August 25, 2011
neighbors and being involved in our community is of the utmost
importance. Some community events that might be of interest to you and
your family are listed below.
Eat Local Resource
Fair August 27th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Urban Ecology Center (MAP)
1500 E. Park Place
Made in Milwaukee
Oak Creek Lions
Labor Day Festival
American Legion Festival Grounds (MAP)
9327 S. Shepard Avenue Oak Creek, WI 53154
September 5 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Attend the annual Labor Day parade that starts at Zeidler Union Square Park at 11 a.m. and works its way to the Summerfest grounds. Once at Summerfest, enjoy a free festival that includes music, Bingo, vintage cars, a children's area and much more. Local vendors will also be selling food and drinks throughout the afternoon.
Zeidler Union Square Park (MAP)
301 W. Michigan Street
Milwaukee, WI 53203
Henry Maier Festival Park (MAP)
200 N. Harbor Drive
Job Creation in Wisconsin
As Wisconsin continues to slowly navigate its way out of the most recent recession, job creation and unemployment reduction remain at the top of our priority list. Therefore, I am providing an update on the status of job creation in Wisconsin and how our neighbors have and continue to be affected as our state struggles to escape the clutches of this recession.
Wisconsinites Struggle to Find Work
Wisconsin has consistently posted unemployment rates lower than the national average since the most recent recession began in 2007. However, our state's unemployment rate remains an issue of constant concern as it has been steadily increasing over the past few months, virtually negating any progress that was made prior to Governor Walker's inauguration.
Please view the chart below, which shows our state's unemployment rate compared to the U.S. over the past year.
Chart Courtesy of BadgerStat
These statistics illustrate that just one year ago, Wisconsin faced an 8% unemployment rate, which has only decreased by 0.2% over the course of that time to 7.8% statewide. Unfortunately, our local community has been especially hard-hit by the economic downturn. According to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD), Milwaukee County is currently facing an unemployment rate of 9.6%, which means about 45,456 of our neighbors who have been displaced from their jobs continue to search for work.
Clearly more needs to be done by our governor and his administration in order to help our neighbors who have been knocked down by these hard economic times get back on their feet.
Job Growth Continues to Hit Road Blocks
Our state lost a total of 171,400 jobs between January of 2008 and January of 2010, and is still struggling to make-up ground and turn our job growth figures around. According to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, "Most of the jobs lost in the recession came from the two largest sectors: Manufacturing (75,800) and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (38,300)."
Wisconsin job growth progress has proven to be slow and unstable. Please view the chart below to see Wisconsin's monthly job change over the past year.
Chart Courtesy of BadgerStat
As you can see from this table, intermixed with several months of job growth, Wisconsin has also experienced three months of severe job losses and three months of relatively little change.
The fluctuations in job growth are expected to have a significant impact on the future success of our community. In a June 2011 report, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce stated that "...there has been some slippage in the aggregate number of positive indicators over 2011's first six months giving some pause for concern about the strength of future growth."
There is also some concern over the types of jobs being created. According to Governor Walker, much of Wisconsin's job growth can be attributed to the state's tourism industry. Such jobs are often seasonal and will soon disappear causing unemployment to rise even further and the number of jobs created to drop once again. Placing all our eggs in the tourism basket is only a temporary fix and will result in the same catastrophic results as putting a band-aid on a wound that requires stitches. Instead, we should be focusing our efforts on creating high-quality, year-round jobs that will translate into stable economic recovery for our community and our state.
Governor Walker Plays the Blame Game
Immediately after the job creation numbers for June came out, Governor Walker was quick to credit his policies with this success. However, when the July numbers were released, he was even quicker to place the blame on national and international factors. In order for our state to move our economy forward by lowering our unemployment rate and increasing the number of jobs statewide, we need our governor to take responsibility and ownership of his policies.
Governor Walker promised the people of Wisconsin that he would create 250,000 jobs statewide during his term. According to the nonpartisan organization BadgerStat, Wisconsin needs to gain about 5,200 jobs per month on average to reach that goal, but is currently moving at a pace below what is needed.
In order to increase Wisconsin's job growth prospects, Governor Walker should be focusing his efforts on supporting factors that encourage businesses to start-up or relocated to Wisconsin. For Wisconsin to be a state that can live up to these standards desired by businesses, we need our governor to halt his most recent attacks on key areas of our state's infrastructure. Instead, Governor Walker needs to start investing in K-12 education, our technical colleges and our universities so that we will have a skilled workforce. He also needs to work on protecting our natural resources and reducing our crime and poverty rates so that employers can see Wisconsin is a state with a high quality of life. Additionally, we need him to demonstrate that he values an accountable and transparent government, which tells businesses that government will work with them on all aspects of job creation and growing their company.
I encourage Governor Walker to take the first step towards boosting our employment and encouraging companies to do business in Wisconsin by repealing the corporate tax cuts that he recently passed. If those types of quick fixes worked, I would be the first to advocate for them, however the evidence does not support the idea that cutting corporate taxes will spur job growth. Rather, we should be reinvesting those funds into our schools, public transit, parks and other programs vital to our overall infrastructure. This will be a long-term investment in our state and spur job growth economic development and more sustained job growth for generations to come.
For more information about our state's job growth and unemployment rate, please CLICK HERE to visit the Web site for DWD.
You can also
CLICK HERE for facts, statistics and brief analyses from the
nonpartisan group BadgerStat.
Recycling Fund Restoration Act Circulating
Representative Mark Pocan and I began
circulating legislation we authored this past week that would reverse
the backwards cuts made to our state's recycling program in the most
recent budget. The Recycling Fund Restoration Act would reinstate
Wisconsinís proud tradition of protecting our natural resources by
restoring $13 million of the recycling fund that was gutted by the
Recycling programs are crucial to
reducing the amount of waste that ends up in our state landfills. On
average, an individual Wisconsin resident generates 1,980 pounds of
waste each year, 34% of which is recyclable or can be composted. The
cuts made to Wisconsinís recycling programs are an assault on the
environmental health of our communities. Furthermore, these cuts will
also prevent additional growth of our economy, as current recycling
programs keep 1.69 million tons of materials out of Wisconsin's
landfills, support 97,000 jobs and contribute $5.4 billion to our
state's economy, according to Recycle More Wisconsin.
Bipartisan Effort to Improve Recycling in Our Community
This past week Rep. Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee) and I circulated legislation for co-sponsorship that updates Wisconsin law regarding battery deposits.
Current law requires anyone selling a lead
acid battery to a consumer to accept the consumerís used battery and
cannot charge the consumer a deposit that is more than $5. However, the
mandated cap no longer reflects the prevailing market value of used lead
acid batteries. For this reason, large corporations have been ignoring
the $5 limit for years opting to instead follow the market rate. In
addition to losing out compared to bigger businesses, our small
businesses have also been losing money when depositing old lead acid
batteries to the nearby recycling center as most of these facilities
charge the market rate, which is usually greater than $5.
This legislative idea was brought to my attention by a small business owner in Oak Creek at my very first "Coffee with Chris." Since that time, I have received support from other local businesses in our community. Rep. Honadel and I jumped at the opportunity to work with our local companies to draft a bill that would solve a problem plaguing our small, neighborhood businesses. We look forward to continuing to work together in a bipartisan way to move this bill forward through the legislative process to bring about a positive change in our community. Shared innovation amongst the two parties is an important feature to working together towards success for Wisconsin.
I will continue to advocate for
common-sense legislative changes that will help our local businesses to
continue to grow, as well as proposals to safeguard Wisconsinís environment and natural resources
through responsible recycling and waste management.
Hundreds Voice Opinion on Hoan Bridge Bike Path Proposal
Thank you to everyone that attended
the neighborhood meeting on the Hoan Bridge reconstruction project this
past Tuesday. The Beulah Brinton Community Center was overflowing with
250 fellow neighbors, many of which made their voices heard by speaking
on the proposal to create a bicycle and pedestrian lane across the Hoan
Bridge. I greatly appreciate the thoughtful comments and concerns
regarding this important community issue.
Hearing the perspectives of our neighbors on this and other issues that will have a significant impact on our community is crucial as we continue working together to move Wisconsin forward.
If you would like to sign on to the
petition to request that DOT create a bicycle and pedestrian lane on the Hoan Bridge, please
For up-to-date information about the Hoan Bridge project, please CLICK HERE to visit DOT's recently-launched Web site devoted to the project. You can also CLICK HERE to view a PDF document from DOT that outlines the Hoan Bridge rehabilitation project. This document provides additional information on the timing and scope of the project, along with contact information for the project personnel from the DOT. If you are looking for more information about the benefits of a bicycle and pedestrian lane on the Hoan Bridge feel free to visit the Bike the Hoan Web site by CLICKING HERE.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or thoughts you have on the Hoan Bridge project, including the proposed bicycle and pedestrian lane.
Town Hall Held on Increased Voter Restrictions
I would like to thank those that
attended the Grassroots North Shore neighborhood meeting this past
Sunday to discuss protecting your constitutional voting rights after the
passage of voter suppression legislation. About 100 of our neighbors
attended the meeting and shared their thoughts and concerns regarding
August is Physical Activity Awareness Month
In honor of August as Physical
Activity Awareness Month, learn what you can do to stay healthy and get
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