In a sign of growing economic turmoil, Gov. Walker’s administration quietly acknowledged over the busy holiday season that Wisconsin surpassed 10,000 layoffs last year as a result of plant closings and economic challenges. The dismal news confirms that 2015 was Wisconsin’s worst year for job losses since Gov. Walker took office – far exceeding the 6,186 workers affected by mass layoffs and plant closings in 2014. The dramatic spike in layoffs have surprised many given the strong economic growth in neighboring Midwestern states.
“I’m concerned these mass layoffs aren’t setting off any alarm bells among Republican leaders in our state,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “We are in the midst of an economic crisis. Wisconsin is hemorrhaging jobs at a rate we haven’t seen since the Great Recession and our middle class is shrinking faster than any other state in the nation. Thousands of families are struggling to find a job because the policies being pushed by Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans simply aren’t working.”
Instead of focusing on economic development, Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans have prioritized bills to dismantle the Government Accountability Board, limit investigations of political corruption and increase special interest campaign influence. Additionally, deep budget cuts to local schools, public infrastructure and economic development programs have resulted in widespread layoffs and contributed to Wisconsin’s poor economic climate.
“We need to get serious about turning things around and expanding economic opportunities in our state,” added Shilling. “From early childhood education and student loan debt relief to strengthening retirement security and investing in infrastructure, Senate Democrats continue to call for action to help hardworking Wisconsin families. Rather than addressing these challenges, Republican leaders have allowed Gov. Walker’s presidential campaign and special interest groups to drive their political agenda. With more layoffs on the horizon, I hope that we can recognize the gravity of this situation and begin to turn things around in Wisconsin.”