We've hinted at this for a while on the blog, but I'm going to come right out and say it: Republicans have only two priorities for the next session: Jobs and the budget.
That's it. Anything else and they will fail.
Constitutionally, we must have a balanced budget. There is no avoiding this issue and if the incoming administration and huge legislative majorities do not take this seriously, this will be their only chance. The Republicans have a majority only because they promised to tackle the $2.7 billion deficit honestly and without gimmicks. They have only a few months to solve the problem. I suggest they be serious about making hard choices and make real cuts to wasteful programs.
As for jobs, there is a lot that needs to be done. Repealing the abomination that is combined reporting would be a start. Streamlining our regulatory system and repealing some of the government overreaches of the last 8 years would help as well. I'll have much more to say about improving our state's economy as the January special session approaches, but - again - if Republicans fail to act in a meaningful way, they will have squandered the opportunity of a lifetime.
These are the only priorities that matter for the next year. I'd love to see voter ID, concealed carry, statewide school vouchers and a wholesale reform of the state's school funding formulas, but until we have a truly balanced budget and an improving economy, they don't mean a damn thing.
It's really that simple. We promised to fix the budget and the economy. We either do it, or in two years, the Democrats will sweep us out. As they should.
I know a lot of other people have said this, but the GOP has a truly unique opportunity to change the state of Wisconsin. I just hope they realize that and do the right thing.