The economic picture for Wisconsin just keeps getting worse, and the governor and the legislature are hurting, not helping.
First, we have the January unemployment numbers. The state's unadjusted jobless rate stands at 7.6%, up from 4.9% a year ago. But the numbers are far worse in places like Beloit and Janesville where the rates are 15.1% and 13.1% respectively. Those two cities, a mere 10 miles or so apart, are ranked numbers 1 and 3 in the state for residents without jobs. Rock county is in deep trouble.
To make matters even worse, the Bourns automotive plant in Janesville - which employs 148 people - is going to shut down. Bourns manufactures a variety of electronic sensors and circuits for auto plants around the world, and despite the fact that the Janesville plant has served as the company's North American headquarters since 2006, they just can't keep it open.
It makes one wonder whether or not it has anything to do with this story about the new combined reporting law in the budget. Apparently, P&G doesn't want to be penalized for having a plant in Wisconsin, and really, who can blame them? The combined reporting measure only makes the cost of doing business in Wisconsin higher at a time when everyone - businesses and individuals - can least afford. Are we putting 1,000 jobs in Green Bay needlessly at risk?
Where are our leaders on these issues? We seem content at the state level to let the federal government try and stimulate the economy, but why aren't Speaker Sheridan, Senator Robson, Rep. Benedict or Rep. Hixson doing anything about their districts having some of the worst unemployment rates in the state? Do they have any ideas as to how to help Rock county, or are they going to sit back and hope that President Obama gets it right?
We need action and we need it now. The tax increases each that every one of the representatives of Rock county voted for are not helping; they are hurting. We have to pass major reforms in order to balance our budget and encourage growth in the economy. Patchwork budgets and half-hearted attempts at "stimulus" bills won't do the trick.
Unfortunately, the silence is deafening.