In taking office, Scott Walker declared that the state is now open for business. But it’s a mixed bag for business - employment is stagnant at best, and though unemployment has fallen slightly of late, the number of jobs here has declined significantly. We talk with Paul Jadin, the President and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the unit that largely replaced the state’s Department of Commerce this year.
This past year saw a major reorganization for the Wisconsin Arts Board – which lost its agency level status and was absorbed within the state’s Department of Tourism. George Tzugros is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Arts Board. Tzugros spoke with Bonnie North as part of our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval series.
As our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval series continues to identify winners and losers of the past year, we’ll meet the two legislators who aren’t about to let civility die in Wisconsin’s legislature. Republican Senator Dale Schultz of Richland Center and Democratic Senator Tim Cullen of Janesville formed a two-man caucus in support of bipartisanship this fall. We spoke with them in September while they were on their self-described Common Ground tour of Wisconsin.
We now continue Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval. All week, we’re exploring the impact of Wisconsin’s divisive political climate this year, mixed with a tough economy. Tuesday, we reported on some winners of the new Republican majority’s agenda, including business interests and social conservatives.
Today, we focus on entities that lost ground, the biggest – public workers. Gov. Walker’s budget required them to pay more for their health insurance and pensions, in order to ease the state deficit. The GOP went one step further in 2011, by stripping most public unions of all rights except to bargain for limited wage increases. As WUWM’s Marti Mikkelson reports, angered public workers are now part of a massive effort to recall the governor.
As part of Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval, we’re identifying winners and losers of the past year. But in the case of county government, it’s hard to tell where it falls. Chris Abele is the Milwaukee County Executive. He spoke with Mitch Teich.
Our conversation about the complicated nature of winners and losers in 2011 takes a look at education. Alan Borsuk is a senior fellow in law and public policy at Marquette University Law School, and writes education op-ed columns for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, for which he was a longtime reporter. He spoke with Mitch Teich as part of our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval series.
Political activism was definitely a winner in Wisconsin in 2011. We’ll talk with the directors of two policy organizations for our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval series. Scot Ross is the executive director of the Madison-based progressive advocacy group One Wisconsin Now. Matt Seaholm is the state director for Americans for Prosperity - Wisconsin. They both spoke with Stephanie Lecci - you can find more of their conversation as supplemental audio below.
A local union leader weighs in on how organized labor came out of this historic political year. Sheila Cochran is the Chief Operating Officer and Secretary/Treasurer of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO. She spoke with Stephanie Lecci as part of our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval series - you can hear much more of their conversation as supplemental audio below.
It was nearly a year ago that Gov. Walker proclaimed - Wisconsin is open for business. In order to re-enforce that message, his administration successfully advanced a number of tax breaks to encourage businesses to hire and even relocate to the state. There was some bipartisan support for the incentives, although Democrats labeled them marginal and later blasted the governor and Republican lawmakers for slashing money from things such as education. Still, Walker maintains Wisconsin is in a much better place with a balanced budget and improved business climate. Is that the case? WUWM’s LaToya Dennis posed the question to Abdur Chowdhury. He’s chair of Marquette University’s Department of Economics.