Preview of Gov. Walker's Upcoming Budget: Welfare Reform

Feb 1, 2017

During a stop in Wauwatosa Wednesday, Governor Walker revealed more about his upcoming two-year budget proposal. He said he's ready to put forth money to help keep families intact, while revamping the welfare system.

Walker said he wants to adjust the Earned Income Tax Credit - a program he trimmed in 2011. The governor told the audience at the Wauwatosa Rotary Club that he plans to eliminate the EITC's marriage penalty.

“If two low income earners, two people who are working, but maybe just barely in the workforce, end up getting married, we don’t want to make it be a disadvantage. Cause right now, if they do that and they see a drop in what their credit is under the Earned Income Tax Credit. We want to get rid of that and so we smooth that out," he said. "We say you get married for the next three years to start out with, we’re going to let you choose the better of the two. Whether you file your taxes the way you would if you were single or you file them as a married couple jointly, whichever is the better deal for you, you get to claim as an incentive for you."

The governor also told the crowd he plans to pursue drug testing for welfare recipients and job training programs for people with school-aged children. And he touted a school of thought called the "success sequence."

Walker said his welfare overhaul will include initiatives to send children "clear and direct messages" about the importance of following the success sequence.

“It’s not about morals, it’s not about just values, although, I would think morals and values would suggest the success sequence as accurate, it’s about science. The data has shown us the success sequence that says if you’re a young person and you’re looking ahead to your future, if you stay in school, you graduate, you get a job, you wait until you’re 21 and married to have a child, you will succeed at life,” he said.

Walker said the data show people who complete those steps, have a 75 percent chance of entering the middle class - regardless of their background. The governor said he'll share full details about his welfare program changes when he gives his budget address one week from today.