State of the State 2013: Reaction from the Floor - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

State of the State 2013: Reaction from the Floor


MADISON, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- Governor Scott Walker told the State Senate and Assembly Tuesday that his campaign pledge to create 250-thousand private sector jobs during the course of his first term is not beyond the realm of possibility.

"We don't make excuses, we get results," Walker said in reference to the lofty goal during his annual State of the State Address.

"I think (250-thousand jobs) is still possible," said Rep. Lee Nerison (R, Westby). "The Governor set the right tone during the last session and we have to continue that this session."

"There's also a lot of new businesses that might want to expand and hire more people but are hesitant to," Nerison said. "We're going to try and pass a few things to make them more comfortable investing their money."

"What the Governor laid out was he said until the year 2015, we're going to continue to chip away at that 250-thousand job goal," said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R, Juneau). "He obviously still thinks we can do that."

Senator Jennifer Shilling (D, La Crosse) said she's not convinced.

"We've seen anemic job growth in Wisconsin during the last two years," Shilling said.

"According to the bureau of labor statistics Wisconsin is 42nd in the nation in job creation."
"What we have been doing isn't working," Shilling said.

Shilling was also critical of the Governor's call for a new mining bill.

Walker urged lawmakers to put a new bill on his desk to sign in the near future, calling it a "lifeline" for Wisconin's Iron County -- a potential mining hot bed that boasts one of the state's highest unemployment rates.

A new mining bill failed to pass the legislature last session when Senator Dale Schultz (R, Richland Center) broke party ranks and failed to back the proposal.

Republicans argue a streamlined mining bill which allows companies to more easily set up shop in Wisconsin's northern regions would bring jobs to the state.

But Shilling said those projections don't do anything to address immediate demand.
"Those jobs are years down the road to be materialized," Shilling said.

"We have job openings right now," she said. "We need to work at closing the skills gap and seeing if we can't have some real job creation in this state."

Shilling was also unimpressed by the Governor's proposal to improve infrastructure -- calling it a noble idea, but citing an expected $6 to $8-billion deficit in the state's transportation fund over the next 10 years.

The infrastructure proposal drew glowing remarks from Republicans like Nerison, who represents a rural district. "You travel around and see a lot of these roads need some work," he said. "Whether it be state roads and highways, local roads or even the state's rail system, because I think a lot of goods are being moved by rail again, the system needs improvement."

"I think we can get it done through the budget and some of the bills we pass," Nerison added.

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