Wisconsin State of the State Address 2000
By Staff Writer, Stateline
MADISON, Wisconsin - Jan. 26 - Following is the text of Gov. Tommy G. Thompson's 2000 State of the State Address:
Speaker Jensen, President Risser, Members of the Legislature, Constitutional Officers, Honorable Justices of the Supreme Court, tribal leaders, members of the Cabinet, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Throughout my career, I have worn the title of counselor, representative, minority leader, chairman and governor. Tonight, I come before you with a new title one far more meaningful to me than any other: Grandpa.
When I look into the eyes of my dear little granddaughter Sophie, I see the Face of the Future of Wisconsin, the hopes and dreams of a new generation with endless potential. As we begin our journey into a new millennium, Wisconsin steps forward with eager anticipation, confident that our greatest adventures and achievements lie ahead. For this new century offers deeper valleys to explore, wider rivers to swim and taller mountains to climb.
Wisconsin is prepared to conquer them all.
Ladies and gentlemen, I say to you tonight, at the dawn of a glorious new century, the state of the state is revolutionary.
As the foremost laboratory of democracy, Wisconsin is revolutionizing America with the most innovative and cutting-edge social policy in the last 50 years. Bold programs that Washington is adopting for the benefit of the entire nation.
We taught America how to end welfare with compassion through W-2; opened the door to work for the disabled with Pathways to Independence; provided working families with affordable health coverage through Badger Care; sparked an education reform movement by giving parents choice; and developed the blueprint to care for the babyboom generation with Family Care.
Wisconsin is revolutionizing its economy as well. We enter the new century with the highest standard of living in our history. We enjoy record low unemployment of 2.9 percent; a record 2.8 million people working; nearly 800,000 new jobs; record low health uninsured rate of 4 percent; remarkably low poverty rates; and the highest level of homeownership in our state's history 70 percent.
Tonight, we ignite a new revolution for a new century. And we go forward with inspiration from Gladys Bronson and Olivia Krumrai. Gladys was born in 1900 and Olivia was born in 2000. Please welcome them here tonight, along with Olivia's parents: Becky and Andy. These beautiful ladies unite two centuries and remind us of our responsibilities to past and future generations.
My friends, Wisconsin is where the future begins. Together, let us start boldly carving in stone Wisconsin's Face of the Future.
In the next 50 years, the face of Wisconsin will look distinctively different. It will be older, healthier and more diverse.
Just think about these remarkable changes in demographics and lifestyle.
By the time our nation celebrates its 250 th birthday in 2026, we will be experiencing the most dramatic age shift in American history.
The number of senior citizens will more than double by then. And by 2017, the number of people turning 65 will exceed the number of births in Wisconsin for the first time. We'll be issuing more social security checks than birth certificates.
When Wisconsin celebrates her bicentennial in 2048, minorities will comprise one quarter of our population, rising dramatically from 11 percent today.
To our land of opportunity, Miss Forward will welcome new families and workers from other states and nations who are searching for economic prosperity and the high quality of life we value in Wisconsin.
The way we live, work and play will change as rapidly as our look.
Along with futuristic visions of flying cars and vacations to the Moon, Wisconsin will be more mobile than ever.
A commute to work anywhere in the state will be as long as the seconds it takes to go online. In more populated areas, you'll have a variety of mass transit options to choose from while your electric-powered car is plugged in at home getting recharged.
But if you missed the high-speed Amtrak to work, you can still check your e-mails and voicemails before joining a morning video teleconference, all by using your personal pocket-sized communication center. Today's palm pilot will be tomorrow's office. Alternative energy supplies such as hydrogen fuel cells will power our homes, businesses and schools. And less fossil fuel consumption means a cleaner environment.
Finally, our population will be healthier than ever. Vitamin enriched foods grown here in America's breadbasket will carry more powerful, disease fighting nutrients. Our produce will be easier to grow and more resistant to disease, drought and infestations.
University of Wisconsin-Madison research will decode the human genome and allow for your personal genetic profile to be traced, encoded on a chip and downloaded by a doctor so your illness can be diagnosed and treated. This research will help us solve the mysteries of cystic fibrosis, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
New medical advancements may push the average life expectancy in Wisconsin to more than 100 years by 2048.
And that's certainly good news for me. For Wisconsin will celebrate its bicentennial in the middle of my 16 th term as governor of this great state. I can't wait to throw that party. And I certainly hope my friends Scott McCallum and Scott Jensen are still here with me. Sen. Risser, I'm not worried about you, I know you'll still be here.
While the four of us might stay the same, Wisconsin is certainly about to embark on its most dramatic era of change.
The rapidly changing face of Wisconsin that we just painted will create tough new challenges:
- How will we create the jobs of tomorrow?
- How will we fill the gap created by a shrinking workforce?
- How will we educate our youth to prepare them for these challenges?
- How will we care for a decidedly older population?
- And what will the role of government be?
The Face of our Future and the answers to these important questions will be determined by the actions we take today, in these hallowed halls and in our cherished communities across Wisconsin.
Our work starts in the same place as at the dawn of the last century, with the economy. Without a strong economy, we cannot improve education, provide better health care, help the poor and disadvantaged, enhance our environment or protect our citizens from crime. Ladies and gentlemen, the face of our future economy lies in this little tube and many others like it in laboratories across Wisconsin.
Unlocking the mysteries to this small strand of DNA is just one way we will ignite a New Industrial Revolution through the unlimited potential of the bioscience and high technology industries.
New discoveries in science and technology will create high-skill, high-paying jobs in Wisconsin. These jobs will provide a higher quality of life for our families and a brain gain for our state.
A driving force behind this new economy will be the New Wisconsin Idea, a bold new partnership between the University of Wisconsin and the private sector.
In the early 1900s, scientific pioneers at the University of Wisconsin revolutionized the state's agriculture industry by developing ways to measure milk quality, reduce feed spoilage and eliminate disease in dairy herds.
Today, the science being developed in our university laboratories is literally spawning new companies that make the technology and products to bring new discoveries to the marketplace.
Now, all the average person really knows about these high-tech companies is to buy lots of stock. So let's take a moment to move beyond the hype and literally put a Face on our Future economy.
With the help of today's technology and Ameritech, we have joining us from the University of Wisconsin Biotechnology Center David Schwartz, a world-renowned genetics and chemistry professor who we recruited from New York University as part of our recent $1.5 million investment in star faculty. And from Third Wave Technologies here in Madison is company CEO Lance Fors.
(Biotechnology Demonstration) Thank you Lance and David and keep up the great work.
The economic potential for biotechnology and high technology companies is incredible. For example, UW professor Michael Sussman and his partners used research at the UW to create a company called Nimblegen that will make DNA chips.
Brokerage houses assess the market for these DNA chips at $1 billion immediately with room to expand to $40 billion in the next decade.
Imagine the next Microsoft being developed right here in Wisconsin. Already, the race is on to see which state will create the Silicon Valley of 2000 and put its people out front with exciting and lucrative new career opportunities. As one of the top 10 technology states in America, Wisconsin is uniquely positioned to lead the pack.
But to win this race, we must make the right investments to fully grow these industries and make Wisconsin more competitive. Make no mistake: Our economy is soaring today, but that can all change if we don't aggressively prepare for tomorrow.
We should begin by strengthening our position as the nation's leader in biotechnology research. I present to you tonight a new $317 million BioStar initiative to build a series of state-of-the-art research centers on the University of Wisconsin campus.
BioStar would round out a $909 million investment in our science and research infrastructure that includes WISTAR, HealthStar, the Biotech faculty initiative and our venture capital funding. This will give Wisconsin a distinct competitive advantage over our closest competitors: California, Colorado, Washington and the Northeast. With your support, we can begin planning a new addition to the Biotechnology Center this year, followed by construction of a new Microbial Sciences Building, a new Biochemistry Building and a new Interdisciplinary Biology Building.
These facilities will allow us to hire 100 new faculty members and strengthen our world-renowned team of scientists. Two shining members of this team are with us tonight, UW researchers Laura Kiessling and Jill Banfield recent winners of the prestigious McArthur Foundation Genius Awards.
Most importantly, BioStar will allow us to educate and train the scientists and researchers for the workforce of tomorrow. With 30 percent of our incoming freshmen at the UW majoring in the biosciences, let's expand their opportunities by developing a Masters Degree in Biotechnology.
Next, we must create a new High Tech Corporation to aggressively attract and develop the companies of the new economy -- letting these entrepreneurs know Wisconsin is the place to be for opportunity and prosperity. The director of this new endeavor will be Dick Leazer, who is with us tonight.
Our high-tech corporation will build rural Wisconsin as well.
Let's not lose sight that while some of the most far-reaching discoveries may be taking place in our labs, some of their biggest benefactors will be on the farm. Genome mapping of corn, rice and soybeans are plowing new fields of profitability for farmers.
These technologies will allow farmers to produce new value-added crops and milk -- and give our dairy farmers new opportunities to overcome egregious federal dairy policies that are driving milk prices too low.
Two great examples of the future are Gala Design and Vienna Pharms. They're both raising cows that produce milk fortified with biopharmaceuticals. They are literally turning milk into medicine.
Please welcome Bob Bremel of Gala Design, Mark Clark of Vienna Pharms and Joel and Jeff Henschel, two Green Bay dairy farmers. They represent the face of the future in Wisconsin agriculture.
The new economy will not only give us new products to buy, but it will change how we buy them.
Imagine the day in the not-too-distant future when we will accomplish all our daily tasks with one standard appliance. We'll pay our bills, buy our groceries, manage our household and get our entertainment all through our TV set. And we'll only need one clicker.
E-commerce is so simple even a Governor can use it. Let me show you. I have a new, good friend in the Governor of California, Gray Davis. But poor Gray is in a tough spot. He leads a state that can't play football and can't make good cheese. He owes me 86 pounds of that fishbait they call California cheese because the Badgers whipped his alma mater Stanford in the Rose Bowl. But to be fair to my new friend, I want to send him the equivalent to 86 pounds of his cheese 1 pound of our world championship Wisconsin cheese.
Gray needs to know what real cheese tastes like. He's living a deprived life out there. So I'm going on-line to our great Wisconsin company, Swiss Colony, and with the simple click of a mouse, I'm going to make Gray's day. This is a great example of how a partnership between two Wisconsin companies, Swiss Colony and TDS, is helping them both succeed through E-Commerce.
Main Street businesses and corporations built today's strong economy. Now, we need to help these companies use E-Commerce to better compete and increase their profits.
To do so, our Department of Commerce will create a new focus on turning existing business incubators into e-business stimulators. And Dr. Raj Veeramani of UW-Madison is leading a new consortium of higher education, business and state government to make sure we take the greatest advantage of our newest tool of commerce. Companies like Lands End are leading Wisconsin into the future of E-Commerce.
Once online, businesses must have the certainty and the security that transactions are binding.
By passing an Electronic Transfer Act, Wisconsin will surpass other states by ensuring electronic purchases, contracts and signatures are completely legal drastically reducing overhead and improving the bottom line.
And finally, we must make sure consumers have access to the Cyber Marketplace. So pass Speaker Jensen and Representative Hutchison's tax exemption for Internet access. Growing our economy and changing the face of industry in Wisconsin will pose an incredible challenge for our workforce. Where will the workers of the future come from? And how will they learn the skills to succeed?
In just 16 short years, the number of people leaving the workforce will outstrip the number of people entering the job market. This will greatly exacerbate the worker shortage we have today in Wisconsin.
Rising to this challenge will require us to change the Face of the Future for the Wisconsin worker.
More seniors will be needed in our classrooms, science factories and service industries -- changing the very definition of "retirement." People may retire in their mid-50s to enjoy five to seven years of rest and relaxation before beginning a new "twilight" career. Or seniors may go directly into that new career as technology makes it easier to work without sacrificing health or time with their grandchildren.
The new economy will need the talents of the disabled as well as dynamic women entrepreneurs like Shirley Lanier, who founded Legacy Bank in Milwaukee. And W-2 will need to build upon its remarkable success at helping former welfare mothers thrive in the workforce.
Next month, I will be unveiling a new study that shows just how incredibly successful W-2 is at moving families from welfare to work. The results will underscore why Harvard University hails W-2 as one of the most innovative programs in America.
To help working families meet their child care needs, we should develop the marketplace for second- and third-shift child care centers. The jobs of tomorrow certainly won't be 9- to-5. A $1 million investment now will pay big dividends for our families and businesses. And finally, meeting our workforce demands will force us to look at the sensitive issue of crime-and-punishment in a different light. We have the lowest crime rate in 30 years because we're keeping the bad guys off the street. But we need to turn these bad guys back into good guys because we need them to fill jobs and support their families. An inmate can't leave prison, get a job and succeed if he can't read. Therefore, I am instructing the Department of Corrections to target the necessary resources for basic reading skills and GED studies so that no inmate will leave prison without being able to read and fill out a job application.
Instead of hitting the sack, inmates will be hitting the books.
An inmate also can't get a job if addicted to drugs or alcohol. So let's build upon our recent $40 million investment in prison rehabilitation programs by creating an alternative treatment program for felony drug offenders. Judges would be able to sentence criminals with no prior record or weapon offenses to this special program, where inmates will get treatment, attend class, and learn job and parenting skills.
I want to give credit for this concept to a strong partnership between Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher, Milwaukee County Chief Judge Michael Skwierawski and District Attorney E. Michael McCann.
At the same time, let's put 100 new probation and parole agents on the streets of Milwaukee County so criminals make a safe transition back into the community. These agents do make a difference.
While we're talking about sentencing alternatives, pass the proposed changes to the criminal penalties code. I appreciate the tough work the Assembly did on this matter; now it's time to finish the job. We need to give our judges more authority to make sure the punishment truly fits the crime in Wisconsin.
Furthermore, we plan to bring all women inmates back to Wisconsin by year's end. If these changes to correction's policy succeed, we can turn today's criminals into productive members of our workforce.
The bottom line is that we need to take advantage of the talent and skills of each and every person in Wisconsin.
The Face of the Future Wisconsin school must change too if we are to change the face of the Wisconsin worker. Learning will start from the earliest days of life and last throughout our golden years.
To accommodate the new learning needs of our society, our system of schools must be seamless -- flexible and dynamic enough to prepare our youngest student and our oldest worker for the tasks for the new economy. And the world must literally be the classroom with the help of our Study Abroad grants, international education initiative and distance learning technology.
The jobs of tomorrow will require students and workers to get high-skill training from technical college as well as greater expertise from a university. And workers will need to go back to these schools for more training throughout their careers.
We've talked for years about building this seamless system of schools. And programs like youth options, school-to-work, 2 2 2 and a new Virtual Technical High School are laying the foundation. Now, it's time to get it done.
I'm calling on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and the Wisconsin Technical College System Board to meet and overcome the final barriers to a truly integrated system of higher education.
Our K-12 schools must be the foundation for this new seamless system. Our schools are good. But being good today is not good enough for tomorrow.
Competition is clearly helping us build strong schools and improve the education of our children. Nowhere is this more evident than in charter schools, where the collaboration between parents and educators is awe-inspiring.
Just look at the Milwaukee Science Consortium a new charter school developed by UW-Milwaukee and the Medical College of Wisconsin that will emphasize science and math. Can you think of a better idea for a school for the science-based economy of the next century?
The opportunity for these education partnerships must be available statewide, so I am proposing an expansion of the charter school program to allow any state university or technical college to develop its own school.
If we put power back in the hands of our parents and educators, they will create an education revolution that builds the dynamic schoolroom of the future.
Competition can help us push our students harder in math and science as well.
Sheppard Mollick, a parent and school board member from suburban Milwaukee, wants to stimulate more interest in science in his community by starting a science fair. Shep, it's a great idea, but let's take it even further by creating a State Science Fair. The winner would receive a full scholarship for their undergraduate and graduate studies at any University of Wisconsin System School.
We must also do a better job teaching our children to read, for reading is fundamental to all learning.
A recent National Education Goals Panel Report shows that progress in reading scores by Wisconsin fourth-graders has remained flat since 1992. That's not good enough for America's Education State.
To push Wisconsin forward, I am proposing an aggressive Excellence in Reading Initiative that:
- Directs $1 million to develop innovative reading academies around the state.
- Invests $350,000 to distribute the "best reading practices" over the Internet.
- And convenes a statewide Governor's Reading Summit to be chaired by our First Lady, Sue Ann Thompson, with the help of Barbara Manthei of the Governor's Office of Literacy.
Our children must spend more time reading books and less time trading Pokemon cards. If our children can't read, they can't participate in the new economy.
As we push our children and teachers harder, let's make sure we are rewarding success in the process. A new program called Award for Achievement creates a stronger correlation between the performance of our schools and the earning potential of our educators. The framework for this program would set standards of accountability, such as:
- Schools would have to test 95 percent of their students
- Scores would have to improve for all students, including disadvantaged.
- Schools would have to show year-to-year gains on measures such as achievement tests, attendance and dropout rates
- And we would maintain local control by making participation voluntary to start.
If the performance of the students goes up in these areas all staff in that school will receive financial awards of up to $3,000. If a school maintains the status quo or recedes -- the public will certainly hold them accountable and changes will be made.
The Face of the Future in education demands that we set high standards and push our students to achieve. And when our students do, we should award those who taught them. Finally, learning in the future must literally start from birth whether in the home or the child care center. We're ready to create five new Early Learning Childhood Centers that utilize the latest innovations for developing the brain and stimulating learning in our children. From newborns to toddlers, these centers will start exposing our children to foreign languages, classical music, drama and reading. They'll paint, perform science experiments and dive into computer programs.
I want to thank the Legislature for their bipartisan support of these centers. Our investment will make sure even the most at-risk children enter school ready to learn. By changing the face of our schools, we will prepare our people to succeed in the jobs of tomorrow. But Wisconsin's competitiveness also calls us to change the Face of the Future in travel, energy and taxation.
Business travel in the future will improve as high-speed rail ties together air, road and mass transit options allowing us to choose the fastest and most efficient means. To spur this change along, I am calling for a $50 million state investment in the Midwest Rail Initiative, linking Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago with Amtrak's fastest trains. As chairman of Amtrak, I will be seeking $100 million in federal money to match our investment.
The Dane County Regional Airport will become the model for tomorrow's transportation hub in America: a one-stop access point for air, rail and ground travel. Soon, the business traveler will fly from Washington to Milwaukee, jump on a high-speed train to Madison, then catch a bus to drop her at her doorstep just in time for dinner with the family cooked by her husband. No more lengthy layovers in airports or cars stranded in parking ramps. Let's get high-speed rail running in Wisconsin by the year 2003.
Next, we must produce enough energy to power our new economy. We simply cannot tolerate situations like that of Proctor and Gamble in Green Bay, which shut down operations for 82 hours last summer due to a shortage of power.
In the past two years, we've come together, in a bipartisan fashion with business and environmental interests, to create a more efficient process for expanding our energy infrastructure and develop the nation's first transmission company.
Now, we must get more transmission lines built in an environmentally safe and secure way. And then we must create a first-of-its-kind Generation Company to produce more power within our borders. The Genco will grow our generation capabilities by pooling and sharing energy resources in the state.
Remaining competitive with neighboring states means improving our tax code as well. Let's work together to level the playing field and implement single factor. This one tax change alone could directly result in 67,000 new jobs. And job creation is good for both political parties.
We must also make sure our tax policies continue to empower the workers of Wisconsin by letting them keep more of their hard-earned money. We are in the midst of the most aggressive and consistent era of cutting taxes in state history. Look at what we've accomplished for Wisconsin families:
- In the past 14 years, we cut taxes more than 90 times saving the average Wisconsin family a remarkable $8,300!
- This past fall alone we cut taxes by more than $1 billion saving families $522 through a rebate, income tax reduction, and property tax cut.
The ongoing investment in our people is paying off with a red-hot economy that churned out yet another surplus of $380 million.
We should give the people another dividend. Now that we can afford the property tax rent credit, let's restore it. Get it to my desk.
What we must not do with this surplus, however, is go on an election-year spending binge. We absolutely do not need to spend all this money.
With wise planning and fiscal prudence, we can change the face of the Wisconsin taxpayer into a happy one.
Ladies and gentlemen, without a doubt, the Face of the Future in Wisconsin promises to be the healthiest ever.
The technological advances produced by the new economy will help our children grow stronger and our adults live longer.
But improved health care and pharmaceutical discoveries come with a price. We must make sure health coverage remains affordable for families and seniors.
BadgerCare is proving to be a Godsend for low-income working families like Bruce and Marge Carr. Bruce and Marge were working hard to provide for their two boys when they were suddenly blessed with triplets. Unable to afford their health premiums with five mouths to feed, BadgerCare filled the void.
In just six months, almost 53,000 people have bought into this insurance program. And we're working aggressively with Milwaukee Public Schools to get low-income uninsured children into BadgerCare. Let's make sure this popular program can meet its growing demand by creating an $11 million reserve fund.
As our population grows older, a premium will be placed on keeping health costs for seniors affordable as well. Family Care will give seniors affordable long-term care through an array of choices to meet their specific needs and keep them at home. I'm pleased to announce that Family Care will start this year in Fond du Lac, Portage and La Crosse counties.
Seniors also are facing a crisis with skyrocketing prescription drug costs. The price for these drugs is rising seven times higher than the rate of inflation and faster than the ability to pay for someone on a fixed income.
Tonight, I am proposing a Low-Income Prescription Drug Savings Plan that will save needy seniors citizens $792 a year in drug costs.
Anyone over the age of 65 with an income below 185 percent of the federal poverty level will be eligible. The program:
- Cuts the prices for the most expensive and high volume drugs covered by Medicaid.
- Passes the savings to low-income seniors who pay for medications out of pocket.
- Requires pharmacies to charge no more than the Medicaid reimbursement rate for low-income Medicare beneficiaries.
- Expands Medicaid eligibility to the federal poverty level for seniors and disabled.
- Provides participants with an easy-to-use prescription card.
I am encouraged that nearly everyone in this chamber agrees we need to tackle this problem. Let's come together this session on a solution.
While technological and pharmaceutical advances will help us live longer and healthier there are things we can do to help ourselves and others.
First, stop smoking.
Let's make this the century we took cigarettes out of the mouths of children.
To help make that vision a reality, the Tobacco Control Board will direct millions of dollars towards eliminating the use of tobacco especially by our young people. Tonight, I'm pleased to announce that Dr. Ernestine Willis of the Medical College of Wisconsin will chair the board, while Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and Superintendent John Benson will be among its members.
As for helping others, start by signing the organ donor card on your driver's license. There are thousands of inspiring stories in Wisconsin of how this simple act saves lives. Tonight, the Truitt and Arrowood families would like to tell you their story.
Together, we must fight harder than ever to block Washington's attempts to unnecessarily force successful states like Wisconsin to send their organs to far-away states. This will cost lives in Wisconsin and needlessly waste organs.
Our successful regional procurement program helps thousands of our neighbors as well. I'd like to introduce to you Son Ja and James Jones, two Iowa residents. You probably heard of their story. Son Ja just received a double transplant at our renowned University of Wisconsin Hospital. James plays defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions.
After the surgery, James was good enough to remind us how fortunate we are in Wisconsin to have such a great organ procurement program and a surgeon such as Dr. Hans Sollinger. The Joneses are thankful we shared our good fortune with them. Now James, we're delighted to see that Son Ja is doing so well. But if you wanted to really show your thanks, the next time Dorsey Levens is running near you on the football field, could you slip or something?
In Washington and across America the cry for health care reform has resulted in little more than a whisper of progress. If they stop talking and look at Wisconsin they'll see action, not rhetoric, and the face of real health care reform.
Ladies and gentleman, it goes without saying that the Face of Future in Wisconsin will bear a great big smile.
We love to have fun. And we love to enjoy our great outdoors.
So while working hard to build the new economy, let's not forget to take time to build our recreational opportunities as well.
There's no better place to start than State Fair Park and the largest renovation since its inception.
We will begin this year by constructing the Millennium Gate a more warm and welcoming entrance into the park. And let's put the Midway along the highway, making it more visible and attractive to fair-goers
Imagine the big-eyes and excited faces of our children as they peer out the car window to see the bright lights and bustling activity of the fair.
The new gateway will welcome visitors to improved grounds, a new racetrack and better agriculture facilities, such as a $2 million renovation to the dairy barn. We're going to call these new facilities, "Moo U," where agriculture classes will be conducted throughout the year.
We're also creating a new "Marketplace," with restaurants and retail shops. And a new Exposition Hall will bring events to the fairgrounds year-around, ensuring the future economic vitality of the State Fair.
This major, three-phase renovation will certainly put a smile and a little whip cream on the face of Wisconsin's future.
And after enjoying the rides and shows at the State Fair, families will be able to head out to the new Centennial Park, which will be announced this spring. What a great way to celebrate the 100 th anniversary of the Wisconsin State Park System.
Some of the most fun our state has had outdoors, however, has taken place on a 100-yard by 50-yard patch of pristine green grass nestled away in Brown County.
There, in the smallest of professional sports towns, we have celebrated victory more times than any community in America. On that patch of grass, we've shed tears of joy and frustration watching the giants of the gridiron: Hutson and Hornung, Gregg and Nitschke, Reggie and Fuzzy, Lombardi, Bart and Brett. And we've even cheered homegrown talent like Sheboygan's Bill Schroeder, who's here tonight with Bob Harlan. Muddied and at times frozen our heroes have given their best in the last remaining shrine in all of sports, Lambeau Field.
The Green Bay Packers have come to us with an exciting and well-thought-out plan for their future viability. They largely ask us to let them reach solutions in their community. Therefore, the Legislature should quickly and decisively move this plan forward and let the people of Brown County decide on their piece.
Stadium issues aren't easy and they're not fun. It's like being on the one-yard-line, down by 3 points and deciding whether to go for the win or settle for the tie. In Wisconsin, we always go for the win.
Green Bay is the best-known small town in America. It is known as Titletown. Let's keep it that way by helping the Packers stay winners.
I can't imagine the Face of the Future in Wisconsin without a strong Packers team. The Face of the Future of Government must change dramatically for the next century. We must renew and restructure the partnerships between our people and their institutions at all levels of government.
The public is rightfully demanding that we do more with less. But meeting this demand is causing greater strain in the relationship between state, local and federal governments because fewer taxpayers dollars are available.
To put things in perspective, right now, every cent of the more than $5 billion the state collects in income taxes goes back to local government. That's right. State government doesn't spend one penny of your income tax dollar on state programs. It all goes back to your school board, your county board and your municipal board.
Yet, we hear more and more complaints from local government that the state is not sending them enough money.
This tells me the current relationship between state-and-local government needs to be restructured. Therefore, I am creating a Blue Ribbon Commission on State and Local Partnership to develop a new system for providing the services our people demand and collecting the money to pay for them. Don Kettl will lead this effort.
This new partnership will be the cornerstone for my next biennial budget. And just so we all know what's at stake: the state will not increase the money it sends to local government until this new partnership is in place.
And while we have Don Kettl here, let's get campaign finance reform passed. I will sign any finance reform legislation that gets to my desk.
We can further strengthen the partnerships between government and its people by improving our conduct. Ladies and gentlemen, the people are tired of petty politics. And if we don't change the way we conduct the people's business, they will change our ways for us. We can start by toning down the partisan attacks and cynical gamesmanship.
We can improve the atmosphere in this building by making laws the old-fashioned way. So instead of proposing a mini-budget, the initiatives outlined tonight will be presented to you as individual legislation.
The Face of the Future in Wisconsin requires everyone in this building to work together. In closing, ladies and gentlemen, building Wisconsin's Face of the Future will take vision, hope and strong will. And above all else, a burning desire to succeed.
For we have not toiled, reformed and sacrificed for more than 150 years to stand in the bright light of tomorrow's promise and accept mediocrity.
Our purpose is higher, our conviction is stronger and our vision is more far-reaching. Wisconsin will remain the state America looks to for leadership.
Why? Because we believe anything is possible. Then we make it happen.
When I stood here in 1990 and said we would win a Rose Bowl in five years, people nearly laughed me off the stage. And if I would have mentioned winning the Heisman they would have committed me to Mendota.
But now, winning championships is expected in Wisconsin.
I take great pride in presenting to you tonight the men who accomplished those feats: Coach Barry Alvarez and his players: Chris Ghidorzi, Jason Doering, Donnell Thompson and Chris McIntosh. Barry, when I made my prediction we would have been happy with one three is truly amazing. Thanks for bringing so much pride to our state.
The Heisman Trophy the rarest of all accomplishments stands as a symbol that we can accomplish anything. If we can dream it, we can do it. Ron, we thank you for reminding us of that.
And we thank Erica Palmer for making Wisconsin a national champion by winning the NCAA Cross Country title this fall.
Tonight, we painted a picture of the Face of the Future in Wisconsin. And we laid out an aggressive vision for making this face a reality.
As a state, we hold great confidence and optimism in the future because of the strength of our people, such as: These great athletes; The scientist who holds the key to our new economy; The entrepreneur who turns bold research into the jobs of tomorrow; The dairy farmers who feed our families; The disabled whose talents strengthen our society; The educator who prepares our children for the endless possibilities of the future; The diversity and ethnicity of our people; Our seniors who built today's foundation; and our children who hold tomorrow's hope.
But, as always, we see the face of the future most clearly in our families, who carry forward our dreams for a better tomorrow.
And for me, I see the future in the face of a special little princess, Sophie Ann.
Together, we all make up the Face of the Future in Wisconsin. The face of greatness.
Thank you and God bless Wisconsin.