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Walker plan offers decline

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The creation of 250,000 jobs during his first term — the centerpiece of Gov. Scott Walker’s 2010 campaign — is not one of his favorite topics today because he will fall far short of that promise.

The Institute for Wisconsin’s Future posted a report May 31 demonstrating Walker’s claim that Wisconsin’s economy is doing just fine is not true. University of Wisconsin Professor Menzie Chinn “... has shown that pro-business policies don’t really contribute to economic growth. They just make the rich richer, which is not the same thing at all.”

The institute indicates the American Legislative Exchange Council, a nonprofit think tank funded by the Koch brothers, big business and others, publishes an economic index in conjunction with conservative economist Art Laffer, called the ALEC-Laffer State Economic Index. Wisconsin ranks 17th in ALEC-Laffer. To rank high in that index, a state needs low taxes, small government, anti-union policies and no estate tax.

Professor Chinn’s study confirmed high ALEC-Laffer rankings do not correlate to high economic growth. To illustrate his findings, Chinn charted four states — California, Wisconsin, Kansas and Minnesota — dating back to January 2011, when they got new governors. Kansas ranked 15th and Wisconsin 17th with ALEC-Laffer. Both states have ALEC-friendly governors, but both have poor employment growth. Minnesota and California have governors who are not ALEC friendly. Minnesota ranked 46th with ALEC-Laffer, but outperformed the U.S., Kansas and Wisconsin in growth. California ranked 47th with ALEC-Laffer, yet is doing the best in terms of employment among the four states.

Chinn interpolates Wisconsin’s Department of Revenue employment forecast to predict Walker will fall short of his 250,000 jobs promise by 108,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics quarterly census of employment and wages data December 2010 to December 2014 and June 19 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel show Wisconsin:

• Dead last in the Midwest for job growth.

• 37th in the nation in job creation last year.

• Created just 28,000 jobs last year — a three-year record low.

• Lost 400 private-sector jobs in May 2014.

Chinn says Walker’s policies and dismal economic performance are hurting real people in real communities, and his relentless budget cutting leaves “... crucial state services, particularly education, gasping for breath. That’s a formula for long-term decline, not growth.”

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