Governor is planning ahead and liking what he sees

Matt Pommer • Wisconsin Newspaper Association

Gov. Scott Walker ls planning ahead. He says he won’t seek a fourth term as governor in 2022.

That means he is confident of winning a third term in the 2018 election, despite polls showing public support ranging in the low to mid-40 percentile. Earlier this year he said he wouldn’t run for president again as an incumbent governor.

The governor’s state campaign committee had $143,230 in the bank at the start of October, but his presidential campaign organization still has about $382,000 to pay off. Efforts to raise money should improve after the current political season ends next week. He’s not on the ballot this year.

Money shouldn’t be a problem for Walker no matter how many more times he runs for governor. Data that flowed from the John Doe investigation showed Walker was able to raise millions of dollars through a side organization which supported his election efforts.

He has donor lists for sale that include 172,415 names of donors for state campaigns and 69,552 for his brief and unsuccessful presidential campaign. The 2018 election is important because the winner of the governor’s race will have a veto over reapportionment of legislative and congressional districts that follow the 2020 federal census.

Due to existing district lines Republicans likely will control the 2021 legislative session that will develop new district lines. A Republican governor is necessary to assure a Republican drafted map plan is implemented. In turn, that map could set the stage for Republican control of the Legislature for another decade into the 2030s.

Before the 2018 election cycle gears up, Walker and the Republican legislative majorities will have transportation, education and health issues ahead to solve in the next biennial budget.

Transportation groups, local government leaders, and Republican leaders in the Assembly are pushing for long-term financing for highway construction, road repair and other transportation spending.

Walker has balked, preferring for the state to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars for highway construction. Local governments notice have been turning to “wheel taxes” on their constituents’ vehicles to raise cash for road repairs and improvements.

The governor says he won’t approve any increase in license fees or gasoline taxes unless other taxes are reduced. That approach has allowed the governor to please conservatives and avoid the issue before this year’s election.

The governor has also sidestepped calls for budget help from public school officials, especially those unable to win referenda for higher taxes. The governor has retorted that these districts just need to be more efficient.

Private school leaders also have their eyes on more help from the state. Assembly Republican leaders are promising a new program to help the finances of this sector of education. The for-profit private school industry has been among the GOP’s major financial backers.

Walker won’t be alone in planning ahead.

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