Will Governor Walker have any big surprises in the state of the state address Tuesday? The governor usually gives the speech at night, but this year he says he moved the address to 3 pm, to accommodate those who might want to watch President Obama’s farewell address.
Walker typically uses the state of the state to update people on the direction Wisconsin is moving. It’s usually about a 40-minute speech, with the governor mostly ticking off his accomplishments since he first took office in 2011.
For instance, Walker may talk about how Wisconsin has bounced back from the Great Recession, with the state now seeing its lowest unemployment rate in 16 years. He may talk about the tuition freezes he’s implemented, in an effort to make college more affordable. And, we might hear him tout his efforts to reduce property and income taxes. Walker might hit these areas pretty heavily, as he’s eyeing whether to run for a third term in 2018.
Walker’s state of the state may also contain references to President-elect Donald Trump and some of the requests the governor has made. Those include receiving federal money for schools and having more control over the resettlement of refugees from countries such as Syria. Also, he’s asked Trump to allow Wisconsin to drug-test food stamp recipients.
Walker may avoid controversial proposals entirely in the state of the state because he might run for re-election in 2018 and his ratings have been consistently low since his failed presidential bid – they’re hovering at 40 percent.
He may hint a little about what he’s going to put in the budget. That could include programs to put more people back to work, and more money for K-12 schools and the UW System. In addition, we may hear him reiterate his positions on plugging a gigantic hole in the transportation budget. He has continued to oppose increases in the gas tax and vehicle registration fees.