Friday, January 6, 2012

Van Reflects On Jobs (His) Commentary With Notes...Patch Edition

State. Sen. Van Wanggaard Reflects on 2011 Jobs Legislation And Imagines What Jobs Might Look Like...


The arrival of the New Year brings time to reflect upon all that we accomplished in 2011. Okay, a meaningless opening sentence. Let's go.
I am happy to say that 2011 was extremely productive, and I was able to author over thirty different bills that create jobs, protect our most vulnerable citizens or guard the pocketbooks of taxpayers. Notice I said "create jobs" not created jobs. I also authored bills to allow police officers to put people in jail for vague reasons that at worse resulted in citations in the past, I repealed the oppressive margarine ban and tried to keep citizens from demonstrating outside my house. Because so much has happened over the last year, I will be doing a new “Year in Review” segment over the next weeks. I know you are surprised! I have garnered a healthy reputation for never returning constituent phones calls or replying to your messages. This new "segment" has nothing to do with my inevitable recall...I swear. You will find the first installment below with a recap on how I’ve been working to encourage job growth in southeastern Wisconsin. And failed. I hope that you find these recaps informative and helpful. Too needy? I can't tell anymore. Over the next year I am excited to build on our successes and continue to make southeastern Wisconsin an even better place to live, work and raise a family. Building on the success of 16,000 jobs created statewide in 2011...which is a bit of slow start towards those 250,000 we promised. Shhhhh! Robin says we aren't supposed to talk about that anymore.
Throughout my first year as your State Senator, my number one priority has been the same as the one I campaigned on – bringing jobs to Racine County and Wisconsin. Which is why it's so embarrassing that we have returned to our position as #1 in unemployment. We started out 2011 with a Special Session on jobs, improving the business climate in Wisconsin. So the first thing we did was give millions in tax breaks which created the deficit my friend, Scotty keeps talking about. We passed tort reform, to provide certainty in our legal system, Certainty for corporations that is and keep people from being able to sue companies that fuck them over and we also made sure none of those dirty hippies could sue my friend, Robin when he keeps their college apartment security deposits. and regulatory reform to give certainty in our government. We hiked fees and slashed bullshit regulations like free speech, the right to assemble and drink clean water. We also created the new Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to replace the cumbersome Department of Commerce, and modernized our telecommunications laws. They were so happy and pleased they went right out and bought over $70,000 in new iPads - more than they actually needed.  
The January Special Session also brought the first of many jobs bills I introduced last year. The Relocation Tax Credit provides a tax credit for companies that relocate their businesses to Wisconsin. Even though they pretty much said the tax credit didn't have anything to do with any of their relocations. We’ve already seen the success of this program in our area with Catalyst Exhibits bringing 105 jobs to Pleasant Prairie. For that they get two years of corporate and personal income taxes TOTALLY free! We'll let you know when they actually start hiring people from Wisconsin since nearly all of their employees live in Illinois. In addition, I co-sponsored a bill doubling the amount of the Jobs Tax Credit, which provides a tax credit for employers equaling ten percent of a new employee’s salary. Of which only 8% of companies have actually followed through even though we burned millions in tax credit revenue giveaways. This program has also been successful, and has helped encourage job growth across the state. No it hasn't.
As I’ve met with job creators throughout the county two consistent obstacles to job creation have surfaced – a lack of qualified workers and a lack of capital. Well, they actually said poor consumer demand is their biggest problem but since we sucked $700 million out of the wallets of public workers who would buy more shit, we'll just skip that one okay?  I’ve offered a number of bills over the last year to alleviate these problems. In addition to providing tax relief and incentives to businesses, Which have never EVER in the history of the world ever been proven to work. I’ve offered the Next Generation Jobs bill to increase access to capital. This bill provides investment and loans to bioscience companies with no loss in existing tax revenue and no borrowing. Well okay, we're diverting payroll tax revenue so we can bankroll our friends in start-up businesses in which we haven't clarified whether they will even have to front any personal money of their own. If successful in the bioscience sector, I hope to apply this model to other industries. Don't assume I mean successful to the people of Wisconsin, success to my smartypants new bioscience friends is good enough for me.
Last month, I introduced two bills specifically designed to address the shortage of skilled workers. As opposed to finding unemployed skilled workers a job. The first would allow Wisconsin high schools to offer a technical education high school diploma for students. This option would provide interested students with a specific technical education (e.g. electrical) so they can quickly enter the skilled workforce. In spite of decades of research which shows that vocational diplomas do not create higher graduation rates in students most at risk to drop out - but this bill sounds like we care about education. We're gonna shackle kids with crappy diplomas that could never get them into a college ever, but by the time they figure that out, I'll be on my next public pension. Another bill, called Wisconsin Wins, provides employer-specific training to unemployed individuals, along with an additional stipend. This program will connect employers with ready-to-work individuals, and connect unemployed workers with businesses looking to hire. This one is awesome! Get this: We pay businesses to hire unemployed people for a "trial period" (6 whole weeks) at crappy pay with no benefits and at the end they can let them go with no penalty and hire the next poor soul with low pay - never shelling out a buck for health care, vacation or sick leave. Instead of creating actual decent jobs we got a million gimmicks!
I’m happy to say that our hard work is starting to pay off, and we can see the progress in Racine County. Racine’s unemployment rate has gone down almost two percent since November 2010! Wow, and we're still last in the nation! Daniels Sharpsmart, All Fasteners, and American Metal Technologies have all invested and grown jobs in Racine and Ruud Lighting is going to add over 450 jobs. Which has nothing to do with the number of jobs lost...see how I do that?
We have accomplished a lot over the last year, but I’m not done focusing on the economy. I shall start thinking about it after I have a sandwich. Too many people are still looking for work, and our economy isn’t growing fast enough. 2011 was a good start, No it really wasn't. but there’s more work to be done. 'Cause it could always get worse. In 2012, you’ll see me continue to offer common sense, bi-partisan solutions to fix our economy and get Wisconsin back to work. I will continue to vote 100% in lockstep with my GOP buddies, but tell you I'm bipartisan because I'm pretty sure half of you don't even know what that means. Nap time!