September 13, 2011

What Wisconsin Needs Now...Is Jobs

Senator Lena C. Taylor

This week, the Legislature returns after a summer recess and recall elections. The Governor, and his fellow GOP members, repeatedly stated that this session must have a reinvigorated focus on bipartisanship and jobs. I hear their words, but actions speak louder than words, and their actions strongly suggest that the opposite is true.

Let me highlight the results thus far this year. Legislators have offered over 500 bills this session and forty-four new laws have been made. Only one Democratically authored bill was enacted into law: Senate Bill 11. I authored Senate Bill 11 to correct a clerical error by the City of Milwaukee in Bishop’s Creek TID and save taxpayers over $1.2 million. It was passed by the Senate without opposition despite my absence, as I worked to protect worker’s rights to collectively bargain. It is possible for leaders to work together in order to achieve a positive result, but everyone must be willing. In nine months, Republicans have passed only one Democratically authored law!

On the Senate calendar for September 13th are resolutions to recognize the establishment of the Taiwan, establishing Clay Matthews AID Walk Wisconsin Day, and commending Gateway Technical College on its 100th anniversary. There are also several administrative rules on the floor. These rules have already been suspended, and once they are brought to the floor, they need not be called to the floor again. This agenda is simply insufficient. The session will cost the State of Wisconsin $2,904 in per diem for the Senators, and only three resolutions will be addressed! None of them are related to the economy or jobs.

Creating jobs must be our top priority, and although Democrats made proposals on the economy and job development, none of them are on the calendar for the September session. When we have members of our community struggling to meet their most basic needs, delay is not acceptable. Many Milwaukee residents have been forced to regroup, reeducate, or reposition themselves, and turning the corner towards economic stability seems impossible. But we will emerge from the clouds.

The coming months will require legislators to think creatively and broadly. The only way Wisconsin will overcome these dismal economic conditions is with a unified effort. Economic improvement is not a partisan issue. Each of us values employment for the same reasons. A job is more than a way to earn a paycheck. Jobs are our reasons for getting out of bed everyday. They are the means with which we provide our children with food, clothing, and shelter. Jobs enable us to invest in our communities. They give us the freedom to make choices. They give us a purpose in life because someone, somewhere, is relying on us to do our part. I will most certainly do my part to create jobs. But we must not allow our state to take any more steps backward.