While Wisconsin Economy Flounders, Republicans Take “Extraordinary” Measures to Put More Money in Politics
Assembly Democrats Call on Republicans to Add Jobs Bills to Extraordinary Session
Late yesterday, the Assembly Democratic leaders asked Speaker Vos to add jobs and middle-class opportunity bills to the Assembly’s extraordinary session calendar. The November 16th extraordinary session of the Assembly comes on the heels of extreme economic hardship in the state. This week, Oscar Mayer announced it was closing its Madison plant that employs more than 1,000 people in addition to the layoffs at major companies such as GE and Wells Fargo.
“Democrats believe we should be taking extraordinary measures to grow jobs in our state, not follow the Republican plan to allow politicians to fill their campaign coffers and open the door to political corruption,” Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said. “The citizens of Wisconsin would be far better served by an extraordinary session focused on meaningful jobs bills, rather than ramming through bills to eliminate our nonpartisan government watchdog, allow more money in politics, and enable more corporate influence over our government and less disclosure.”
Earlier this year, Assembly Democrats put forward “15 Bills for 2015,” an Economic Opportunity Agenda designed to help create good-paying jobs, connect workers with available jobs and increase wages. In addition, Assembly Democrats have introduced a “Bring Back the Middle Class” package that includes much-needed student loan debt relief and would ensure more affordable childcare opportunities for Wisconsin families. None of these bills has received a committee vote or even a public hearing.
“If the Speaker is sincere about ‘wiping the slate clean,’ as he stated on the Assembly floor this week, we hope he will join us in taking immediate action to help create jobs for hardworking Wisconsin families by putting common sense jobs and middle class bills on the extraordinary session calendar,” Rep. Barca added.
Wisconsin is on pace to have double the number of layoffs this year than in 2014. As of October 30, Wisconsin businesses have this year announced more than 9,000 job losses due to mass layoffs or plant closures. The state also is ranked dismally in many economic indicators. Wisconsin is stalled at 34th in the nation in private-sector job growth, dead last in new business start-ups and has a middle class shrinking faster than any other state.
Instead of addressing the economic or middle class wage crisis, Republicans are ramming through bills to open the doors for corruption and destroy Wisconsin’s history of clean, open and transparent government. The Republican campaign finance bill (AB 387) will allow unlimited amounts of money in campaigns for issue ads without any disclosure. The bill would also – for the first time in modern Wisconsin history – allow corporations to give unlimited money to political parties and campaign committees. At the same time Republicans are opening the floodgates for secretive money, they are dismantling the nationally-renowned Government Accountability Board. The effect will be to turn Wisconsin’s nonpartisan government and campaign watchdogs into partisan lapdogs.
A copy of the letter is attached here.