Walker’s standing at midterm

Political beat

Governor Scott Walker

Only 38 percent of the 801 people quizzed in the latest Marquette University Law School Poll have a favorable view of Gov. Scott Walker, while 58 percent have an unfavorable view.

Controversies continue to surface in GOP-controlled Wisconsin. A controversial Vilas County land swap deal between the state and a major contributor to Walker’s political campaigns is headed for examination by the Natural Resources Board, controlled by Walker appointees.

Governor Scott Walker
Governor Scott Walker

The Department of Natural Resources has come under criticism for the drop in prosecutions of water pollution cases.

Changes to Wisconsin’s civil service law promoted by the Walker administration and approved by the GOP-controlled Legislature now are taking effect.

The governor had scaled back Medicaid coverage after refusing to accept federal funds for an expanded program under Obamacare.

Budget decisions have been controversial in Walker’s six years in office. Wisconsin has adopted an agricultural and manufacturing tax credit system which dramatically lowers corporate income tax collections. Estimates say it will provide more than a $250 million in tax breaks.

Walker drew national attention for crippling public employee unions in 2011 and then winning a hostile recall election orchestrated by the labor movement. Later, Walker signed a right-to-work law allowing workers to avoid paying union dues.

Among controversial budget cuts are $250 million in state money for the University of Wisconsin System.

Also lurking in the wings is the FBI’s investigation into alleged staff problems at youth correctional facilities in northern Wisconsin.

That seems like a full plate of political questions for 2018, when Walker runs for re-election.

-Matt Pommer is the “dean” of Capitol correspondents in Madison. His column is published with permission from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, but does not reflect the views or opinions of the WNA or its member newspapers.

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