How does Sen. Vinehout plan to improve Wisconsin’s economic climate and bring jobs to the state?
We can get a good clue about what makes a good business climate if we look at the states that are actually doing well and ask, “What’s going on?” What we find is that in just about every region of the country, the states that have done the best economically are the states that provide good public services. Iowa and Minnesota are among the Tax Foundation’s 10 worst states in business tax climate, yet they have the lowest unemployment rates in the Midwest (almost a percent and a half lower than everyone else, including Wisconsin) and over the past ten years have grown the fastest.
My Republican colleagues are only half right. They say that government doesn’t create jobs. That’s true; what they don’t understand is that government puts the fertility into the soil out of which jobs grow. Governor Walker cut our technical colleges 30 percent and then wonders why there are not enough skilled workers for businesses to put to work with their new tax incentive dollars.
Eau Claire, in my district, is fortunate enough to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state. What I have noticed in the past two years is that owners of businesses moving into or expanding in the city talk about the great schools, the UW-Eau Claire, the technical college, the parks, the transportation, the arts, the environment, and the quality of life. They are coming because the soil is rich. The community is a good place to live, work, play, and raise children. Companies find it is a good place to start, locate, and expand.
Our job in government is to make the soil rich, educate our children in quality schools we are proud of, make our communities safe, train our workers in the latest technologies, keep our environment clean and healthy, modernize our transportation and communication networks, and support a quality of life we enjoy. If the soil is rich, the economy will grow. Republican leaders have been busily removing the nutrients and wonder why the crop isn’t what is used to be. Their solution? Keep cutting back on the nutrients.
We need a balance. The public sector provides the nutrients, and the private sector provides the plants. We are in this together, public and private.