Just a week after starting his second term in office, Governor Scott Walker will again step to a podium in the Capitol tonight to deliver his annual State of the State address. It’s the fifth time the governor has given the speech to a joint session of the Legislature, and he’s offering few details of what vision for Wisconsin he plans to outline for lawmakers.
Speaking with reporters last week, Walker did say that the speech is likely to include one proposal he’s talked about repeatedly in recent weeks – consolidating operations or merging a handful of state agencies to improve government efficiency. Walker said such a proposal would be about making “government more effective, more efficient, more accountable to the people, to the taxpayers of this state.”
Other issues, such as a school accountability bill and rolling back the use of Common Core education standards, could also come up. Areas such as transportation funding and closing a projected $2.2 billion deficit are likely to only see mentions in the speech, with the governor holding back specific proposals on those issues until he unveils his budget plan to lawmakers next month.
AUDIO: Governor Scott Walker on State of the State plans (:32)
In fact, Marquette University political scientist Charles Franklin expects the governor will use his State of the State to lay the groundwork for his budget address. “The State of the State and the budget address are really the bookends to what’s going to happen in the next couple of years, the first setting out the broad themes in saying how well we’ve done, and then it’s really the rubber meets the road in the budget address,” Franklin said.
Franklin also expects to hear more of the Wisconsin versus Washington comparisons which the Republican governor has been making of late, as he ponders a run for President. “We saw it in the election nigh speech that he gave. We saw it in his inaugural address. I’m sure we will hear more of that comparison.”
“I do think the thing to look for – possibly in the State of the State, maybe in the budget – is the question of is there a big new, innovative policy the governor’s going to introduce,” Franklin said
Walker will deliver his annual State of the State address starting at about seven this evening to a joint session of the Legislature. You can hear the speech live tonight on many local WRN affiliate stations. WRN will also have full coverage available on our website, after the speech.