October 5, 2011
Rep. Mason & Sen. Larson Introduce Wisconsin Jobs Initiative
‘Shared Sacrifice to Train at Least 35,000 Wisconsin Workers’
Madison – Today at a press conference in the Capitol, State Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine) and State Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) introduced the Wisconsin Jobs Initiative.
The Wisconsin Jobs Initiative will provide job skills training and education to at least 35,000 Wisconsin workers through a significant investment in Wisconsin’s Technical College System (WTCS). The bill would replace the $34.2 million cut from the WTCS in the biennial budget. It also allocates $35.8 million in grants to provide skill training and education, assist dislocated workers, and expand capacity at technical colleges statewide. Preference for the grants will be given to areas of the state with high unemployment.
Rep. Mason said, “Wisconsin’s employers have joined the chorus of voices calling for a skilled workforce. A significant investment in our state’s workers is long overdue. I am proud to stand with Wisconsin’s struggling workers and employers during these challenging economic times. This bill gives employers what they say they need most right now: skilled workers. This initiative allows us to stand by the workers and companies who built the Wisconsin economy and help them grow in the future.”

"Governor Walker's cuts to education forced Wisconsin's technical colleges to scale back important job training. As a result, companies like Caterpillar have family-supporting jobs available but lack the right skilled workers to fill them," said Sen. Larson. "This legislation will help in the short-term by providing Wisconsinites with vital job training to get our neighbors back to work and provide our local businesses long-term with the qualified, skilled applicants they need for years to come."
The bill proposes that this investment be paid for by the creation of a new top income tax rate for those tax filers whose annual incomes exceed $1 million. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates that there are approximately 2,900 Wisconsin tax filers who would be impacted by this change, which would generate at least $70 million in new revenue in its first year.  
“Middle class families and workers have been asked to make tremendous sacrifices in recent months,” said Rep. Mason. “This bill asks Wisconsin’s wealthiest individuals to share a small amount of that sacrifice in order to train and educate at least 35,000 Wisconsin workers.”
Rep. Mason and Sen. Larson are circulating the bill for co-sponsorship to their colleagues today and expect to formally introduce it next week.