MADISON — At no point in the last thirty years have more residents in our state lived in poverty. After six years of being sold the idea that tax giveaways for those at the top will turn our state’s economy around, families are working harder than ever before but still can’t seem to get ahead. The state’s problem with job creation was punctuated as the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, one of the country’s leading entrepreneurship advocacy and research organizations, ranked Wisconsin dead-last in start-up activity. It’s not the first time, nor the second time, but the third time in as many years that Wisconsin has donned the dubious distinction.
Democrats, alarmed by last week’s news, immediately called for a special session to spur new jobs and economic growth – only to be ignored by Gov. Scott Walker. Instead of hearing Democrats’ call for a special session to invest in our state’s world-class universities that spawn new ideas, industries, and jobs or focusing on workforce development and attracting investors to our state, the Governor played politics, admonishing Democrats for not parroting his cherry-picked economic statistics.
Democrats have it right. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration small businesses provide 55% of all jobs and two-thirds of all net new jobs since the 1970s. In fact, a study done by the Kauffmann Foundation found that over the last twenty-five years nearly all of the new private sector jobs were created by new businesses less than five years old. In addition, just this year a study done by TechNet and the Progressive Policy Institute found that, if federal and state lawmakers put in place pro-startup policies, like increasing access to capital and improving access to talent, we can jump-start the creation of high-growth startups and generate an additional on million good-paying jobs per year.
“As Democrats, we believe that the backbone of Wisconsin’s economy will always be highly-trained workers, local entrepreneurs and small businesses dedicated to creating good, family-supporting jobs in our communities. We only wish Gov. Scott Walker shared that belief,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Brandon Weathersby said on Monday. “Walker’s disregard for a last in the nation start-up ranking, and his subsequent ignoring of Democratic solutions, shows his priorities don’t lie with everyday Wisconsinites but the millionaires and billionaires who fill his campaign coffers. Since Walker won’t work with Democratic lawmakers in the legislature, the only way we can give Wisconsinites the ability to achieve the American Dream is to elect Democratic leadership next fall.”