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Walker: It's the economy
Times photo: Brenda Steurer Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker spoke with business leaders Tuesday morning at Ludlow Mansion, Monroe. Walker is running for governor as a Republican.
MONROE - Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, a Republican contender for Wisconsin governor, met with leading business people Tuesday at the Ludlow Mansion. He heard their concerns about jobs and the state of the economy, which likely are similar to concerns in other parts of the state.

"Specifically, it's a combination of frustration over taxes on income, property, and retirement income," Walker said, in an interview after the event.

There are several factors at the state level affecting the agricultural industry of the Monroe area, he said.

"There's quite a bit of regulation on cheesemakers, and on farmers and manufacturers, from the DNR, and they're frustrated that DNR won't come visit and talk about adapting (regulations)," he added.

State Representative Brett Davis, R-Oregon, who is publicly endorsing Walker, hosted the gathering.

"We share the same vision to turn Wisconsin around, to increase jobs and promote economic development," Davis said.

Davis said the office of lieutenant governor needs to be reformed with its focus on those two aspects of the state's economy, and that Walker wants a strong lieutenant governor with experience.

Davis is considering running for the office of lieutenant governor, and said he will announce his decision in mid-January. His time in the Department of Health and Human Services, three terms in the state legislature, as president of the Oregon Chamber of Commerce, and a decade as a real estate agent at Hedeman Reality gives him Federal, state and private sector experience, which the office of lieutenant governor needs, he said.

Walker said that, as governor, he will take his experiences with challenges in the Milwaukee County budget to the state capital.

"There needs to be a balance, and that's the challenge. Doyle left us with an incredible mess. The stimulus money will be gone in two years. Milwaukee County had a similar situation," he said.

His approach to the state government will be "totally, 180 degrees different," from Doyle's, Walker said. No one thing will clear up the state budget problems, but rather hundreds of little things, he said.

"Everything we talk about are lower taxes, less regulation and more jobs," he added. "Government doesn't create jobs; private businesses do. The current governor and lieutenant governor are creating a worse environment, and a legal burden. We have to make it more attractive to do business."

Walker said about 75 percent of government's efforts need to focus on keeping and growing Wisconsin's businesses, and 25 percent on attracting new businesses.

"Dynamic changes, not small incremental changes. Too much time is spent on attracting and not on protecting jobs that are here," he said.

Walker is upbeat about Wisconsin's potential to turn its economy around.

"Hardworking and educated workforce, generational businesses and incredible natural resources; we have the ingredients for great jobs right now. We need to get government out of the way," he said.