OPINION

Scott Walker's Wisconsin is no model to follow

Wisconsin Governor and potential Republican 2016 U.S. presidential candidate Scott Walker (R) greets supporters at a rally for Congressman Rod Blum (R-IA) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, April 24, 2015.   REUTERS/Jim Young
Wisconsin Governor and potential Republican 2016 U.S. presidential candidate Scott Walker (R) greets supporters at a rally for Congressman Rod Blum (R-IA) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, April 24, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young
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Those who read Gov. Scott Walker’s recent column deserve to know the truth about his record on the economy. There are three critical pieces of information you need to know:

First, Walker doesn’t understand the private sector. His salary has been paid by taxpayers since the same year Bill Clinton first took the presidential oath in 1993.

Second, Walker slashed funding to Wisconsin’s Technical College System by over 30 percent on its centennial anniversary in 2011.

Third, Walker enacted every major piece of legislation he asked for from the Republican legislature. The result? Wisconsin ranks last in the Midwest in job creation, is divided with partisanship as never before and is dogged by a budget deficit topping $2 billion.

If Governor Walker wants to be seriously considered as a candidate for president, he is going to need to offer more than poll-tested double speak and fuzzy numbers to justify how in the midst of a national recovery, Wisconsin is an island of economic misery.

Governor Walker put cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy at the top of his agenda.

While it’s done nothing for Wisconsin’s middle class, which is shrinking faster than in any other state in the country, according to respected independent research, it has been a windfall for Gov. Walker’s political fortunes, earning him campaign contributions of $100,000, $250,000 and even $500,000 from millionaires and billionaires inside and outside of Wisconsin.

Here’s an example: A tax cut signed into law by Governor Walker benefiting huge factory farms and other corporations has grown from a $10 million annual giveaway in 2012 to a $275 million corporate boondoggle.

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To “pay” for his tax breaks, Walker made the biggest cuts to public education in Wisconsin history. The cuts were so dramatic that they resulted in the second largest per pupil cut of any state in the country.

Earlier we noted the drastic cuts to technical colleges in Wisconsin, but by no means were technical college student and K-12 students the only to suffer under Governor Walker.

Over four years, Governor Walker has slashed the University of Wisconsin system by more than $650 million, students are paying hundreds of millions of dollars more in tuition and 41,000 eligible university and technical college students were denied financial aid by Governor Walker.

We agree small businesses are the engine of our economy.

Tax cuts for corporation do not create jobs. Education creates jobs, which creates customers for small businesses.

We also agree that despite a lifetime in campaign politics, Governor Walker has much to learn about the economy works.

• Scot Ross is the Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now, and Matt Sinovic is the Executive Director of Progress Iowa. For more information: scot@onewisconsinnow.org or matt@progressiowa.org.

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