Rep. Barca State of the State Democratic response - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Rep. Barca State of the State Democratic response


MADISON (PRESS RELEASE)-- I want to congratulate Gov. Walker on his first State of the State speech. The governor and I agree on several things. We agree there continues to be an economic crisis in Wisconsin. We agree that Wisconsin needs jobs now. And we agree that the Green Bay Packers are the best team in football and will win the Super Bowl.

But I believe  this special session has been a lost opportunity. What started off being called as an emergency special session on jobs has been dominated by bills that focus vaguely on rebranding Wisconsin and have little hope of creating jobs immediately – that's what is needed to address the emergency.

Wisconsin needs to be open for business, but not business as usual.

What we should be doing with this emergency special session is passing bills that have the prospect of putting people back to work immediately. I met with the Governor his first week on the job and told him we would provide bipartisan support for bills that met that standard.  Of the 10 special session bills, only two have come anywhere close to that standard and Democrats did support those, but even the Commerce Secretary indicated those will have only a minor impact.

I sent a letter yesterday to Gov. Walker. In it, I called on him to convene a state economic summit to bring together the best minds in economic development, business, employment and workforce specialists – top professionals in these fields to meet with the governor and legislative leaders to forward an agenda that will truly create jobs now.

Last session we created the Partnership for a Stronger Economy bringing together such leaders and the result was a truly bipartisan job creation agenda that led to more than 50 economic development initiatives passing. We know Republic Airways is in Milwaukee rather than Denver or Indianapolis because of this agenda – because the CEO himself told us so. The success stories creating jobs are numerous – Unline, Mercury Marine, Oshkosh Trucking, Quad/Graphics and many smaller businesses throughout the state.

Democrats support advanced manufacturing and industries of the future, which will create family-supporting jobs. We have put forward legislation to meet that goal.

Next week we will deal with a bill that is one of our major concerns with the special session. We believe Wisconsin should be open for all businesses, including wind energy. However the governor's new wind proposal will halt many projects and send the message that Wisconsin is hostile to wind and alternative energy businesses. These industries are growing rapidly in Wisconsin.

On inauguration we unveiled a package of 11 bills -- good, proven job creation bills. Gov. Walker indicated to me in our initial meeting that they would be considered. But this session is coming to a close, they have been completely ignored.

Also ignored have been common sense amendments that would control spending and promote transparency and accountability. Why would anyone reject such measures? Or why, for example, would anyone vote against a measure that would allow businesses already located in Wisconsin to get the same credit as a new competitor coming in? That's not fair to our home businesses.

The tort law is another example of business as usual.  I would have co-authored the two pages on limiting frivolous lawsuits, but the Republicans instead added dozens of other provisions that actually hurt senior citizens, victims of crime and people with disabilities. Even Republican prosecutors and judges pleaded for changes and those pleas fell on deaf ears.

Before the inauguration the Commerce Department gave Gov. Walker a list of 150 companies that had contacted the state expressing an interest in growing, staying or relocating here in Wisconsin.

Let's begin a true bipartisan quest to create jobs that focuses on all Wisconsin businesses, employees and families. Let's make sure those 150 companies – and more – create jobs here.

Let's work together to pass immediate, proven job-creating bills, regardless of whether a Republican or a Democrat is the lead sponsor.

We cannot secure Wisconsin's future if we are only open for business as usual.


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