FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Rep. Goyke, 608.266.0645
June 3, 2019 Rep. Taylor, 608.266.5342
Republican JFC Members Continue to Double Down on their Legacy of Low Job Growth, Lagging Wages, and a Collapsing Public Infrastructure
Will they continue fiscal irresponsibility by rejecting MA expansion?
MADISON – Over the budget process, Republican Joint Finance members have repeatedly touted how eight years of Republican rule has “turned the state around.” Yet a look at the facts over the last eight years present a starkly different picture with low job creation numbers, little growth of the middle class, not attracting new, educated workers, and a collapsing, underfunded public infrastructure that has left our K-12 public schools and UW System scrambling and our roads crumbling.
Wisconsin Republicans are on the verge of continuing their fiscally irresponsible ways in refusing to provide Medicaid expansion, which would save the state $324.5 million while attracting a desperately needed $1.6 billion in federal monies. Governor Tony Evers and legislative Democrats have proposed investing this state savings and additional federal dollars to expand access to opioid treatment and prevention, mitigating child lead poisoning, and investing in maternal and infant health, among other critical health care needs.
“Republican lawmakers are continuing to short-change the people of our state, whose priorities they ignore,” stated Rep. Chris Taylor, ranking Assembly Democrat on the Joint Finance Committee. “After eight years of their failed economic policies, Wisconsin lags behind the majority of other states in job-creation and is in the bottom third among all 50 states in income growth. Wisconsin is one of the weakest states in the country in attracting a new, educated workforce. And our middle class has contracted. As this budget debate shows, these Republican legislators continue to refuse to make the needed public investments in our state that will spur job growth and help our communities appeal to new workers we desperately need.”
According to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin’s job growth from December of 2017 to December of 2018 ranked 39th in the country—lower than other Midwestern states including Minnesota, Michigan, and Indiana. A new report from Pew Charitable Trusts finds that since the Great Recession of 2007, Wisconsin has lagged behind the national average for income growth and trailed Minnesota, Indiana, and Iowa.
And according to a new study from the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum, Wisconsin also lags behind other Midwestern states, including Minnesota and Illinois, in attracting coveted highly-educated workers. In 2017, roughly 20% of native Wisconsinites between ages 31 and 40 who left the state had a Bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to less than 10% of workers moving into the state. This net loss of highly-educated workers is the 8th highest in the country, and is exacerbating Wisconsin’s workforce shortages when it comes to filling higher-paying jobs.
“These statistics should cause my Republican colleagues to change course, yet so far in the budget process, they have doubled down on bad fiscal decision after bad fiscal decision. Instead of making vital public investments in children, public education and transportation infrastructure, they are prioritizing $1.1 billion in tax giveaways to the wealthy elite. Tomorrow they have the opportunity to change course on Medicaid expansion to benefit the people of this state. Let’s hope they finally do.”
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