Legislative Resolutions for the New Year
A legislative column by Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin)
Many people make New Year’s resolutions every January as a way to make a specific change or improvement in their life. These changes can be big or small; however, the important point about New Year’s resolutions is they focus one’s attention on a specific area of need.
I am sure plenty of Wisconsin’s 132 state legislators make resolutions to change one thing or another in their personal lives. It might not be a bad idea for the legislature to stand up and announce some New Year’s resolutions of its own.
If anyone asks me, here are a few suggestions I have for legislative resolutions:
Jobs, jobs, jobs. There is nothing saying a New Year’s resolution can not carry over from the year before. If an issue is significant enough, it makes sense to carry a resolution into a second or even third year. Wisconsin still faces a jobless population.
Legislative Republicans made jobs our top priority last year, and have a lot to show for it. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is at its lowest level since January 2009. The state added jobs for the first time in three years, a welcome change from the 150,000 jobs lost under Democrat rule from 2007 through 2010. Instead of slapping business with tax hikes and overregulation, Republicans extended an open hand to business, encouraging employers to grow their payrolls in Wisconsin. Truly balancing the state budget for the first time in decades also demonstrates to businesses Wisconsin is a stable, safe place to grow.
The job of getting people back to work is far from done. In the coming year, the legislature needs to continue its efforts to spur job creation and turn the economy around.
Approve mining legislation. The state legislature can provide a huge boost to jobseekers and Wisconsin’s economy by approving legislation to streamline the Department of Natural Resources permitting process for ferrous mining. Wisconsin has a long, proud mining history. The badger is the official state animal because it burrows into the ground like early state miners did. A miner adorns the state flag. Some of the state’s largest manufacturers produce mining equipment.
Northern Wisconsin has some of the largest iron deposits in the entire United States. A proposed iron ore mine would support thousands of very good paying jobs in an area of the state that needs jobs. Iron County, the location of a proposed mine, has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state. Statewide, the mine could produce as many as 4,000 jobs as Wisconsin companies expand to support the mine. Reforming the state’s mining laws should be a top priority for anyone serious about putting Wisconsin back to work.
Policy, not politics. There are plenty of serious issues facing Wisconsin. Unfortunately, Democrats repeatedly chose to play politics instead of working to find real solutions. Instead of engaging in distracting recall politics or skirting the responsibility to show up and vote, legislators should focus on enacting policies that will make Wisconsin a better place tomorrow. That might not always make you a cable TV darling, but it is the job voters expect elected officials to do.