Remember when gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker drove around in a 1998 Saturn, eating ham and cheese sandwiches and promising to create 250,000 jobs? It’s hard to forget, because his thrifty lifestyle and “250,000 jobs” claim probably got him elected. And remember when Governor Walker said he’d focus “like a laser” to create those 250,000 jobs he’d promised? That’s hard to forget, too, because his job promises may be why he survived the recall. But after viewing the latest reports, Wisconsin Democrats are demanding to know, “Where are the jobs?!”
Mike Tate, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, and Representative Peter Barca (D) called a press conference on Thursday morning to call Governor Walker out on what they consider to be his failed promises, one day after a Forbes report listed Wisconsin as “one of the worst states for business.”
From The Business Journal:
The state of Wisconsin is one of the worst states for business with state production heading in the wrong direction, according to Forbes magazine.
Forbes’ latest rankings of The Best States for Business placed America’s Dairyland 42nd in the nation, dropping from 40th in 2011. The rankings are derived from a series of criteria: business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life.
Wisconsin’s outlook for job growth — a cornerstone of Gov. Scott Walker’s 2010 campaign — weighed down the picture. The magazine said job growth is projected to be second worst in the country through 2016.
Mike Tate referenced the above article during this morning’s press conference. “We are here today to respond to some of the disturbing news about Scott Walker’s complete and total failure with respect to jobs, as well as his open flirtation with Right-to-Work-for-less legislation of the kind that recently was passed in Michigan and signed into law by his close friend and admirer, Rick Snyder.
We’re here to ask a really simple question of Scott Walker, which is, ‘Where are the jobs?’ Scott Walker promised us 250,000 jobs. According to federal figures, he has only created 25,000, which may be the reason he is running away like Jay Cutler facing Clay Matthews from his main campaign pledge.”
Continued Tate, “Scott Walker has been criss-crossing the state telling anybody who will listen that he has a plan on jobs, even as he winks and nods at an extremist tea party agenda being crafted in the darkest corners of the Republican Tea Party. He’s held dog and pony shows in all corners of the state with hand-picked audiences, and held these events at the businesses of wealthy contributors.”
Representative Peter Barca agreed with Tate’s assessment and added that constituents have called him to ask why Governor Walker’s listening sessions are held at private companies open only to company owners and employees, and not at public forums such as libraries. “It’s time we open this whole process up,” said Barca.
Barca also said that, in addition to the frustration about lack of job growth and the GOP’s habit of doing business behind closed doors, he’s frustrated that Governor Walker seems to have broken his promise of bi-partisanship.
“You’re not hearing specific ideas about creating jobs, you’re not hearing about how we can close the skills gap….we (Democrats) have specific ideas, we put forward a whole package on closing the skills gap which I think has the best promise of putting people back to work.
Well over a year ago, we practically pleaded with the governor to have a special session. We’ve been out of session now for eight months, and we’re going in in January and there doesn’t appear to be much hope that we’re going to be moving forward an agenda anytime soon, and it just seems like there’s not the kind of bi-partisan ideas that we hoped for and that we know can make a difference.”
Barca said that while he’s happy to hear that Governor Walker has decided to drop the fight to eliminate same day voter registration, and it doesn’t appear that he will pursue Right-to-Work legislation here in Wisconsin, it’s really hard to know for sure. Barca wishes that, instead of hemming and hawing, the governor would just come right out and say, “We don’t feel that this (extremist) agenda is ever right for Wisconsin.”
Personally, I don’t hold out much hope that Governor Walker will change his methodology, and I can’t imagine him going back to his Saturn driving, sandwich eating ways. I also don’t hold out much hope for those jobs, based on evidence we’ve seen so far (Forbes and The Business Journal are not shady liberal rags; they’re trustworthy sources of factual information).
But I am happy to hear that Governor Walker has dropped his recent half-a-million dollar proposal to upgrade the kitchen at the Governor’s mansion. That doesn’t sound very cost-conscious to me. Even if Walker has moved on from ham and cheese sandwiches and is now eating grilled paninis, it just seems wasteful to spend taxpayer dollars that way…