After running on the campaign promise he would add a quarter million jobs to Wisconsin’s private sector, Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday he believes his goal is not feasible.
Walker told Wisconsin Public Radio the state should still aim high in job growth numbers. However, confounding variables, including collective bargaining protests, his gubernatorial recall election, the weakened national economy and the Affordable Care Act, inhibited Wisconsin’s ability to add 250,000 jobs his first term, he said.
“There are plenty of logical reasons why it’d be tough to get there…but for me, you’ve still got to aim high,” Walker told WPR. “You start out with a high goal to begin with.”
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Racine, did not provide specifics as to what number of new jobs added would be more created, but the legislator said they are committed to rejuvenating Wisconsin’s sputtering economy. The speaker also echoed Walker’s explanations for why this projected number of new jobs has not been achieved.
“It’s not my job to pick a specific number,” Vos said in an interview with The Badger Herald. “We are doing everything we can to try to create an environment where the private sector can create jobs. But, I also know with all of the things that have occurred in Wisconsin – the recalls, Obamacare’s implementation, the huge tax increases that are coming from Washington – that’s having a dampening effect on our economy.”
Vos added these reasons, and the inability of Congress to agree in particular, justify the difficulties in predicting the state’s economic outlook.
Current Employment Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor reveal Wisconsin has added only 9,100 jobs between December 2011 and December 2012. The state experienced losses of more than 4,000 jobs four of these 13 months.
While the unemployment rate has declined from 7.5 percent to 6.8 percent between 2011 and 2013, the state’s total nonfarm employment has increased by less than a percent in 2011 and 2012, according to the budget in brief.
Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said while GOP leaders like Vos are backing away from Walker’s promises, the governor is not the only Republican to blame.
“Robin Vos wants to protect his own job, so it’s no great surprise that he’s trying to back away from Scott Walker’s promise to create 250,000 jobs,” Tate said in a statement Tuesday. “Even Scott Walker’s administration is forecasting they won’t get halfway there. But it’s too little, too late, for Robin Vos – he can say the 250,000 jobs promise is all Walker’s, but the failure belongs to every Republican in Wisconsin.”
According to the DOL’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages January report, Wisconsin ranks 42nd in the country in private-sector job creation.
In the his 2010 gubernatorial election campaign against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Walker’s primary campaign promise was to help the state add 250,000 jobs in the private sector by the end of his four-year term.
Common Cause in Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck said Walker’s campaign goal was overly optimistic, unrealistic and irresponsible.
“If he’s saying it’s not possible and he’s blaming the recall, and he’s blaming all he turmoil that happened in 2011, he’s not totally shouldering the responsibility and saying it was an unrealistic number to begin with,” Heck said. “What he’s done by framing it the way he has is that he has again made it a partisan issue, certainly for Democrats.”