Jim Doyle Fiddles While Wisconsin's Economy Fizzles
I certainly understand why Governor Doyle says that he's not bothered by his job approval ratings hitting an all-time low. Heck, if I had just spent a weekend attending the Masters golf tournament indirectly courtesy of my campaign contributors, I'd be pretty mellow too.
Unfortunately for Wisconsin, as Governor Doyle was jetting back north from his weekend at Augusta National, hundreds of good-paying jobs from Thomas Products in Sheboygan were jetting south. Not south as in "Mexico". South as in "Louisiana". What's more, it appears that Doyle himself did little or nothing to stop the exodus.
In fact, while officials were making their last ditch effort to save these jobs for Sheboygan, the Governor was so disinterested that he and the Commerce Secretary were learning about trains in Spain. This was in sharp contrast to the personal push by the Governor of Louisiana which ultimately convinced Thomas Products to move 400 jobs from Sheboygan instead of moving 75 jobs to Wisconsin. As a matter of fact, the timeline sketched out by State Senator Joe Leibham on my radio program the other day shows an indifference by the Governor to this situation which is nothing short of disgraceful.
Way to go, Jim. I hope the tapas were tasty! While the trains in Spain might run smoothly across the plain, there won't be any need for trains in Wisconsin - if we can't figure out how to halt the massive exodus of jobs that is currently taking place.
The news about Thomas Products was, of course, only one of several pieces of bad economic news for Wisconsin this week. First and foremost, it was announced that the State's unemployment rate currently stands at a 27-year high of 9.4%. Meanwhile, Harley-Davidson announced plans to cut an additional 400 jobs while Madison Dairy says it will close entirely (idling another 120 workers).
In the cases of Madison Dairy and Harley, the job cuts were due to a decline in overall economic conditions. In the case of Thomas Industries though, you have a company that simply chose Louisiana over Wisconsin - and that's scary!
It's fine to talk about creating new jobs with taxpayer dollars - but that's a zero sum game. The key to sustained economic growth is attracting new private sector jobs and retaining those that we have already. When it comes to creating a positive business climate in Wisconsin, it's clear that the Governor and many of his counterparts in State government are doing a lousy job!
The departure of Thomas Products should be a wake-up call to everybody in the Doyle Administration. I doubt they're paying attention though. My guess is that they're too busy planning the Governor's next trip to the U.S. Open or to Germany to learn about beer.
Is it November of 2010 yet?