Walker’s 2018 Campaign Baggage Is Heavy
The negative issues and squabbles he must handle keep growing.
Has anyone seen Ned’s suitcase? Who has Molly’s backpack? Can grandpa’s van carry everything?
Scott Walker, campaigner-and-baggage-handler-in-chief. And the baggage he must carry keeps growing.
*GOP Assembly Speaker suffering from a bad breakup Robin Vos has escalated his fight with Walker over the already-signed budget, calling other GOP legislators “terrorists” who made last-minute deals with Walker.
Walker’s beloved Ronald Reagan‘s 11th commandment about not speaking ill of other Republicans has just expired in Wisconsin.
* Sen. Ron Johnson & friends just voted to kill the deductibility of state and local taxes – – including property taxes – – from taxable federal income. You bet Walker and his consultants are trying to figure out how to spin it. More precisely, away from it.
Walker may bob, weave and brag his way around this campaign land mine with word salad about the standard deduction – – which people who itemize don’t take anyway.
And he’ll remind people that he has modestly cut taxes for average filers (will he also feature his tax cuts that favored high-earners and businesses?) to the tune of a cup of coffee a week, but I don’t think that’s going to make people forget they won’t be able to deduct their property and state tax payments if Trump and RoJo prevail on behalf of the Koch & Friends who are making the demands.
* And it will be interesting to see how Walker explains to voters, especially seniors and working families who are pitching in for their elderly relatives’ care that his pals Trump, Johnson and leading Congressional fiscal ideologue Paul Ryan want to slash billions from the Medicare and Medicaid programs which Trump pledged during the presidential campaign not to cut – – a campaign and candidacy which Walker supported:
But let’s not suggest that all of Walker’s campaign trail burdens are Trump’s doing.
Walker is the one whose administration has failed to stem the spread of chronic wasting disease in the state deer herd, and whose corporate servitude has led to an ever-expanding number of bills, laws, one-sided settlements and special favors to businesses that are filling wetlands and giving polluters a green light.
I don’t think Walker can campaign in rural Wisconsin this fall on the strength of his ritual deer-stand photo and, then come springtime, his opening of the fishing season appearance, given how state natural resources are constantly on his chopping block.
Wisconsin deer stands and favorite streams these days are accessed on the second-worst roads in the nation which have deteriorated on Walker’s watch.
While it’s unclear how many towns have turned old blacktop back to gravel, Wisconsin’s worsening road conditions are well-documented. A recent state audit found about 14 percent of local paved roads in Jackson County — home to Northfield and Garfield — were in poor or very poor condition. In Douglas County — where Lakeside is located — that figure jumped to about 23 percent.
Conditions on state highways have also been getting worse in just the past five years, according to the audit, and the proportion of Wisconsin highways in good condition is considerably lower than in other Midwestern states.
* Walker also has to sell taxpayers statewide on the notion that the Foxconn deal isn’t just a $3.74 billion public subsidy to a foreign-based company pledging to build and hire in the southeast corner of the state.
And to make voters forget that he’s failed after nearly eight years in office to create the 250,000 new jobs he’d said would be a snap after just one, four-year term, as was reported earlier this year:
The total number of jobs created since Walker took office is 185,208, or 64,792 short of Walker’s goal of 250,000.
And that last year, Wisconsin showed little growth and had a net loss in manufacturing jobs, according to data released in May:
Wisconsin lost manufacturing jobs in 2016, the first year that’s happened since the Great Recession.
Detailed job numbers released Friday afternoon by the state Department of Workforce Development show Wisconsin lost 3,776 manufacturing jobs.
The job losses came at a time when Wisconsin was spending nearly $300 million a year to cut manufacturers’ income and corporate taxes in an effort to grow the state’s economy.
The same set of job numbers also showed overall hiring slowed in 2016 as the state added just 11,590 private sector jobs.
* Business startups haven’t been going well, either. Actually, the Walker record is horrible:
…you won’t find him tweeting about this data-driven, 50-state comparative business ranking showing Wisconsin frozen in the 50th spot – – again – – in the always-significant business category: entrepreneurial, start-up activity.
Now last in the Kauffman survey for the third year in a row.
And then there’s the cover-up by Walker and his always-troubled Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation of just what was discovered at the 11th hour in the proposed giveaway agreement with Foxconn – – a summary post about the deal with dozens of links is here – – that is holding up contract signatures.
* While Foxconn is supposed to be built in Vos’ SE Wisconsin district, and he won again in the budget when his beloved quarter-billion I-94 North-South expansion project shoved other ongoing highway projects to the shoulder when it was rolled into the Foxconn bill, too, it might take a while for the Speaker to get out on the hustings and sell Walker to the GOP base:
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos vented frustration to Gov. Scott Walker in text messages this month over a budget deal Walker cut with Senate conservatives.
“I won’t forget this,” the Rochester Republican texted the GOP governor after he announced his veto plans…
The messages underscore the depth of animosity between two of the state’s leading Republicans and come after protracted budget negotiations.
Yes, Vos has recently apologized for some of his language, but then added criticism of Walker and some legislators in his press release. In short, add party disunity to Walker’s expanding campaign-trail load, even though last year he was said to be a party unifier.
Ironies abound: Remember that Walker likes to say that Wisconsin is open for business, but maybe his rush to bring in Foxconn with a one-page super-maximum hand-written offer was a little too open.
Now, where’s that baggage cart? Get an extra one, as I don’t think Vos is available to help.