Republican gubernatorial candidate and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker discussed his governmental philosophies at Mike Gousha’s “On the Issues” series Thursday afternoon. Walker’s appearance came just one week after Democratic candidate and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett joined Gousha for a similar interview.
Walker said he decided to run because he wasn’t satisfied with the economic environment that has emerged in the state of Wisconsin during Jim Doyle’s tenure as governor. He said everything a state needs for positive economic activity is here – a good workforce and abundant natural resources – but the government-imposed tax and regulatory burdens are hurting the economy.
“When government grows too big … it gets in the way of business,” Walker said.
The county executive said he doesn’t believe government creates jobs. Instead, Walker believes government policy changes the environment in which businesses operate and that his policies would help improve that environment.
He contrasted his tax-cutting and cost-reducing strategies to Barret’s method of job creation, which Walker said centers around spending $800 million on a Milwaukee-to-Madison rail line.
Walker’s main concerns about building such a rail system are construction and maintenance costs and whether or not people will actually ride it once it’s built, he said.
Walker also addressed criticism from one of his primary opponents, former United States congressman Mark Neumann. Milwaukee has suffered heavy job losses in the recession, but several places across the state are also suffering, notably Janesville, Sheboygan and Racine, Walker said.
Another important aspect of job creation and economic growth in the state is the continued strength of Wisconsin’s public schools.
“If we’re going to have 250,000 more jobs, we’ll need a workforce that’s educated enough to fill them,” Walker said.
Neumann will be on Marquette’s campus April 1 to speak with Gousha.