- Views & Opinions
Gov. Scott Walker is setting up himself up to run for a third term as governor.
Walker says he will wait until late 2016 or after the end of the year to make a formal decision, but he says he feels good about the progress he’s made and thinks he can build off it.
Walker, who’s never held a job outside of politics, made the comments to reporters Jan. 26 after he signed a bill at the Rock County Courthouse expanding the state’s Family Care program to the county.
Although Walker and the right-wing spin machine have been cherry-picking economic data in the state to make it appear as if Walker’s economic programs have been a success, they’ve actually failed miserably.
Wisconsin’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for 2015, released at the end of last year by the Dept. of Administration showed that the state’s General Fund deficit, as measured by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, increased in fiscal year 2015 by $414 million — from about $1.4 billion to $1.8 billion.
At the same time, his scandal-plagued “job creation” agency has lost track of millions of taxpayer dollars. Sixty percent of taxpayer funds provided by the Wisconsin Economic Development Council went to Walker donors, some of whom had terrible financial records. The money was given to companies that didn’t promise to create jobs in the state. Some of them took the money and built up their operations in other states.
Wisconsin lost 10,000 jobs last year, when most states posted job gains.
Wisconsin has the nation’s fastest-shrinking middle class. Household income shrank in two-thirds of Wisconsin counties from 2009 to 2014.
The state ranks third in the nation for student loan debt.
Walker has worked with the state’s Republican leaders to restrict public access to government records and to eliminate laws and agencies designed to ferret out corruption.
Against this backdrop, Walker will have to regain the public’s confidence to run again. Walker’s approval rating dropped to 37 percent during his failed and heavily mocked presidential campaign last year. Wisconsinites were turned off by not only by the many gaffes he made on the campaign trail, but also the many months he spent outside the state campaigning for president.
Walker also racked up huge costs to Wisconsin taxpayers to provide him with transportation and around-the-clock security.
Shortly before his tight 2014 reelection, Walker said he had no interest in a White House run.
In a public-relations effort to assure Wisconsinites that he’s still interested in the state, he is currently touring the state conducting invitation-only listening sessions. He says that he’s spending time thinking about the next 20 years for the state.
Walker and his wife Tonette are selling their house in a Milwaukee suburb. His personal financial problems, including a high level of consumer credit card debt were well documented by the press during his presidential campaign.
The two-story, three-bedroom colonial in Wauwatosa is on the market for $338,000. Walker tweeted Sunday night that with his sons in college, the couple is looking at downsizing.
See also: Scott Walker’s latest approval rating