MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker got specific with his plans for nearly $1 billion in surplus revenue on Wednesday.
He delivered his fourth State of the State address at the State Capitol.
"Pass this Blueprint For Prosperity and return this money to the people of the state," he told the joint session of the legislature.
Walker made a new idea called the Blueprint For Prosperity the blueprint for his speech.
"Now is the time to send your money back to you, the hard working taxpayers of Wisconsin," he said.
The governor wants property and revenue tax cut of half a billion dollars to sit in the center of that blueprint.
"It's a pretty obvious political ploy for short term gains for the individual citizen to get a tax break," said Rep. Mandy Wright, D-Wausau, after the speech.
"We'd be much happier to see that money go to a place like our neighborhood public schools that have been woefully under-invested in during the past three years," said Rep. Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point.
While Walker stressed considerable tax cuts, he also hit on issues important to the Northwoods.
"In the coming years, resorts, guides, bait dealers, marinas, and all of the other businesses that depend on good fishing will benefit as Wisconsin becomes the premiere destination for walleye fishing in the Midwest," Walker said.
He highlighted his legislation to dramatically increase the stock of walleyes in state lakes.
"It takes a walleye to get all of you to stand," he joked upon a standing ovation. "I should say that throughout the whole speech."
But Walker completely skipped touching on another issue on the minds of Northwoods people - mining.
"There are a lot of questions, and maybe he is starting to hedge away from the mining bill," Wright said.
While walleye and mining impact the Northwoods disproportionately, Walker's tax plan, if passed, will affect all of Wisconsin.
"The state of our state is strong and improving every day," Walker said.
"We have a lot further to go than he thinks," Shankland countered.
Walker will call a special session of the legislature on Thursday to consider his tax proposals.
EAGLE RIVER - Soccer players may need to wait for the snow on their fields to melt. But they know cabin fever is starting to set in, and it's the perfect time to capitalize on it.
The 7th annual Cabin Fever Indoor Soccer Tournament kicked off today at Northland Pines High School. The event raises money for the school’s boy's and girl's soccer teams.
"This was an opportunity to have an indoor soccer program so the kids can do something in the winter," says tournament director Steve Gilbert. "There was a need for a fundraiser so we thought why not have a tournament. There are other tournaments in the region, why not have one here with this tremendous facility that we have here at Pines."
Nearly 100 5th through 8th graders played in the co-ed soccer matches. Their participation makes it possible for the team to buy new equipment.
"It allows us to buy things that maybe the school can't afford to buy for them, so different types of warm-ups, equipment out on the field," says Gilbert. "One time we bought a camera for them so we could film their games. So it's going to good causes."
WOODRUFF - The Olympics might be over, but the Paralympics are underway in Sochi. Teachers at one local school are using the Olympic spirit to teach students about other countries.
Students at North Country Montessori celebrated International Day Friday morning. The students learn about different countries throughout the school year.
"The children at Montessori do a huge unit on geography and world culture, and we used today as a way to express the information that we found and things that we've learned," says North Country Montessori director Candice Henderson.
This year's theme was the Sochi Olympics.
Each student dressed up as a different country and sang songs in Russian.
This was the school's 30th annual International Day celebration. It ended with a potluck meal featuring ethnic food from different countries.
ST. GERMAIN - We all love our favorite sports teams. But what would happen if you had to dress up in your rival's gear? That's exactly what happened to Bears fan, Jerry Healy.
He's the janitor at St. Germain Elementary School. Healy challenged the students to raise over $700 for charity. If they did he'd wear the green and gold.
“Mr Healy you're unbelievable thank you for doing this,” says Jerry Healy, St. Germain Elementary School Janitor. “One kid said, "all this is disgusting Mr. Healy,” and another little kid who's a diehard Packers fan came up he came up and he's got an orange and blue pair of pants on and goes I'm a bears fan, today you're a packer fan, and that was pretty cool he's in second grade.”
As you can see the students surpassed the goal. The money went to pennies for patients. It’s an organization that supports people diagnosed with leukemia. The challenge brought the whole school together.
“Well I think they rose to the occasion they understood they're helping others in an easy but fun way. They came together as a class, as a whole school and just had a lot of fun with it,” says Jeff Waltz, a third grade teacher at St. Germain Elementary School.
This wasn't the first time Jerry got to dress up as a Packers fan. He did the same thing a few years ago when students accomplished a reading goal.
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