No respect from Democrats, for bills contained in Governor Scott Walker’s special session on jobs and the economy. The Joint Finance Committee on Tuesday passed three bills that are part of Walker’s special session – measures Democrats on the panel criticized. “I’m very disappointed in this session, because I thought something real and meaningful was going to be produced, not some empty symbolic gestures that do nothing to create any jobs,” said state Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar).
The budget panel debated – and passed on party line votes – a bill to provide a health savings account tax deduction, a measure which pumps an additional money into the state Department of Commerce’s economic development tax credit program, and a bill which provide tax incentives to firms which agree to relocate here. “We work hard to try to improve this state. This does nothing to improve the economy. And if we’re going to send a message, it’s a pretty expensive $125 million message that creates no new jobs,” said Jauch, referring to the estimated fiscal impact of the three bills.
Republicans, who control both chambers of the state legislature and thus enjoy a 12-to-4 majority over Democrats on Joint Finance, defended the bills. “As I look at these bills today, we are priming the pump, we are trying to prime the pump of job creation in the state of Wisconsin,” said Senator Luther Olson (R-Berlin). “I think our state lost it’s prime in terms of job creation and economic growth.” Democrats were skeptical of the impact the bills would have on jobs creation – the stated goal of Walker’s special session. Representative Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee) said she’ll have three questions regarding every bill in the special session: how many jobs will be created, how much the bill will cost, and what the impact will be on the state’s deficit.