By David A. Wise
MILWAUKEE — Gov. Jim Doyle said today’s state stimulus package announcement will be focused on creating jobs and enacting cuts and revenue uppers to help balance the state budget.
“I think what we’re talking about is a good package and one that will help us significantly,” Doyle said during a morning media availability in Milwaukee. “It’s going to be both something that will help us a lot with the budget and it’s something that will also help us to create jobs.”
The package will include measures aimed at stimulating job creation and getting the state lined up with the forthcoming federal stimulus act to ensure the state can put people to work quickly, Doyle said.
Doyle said it will also include “some of the very deep cuts” that will need to be made to balance the budget.
“We better start making them starting now,” Doyle said.
The hospital assessment will be among revenue uppers included in the package, he said.
“Clearly the hospital assessment is something we should get done and need to get done in order to access federal money,” Doyle said.
Doyle dismissed claims that the assessment is a tax and faulted Republicans in the Legislature for blocking it in the past.
“They have fought against what they call the hospital tax for all of these years,” Doyle said. “The fact is, even the hospitals support it. They don’t think it’s a tax. It’s not a tax. It’s a way we can get more federal money into the state.”
“While most other states have been receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government for years, because of the Republicans in the Legislature, we have not been able to do that,” Doyle continued. “That’s just nonsense. We’re now at a point where we can’t play these games.”
Doyle made his comments to reporters following a brief address at the Culver’s 25th Anniversary Reunion at the Midwest Airlines Center, where the governor proclaimed July 18 as “Culverization Day.”
Doyle praised the Milwaukee-based company for finding a way to thrive despite a tough economy.
“A lot of businesses do OK in good, booming economies, but it’s really good businesses, based on really good values that do well in bad economies and good economies,” Doyle said.
Doyle placed Culver’s on par with Wisconsin traditions like Harley-Davison Motor Company and the Green Bay Packers and said it has been a great ambassador for the state.
He quipped about the role of Culver’s in raising his family: “I could get anything out of my kids if I gave them a promise we would go to Culver’s Friday night.”
Culver’s three-day reunion convention runs through today. The reunion featured a trade show, the Culver’s “grill master” competition, a number of breakout sessions and training classes, and nightly receptions, including a private concert Tuesday with Kenny Loggins.