Scott Walker's economic failure continues

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker failed to make good on his promise to create 250,000 jobs during his first term. Halfway through his second term, he still hasn't reached that number.

A new report shows Wisconsin added the fewest jobs in 2016 of Gov. Scott Walker’s six years in office and lost nearly 3,800 jobs in the manufacturing sector.

According to the data, Wisconsin added 11,590 private-sector jobs in 2016, which translates into a growth rate of 0.5 percent.

“These latest jobs numbers once again confirm that Gov. Walker has been a miserable failure at fulfilling his promises to create jobs,” said Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, in a statement to the press issued yesterday. Hintz is a member of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee.

“The fact that the governor waited until late afternoon before a holiday weekend to release the jobs numbers says it all,” Hintz added.

In his statement, Hintz joined other Wisconsin Democratic officials in pointing out that the loss of manufacturing jobs occurred when Walker’s Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit was fully phased in. The credit, which will have cost the state $1.4 billion by the end of this year, was designed to boost job growth in the manufacturing sector. But critics complain that the credits do not require recipients of to create jobs, and three-quarters of the recipients are millionaires.

Since the controversial credit has been fully phased in, Wisconsin has lost manufacturing jobs in every quarter for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics has released jobs data, according to Hintz.

“Not only is the state growing jobs an anemic 0.5 percent rate, Wisconsin continues to place 50th among 50 states in startup activity, with the distance between Wisconsin and the next-lowest states widening even more from 2016 and 2015,” Hintz stated. “Meanwhile, the governor continues to give away hundreds of millions of dollars in a no-strings-attached tax credit to the wealthiest in our state, at the expense of public schools, tech schools, and the UW System.”

“I don’t think anyone is surprised that Gov. Walker’s tax breaks for millionaires haven’t resulted in the 250,000 jobs he promised six years ago,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, in a press statement. “What’s most alarming is that our state lost nearly 4,000 manufacturing jobs and ranked dead last for new start-ups. These disappointing numbers prove that Democratic solutions to invest in safe roads, expand health care access and reduce student loan debt are needed now more than ever.”

Walker was first elected in 2010 on the promise to create 250,000 private-sector jobs during his first term. Halfway through his second term, only 180,000 such jobs jobs had been created in the state since Walker took office in January 2011.

Walker intends to run for a third term as governor next year.

Walker spokesman Tom Evenson didn’t respond immediately to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment. But the Walker administration spun the latest jobs report as proof that Walker’s job-growth plan is working.

A press statement from the Department of Workplace Development, for instance, touted the state’s unemployment rate, which sunk to 3.2 percent in April, the lowest since February 2000.

But the unemployment rate only tallies workers whose unemployment benefits have run out. It does not count job seekers who have retired, given up looking for work, taken low-paying jobs outside of their professions or settled for part-time work while seeking full employment.

CNN reported last year that, except for during the Great Recession, the number of Americans working part-time, but looking for full-time jobs, were at the highest level — 6 million — in about 30 years.

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