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Governor Walker Ignores Wisconsin’s Most Important Asset: Children

The following is a response from Ken Taylor, Executive Director of Kids Forward, on Governor Walker’s State of the State address.

“Governor Walker missed an opportunity to use the State of the State address to focus on Wisconsin’s most important asset: the well-being of our children. The Governor’s rosy picture failed to address the challenges that many children and families in our state face and failed to present solutions that will work to help every child and every family succeed—especially those furthest from opportunity.

Make no mistake, Wisconsin has a long way to go when it comes to the well-being of our children. It’s hard for children to reach their full potential when their families are worried about how to put food on the table or how to pay the rent on time. Yet children are the poorest segment of the population in Wisconsin, with one in six children living in poverty. That adds up to almost 200,000 children living in poverty—nearly twice the population of Green Bay.

If he chose to acknowledge the issue, Governor Walker’s leadership could take us a long way in reducing the number of children in poverty, especially the number of children of color, who are much more likely to be poor than white children. Four out of ten Black children and Native American children live in poverty in Wisconsin, as do three out of ten Hispanic children. These children deserve to have Governor Walker on their side, making sure that they have opportunities to succeed. Wisconsin should be a state where every child, every family, and every community thrives.

Increasing employment in family supporting jobs is a key to families thriving, but instead of removing barriers to work, Governor Walker has focused on creating new administrative hurdles for vulnerable families who need help making ends meet. There are effective ways to pull more people into the workforce, but Governor Walker’s proposals would do little to achieve that objective and instead would make basic assistance more difficult to access.

The tax credit for families was one of the few potentially bright spots in the State of the State address. We look forward to hearing the details about the credit, and want to make sure that policy makers act so that the child tax credit includes families with low incomes.”

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Kids Forward, advocates for effective, long-lasting solutions that break down barriers to success for children and families in Wisconsin. Using research and a community-informed approach, Kids Forward works to help every kid, every family, and every community thrive.