Here are excerpts from Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s prepared remarks that he’ll deliver tonight at a dinner at CPAC in Washington, D.C. (Walker’s staff insists that the governor frequently deviates from prepared remarks.)
On President Obama challenging him:
We kept our promises. One of those promises was to limit the size of government and to have the government serve the people - and not the other way around. I promised to empower the taxpayer - instead of a handful of big government union bosses.
Liberals find that hard to understand, which is why the President went after me on this issue last year.
So I responded to the President during my daily 5:00 pm press conference. My comments were simple, I said: “I’m sure that the President of the United States must know that most federal government employees do not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits. I’m sure he must know that. And I’m sure that the President must know that the average federal government employee is paying about 28% of their health insurance premium (which is double what I am asking state and local employees to pay in Wisconsin.). Because I’m sure that the President of the United States is not getting his talking points from the big government union bosses in Washington.” That was the last we heard from the President on this matter - because the facts are on our side.
On Wisconsin vs. Illinois:
On the very first day we took office, I called the state legislature into a special session on jobs. In the first month or so, we lowered the tax burden on job creators and entrepreneurs; we passed major regulatory reform to cut through the bureaucratic red tape; we passed some of the most aggressive tort reform in the country to stop frivolous law suits and we repealed the state tax on health savings accounts.
We showed that when we say “Wisconsin is open for business”, we mean it….Contrast that with my neighbor to the south. There is no greater example of the failed policies we are running against than the mess we see in Illinois.
Last year, Governor Quinn proudly proclaimed that they were not going to do things like Wisconsin. Clearly, they did not. Their actions only made matters worse...
On the recall election:
So why am I facing a recall election?
Simple: the big government union bosses from Washington want their money. They don’t like the fact that I did something fundamentally pro-worker; something that’s truly about freedom. I gave every one of the nearly 300,000 hard-working public servants in my state the right to choose. Now, each of them gets to determine whether they want to be in a union or not; and the unions can no longer automatically deduct dues from their paycheck. … The big government union bosses are worried that workers may actually choose to keep the money for themselves. That’s why the big government union bosses spent tens of millions last summer to try and win the six state senate recall elections in Wisconsin. In fact, the total amount spent by all parties was over $40 million.
This election is ultimately about courage. When we prevail, it will send a powerful message – not only in Madison but in Springfield and St. Paul; Columbus and Austin; and in state houses all across America. Most of all, it will send a message in the halls of Congress.
When we win, it will tell every politician in America that if you are bold, if you do the right thing, if you tackle the tough issues, there will be people standing there right with you.
And Lord help us if we lose. If we lose, I believe that it will set acts of courage in politics back at least a decade if not a generation. This is why we must not lose.
On the role of government:
For years, there has been a false choice between raising taxes or cutting core services. Few, if any, adopt that mindset in the private sector. If you own a business, you certainly don’t look to double the price of your product or your customers will run to your competitor. Similarly, you don’t cut the quality of your product in half or you will see those same customers quickly lose faith in your product as well. Instead, people outside of government routinely find ways to make things work better.
We applied those same principles to putting government back on the side of the people.
We proved that our kids can have access to a great education AND we can protect taxpayers at the same time.