Wisconsin just saw one of the largest crony capitalist deals ever from a state. We can't choose winners and losers in business, as a state. I believe every individual deserves an equal opportunity, regardless if you're a new start-up or a multi-billion dollar international organization. The tax burden on individuals and citizens has left Wisconsin in the bottom half of nearly all measurable categories, and in the bottom 15 overall for tax burden. The breaks and incentives levied to certain businesses, while our main streets struggle, is not helping the citizens of Wisconsin. I will end back room deals and make sure that the state is held accountable for every dollar it spends. Transparency in government is required for the trust of our citizens. Any tax break or incentive one company receives, regardless of size, that same break or incentive should be available for all business in Wisconsin.
We have a great school system here in Wisconsin. We score in the top 10 on most standardized tests. That's wonderful. Yet, somehow, less than half of our students meet ACT benchmarks. Our schools are teaching our children how to regurgitate information, but not how to think and problem-solve. The weight of the government on education standards has left Wisconsin ranked 17th in the country and America, as a whole, ranked 14th overall wedged between Russia and Australia. When we consider that South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong all rank in the top 5 it's clear that serious consideration needs to be given to how we teach our children. Liberating innovation in the individual's mind is the first step to creating an environment in which innovation can grow in our state. We need to allow our teachers the freedom to engage our children and encourage discovery and new ideas. The classroom is a place of development. Lets make that development happen in a direction that benefits our state, in reality, not just one that looks good on paper.
All men are created equal. That statement leaves no room for question. We, as a state, need every single one of our citizens, regardless of background, to be a productive and integral part of our state. Wisconsin is a diverse state of many backgrounds. From the farmers and hunters of the Fox Valley and North-woods; to the knowledge centers of UW- Madison and the amazing downtown of 3rd Ward Milwaukee. We have immigrants from all over the world and natives who have been here since before this was Wisconsin. Every citizen deserves a fair and equal opportunity to progress in our state. It is each and every one of us who makes Wisconsin a great state and we need every one of us working together to progress. Your rights are something I will never compromise on, regardless of your color or background.
Wisconsin's prison system is in need of an extreme makeover. We spend nearly 3x the amount imprisoning an inmate that we do educating a child. We spend more on corrections per citizen than all our neighboring states. Do we have more criminals here? No, we don't. The state is creating an environment that encourages imprisoning people for nonviolent offences. We have a system that has created revolving door prisons, setting people up for failure. We, as a state, need to move away from incarceration and focus on rehabilitation. Almost half of all inmates are nonviolent drug offenders. We, as a state, can't afford to incarcerate our way out of this problem. We need to give these people an opportunity for success in our state. It can only benefit us in the long run.