Where are the jobs?Gov. Scott Walker seems to sense he won’t meet his 2010 campaign promise of adding 250,000 jobs in four years in office.
By: Matt Pommer, Superior Telegram
Gov. Scott Walker seems to sense he won’t meet his 2010 campaign promise of adding 250,000 jobs in four years in office.
Speaking to reporters in Merrill, the governor put a different spin on his campaign promise. He said:
“My goal wasn’t so much to hit a magic number as much as it was, in the years before I took office, when I was campaigning; I saw that we lost over 133,000 jobs here in the state.
“I said, ‘It’s really not about jobs, it’s about people. Real jobs like those here, and more importantly, affecting real families all across the state.’”
The job issue continues to dog the governor, perhaps due to the emphasis he placed on it in 2010. He has met conservative expectations: approving the carrying of concealed weapons, ending state grants to Planned Parenthood, maiming public employee unions, reducing payroll benefits to state workers, and providing a tax break for families who send their children to private schools.
The governor is flush with campaign cash for his 2014 re-election effort. He raised $3.52 million in campaign cash in the first six months of 2013. About 58 percent came from out of state.
Yet the job promise lingers. Walker recently suggested reasons why his administration won’t meet the 250,000 job-growth promise. The governor said the recall elections in 2012 and the passage of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) had hindered job growth in Wisconsin.
The governor shouldn’t complain too much about the recall elections. He won his election and results have turned him into a national political figure. He has toured America speaking to conservative Republican groups
The intriguing question for historians is whether the outcome would have been different had the recall elections coincided with the presidential election later in the year.
President Obama won Wisconsin’s electoral votes in November by 7 percent and state voters selected U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin for the U.S. Senate over her Republican opponent, former four-term Gov. Tommy Thompson.
The fallout from the anti-union law and the recall election continues to bubble in the State Capitol. At issue is the treatment of those who gather in the Capitol Rotunda to sing labor songs at noontime.
A federal judge has ruled the singers, if there are more than 20, need a permit to sing in the Capitol. They balk at the permit approach and Capitol Police have been arresting, handcuffing and citing the singers.
This may delight Republican voters, but how does the resulting news coverage affect those who may move their businesses to Wisconsin? Earlier this month in Seattle labor protestors picketed outside a Walker speech venue.
Then there is the health insurance act. Walker has been a sharp critic, even turning down federal money to expand the Medicaid program which helps the poor. An example of the Walker administration’s stance is shown in the statement issued by his then-health chief Dennis Smith after the law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Smith denounced increasing taxes to provide health care opportunities. The health care act imposed a 3.8 income tax surcharge on investment income for the very wealthy. Smith said the way to provide more health coverage is through creating jobs. Of course, that brings Wisconsin full circle to Walker’s promise of another 250,000 jobs.
Matt Pommer, a retired reporter for The Capital Times, writes a column distributed by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.