Data released Thursday concerning the jobs created in Wisconsin over the past year is nothing short of an embarrassment. While there are plenty of reasons to point fingers in all directions when it comes to the shortage of credible jobs legislation, which was supposed to be the number one item on the state’s legislative agenda, at the end of the day the same harsh truth remains. Too many of our fellow state citizens are unemployed, and too little is being done to make that number shrink.
No one can take any glee in the numbers. Republicans and Democrats alike have to be held accountable, and pressure from the voters need to be felt in the closing days of this legislative session to move some bills.
There is no reason that this legislature did not pass a venture capital bill. Every economist and think-tank type would have advised the legislature to find some avenue to make this idea take off and land on Governor Walker’s desk. The seeming lack of awareness about spending money today for a larger and smarter pay-off in employment and tax revenue tomorrow was lost on most legislators this session. Instead other states will make inroads where Wisconsin was hesitant to tread. That is a damn shame.
The mining bill for Northern Wisconsin needs to have a strong environmental foundation, and some genuine bi-partisan lifting to get it up and over the final hurdles that present themselves in the legislature. State Senator Schultz is a leader that should not be ridiculed for searching for a bipartisan path forward. Instead the very ones who preach the loudest for job creation need to hunker down in the days to come and hammer out a way forward with Schultz and State Senator Jauch. Not only should a mine open in the Northwoods that is well-regulated and open to citizen input, but it should start with a compromise in the closing hours of this session. It is pure lunacy that gridlock of the type we are witnessing is allowed to continue.
There are reasons to take rhetorical slaps at Governor Walker, and decry the tone that is now all too prevalent at the statehouse where partisanship is king, and logic is often left at the parking garage. But this is also a time to step up and do the state’s business. Cleary what has been proposed and passed during Walker’s first year is not working for this state, and there is plenty of reasons to place much of the problems on the shoulders of the majority party.
But that thinking only goes so far. It is now time for Democrats to reach out as much as possible in the final days of this session and try to advance ideas and bipartisan goals that might help give some hope to those struggling in the state. It is also time for Republicans to understand that holding all the levers of power does not ensure success, or possession of all the good ideas.
But hindsight is now changing the picture of how well the state has done during the governor’s first year.
Previous estimates showed 15,700 total government and private sector jobs were created from January 2011 to January 2012.
But new numbers released Thursday show that over that same time period the state lost 8,100 jobs.
Looking at just private sector jobs, estimates previously showed 13,500 jobs created. Actual numbers show only 6,000 jobs created so far during the governor’s term.
“It’s not just some wild number in the sky or a bunch of indicators. Those are very certain numbers,” said Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha. “Of course the governor stated he was going to tattoo on the heads of his cabinet secretaries he was going to create 250,000 jobs. I applaud him for that initiative, but you have to have bills that make that become a reality.”