Wisconsin’s economy is getting stronger, says state Sen. Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls).
“We have turned the state around financially. We are in the best financial shape that we’ve been in over a decade. I just want to continue going in that direction,” said Moulton, who is seeking his second term in the 23rd State Senate District. He faces Democrat Phil Swanhorst in the Nov. 4 election.
In 2013, Moulton said that Wisconsin ranked No. 1 in the Midwest in personal income growth.
He said growth in wages of state residents should be left to the free market. The way to raise wages is not by the government mandating it, but by creating an economy that rewards people for their work.
He cited Wisconsin businesses creating 124,000 new jobs as proof that things are on the upswing. “I think we’re moving in a positive (direction),” he said.
The state Legislative Fiscal Bureau in September said Wisconsin is looking at a projected shortfall approaching $1.8 billion for the next biennial budget cycle. However, Moulton said if the state sees a growth rate similar to what it has experienced during the last five years, at the end of the biennium the state will have a $500 million surplus.
Moulton supports a referendum on the Nov. 4 ballot that would stop the Legislature from taking money from the transportation fund and using it for other budget items.
"I voted for it. I think it's long overdue to stop the raids that have been going on," he said.
Moulton plans to work with Democrats to stabilize transportation funding, which is projected to have a $680 million shortfall during the next biennium.
"It's going to take a bipartisan effort to address that issue," he said, explaining that a solution would require a mix of items and the problem with transportation funding will not be solved in one biennium.
Moulton supports school choice and vouchers, but doesn't know if he would support to expand the voucher program beyond what it is now. "A statewide expansion is not one of my priorities in this session," he said, adding that there should be accountability in the voucher system.
He has strong concern over legalizing marijuana, as the states of Washington and Colorado have done. As for allowing medical marijuana in Wisconsin, Moulton is opposed to it and prefers other alternatives.
If re-elected, Moulton wants to continue working to streamline government. He said changing the makeup of the Small Business Regulatory Review Board to include more business operators has worked well.
He said one of the big things the last Legislature did to help local communities was passing Act 10, the law that greatly restricts public sector unions from collective bargaining.
"We gave them some tools to manage much better than they had before," Moulton said. He said some school districts were unhappy with the changes, but some of those didn't take advantage of what the law provided them.
In the 23rd Senate District, Moulton pointed out that 13 school districts got more state money and 13 schools got less money.