Republicans charged too little, too late, as the state Senate passed a jobs bill on Thursday. Debate at times was superheated. Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) took Democrats to the woodshed for enacting five billion dollars in new taxes in this session of the legislature. This CORE Jobs Act, he said, won’t repair the economic damage done by that. “When you knew the ship was sinking, you did nothing but pile on. And now you want to go back and pose for holy pictures,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald said Democrats finally realize that Wisconsin residents are worried about their jobs. “That’s the reality of what’s going on, on the street out there, in Wisconsin. It’s not a game. That’s not what the state Senate is about. But what we’ve seen so far is massive tax increases on the residents of the state, and then window dressing at the tail end.”
“It took the fear of losing one job – your elected jobs – to get you to care about the 140,000 people outside of this building that lost their jobs this year,” said Senator Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac), who called the bill “a piece of political public relations.” Senator John Lehman (D-Racine) said too much negativity doesn’t do the state any good: “why are you doing that? Do you think the fear and loathing of those statements gets you votes?”
After nearly two hours of fingerprinting, the bill finally got the votes: 32 of them, with only Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) dissenting. “This is very small potatoes, after again and again . . . we have done so much to raise the burden on business in the state,” said Grothman. Senator Mark Miller (D-Monona) defended the bill – and his party’s record. “Not only have we taken important steps in the budget, to assure that we keep our feet in the current economy, but we are taking the additional step to assure that we are in the vanguard of new business development,” Miller said.
Fitzgerald refused to let Democrats off the hook, as debate wound to a close. “You can’t pass a five billion dollar tax increase, and then later on say ‘we didn’t really have anything to do with it, it wasn’t our fault.’ And them come back with this package and say ‘now we’re going to fix it. Now we’re going to make it great. Now we’re going to stand for applause.'” The bill now heads to the Assembly.
AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (1:15 MP3) AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (1:15 MP3)