By Urban Media News
Last week marked the end of another legislative session that was supposed to be all about jobs. And for good reason.
Month after month, key economic indicators show Wisconsin continues to fail at creating sustainable job growth.
The most recent economic data released by the state Department of Workforce Development (DWD) show unemployment rates rose in 69 of the state’s 72 counties during the month of February.
During the same month, Wisconsin was second in the nation in job losses.
Scott Walker and the Republican controlled legislature apparently had no real strategy or plan to create job growth when they entered the 2013-14 legislative session.
Wisconsin lags behind the rest of the U.S in private sector growth – creating jobs at half the national average.
We’re only 35th in the nation in job growth, and 45th in projected job growth.
Wisconsin has no real economic clout due to Republicans’ inattention to job creation and failure to create a plan that would create long term economic growth.
Instead, state Republicans used the session to push forth an extreme, partisan agenda all the way down to the last few hours legislators were on the Senate and Assembly floor.
Republicans gave plenty lip-service to job creation this year, but instead of bringing jobs bills up for deliberation, they pushed an extreme plan to make it harder for people to vote – all while making it easier for lobbyists to donate to campaigns.
During this session, Scott Walker, the standard bearer for the Republican party in Wisconsin, made it clear he would a call a special legislative session on Voter ID if the law is struck down by the courts.
Republicans were laser focused on using this session to change voting rules in time for this year’s elections, showing they care more about keeping their jobs more than creating jobs for Wisconsinites.
Meanwhile, Democrats have put forward more than a dozen jobs bills focused on important issues like job training, promoting Wisconsin manufacturing, helping start-up businesses receive needed capital, Buy American and Buy Wisconsin and clean energy.
And Republicans wouldn’t give any of the commonsense job creation proposals the time of day.
If Republicans focused nearly as much on creating jobs as they did protecting their own, Wisconsin would likely be model economy, a national leader in job growth rather than 35th.
Scott Walker may be satisfied with being 35th in the nation in jobs as long as he wins reelection in November, but the people of Wisconsin are not.
Democrats came to Madison this session ready to strengthen Wisconsin’s middle class with a real agenda that would help workers receive much needed job training and improve our economy so that everybody has a fair shot at success.
But Republicans decided to ignore real people’s needs, priorities, and long term economic security for the sake of partisan gamesmanship.
Restricting people’s basic freedoms – like exercising their constitutional right to vote – does not create a single job or improve our economy.
Had the Republicans chosen to work with Democrats on fixing problems instead of just fixing elections, Wisconsin could be well on the path to again leading the nation in ensuring better opportunities and more freedom for its citizens.
Unfortunately, they didn’t. Their inattention to jobs, coupled with their disturbing assault on democracy, has put the American Dream further and further out of reach for working Wisconsin families.
Recent public polling shows that only 35 percent of Wisconsinites describe the state’s economic performance in positive terms and 70 percent say their personal financial situation has stayed the same or gotten worse since Scott Walker took office.
And the latest Wisconsin Economic Scorecard poll shows that, among working- age residents, only those from households with a total annual income of $80,000 or more are likely to describe their personal financial situations in positive terms.
If they really wanted to fight for Wisconsinites, Scott Walker and Republicans in the legislature would have used this session to put aside partisan political games, repair the damage they’ve done, and attempt to make life better for Wisconsin families.
Scott Walker and the Republicans are all talk, but no action when it comes to helping Wisconsin’s middle class – and their failed legislative session is proof.