Monday, January 30, 2012

The Dark Lord Vos Speaks...With Notes

Commentary: Wisconsin finally moving in the right direction "Finally?" Admitting everything we have done so far has moved us in the wrong direction.

As I listened to Gov. Walker’s State of the State address and thought about the past year, I’m proud of what we accomplished. I am proud of the political chaos, the felony arrests, the loss of legislative credibility I have personally caused. The stolen money from veterans and child porn indictments was a real highlight for me. 
We balanced the state budget without raising taxes. Because only taxes on corporations matter to us, the taxes we raised on tens of thousands of working men and women do not count. We improved Wisconsin’s business climate and gained thousands of private sector jobs. More companies closed and moved away than the year before and we're last in the nation in job loss. Clearly, the state of the state is much better than a year ago. Clearly, Wisconsin can't take another month of GOP state improvement. We must now build upon those successes and move Wisconsin forward to a more prosperous future. When you're last in the nation, one can only improve right? 
I’m proud that we tackled the state’s massive deficit head-on. By creating another massive deficit, only we created this one by attacking education and health care to pay for our massive tax breaks for corporation (who aren't creating any jobs). We paid off $800 million in unpaid bills, cut our long-term debt and eliminated a $3.6 billion dollar deficit. We actually refinanced our state debt which raises our debt to revenue ratio higher than Jim Doyle would have dared...since it'll take a year for you to realize the damage...we don't care. Plus, we passed the necessary reforms that will provide the foundation for future balanced budgets at the state and local levels. By foundation, I am talking about reforms that make it more difficult for women to get pap smears, making old people go to the DMV for a drivers license and lowering clean water regulations. 
I know we set the right priorities for the state when we put job creation on top of our list. It's a list that has the words: "Bills ALEC Wants Us To Pass" at the top. We established tax incentives for businesses to grow. Like the $4 million "award" we gave to Rayovac to create 60 jobs -that's a tax payer cost of $67,000 per job. How could they not grow? The state is paying them more than the jobs pay the workers! We also provided real incentives for businesses to move to Wisconsin and for investors to reinvest in Wisconsin businesses. Too bad they are moving to Illinois instead.
One of the results is that Wisconsin’s business climate has greatly improved. Never mind the data and statistics that prove the opposite. 
CEOs here and around the country are taking notice that Wisconsin is open for business. Those million recall signatures sure got their attention too. The Chief Executive Magazine placed Wisconsin 24th in the country for doing business, up from 41st in 2010. It was the biggest jump in the nation and in the history of the magazine. Yes, a pro-corporate vanity "magazine" with 42,000 worldwide subscribers (by contrast, TIME has 25 million subscribers) and publishes 6 times a year. Not exactly Forbes.  
Business leaders from Wisconsin also are optimistic. Hmmm, not really. A recent Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce survey says 94 percent of business executives believe the state is moving in the right direction. Pick a cherry any cherry! 44% said they did not plan on hiring anyone in the next 6 months - lowering their expectations from 6 months ago. 
Additionally, the jobs picture is improving. For the US as a whole, but not in Wisconsin.Wisconsin gained more than 20,000 jobs this past year. And we lost 35,000 jobs! That’s after 150,000 jobs were lost during the previous administration. True, while the entire country rebounds, Wisconsin lags behind. Remember those 250,000 we promised to create? You can tell how much we are sucking because we're still bringing up Doyle and the biggest recession in 3 generations. 
Also, the state’s unemployment rate is back to the lowest it’s been since 2008, when Democrats took full control in Madison and Washington. As it is across the country when Barack Obama took office. More employers are planning on hiring workers. No they are not (maybe he's talking about Illinois). This includes a major expansion at Ruud Lighting in Sturtevant. Yes, because of a business merger...while RAMAC reports Racine County lost 1200 jobs in 2011 overall. 
Hopefully, many small business owners will take Gov. Walker’s challenge of hiring an additional worker. Hopefully? OMFG we're begging you! As a small business owner myself, I embrace that challenge and hope to meet it. When I take a break from writing legislation that helps my friends and makes it harder for college students to sue me over rental properties.
I’m proud that we held the line on taxes so that citizens can keep more of their hard-earned money. Which is why we froze the Homestead Tax Credit and slashed the Earned Income Tax Credit to raise taxes for working people...more than $70 million worth of raised taxes. This year the state saw the smallest increase in property taxes in 15 years. See, I tied this sentence to the previous one so it didn't sound like a lie. However, most property owners did see their taxes go up a bit (even though we said not at all - remember?) but what was worse was the across the board lowering of property assessments. Houses are worth much less - and we're paying just a little more for it...don't you feel better? The school tax levy statewide declined for the first time in six years. And it's going to explode next year...they only passed the budget in June. Racine will lead the way as vouchers become unlimited in the two years that follow. However, we need to decrease that burden on the taxpayer even more so that individuals throughout Racine County can see a smaller tax bill this time next year. A stunning acknowledgement that they really aren't paying less. 
Our focus in 2012 will continue to be jobs. We've got bills on repealing lawsuits for chemical companies who poison children - but contribute to our campaigns, when life begins so we can outlaw birth control pills and making sure teenagers don't waste precious school time learning about sex. it's JOBS, JOBS JOBS! 
We’ll move forward on our aggressive pro-jobs agenda. Which we call it pro-corporate, pro-ALEC. We need to streamline government regulations, improve working training and help connect workers with employment opportunities. Which we actually don't do, we just bring it up in commentaries which sound like we are actually doing those things.   
I’m also looking forward to passing some education reforms that will help improve the quality of our classrooms. Which is why I am totally fucking over Green Bay by forcing school vouchers on them that they and their legislators don't want. What we won’t do is raise taxes or grow government programs. We will just lie about it. We need less, not more government. Except if you are a woman or a voter.
Like Gov. Walker, I’m optimistic for this next year. Optimistic we can't make things worse. Hopefully no one else I know will get arrested - or worse - turns state witness for the John Doe investigation. We’ll continue to make sound fiscal decisions and continue to give the private sector opportunities to grow. Like spending millions of dollars to bribe companies to hire a few dozen people and making every concession our real boss - ALEC wants. Wisconsin will continue to move forward. With a guaranteed recall, there can be no doubt.
State Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester, is co-chairman of the Joint Finance Committee and represents David & Charles Koch, ALEC and the lobbyists at WMC and sometimes the 63rd Assembly District.