Lawmakers clash over Wisconsin job reform
By Rebecca Cardenas, WSAW TV (Channel 7)
Wisconsin democratic lawmakers want to see more job bills in the agenda, which they say has been too focused on other things.
"...2015, the republicans have not at all followed Wisconsin values or the people's agenda... I would go so far as to say, the era of clean, open, and transparent government in Wisconsin is over," Rep. Peter Barca said.
According to Barca, Wisconsin employment numbers are some of the worst they've been in the past five years. A statistic he attributes to lack of job reform focus.
"When you get rid of our election and ethics watchdog, the government accountability board, to bring nonpartisan lapdogs ... that is a recipe for corruption. "
"We've seen people work very very hard in central Wisconsin. They're wages haven't increased, some people have gotten laid off, and unfortunately that means the state of Wisconsin needs to act quickly in order to stave of what we're seeing," Rep. Katrina Shankland said.
Shankland seeks reform in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, so that its focus shifts to creating jobs.
"...Because we do think that Wisconsin families work hard, their tax dollars deserve to go to places that actually benefit them and create jobs for them," she said.
According to a 2015 household survey, nearly 25,000 jobs have been added, while nearly 13,000 were lost in Wisconsin since February. Barca says the state is 35th in the U.S. for private sector job creation. The department of workforce development reports Wisconsin's unemployment rate is at 4.2 percent for 2015, while Marathon County's stands at 3.2 percent.
Governor Walker says the call for a special session is all about politics.
"Well, it's the height of hypocrisy. In January of 2010, the unemployment rate was 9.2 percent and those same democrats controlled everything in state government, they didn't call a special session then," he said.
Walker also said unemployment rates have been cut in half during his term and that he's thankful for the turn around.