The Republican contenders for Governor squared off in their final debate before the September primary. Education often came up during the town hall format which took questions from groups around the state. Milwaukee County Exec Scott Walker said more attention needs to be paid to the needs of the individual UW campuses, rather than the UW system or state’s “structure,” which will benefit their regions’ economies.
Former Congressman and teacher Mark Neumann wants to take a page out of North Carolina’s book which matched the knowledge found in their major universities with the needs of business. Neumann said the result is the southern state added 110,000 jobs in the last five years.
Both candidates said they would reduce mandates on public schools, so they could spend more of their money in the classroom. Walker said he would try to bring back limits on pay teacher pay raises. And he said he would wait to push for wholesale changes in the school funding formula until the economy gets better.
The Republicans defended their ideas of cutting taxes amid criticism from Democratic opponent Tom Barrett saying it would create a bigger mess for the state. Walker said his formula has worked for other states in which cutting taxes promoted job growth and helped balance their budgets. Neumann said he’s got a responsible solution. It starts by limiting how much state government spends each year to a rate of 1% less than inflation.
The GOP gubernatorial candidates agree the planned Milwaukee to Madison high speed rail plan must die despite federal money having been allocated and contracts being locked in. Neumann’s ideas to kill the train is renegotiate the contracts.
Walker said as Governor he would work to get Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation on board to reroute the 810 million federal dollars set aside for the train, to road building and improvement all around the state.
The debate was produced by WISN-TV Milwaukee and moderated by Mike Gousha.