Memo To Interested Parties: Republicans Failed To Lead During 2015 – 2016 Assembly Session

Feb 23, 2016

To: Interested Parties
From: Brandon Weathersby, Communications Director, Democratic Party of Wisconsin
Re: Republicans Failed To Lead During 2015 – 2016 Assembly Session
Date: February 23, 2016

Last week, the Assembly held what was ostensibly its final floor session of the year and spent it’s time ramming through bills to sell out our schools, our democracy, and our natural resources. 

At a time when Wisconsin families are struggling to get ahead and are looking to leadership in Madison for help, the Assembly’s last day on the floor resembled the same misguided priorities the Republican-controlled legislature has pushed this session.

Republicans missed numerous opportunities to help Wisconsin families and invest in the middle class during this legislative session. Here’s a sample of what they accomplished: 

  • Massive giveaways to the out-of-state voucher lobbyists bankrolling Republican campaigns 

  • Ended an era of honest and open government by dismantling the state’s non-partisan ethics watchdog Government Accountability Board 

  • Opened the door to more cronyism and corruption in our state by allowing more money in politics, gutting civil service protections, and shielding legislators from John Doe criminal investigations.  

  • Drove down wages for workers and shrunk the middle class through so-called “Right to Work” legislation and eliminating the prevailing wage.

The Assembly session can be characterized not only by the Republicans’ extremely damaging policies but also by their inaction on the issues that matter to everyday Wisconsinites. 

Their failure to lead on behalf of Wisconsin citizens is exacerbated by the Republican leadership ignoring common sense proposals by Assembly Democrats. Here’s a look at the proposals introduced by Democrats this session: 

  • Democrats want to create an economy that works for everyone and they introduced:
    • “15 for 2015 Economic Opportunity Agenda” which invests in small businesses, grow well-paying jobs, increase the minimum wage, expand rural broadband access, fully restore the earned income tax credit, prioritize keeping jobs here in Wisconsin.

    • The “Bring Back the Middle Class” package including bills to address student loan debt relief, earned sick days for workers, and affordable childcare opportunities for Wisconsin families. Hard working Wisconsinites have earned these protections.

  • Democrats introduced WEDC reform to protect taxpayers and create stronger safeguards against corruption and cronyism which has plagued the system.

  • Democrats fought for the full and fair funding for Wisconsin public schools because ALL Wisconsin children deserve an education that allows them to reach their potential.

  • Democrats also called for adequate amounts of financing for Wisconsin transportation projects so our roads and bridges are safe and reliable for all.   

These are all policies that would help grow our economy and ensure that those who work hard and play by the rules have the opportunity to get ahead that they deserve. Conversely, Republican policies led to over 10,000 layoff notices in the state last year, leaving Wisconsinites wondering how they were going to care for their families. 

The difference with Democratic leadership is a forward-looking, progressive agenda focused on growing wages, increasing economic development, investing in public schools, tackling student loan debt, and addressing our crumbling roads and bridges. 

The stone cold truth is that the Republicans have failed to make life better for Wisconsinites. That’s why the latest Marquette University Law School Poll showed a 60 percent disapproval rating for the Republican agenda. 

Election-year theatrics and window-dressing to trick voters will not work in for the Republicans in November. Make no mistake about it, because of the inaction of the party in power, Wisconsinites will vote against the Republican agenda this fall.