Republican rhetoric doesn’t match reality
Last week, Wisconsinites listened as Gov. Scott Walker delivered the annual State of the State address. But I have a feeling that many folks felt his rhetoric didn’t match up with reality.
While Gov. Walker desperately wants us to believe his plans for Wisconsin are working, we know all too well that they’re not.
Despite Walker declaring Wisconsin “Open for Business,” we’ve lost jobs for six straight months. In fact, since the Republican budget was signed into law, Wisconsin has led the nation in job losses.
Our state now also has the dubious distinction of making it into the top three, in terms of cuts to education. Gov. Walker would have you believe schools are “the same or better off” than they were before the budget slashed $1.6 billion in funding, but educators, administrators and, ultimately, students face major challenges ahead. Republicans lawmakers bought into Walker’s changes that have Jefferson schools expecting a shortfall of $1.2 million and Whitewater schools projecting a shortfall of up to $1 million for the 2012-13 year.
While Gov. Walker touts his expansion of FamilyCare—a move mandated by the federal government—he is rushing to kick tens of thousands of Wisconsinites off BadgerCare. Walker talks about his support of SeniorCare, too, but fails to mention that, before a petition drive I launched with your support, he had planned to gut it.
Republicans want you to believe they didn’t raise your taxes, but under their budget, property taxes went up $438.8 million. And they increased taxes on low-income families and senior citizens by nearly $70 million through changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Homestead Tax Credit.
Once you know the facts on taxes, Republicans will try to tell you hikes were necessary because the state was broke. I say, budgeting is about priorities—and they misplaced their priorities when they approved $2.36 billion in giveaways to their special interest allies.
Assembly Democrats have offered alternatives—common sense solutions—throughout this cycle. More than a year ago, I introduced two bills inspired by local business owners that will create family-supporting jobs and grow our economy; my colleagues across the aisle won’t even hold a hearing on them. Democrats offered amendment after amendment to the budget in hopes of creating a better bill. But, time and again, Republicans have rejected our ideas outright.
Under this partisan rule, our state is headed in the wrong direction. It doesn’t matter how Gov. Walker and his rubberstamp Republicans try to spin it. You and I know, Wisconsin is struggling.
But, all hope is not lost. Now, more than ever, the people of Wisconsin are engaged in government. You’re paying attention and making your voices heard. And as you continue to speak out—and weigh in with your votes—I’m confident the state of our state will improve. Together, we can actually create jobs, strengthen schools, provide lifeline health care and lift the tax burden on middle class Wisconsin. We can make the rhetoric match reality.
Rep. Andy Jorgensen, D-Fort Atkinson, represents the 37th Assembly District. Contact him at 1-888-534-0037, rep.jorgensen@legis.Wisconsin.gov or P.O. Box 8952, Madison, WI 53708.