State legislators responded to Governor Scott Walker’s State of the State Address that he delivered Tuesday night as the snow blizzard of 2011 began its assault on the state. State Representative Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee) made the following statement in response to Governor Walker’s State of the State Address:
“I hear the governor’s call to action and I agree that we are in the midst of a crisis that demands immediate job creation and fiscal responsibility. When faced with a crisis, however, any proposed solution must address the problem, not make it worse. It is impossible to spend more than $142 million on a jobless Special Session, chase good jobs out of the state, and say we’re solving Wisconsin’s problems. Nevertheless, this is the exact gimmick we’ve seen from Republicans during their first month in power.” she said.
“We cannot secure Wisconsin’s future if we are only ‘open for business’ as usual. Everyday people need jobs, not gimmicks. That is why Democrats are hard at work, proposing effective job-creating initiatives that will keep Wisconsin moving in a positive direction. When it comes to Wisconsin values like health care, public education, and family-supporting jobs, people need to know who is on their side.” Grigsby continued.
“As Governor Walker and Republicans in the Legislature look at Wisconsin’s economic situation, my colleagues and I will remain vigilant in protecting Wisconsin families and creating opportunities for all.” she concluded.
Senator Lena C. Taylor issued the following statement in reaction to Governor Walker’s first State of the State address: “In the midst of the blowing snow across Wisconsin, citizens heard a good load of hot-air tonight in the Governor’s first state of the state. State of the State speeches are cheerleading sessions, and Governor Walker did not fail to meet to try and cheer on his party base. In this session, the Governor will find not one Democrat disagreeing with him about the need to clean-up Wisconsin’s budget, however, he will find voting citizens — Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — that absolutely do not want to balance the state budget on the backs of working people, on those who use or have loved ones who use SeniorCare and BadgerCare, or those who send their children to public schools, or on those who treasure the pristine natural resources this state preserves. To those of us who lived through this in Milwaukee County, we know the horrors about to face the people of Wisconsin with this leadership. In eight days, we have seen the enactment of special session bills that increase the structural deficit by over 140 million dollars with zero jobs, minimal accountability for those dollars and outcomes; all for a symbol to business over people. The day will come when Governor Walker will be called to answer to the voice of people clamoring for a just government that cares for its citizens.”
Representative Sandy Pasch (D – Whitefish Bay) offered the following comments following Governor Walker’s State of the State address: “It is obvious that our state continues to face significant challenges, so I appreciate Governor Walker’s optimism in working to create a more vibrant economy in Wisconsin. However, I have serious concerns with the rhetoric surrounding his plans to address the economic emergency we have on our hands.” she stated.
“Republicans have already dug an additional $142 million hole and counting in our state deficit over the next biennium on legislation that will do nothing to immediately create jobs, and it seems very likely that many of our state’s most vital programs and safety nets are on the hook to cover the cost. While I recognize there must be shared sacrifice to get our state back on track, we must not balance the budget on the backs of working families and some of our most vulnerable citizens. The stakes are too high for Wisconsin and its citizens to use sound bites and bumper sticker rhetoric to tackle the challenges we are facing. Rather, we must take a thoughtful approach to reducing costs and easing taxpayer burden, while maintaining our investment in core services.” she continued.
“While I remain hopeful that Governor Walker and my Republican colleagues will address the pressing issues facing our state in a deliberate, bipartisan manner, it appears as if Wisconsin is open for business as usual.” she concluded.
Finally, State Representative Robert Turner (D-Racine) commented on Governor Walker’s State of the State Speech, calling the Governor’s special session on job creation a “lost opportunity.” “No jobs were created,” said Turner. “Instead, the special session focused on vague goals that emphasized speed over substance, with no tangible results,” he commented.
“While Governor Walker addresses business climate, as in BIG business climate, the Republican Legislature began the session with a focus on social issues that will take Wisconsin backward, cost money ($142 million this far), and not solve any of our daunting economic problems: voter ID, voter registration, relaxing restrictions on payday loans, and making sure that fiscally and physically injured citizens will no longer have adequate access to compensation for circumstances beyond their control,” said Turner.
Turner said he felt Governor Walker’s speech was short on substance, referring to the “decline in the global economy that started several years ago” without blaming the George W. Bush administration for the economic juggernaut that hit just as he left office. To address our current budget deficit, he spoke chiefly of cutbacks for Medicaid programs that help the poor and disabled and of forcing public employees to accept wage and benefit decreases, as they have been doing for most of Governor Jim Doyle’s 8-year administration.
Economic recovery in Wisconsin has to offer security and a good life—not just for big companies or employers, but for workers and employees too. There are many signs and economic indicators that show the economy is in recovery, but companies are not hiring. They are saving money by making existing employees work harder. This tendency is a very disturbing throwback to working conditions during the Industrial Revolution.
Last session, Democrats in the Legislature passed more that 50 jobs initiatives and have introduced 11 jobs bills since Inauguration Day. Our proposals have been ignored by Governor Walker. He can’t claim bipartisan cooperation by ignoring our good ideas.
“Brown bags, open for business signs—fine, but we must address the crisis. Real people need jobs, not gimmicks,” concluded Turner.