"Talk with Walker" tour brings Wisconsin governor to La Crosse
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's state-wide 'Talk with Walker' tour brought him to La Crosse Thursday.
The goal of Walker's tour is to hear questions and concerns from taxpayers themselves on what should take priority in the next two-year budget.
While he touched on several issues important to him and to taxpayers, such as education and a possible reciprocity agreement between Wisconsin and Minnesota, many of the questions surrounded how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Law will affect jobs and job growth.
At Torrance Casting in La Crosse, the company's president, Bill Torrance said growing a successful business starts with the employees.
“We have a real feeling to provide for our people and their families,” said Torrance.
It was only a couple of weeks ago Walker announced Wisconsin will have a federal exchange as part of the Affordable Care Law.
Much of the details are still being decided, and that leaves employers like Torrance in the dark.
“Health care, obviously, without a doubt, we're sort of wondering what's going to happen,” said Torrance.
“A lot of times, from an employer’s standpoint, they're reluctant to take risks, to make investments, to put more people to work if they don’t know what the future holds,” said Walker.
At the beginning of his term, Walker promised to create 250,000 jobs during his time in office.
The latest jobs numbers show Walker is only about a tenth of his way there.
Walker said the Affordable Care Act doesn't change his goal to grow jobs, but said things first have to change in Washington.
“I think the biggest thing is that certainty of getting people back on the right track,” said Walker. “Some of it is what we're doing here in the state. Some of it is hopefully, things will calm down a little bit nationally. I still thing right now, there's a lot of uncertainty of what's going to happen in Washington, not only in terms of the fiscal cliff and what they may or may not do, but just the question mark of 'people don't know.'”
State Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, also attended the event. Shilling was just recently appointed to the Joint Committee on Finance. She said while jobs are priority, education is just as important.
"We'll continue to listen to what his priorities are,” said Shilling. “I continue to hear about the need in investing in education. At a time when we have a downturn in our economy, we need to be looking at K-12 education systems, our technical schools and how that fits into his picture of the budget moving forward."
Walker has a couple of dozen stops scheduled through December.
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