On, Wisconsin!

Governor's leadership provides much-needed stability to struggling state

Wisconsin is busy celebrating the University of Wisconsin’s third-ever appearance in college basketball’s Final Four.

How about a few cheers for how the state’s conservative leadership is moving the struggling blue state toward prosperity?

Most of the success is because of Gov. Scott Walker, whose plan to return nearly half of a $1 billion budget surplus back to residents in the form of property and income tax cuts recently sailed through the state’s legislature.

His simple philosophy – that citizens can oversee their money better than bureaucrats – is one we wish more of this country’s leaders would follow.

The 46-year-old Republican attracted the media spotlight in 2011 when he fought, and beat, the out-of-control public-sector labor unions that had drained the state’s finances for decades. The battle, which drew national attention when a group of Democratic legislators tried to block reform efforts by fleeing the state, became personal when opposition groups began harassing his elderly mother and teenage son.

Vanquished at the statehouse, Big Labor then poured tens of millions of dollars into a recall election, which Walker won with help from beleaguered taxpayers.

Today, Wisconsin is a better place. Its latest unemployment rate, 6.1 percent, is down from 9.2 percent in 2009. And more than 106,100 private-sector jobs have been created since Walker took office three years ago.

Amazing things happen when people can spend, save and invest more of their own money.

Of course, liberals and their mainstream-media cheerleaders would prefer you didn’t know about Wisconsin’s turnaround under conservative leadership.

The New York Times, for example, devoted an entire 10 lines of space to Walker’s $504 million tax cut plan, which will let the typical resident keep an extra $200 in his pocket. The New York Daily News didn’t cover the story at all, but it ran a 150-word piece about Walker using his official Twitter account to tweet a Bible verse.

Business as usual.

Wisconsin’s turnaround appears to be bleeding over into its southern neighbor, Illinois, a historically Democratic state with a strong union presence, weak credit ratings and high unemployment.

There, businessman Bruce Rauner recently won the GOP nomination for governor by running on a Walker-esque platform of curbing public-sector unions’ incestuous power.

Investors Business Daily editorialized: “That Illinois, arguably the bluest of blue states, may turn red in November may seem implausible. But then, it wasn’t that long ago that a relatively unknown Scott Walker was tilting at union windmills in Wisconsin.”

Walker appears to hit on a winning formula for governorship. We hope Wisconsin fever becomes contagious.

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