One of the most important duties I have serving as your Governor is to provide you directly with updates related to the operation of our state government. I also frequently provide updates on Facebook (Governor Scott Walker) and Twitter (@govwalker). Please feel free to share this update with your family, friends, and others who may be interested in state government operations.
During the last two weeks, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) hosted three of four public hearings on the biennial 2013-2015 budget. After the public hearings are concluded, the Committee will make their recommendations and the budget will move to the Legislature. Both houses must pass the same version of the budget before it can come to my desk for final approval.
Public hearings are an important part of the budget process. The first hearing was hosted at Greendale High School in Greendale, WI, and 262 people took the opportunity to testify. A wide range of topics were discussed including residency requirements for Milwaukee, school choice, and issues specific to southeastern Wisconsin.
The second hearing was held at Lambeau Field in Green Bay and the main topic of discussion was school choice. You can learn more about the proposals for school choice here. Again, there was a large turnout and individuals were able to voice their opinions for and against different proposals in the budget. Wisconsin Dells held the third hearing at the Kalahari Resort and the proposal for DNA at the time of arrest was among the issues that were discussed.
The importance of these public discussions cannot be underestimated. The "Talk with Walker" sessions I held last winter greatly helped with shaping the budget, and I would like to thank all those who came out to register their opinions at the legislature's hearings.
The JFC is a 16-member committee made up of members from both the State Senate and State Assembly. The final public hearing will be held on April 18th at 10 a.m. at Baldwin-Woodville High School in Baldwin, WI.
Today, I am embarking on a trade mission to China that will take place from April 13-21. I am excited to travel there and have the opportunity to discuss export and investment opportunities. During the visit, there will be business meetings in Beijing, Shanghai, and Harbin. The delegation from Wisconsin is a total of 36 individuals, including representatives from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), and more than 20 business leaders from Wisconsin businesses.
China is an important and viable market for Wisconsin exports including industrial machinery, medical equipment, clean energy and clean water technologies, and agricultural products. China is Wisconsin's third largest export market. In 2012, exports to China increased by 11.8 percent to $1.5 billion.
In addition, I will participate in the China-US Governors Forum taking place in Beijing and sponsored by the National Governors Association and the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
Learn more about the China mission trip online at www.inwisconsin.com/chinamission2013 or follow on Twitter at #WIGovChinaTrade for updates on the trip.
It has been a pleasure communicating with you. It is an honor to serve as your Governor and represent the residents of Wisconsin.
Governor Scott Walker