A Year in Review and the Year to Come
Wisconsin needs more jobs, and we all need to work together to help it happen.
No matter what the latest news story, or what issue pushes its way to the top headlines, Republicans in Wisconsin have an amazing, undeniable record of achievement.
Budget: We balanced our state budget without raising taxes. We eliminated a $3 billion deficit without gimmicks. We cut state borrowing by nearly 20%, and we stood up – finally – to runaway government spending.
Jobs: We held two special legislative sessions devoted to real-world improvements: we stood up to frivolous lawsuits, which businesses consistently identify as a top concern, with tort reform. We cut down on transportation costs with common-sense reforms to our freight laws. We refocused our economic development programs, and we created real incentives for businesses to relocate to Wisconsin, and for Wisconsin companies to grow and keep jobs here.
Results: Wisconsin’s business climate has shown signs of improvement this year. We’re on track for the first year of job growth after three years of decline, and a quarter of the jobs lost in the recession have come back. A leading business magazine showed a 17-point jump in our business rankings, and a WMC survey of business leaders showed that 88% believe we are heading in the right direction, compared to a dismal 10% a year ago.
These aren’t abstract arguments: they’re real reforms designed to have real results.
Bipartisanship in the Age of Recalls:
But was it all just some Republican plot? Actually, 66 bills have been signed into law this year, and 60 of those – 91% – passed with bipartisan support. There are 57 more bills awaiting the governor’s signature, and if they are all signed into law, it means 93% of our actions in Madison were bipartisan.
What are the alternatives?
Compare Wisconsin’s reforms to real-time developments in other states and other countries.
The UK and many European countries’ runaway spending are being drastically cut back in real time. Severe austerity measures mean the UK is laying off a half-million government workers, and drastic cuts have led to massive unrest
Illinois hiked taxes on businesses and individuals by billions of dollars this year, they’re mired in a pension disaster, and they’re still looking to hiking taxes as a first option.
Minnesota had a three-week government shutdown, which was finally solved with one-time budget gimmicks and borrowing.
Iowa is looking at raising its gas tax.
Compare Wisconsin now to when Democrats were in charge from 2009- ‘10
Wisconsin tried it the Dems’ way, and it was an economic disaster. While the Democrats were in charge after the 2008 election, Wisconsin lost 170,000 jobs. The rest of the state was mired in recession, but the government still grew by 6%, fueled by billions in tax hikes on working families and small businesses, billions more in property tax hikes, and billions on top of that in one-time federal stimulus spending. You simply can’t just sweep that reality under the rug and ignore that it happened.
Ask yourself: what part of that did they think would be good for jobs? And more importantly, if the Democrats were still in power, would they ever pragmatically admit that their way didn’t and change course? Their rhetoric today implies they wouldn’t.
And even now, the Democrats’ top focus is recalls. The only jobs recalls buttress are for political campaigns and the US postal service carriers delivering a seemingly endless stream of political ads to our mail boxes.
We should all be proud that Republicans are taking real steps to create a business climate ripe for job creators, and of the bipartisan successes we’ve seen. Our reforms are working, but there’s still work to do. Republicans made a promise to change the status quo and focus on jobs, and we’re keeping that promise every day.