Political Observer: GOP Still Debating What Might Boost Wisconsin Economy

Sep 6, 2013

State Republicans passed their big economic agenda in early 2011, but have not yet seen the desired results, according to JR Ross, editor of WisPolitics.com.

Ross expects that during the five week fall legislative session, GOP leaders may follow Gov. Walker's lead and push forward plans to train the workforce and match skills with job openings. Ross says Republicans realize the economic reforms they pushed more than two years ago, including regulatory and tort law changes, have not prodded the state economy to rebound.

He would not be surprised if lawmakers consider steps to address Wisconsin's heroin problem. Law enforcement, particularly in the northeast, say heroin sales and overdoses are a significant challenge. Among options, according to Ross, are allocating money for more treatment beds or tools for police.

Despite several hearings on toughening Wisconsin's drunken driving penalties, Ross does not expect those changes to pass until legislators can agree on how to fund increased prosecutions and prison costs.

Yet, he says, new priorities could emerge, from the behind-the-scenes meetings Republicans are holding. Democrats are doing the same.

Lawmakers meeting for five weeks this fall

This will be the last floor session until early 2014, an election year.