker's Budget Repair bill at approximately 1 AM this morning on a swift voice vote that happened so quickly nearly 1/3 of the body failed to record a vote. The 2 1/2 day legislative marathon, considered by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau as perhaps the longest in Wisconsin legislative history, began Tuesday morning when the measure, known as AB11, was brought to the floor for debate and minority Democrats were allowed to begin offering a proposed list 200 amendments. In the end, with 2 minutes to bring each amendment to the floor and 10 minutes to debate each one, a series of Democratic stall tactics, caucuses, short recesses, and vociferous procedural arguments, not quite 100 were offered on the floor, all of them defeated. Republicans, fed up with the Democrat's attempts to stretch the debate out incessantly, tabled the remaining amendments at about 7 PM last evening and moved to vote for finalization of bill for passage, rejecting immediate Democrat requests to expunge the engrossment, and Minority Leader Peter Barca's request for a recess in the session until 10 AM. They then allowed floor speeches until nearly 1 AM when a motion was seconded to end debate and prepare for the final passage. The voice vote, which passed at about 1:05 AM, happened so quickly that nearly 1/3 of the members of the standing body weren't able to record their votes, leading to a 51 to 17 result in passage, with 68 of 99 members having voted. Democrats, already infuriated by what they've considered illegal procedures by the Republican leadership since Friday, felt violated and threatened the possibility of legal action. Said Barca on the Wispolitics Budget Blog:

"Clearly there was improper actions taken and we will explore how far that went and whether it does rise to the nature of actually being illegal," Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca said after the Dems met in caucus.

Barca, D-Kenosha, said the Dems will be reviewing video of the vote on WisconsinEye.

Like Barca, Dem leaders were cautious in talking in caucus about how they would pursue a remedy to the vote that saw only 68 of the 99 members register their votes. But immediately after the vote, some Dems hinted that legal action may be coming.

The fact that many of his caucus members were not even able to push their buttons in time to register their votes "speaks volumes," Barca said.

"That shows how sloppily that was handled," Barca said. "We think that the votes were not even properly put before us in terms of a series of motions that are required to take the action that they took."

The Senate took up a Call of the House again this morning in another attempt to bring wayward Democratic Senators back to the chamber. It began it's business at the scheduled 11 AM time this morning when a Special Session was once again called to order, and bill was taken off of the Senate Org Calendar and offered up on the floor. The recently passed Assembly bill (AB 11) was given a 3rd reading by voice vote and then the Special Session suspended until further action. The Regular Session was subsequently taken up and there was no further word on what actions would be taken with the Budget Repair Bill.

Meanwhile, Scott Walker held a press conference on Thursday evening where he offered further reasoning for his repeal of the CBA agreements in the Bill.

"I'm not normally a cynic, but I gotta tell you, if you take a look at what has happened at the local level over the past 2 weeks since we've introduced this measure, it tells you exactly what's going to happen," Walker explained. "Now if we were somehow to say, 'Well, we'll just take the 5 and the 12' (percent for health and pensions), actions speak louder than words. Over the past few weeks, we've seen in school districts, we've seen in cities, we've seen in technical schools, we've seen in counties, a rush to ram through employee contracts that have not a 5 and a 12% contribution. In fact, in the contracts I've seen, they've had no additional contribution when it comes to health care or retirement costs for government employees. In fact, in some cases they are actually ramming through contracts that have an increase in the salary."

In an opinion piece published on Wispolitics, Walker continued to chastise Senate Democrats for leaving the State and not participating in the process of passing the Bill.

The reason Senate Democrats claimed they left the state was because citizens needed more time to debate the issue. This is ironic because 12 of the 14 missing Senate Democrats passed Governor Doyle’s budget repair bill, which raised taxes by a billion dollars, within 24 hours of introduction and without a public hearing in February 2009. Senate Republicans vehemently disagreed with the bill and the process Democrats used to ram it through; however they stayed in Wisconsin, debated the legislation and made the choice to participate in democracy by casting their vote in opposition.

He also reiterated the dire numbers behind the budget shortfall and how important it was action to be taken resolving it.

We have a deficit for the remainder of this fiscal year and a $3.6 billion deficit for the next budget that starts on July 1. Our budget repair bill allows us to save $300 million from state government workers and gives local units of government the tools to save $1.44 billion in the next state budget. In addition, it gives local governments the tools to save even more in order to protect jobs and vital services. To achieve these savings, we need to pass our repair bill. That’s why the Senate Democrats need to come home.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Scott Walker's "Fireside Chat" from Tuesday February 22, 2011

Governor Scott Walker addressed the State of Wisconsin this evening about his positions on the Budget Repair battle with a series of remarks he dubbed a "fireside chat", likening his comments to those of the late Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who spent evenings holding conversations with Americans over his administration's policies on the radio. In his address, Walker continued to press Democrats to return to Madison to finish taking up the currently suspended Budget Repair Bill and warned that if it would not be passed soon, that layoffs would likely commence. He also outlined his reasons for weakening the collective bargaining agreements between State governments and public sector unions. Here are his prepared remarks:

Good evening.

Wisconsin is showing the rest of the country how to have a passionate, yet civil debate about our finances. That's a very Midwestern trait and something we should be proud of. I pray, however, that this civility will continue as people pour into our state from all across America. First, let me be clear: I have great respect for those who have chosen a career in government. I really do.

In 1985, when I was a high school junior in the small town of Delavan, I was inspired to pursue public service after I attended the American Legion's Badger Boys State program. The military veterans and educators who put on that week-long event showed the honor in serving others. Tonight, I thank the 300,000-plus state and local government employees who showed up for work today and did their jobs well. We appreciate it. If you take only one message away tonight, it's that we all respect the work that you do. I also understand how concerned many government workers are about their futures. I've listened to their comments and read their emails. I listened to the educator from Milwaukee who wrote to me about her concerns about the legislation and what it might mean for her classroom.

That's why last week we agreed to make changes to the bill to address many of those issues. And I listened to others like the correctional officer in Chippewa Falls who emailed me arguing that bargaining rights for public employee unions are the only way to ensure that workers get a fair say in their working conditions. I understand and respect those concerns. It's important to remember that many of the rights we're talking about don't come from collective bargaining. They come from the civil service system in Wisconsin. That law was passed in 1905 (long before collective bargaining) and it will continue long after our plan is approved.

You see, despite a lot of the rhetoric we've heard over the past 11 days the bill I put forward isn't aimed at state workers, and it certainly isn't a battle with unions. If it was, we would have eliminated collective bargaining entirely or we would have gone after the private-sector unions. But, we did not because they are our partners in economic development. We need them to help us put 250,000 people to work in the private sector over the next four years. The legislation I've put forward is about one thing. It's about balancing our budget now -- and in the future. Wisconsin faces a 137 million dollar deficit for the remainder of this fiscal year and a 3.6 billion dollar deficit for the upcoming budget. Our bill is about protecting the hardworking taxpayer. It's about Wisconsin families trying to make ends meet and help their children. People like the woman from Wausau who wrote me saying "I'm a single parent of two children, one of whom is autistic. I have been intimately involved in my school district, but I can no longer afford the taxes I pay. I am in favor of everyone paying for benefits, as I have to."

It's also about the small business owner who told me about the challenges he faces just making payroll each week. His employees pay much larger premiums than we are asking because that's how they keep the company going and that's how they protect their jobs. Or the substitute teacher here in Madison, who wrote to me last week about having to sit at home unable to work because her union had closed the school down to protest.

She sent me an email that went on to say, "I was given no choice in joining the union and I am forced to pay dues... I am missing out on pay today... I feel like I have no voice."

I assure you that she does have a voice.

And so does the factory worker in Janesville who was laid off nearly two years ago. He's a union guy in a union town who asks simply why everyone else has to sacrifice except those in government.

Last week, I traveled the state visiting manufacturing plants and talking to workers - just like the guy from Janesville. Many of them are paying twenty-five to fifty percent of their health care premiums. Most, had 401k plans with limited or no match from the company.

My brother's in the same situation. He works as a banquet manager and occasional bartender at a hotel and my sister-in-law works for a department store. They have two beautiful kids.

In every way, they are a typical middle-class family here in Wisconsin. David mentioned to me that he pays nearly $800 a month for his health insurance and the little he can set aside for his 401k. He - like so many other workers across Wisconsin - would love a deal like the benefits we are pushing in this budget repair bill. That's because what we are asking for is modest - at least to those outside of government. Our measure asks for a 5.8% contribution to the pension and a 12.6% contribution for the health insurance premium. Both are well below the national average. And this is just one part of our comprehensive plan to balance the state's 3.6 billion dollar budget deficit.

Now, some have questioned why we have to reform collective bargaining to balance the budget. The answer is simple the system is broken: it costs taxpayers serious money - particularly at the local level. As a former county official, I know that first hand.

For years, I tried to use modest changes in pension and health insurance contributions as a means of balancing our budget without massive layoffs or furloughs. On nearly every occasion, the local unions (empowered by collective bargaining agreements) told me to go ahead and layoff workers. That's not acceptable to me. Here's another example: in Wisconsin, many local school districts are required to buy their health insurance through the WEA Trust (which is the state teachers union's company). When our bill passes, these school districts can opt to switch into the state plan and save $68 million per year. Those savings could be used to pay for more teachers and put more money into the classroom to help our kids. Some have also suggested that Wisconsin raise taxes on corporations and people with high-incomes. Well -- Governor Doyle and the Legislature did that: two years ago. In fact they passed a budget-repair bill (in just one day, mind you) that included a billion-dollar tax increase. Instead of raising taxes, we need to control government spending to balance our budget. Two years ago, many of the same Senate Democrats who are hiding out in another state approved a biennial budget that not only included higher taxes - it included more than two billion dollars in one-time federal stimulus aid.

That money was supposed to be for one-time costs for things like roads and bridges. Instead, they used it as a short-term fix to balance the last state budget. Not surprisingly, the state now faces a deficit for the remainder of this fiscal year and a 3.6 billion dollar hole for the budget starting July 1st. What we need now more than ever, is a commitment to the future. As more and more protesters come in from Nevada, Chicago and elsewhere, I am not going to allow their voices to overwhelm the voices of the millions of taxpayers from across the state who think we're doing the right thing. This is a decision that Wisconsin will make. Fundamentally, that's what we were elected to do. Make tough decisions. Whether we like the outcome or not, our democratic institutions call for us to participate. That is why I am asking the missing Senators to come back to work.

Do the job you were elected to do. You don't have to like the outcome, or even vote yes, but as part of the world's greatest democracy, you should be here, in Madison, at the Capitol. The missing Senate Democrats must know that their failure to come to work will lead to dire consequences very soon. Failure to act on this budget repair bill means (at least) 15 hundred state employees will be laid off before the end of June. If there is no agreement by July 1st, another 5-6 thousand state workers -- as well as 5-6 thousand local government employees would be also laid off. But, there is a way to avoid these layoffs and other cuts. The 14 State Senators who are staying outside of Wisconsin as we speak can come home and do their job. We are broke because time and time again politicians of both parties ran from the tough decisions and punted them down the road for another day. We can no longer do that, because, you see, what we're really talking about today is our future. The future of my children, of your children, of the children of the single mother from Wausau that I mentioned earlier. Like you, I want my two sons to grow up in a state at least as great as the Wisconsin I grew up in. More than 162 years ago, our ancestors approved Wisconsin's constitution. They believed in the power of hard work and determination and they envisioned a new state with limitless potential.

Our founders were pretty smart. They understood that it is through frugality and moderation in government that we will see freedom and prosperity for our people. Now is our time to once again seize that potential. We will do so at this turning point in our state's history by restoring fiscal responsibility that fosters prosperity for today - and for future generations.

Thank you for joining me tonight. May God richly bless you and your family and may God continue to bless the great State of Wisconsin.

Thanks to Wispolitics for providing the prepared remarks for this speech.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wisconsin Legislature mulls options; Walker States his case

As protestors continued to flood the State Capitol and Democratic Senators held out for a 5th straight day, Senate Republicans mulled over legislative options as both Chambers were expected to get back into session on Tuesday. Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald told Wispolitics today that he would not attach the collective bargaining portion of the State budget repair bill onto a separate piece of legislation and pass it without the presence of his Democratic counterparts. Originally it was considered a possible legislative option for Senate Republicans, who number 19, and are 1 vote short for a full quorum, that according to Senate rules and would need a total of 20 Senators present for a call to business. A provision in the State Constitution; however, allows for 3/5ths of the Senate to be present in order to pass legislation that is not fiscally-related. So, in essence, the Republicans could use the option of detaching the proposal related to collective bargaining and then attach it to a non-related piece of legislation, leaving the fiscal portions of Walkers bill that are now favored by the Democrats to be taken up whenever the opposition Senators returned. With Fitzgerald now ruling out that measure for Tuesday, the Senate will be conducting business as usual by considering other legislation. On the docket for tomorrow: The appointment of Eloise Anderson as head of Department of Children and Families, a dairy and livestock farm investment credit bill will be considered, and a bipartisan resolution commending the Green Bay Packers on their Super Bowl win. However, as the Democratic holdout continues into the week, the Republicans may have to consider using whatever measures are at their disposal as one looming deadline approaches in the ongoing budget battle. According to Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch, $165 million dollars of debt service payments are at stake if the Budget Repair Bill is not passed by Friday. The bill restructures general obligation bonds used to pay down debt but in order for the payment structure to take effect, the bill must be passed into law by February 25th to allow for enough time to sell the refinanced bonds before the required debt service date of March 15. If the bond restructuring is not successful, other deeper cuts may have to be made to the state budget in order for the State to keep up with it's obligations. One possible way that Fitzgerald and other Republicans may try to bring the Democrats back to the chamber this week is to dangle a carrot in front of them in the form of passing other legislation the Democrats are opposed to, such as the Voter ID Act that has been sitting in limbo since the start of the budget impasse.

Meanwhile, Governor Scott Walker made the Sunday morning news shows rounds and held a press conference at 5 PM today reiterating his stance on the Budget Repair Bill. Walker told Good Morning America on Monday that his stance on the budget impasse is nonnegotiable and why he believed that there was more at stake in the budget debate than a simple compromise on health and pension costs, and why collective bargaining was an even bigger cost issue.

"But the difference is that there is a cost to collective bargaining. I mean, I'll give you an example, just with our school districts. If instead of being forced to buy from the WEA trust, which is the Teacher's Union Health Insurance Company, school districts could buy off of the State Health Insurance plan and they could save $68 million dollars. I know it well. I used to be a county official for 8 1/2 years, every time I tried to do something sensible to balance our budget without laying people off, the union said, "No, we don't want to make any changes. Go ahead and lay 400 to 500 people off. That's wrong and it unacceptable. What we're asking for is, realistically, something that just about every other person in this state and every other person in this country is paying a whole lot more for when it comes to retirement and health care. . ."

He called the unions proposal to compromise on health care and pension pay-ins as a "red herring".

"But you can say anything in the midst of the debate. In December, after I was elected but before I was sworn in, they tried to ram through a bill to push for and to lock in State employee health care and contracts. The bottom line is they can say these things but there are 424 school districts, there are 72 counties, and their are 1000-pluse municipalities in the State. . . all of those can't guarantee the kind of savings that a handful of union leaders are talking about. We can't pass a budget that is going to have over a billion dollar's worth of cuts without giving them the tools to balance those budgets so there aren't layoffs, otherwise we'll end up in a situation like New York or California or other states who are ending up cutting billions of dollars from their schools and local governments without giving them the tools to handle it."

In the interview he also explained how his policy of enacting civil service organizations in every municipality, in addition to those that already existed, would handle the employee grievances that would guarantee worker's rights secured by labor laws in the State.

Walker also held a statewide press conference at 5 PM today, recapping developments in the debate over the weekend and also reinforcing the reasonings behind his stance.

"The 30 million dollars that is included in this Budget Repair Bill is just one piece of the much larger puzzle of balancing this budget and the 300 million dollars in the next biennium in terms of savings for State Government employees is just another piece of it as well. But that 30 million, if we don't get it by starting our health care and pension contributions by April 1st, translates in this budget, which ends on June 30, to the tune of 1500 government workers being laid off. Now that said, I don't want to lay anybody off. The equivalent at the State level for the budget will be 5-to-6000 government employees being laid off and 5-to-6000 local government employees; that's teachers and city workers and county workers and others out there. In this economy, even though our unemployment rate is better than the national average, it's still 7.5% and that's still unacceptable to me. I was elected to get more people working and that's what I've been doing in this first month-and-a-half in office, so I don't want to see anybody laid off. But if the Senate Democrats don't come back, and at least allow us to debate this bill, to consider this bill, to pass this bill, the alternative is just for that 30 million dollars alone we have the equivalent of 1,500 lay-offs."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Analyzing Scott Walker's State of the State speech

Scott Walker laid out his case to the State of Wisconsin at the Capitol in Madison on Tuesday night, in spite of an impending snowstorm. After congratulating the Packers for their superbowl berth, Walker described the challenges that lay ahead, his strategy to reform State government, and his agenda to continue to foster a job-climate in Wisconsin. In the 30-minute State of the State speech, Walker touted the legislative promises he has delivered upon in his first month in office, while describing to a general degree the tactics he will likely use to help fix the Wisconsin budget woes. Wisconsin Democrats have complained that it was lacking detail but a simple look at the big picture shows that the Governor has begun the process of changing the State business climate while setting up the atmosphere to accelerate the creation of private sector jobs before starting the next task-at-hand: reforming the Budget process to extinguish the deficit. The Governor alluded to that at the beginning of the speech:

In less than 30 days, I have already signed four pieces of legislation into law that will help the private sector create jobs.

And on my desk is another bill giving tax relief to small businesses that I intend to sign on Friday.

The first act I signed as governor eliminated the taxes on health savings accounts, making health care more affordable for small business owners, blue-collar workers and family farmers. I want to thank Representatives Kaufert, Ziegelbauer and Stone and Senators Darling, Olsen and Vukmir for their leadership on HSAs. This change was a long time coming for Wisconsin and brings us into line with the rest of the nation.

Our second act reduced frivolous lawsuits in Wisconsin. The litigation environment in a state is one of the key drivers for business and unfortunately we were once known as "Alabama North" because of our poor lawsuit climate.

Now, we've turned the page on lawsuit reform and offer one more sign that Wisconsin is open for business.

Thanks to Senator Zipperer and Representative Jim Ott for their leadership on this important issue.

Yesterday, I signed an expansion of our relocation and economic development tax credits. These measures will help our state attract and retain businesses and jobs.

By eliminating the taxes on HSAs, the Governor and the legislature have immediately decreased the cost of health care insurance coverage offered by businesses and flexibility for workers of those businesses to afford it and use it. The Democrats always complain about the increasing cost of health care and yet while in charge of the legislature, they continued to allow this tax to be levied. The governor, in the stroke of a pen, has remedied this continued and unnecessary problem. Tort reform was a long-held promise of the Governor as a candidate and the elimination of frivolous lawsuits and the amounts associated with them have been debated for many years. Something has been done about it now and this will decrease costs and the fears of costs that businesses have to face in their day-to-day operations. This can only help the bottom-line and alleviate economic concerns, helping businesses of all kinds to grow. The next bill signed by the Governor was a bill that wiped out the first two years of income and franchise tax credits for businesses that relocate to Wisconsin. This certainly sweetens the pot for job-creating businesses from other states, such as Illinois who recently increased their tax rates by a staggering amount, as well others around the nation to come to Wisconsin and establish themselves with minimal expense and red tape. The fourth bill the Governor signed into law was the bill that threw another $25 million in tax incentives into the Wisconsin Economic Development program. Complaints from Democrats about this centered around the fact that it was a waste of tax dollars and ran up the deficit more because there was already 75 million in tax credits of the same type sitting around from the Doyle administration. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if Scott Walker pursues the recruitment of business development and relocation with an ounce more of effort than Jim Doyle (and he already has as far as I'm concerned), that this money will be put to good use quickly.

Regarding all of these bills and the other four that have been offered in this first month of the declared Legislative Economic Special Session, the Democrats have constantly whined that "none of these bills will do anything to produce jobs immediately" and "promote special interests over the concerns of working families" and then additionally some have railed (no pun intended) about Walker's axing of the precious high-speed rail Federal tax dollar-financed project killing immediate jobs. Well here's the deal Democrats: Walker promised the creation of 250,000 jobs in his four years in office. He's not going to create 250,000 jobs in 1 month. I wouldn't have expected Obama to help institute the creation of jobs in his first month of office but what I would expect is for the Governor to pass legislation that sets up or reforms the economic environment that will lead to the accelerated creation of jobs and the reversal in a trend of job losses and slow job creation precipitated by the housing crisis and Doyle's lack of attention to the private sector. The Governor has done exactly that by passing these bills and rebuilding the private sector engine that creates those jobs. The idea is the private sector and private sector jobs that will be sustained, not short-term, limited, costly public sector jobs built on taxpayer funded deficit spending. That's the idea behind the Governor's philosophy. Democrats don't get that. You want jobs now? Well. . .how about we set up job creation that leads to meaningful, long-term private sector growth that has staying power and not 5,500 jobs financed by nearly a trillion in taxpayer funds that will barely benefit any other sector of the State economy except for those places where the rail is built. And then regarding working families, well, the Governor is about ready to sign on his desk the next bill, bill #5, that will deliver meaningful tax income tax breaks and franchise tax breaks to Wisconsin small businesses. If there's anything Democrats should like, it would be this.

After describing his philosophy and legislative accomplishments, the Governor turned his attention to the challenging fiscal mess the State has been in for several years now:

Two weeks ago, the Assembly Speaker and Senate Majority Leader joined me in writing a column for the Chicago Tribune. We made the case that employers in Illinois should escape to Wisconsin, not only because of Illinois' massive tax hike, but because of the two opposite directions our states are heading.

You see, businesses make decisions based on trends. Before locating a facility or adding jobs somewhere, they look to see what the future there looks like.

That's why the budget and budget repair bills we will introduce in the coming weeks will be even more important than our Special Session legislation.

It is in those budgets where rhetoric meets reality, where we will show that we will make the tough decisions now to lay the foundation for future economic growth.

During the present downturn, Wisconsin's proud tradition of responsible budgeting gave way to repeated raids on segregated funds, excessive borrowing for operations and an addiction to one-time federal dollars. These are no longer options, and their use has only delayed and worsened the difficult decisions we must now make.

These factors, along with the decline in the global economy that started several years ago, have combined to create a 3 billion dollar deficit for the state budget that starts on July 1. And they are contributing factors to why the state government faces more than a 200 million dollar shortfall for the rest of this fiscal year.

Like Wisconsin, states across the nation are facing major fiscal challenges. States face immediate budget shortfalls totaling 26 billion dollars this fiscal year, with an even larger shortfall over 120 billion looming next year.

Nationwide, states face an over trillion dollar funding shortfall in public-sector retirement benefits. 814 billion dollars of one-time federal stimulus funding is going away. States face a total mandated growth in Medicaid of 51 billion dollars. And state and local governments have a collective 2.4 trillion dollars in debts.

Now we have to face the challenges of the State budget shortfall and instead of padding it with Federal stimulus money, we're going to need to use the power of economic reform along with the tightening of the spending belt to reign in the budget deficit and stop spending more than we are taking in. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau and the Democrats are complaining that all of bills that the Governor has been signing up to this point simply add to the deficit and worsen the budget shortfall without creating any meaningful new jobs and State unions and Government workers are scared to death that it will all mean drastic cutting of every program. The Governor is talking about reforming and repairing problems with the State's obligations to Medicare. That will have to be addressed like it or not. What the Democrats do not seem understand and the LBF is not taking into account is that the bills Walker is passing today will set the stage for the revival of State revenues coming into the Department of Treasury coffers by the expansion of the tax base due to the stimulation of business growth. That in itself will raise the amount of money that will flow into availability for the State budget and add to budget reduction before the end of the year. The deficit will be partially reduced this way and be partially reduced by reductions in the growth of spending, working with true figures, and not plugging holes with stimulus money and raiding some funds to pay for others. Medicare reform will add the final piece to that reduction, along with State workers and others having to rework the way they pay into their benefits.

With the framework the Governor laid out last night and given the time frame to implement it, it is quite obvious that Scott Walker has a plan and last night he told Wisconsin how he will execute that plan. The details will come in the budget later this month. The principles have been laid out and the how those principles will be executed. If understood and looked at in the proper perspective, one can be confident that this plan for bringing back Wisconsin jobs and reforming the way Wisconsin government works will yield long-term great dividends despite some knee-jerk protests to the contrary.

Full text of Scott's speech here: