Gov. Scott Walker flew into Janesville on Friday, meeting supporters and getting face time with news media.
The event at the Janesville Jet Center at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport was not a campaign stop, he said.
It’s official business, and he said he’s doing what he does every year after a state of the state speech: selling his ideas to state residents.
Walker is said to be facing a tough re-election fight. A bevy of Democratic contenders has been attacking him for weeks.
One of them, Andy Gronik, sent a fundraising email Friday that claimed Walker has damaged the state, and that’s the reason people can’t afford health care, have to drive on crumbling roads or have to work three or four jobs to get by.
Walker said his administration has spent $3 billion more than Democratic predecessor Jim Doyle’s did on roads over the same period of time.
“In fact, county and local road aids are the largest in this budget in 20 years,” he said, and he hopes to pick up the pace of the Interstate 90/39 widening project between the state line and Madison.
Walker wanted to talk about the $100-per-minor-child tax credit he proposed Wednesday. Parents would be able to claim the credits in May and June through a Department of Revenue website, he said.
The money comes from a projected, unexpectedly large state budget surplus. Asked if the $122 million he wants for the annual credit in each of the next two years shouldn’t have been held in the rainy-day fund, Walker said by law, $38 million from the surplus is already designated for that fund. Once that’s done, the fund will be more than $3 million, which he said is 168 times the size it was when he inherited it from Doyle.
The give-back is an acknowledgment that “the government took more of your money than it was supposed to, and now it’s giving it back to you,” Walker said.
A few Republicans have questioned whether the credit for parents of children might not be the best way to return the money to taxpayers.
But Walker said he went to the Senate and Assembly Republican caucuses recently and found “broad-based support” for the tax credit.
Walker said if the money were distributed to everyone, the impact would be about $50 per household, and he said his administration has already delivered all kinds of tax relief to all residents and frozen tuition in the UW System.
Walker said the child tax credits would have a “dynamic impact” on the state’s economy because he has heard from parents who say they will use it to buy new shoes, clothing or school supplies for next fall.
Walker brought along a shiny school backpack with a Spider-Man design to make that point, although he said as a kid, he liked Batman better.
If the stimulus works as he hopes, the state will be able to cut property and income taxes again next year, Walker said.
Asked about the Foxconn development in Racine County, Walker said the Rock-Walworth county area will benefit from thousands of jobs paying more than $53,000 plus benefits but not suffer the population congestion that will befall people in Racine and Kenosha counties.