Incoming Governor Scott Walker is expected to declare an economic emergency for the state next week and call lawmakers into a special session, after he’s sworn in this coming Monday. When that happens, Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) says the focus should be on proposals that get people back to work right away.
Walker has several proposals he wants lawmakers to act on to spark economic development, which include revamping the Department of Commerce and changes to the rule making process used by state agencies. Barca says those ideas are being viewed carefully by Democrats.
The Kenosha Democrat says there are questions about a plan to let the Governor review rules proposals before they go to the Legislature for final approval. He says it’s an “arcane process” and ignores the fact that Walker will appoint the people overseeing those writing the rules. He questions whether the incoming Governor’s fellow Republicans will back the plan.
Barca says he is open to a proposal to restructure the Department of Commerce, which would put the tools of economic development in the hands of a private board of directors. He says that could provide more continuity in efforts to encourage businesses to come to Wisconsin.
He does have concerns though about Walker’s statements that current Department employees may have to re-apply for their jobs. He says that could create chaos at the agency, as workers become more focused on protecting their jobs than actually getting work done.
Barca says the focus needs to be on proposals that implement proven methods for creating jobs. He says lawmakers should look at what has worked for other states, and only consider tax cuts that are based on businesses actually creating new jobs.
Democrats are also expected to offer their own proposals to encourage job growth in the state. Barca says they are willing to work with Governor-elect Walker and the incoming Republican majority to create new jobs quickly.