MADISON – Governor Scott Walker released his Weekly Radio Address Thursday titled “With Lowest-Ever Unemployment Rate, Wisconsin is Leading the Way on Welfare Reform.”

Hi, Governor Scott Walker here.

We should all party like it’s 1999!

The unemployment rate in Wisconsin is now the lowest it has been in the history of the state. Today, the Department of Workforce Development announced that the unemployment rate last month dropped to 3.0%. That is tied for the lowest unemployment rate ever.

The last time it was this good was May, June and July of 1999. Bill Clinton was President then and Tommy Thompson was our Governor. Things were pretty doggone good back then.

Unemployment is at a historic low in our state and the percentage of people working in Wisconsin is one of the best in the nation. In fact, more people are in the workforce in our state than ever before, which is exactly why we are pushing even more welfare reform today.

Tommy Thompson pushed it in the 1990s and Bill Clinton signed the federal version of the Wisconsin law back then. Now, we are pushing for welfare reform again in Wisconsin.

Today, we are announcing an expansion of our Wisconsin Works for Everyone welfare reform plan. You see, we want to help people who are down and out, but for those who are able, we will enable them to work. Public assistance should be more like a trampoline and not a hammock.

Looking ahead, I am calling a special session to do even more welfare reform, so we can get even more people into the workforce. Each week, the state website JobsCenterOfWisconsin.com has somewhere between 80,000 to 100,000 job openings. We want to fill them so that people can find careers to support themselves and their families.

We want able-bodied working-age adults to work 30 hours or more a week or enroll in job training program to get assistance. We want to expand welfare reform statewide. And we want to ensure that everyone getting public assistance can pass a drug test.

If someone fails the drug test, we have set aside resources to get them into rehabilitation because we know that if we can get them healthy, we can find a job for anyone in the state.

We also put asset limits on public assistance, so people with giant houses and fancy cars are not getting welfare checks while hardworking taxpayers pay their bills.

With the workforce and unemployment at historic levels, we need more people working in Wisconsin. Welfare reform will help. That’s why I am calling on the members of the state Legislature to act on these Special Session bills.

While people are frustrated with Washington, we are getting positive things done for the people of Wisconsin.

###