Lassa: Governor’s Proposals Too Little, Too Late

Madison — State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) released the following statement this evening in reaction to Governor Scott Walker’s State of the State Address:

“I am glad that Governor Walker is finally talking about the problems confronting our state, like the crushing burden of debt our students are carrying, the need to invest in rural broadband, and the difficulty companies are having finding skilled employees.  I and my Democratic colleagues have been proposing real solutions to these problems for years, and it’s high time the Governor and Republican leaders in the Legislature get serious about them.

“We have introduced proposals that would deal with our workforce crisis by reinvesting in our schools and addressing our teacher shortage.  We put forward ideas to help Wisconsin’s struggling middle class families be more secure and balance the demands of life and work.  And Democrats have advanced legislation that would spark the new industries of tomorrow and help Wisconsin’s economy grow.  Most of these bills have simply been ignored by Republican leaders – some for months, some for years

“Unfortunately, the Governor’s proposals are too little and too late.  For example, his piecemeal proposals on workforce development will do little to repair the damage done by the massive cuts he made to our public schools, universities and technical colleges.  His broadband investment is only a fraction of the $23 million in federal money for broadband the Governor turned away early in his term, and it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the tens of millions of dollars our neighbors in Minnesota are investing.  And rather than giving student borrowers a pittance in increased tax deductions on loan interest, we should be letting all student loan payments be deductible, and allowing students to refinance their loans, as Democrats have proposed in our Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill for the last two sessions.

“Governor Walker and the Republican leadership in the Legislature have spent the last five years primarily taking care of themselves instead of the people they represent. They made Wisconsin the most gerrymandered state in the nation in order to protect their own political power.  They tried whenever they could to shield themselves from investigation and public scrutiny, and shut down the watchdog agency that enforces our ethics and elections laws.  And they made it much harder for people to vote.  Now as they face an election year, they are hoping a few bits of window dressing will make voters forget what their real policy priorities have been.  I will continue to press for truly effective proposals to rebuild our state’s infrastructure, restore our schools and colleges, strengthen our state’s economy, and make sure every Wisconsin citizen has an opportunity to succeed.”