For those who follow money matters, how better to ring in a new year than a positive spin on the U.S. and Wisconsin economies?

And attendees at the Wisconsin Economic Forecast at Monona Terrace Thursday got upbeat presentations from both Gov. Scott Walker and St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard.

“It was nice to hear such a rosy forecast,” said Doug Fearing, who runs a security business in Madison and was one of 550 lunch guests at the event sponsored by the Wisconsin Bankers Association.

Walker brushed off a recent dismal report on job creation in Wisconsin — saying the Capitol protests and recall election had frightened employers from hiring — and talked instead about reducing income taxes in the next state budget. He said putting more money in the pockets of business people and consumers is the best path to future growth.

“Since most businesses don’t pay corporate taxes but rather pay through the individual income tax, the biggest bang is dropping the state income tax rate,” he said, adding that details would be released during Tuesday’s State of the State address.

Walker hit on a familiar theme of improving the state workforce, noting that Wisconsin lags in ready hires in information technology, health care and finance. He called for directing more resources to the state’s technical colleges.

But Walker specifically did not mention the University of Wisconsin System, which he suggested during a speech in California last year should have its funding tied to whether it is meeting job-training goals.

On the jobs situation, Walker said the recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau showing Wisconsin 42nd in job creation from June 2011 to June 2012 was due to business uncertainty amid the recall election of this past summer.

“Employers were waiting until after June 5 and were not willing to go out on a limb until they knew the next step,” he explained.

Walker went on to predict that final job numbers from the second half of 2012 will show vast improvement. He didn’t shy away from his famous “250,000 new jobs” pledge, although most estimates show the state is well behind the pace needed to hit that goal.

“This is not about some bumper sticker target, it’s about the future of this state,” he told the business crowd. “I believe the decisive actions we’ve taken here over the past two years, from tax reform to regulatory relief, have put us in a better position going forward.”

Walker also hinted that something needs to be done to address the shortfall in transportation funding in Wisconsin, noting the gas tax has failed to produce needed revenues because vehicles have become more fuel-efficient. But he stopped short of specifics, such as adding toll lanes to Wisconsin highways or raising the gas tax.

Bullard, a Minnesota native, followed Walker with a less political talk that nonetheless offered up several reasons for brighter days ahead. They included improvements in the housing market, stronger growth in emerging markets and less uncertainty following a deal to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

“I think we are through a lot of the pessimism,” he said.

Looking forward, Bullard predicts a 3 percent growth in the U.S. gross domestic product in 2013 and 2014. That is better than some other economists have predicted but still not enough to bring down a stubborn 8 percent national unemployment rate.

“It’s not going to get people who have been out of work to say ‘the labor market looks so great I think I will come off the sidelines and start looking for a job,’” he said.

The big wild card remains Europe, Bullard said, noting that the combined economy of those developed countries is larger than the U.S. economy. While the European debt crisis seems to have eased from the panic mode of 2011, he says there is a lesson to be learned.

“There is such a thing as borrowing too much,” said Bullard, who has supported the Fed’s policy of “quantitative easing” or buying U.S. bonds as a way to avoid falling into a long-term Japanese deflationary trap. In 2010, he published a well-regarded paper on that topic.

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(34) comments

bluffsinview
bluffsinview

Just love all those listening sessions Walker is having with his constituents. Oh wait, he isn't. Those sessions are only for those who have been invited...and he wouldn't invite anyone who doesn't kiss the ground he walks on...would hate to hear the truth I guess. It's so easy to paint a rosy forecast when you lie all the time. Too bad his former appointees are too intimidated or snowed to turn him in and admit he was behind the whole mess in Milw. County. He threw them under the bus and they still support him. Guess that's the kind of people he likes to appoint..mindless ones.

tomtom33
tomtom33

How did all those listening sessions work out for Russ? He strayed further and further from his constituency over his 18 years in the US Senate and lost solidly to an unknown newcomer. For the most part listening sessions attract like-minded people and a small number of people who have an ax to grind on a specific issue. Neither helps the politician to understand his/her constituency.

gobi
gobi

The man is incapable of telling the truth- it is not part of his charachter make-up

Retired PE
Retired PE

Does anyone else notice the uncanny similarity between Washington's tendency to "kicj the can down the road" when it comes to big issues and Walker's "kicking of the same can" when it comes to WI job growth? He always seems to have some excuse (other than himself and his cronie Tea Party policies) for just not quite meeting that 250,000 job goal. What's his opinion about the Golden Guernsey plant shutting down in his own hometown backyard? And, that was done by one of his California hedge fund owners - the very organizations he likes the best! Despite what the majority of WI residents believe, his two-year attack on public employees in this state has taken its toll on the entire WI business climate. And, I certainly do NOT trust his peddling of his "new & improved" cooperative image in front of the cameras because all he is doing is trying to "etch-a-sketch" his image before his 2014 re-election campaign begins. A leopard does NOT change its spots.

tomtom33
tomtom33

I see closer similarities between quantum physics and navel gazing.

I don't like some of the things Walker has done. However, the public union conniptions have taken more of a toll than anything done by Walker.

When either party has the control that the GOP has in WI, there will be very little bipartisanship. See Doyle's last two years and Obama's first two.

knittingnancy
knittingnancy

The sum of the comments is: another failure by both republicans and Walker. Who would have thought....

tomtom33
tomtom33

And that failure still runs the State. Walker won his recall by more than his first election. How can that be? Is it just possible that not everyone shares your views?

Retired PE
Retired PE

Tomtom, I believe that it was P.T. Barnum who said, "A sucker is born every minute." Walker voters are still loyal because you have been deluded into the Tea Party propaganda that states "put us in charge and verything will be fine." Time will tell, and then the rest of us can say, "We told you so."

Cornelius Gotchberg
Cornelius Gotchberg

@Retired PE:

I believe you're wrong; it is attributed to David Hannum.

But in all fairness, he was referring to P.T. Barnum in an intentionally derogatory manner. Were Barnum a Lefty, Lefties everywhere would be breathlessly launching a spittle-flecked tirade labeling Hannum's statement "hate speech."
If it didn't interupt their Capital Square singalong., leastways.

"Hate speech" is, but is not limited to, speech which Lefty finds uncomfortable yet lacks the intellectual wherewithal to rebut.

It's so uncharacteristic of Lefties to mangle facts, isn't it?

"The educated don't get that way by memorizing facts; they get that way by respecting them." T. Heehler

The Gotch

einstein
einstein

I feel sorry for Scooter. He thinks he's God's favorite but I know Jesus would scold him if he could meet with him. Lies, $ loving, deceitful....everything Jesus was against.

guirkymondo
guirkymondo

To say nothing of Wisconsin's dropping to #50 -- dead last (no pun intended) -- in healthcare initiatives. Who the hell on God's green earth would want to move their business or family to a state that ranks below Mississippi in healthcare? Good God! Walker's been making "things will improve soon" predictions for more than two years now. Doesn't the MSM understand they've been had by "Chicken Little"?

tomtom33
tomtom33

Healthcare initiative? How is that quantified? Who, other than you, has made that claim?

Wis_BlogRider
Wis_BlogRider

Walker must be talking about Income Tax reductions for the Koch brothers, Diane Hendricks and his buddies that he gave the millions of WEDC money that disappeared without a trace. It appears the future of Wisconsin will hinge on whether we can survive a system where those at the top manipulate giant tax cuts and take public resources for themselves without any accountability no matter how badly they screw up our economy, while the rest of the people get screwed no matter how hard they work.

Fur94
Fur94

I don't think it would be due to any of Walker's policies, but I do think the economy will pick up the pace of its improvement, both in the state and nationally. There is a huge amount of cash sitting idle in accounts from companies being thrifty the last few years. Someone will blink first, and soon other companies will follow, not wanting to be left behind.

I don't buy the argument that the recall election was the reason for slow job growth. There was a six month stretch of job losses in 2011 before anyone started signing the recall. And while things improved faster in Wisconsin last month then nationally, I would have expected multiple months of above average improvement since the recall, if it was a cause.

Wisconsin's economy has been more modest then the national one, it doesn't get as hot in good times, nor does it get as bad in the worst ones. I don't see any significant change in that trend since Walker took office. I think Wisconsin will see an improvement as the country improves, but it will continue to be modest.

tomtom33
tomtom33

Walker's policies that couldn't have been enacted until mid 2011 caused that 6-month stretch in 2011? Economies, like ocean liners, cannot turn on a dime.

Fur94
Fur94

I completely agree that it takes some time for polices to take effect. However as I've said before, I think the sales pitch in the 2010 election was along the lines of "It's been two years of the Democrats in charge, give us a chance and we'll speed things up." I think the slow reality of policy change was partly why the 2012 election didn't go so well when some voters felt the GOP didn't deliver on that promise.

But I also believe the bigger problem has the focus of Walker's policies. I do think that tax cuts or other incentives can spark growth, but so can investments in education or infrastructure. I think the Governor is way too focused on the tax portion, and his cuts to the other options nullified their benefits. A balanced approach, one that Wisconsin has usually been known for taken, would be much more beneficial.

tomtom33
tomtom33

The GOP did control WI 2 years before the 2012 elections. And they control WI after the 2012 elections. Walker won his recall by a larger margin that his initial election.

At the national level the GOP controlled only the House for the 2 years prior to the 2012 elections. How was the GOP supposed to change things? I hear Democrats crying about only having a 59-41 advantage in the Senate.

spooky tooth
spooky tooth

Is that why WI is #42 in job creation? You can't divide the state with hate and expect positive results, Walker has to go.

DriveThru
DriveThru

Welcome to Wississippi: A corporate welfare state. Walker is proving once again that Tinckle Down economics doesn't work! Walker's austerity for workers and welfare for millionaires is doing what it always does: kill jobs and growth. Anyone who is encouraged by Walker's empty future predictions--his actual current numbers are horrific--is very naive.

spooky tooth
spooky tooth

Corporations are sitting on 2 trillion and not creating jobs and Walker wants to cut their taxes again? It will never be Supply Side that creates jobs, it will always be Demand Side.

Either Walker doesn't understand economics or he's a Chamber of Commerce puppet stealing from state tax payers?


bookman21
bookman21

More BS from the man who shovels it with the worst of them.

ems1
ems1

hmmm, sooner or later he may be close to his predictions. Bozo the Clown could be governor and the job market will improve...already been stated...ooops, that's right, Bozo is governor!

JVMadison
JVMadison

I would expect nothing less from someone who only wants to be reelected with the hope of being relevant in the 2016 elections. He will never buy my vote!

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

Nav,
"There already is job improvement all over the country, and it is due to the policies President Obama has put in place."

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ROFL, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,, LOL, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.....

You're such a partisan tool!

I think any improvement across the country is due to City Mayors dealing directly with local issues at the local level; the President, congress, and Governors are ALL to detached to help anything!

davea
davea

Just your opinion, or do you have any proof?

Permanent Tailgater
Permanent Tailgater

Scott Walker does NOT have truth in him. He is morally, educationally and administratively deficient and it shows on a daily basis and the victims of this incompetent are the hardworking, law-abiding, taxpaying, educated voting citizens of the great State of Wisconsin and I find it appalling that this charade is permitted to go. This man makes me ashamed of ever being a Republican.Scott you should have finished your education and stop trying to sugarcoat your clear ineptitude by blaming the Recall. As far as I am concerned you should have been brought up on state and federal charges of corruption and hope that your future brings that to you. You sir may have acquired all that cash but guess what??? You can NEVER regain integrity and character. I find you guilty of having neither by your own actions, inaction and elementary words. It's working? No sir It is NOT!

abby
abby

The state is at the bottom of jobs market in the USA and all we ever hear around Wisconsin is more jobs lost or businesses closing like Golden Guernsey in Waukesha closed by a company like Romney ran.

momoftwoteens
momoftwoteens

I don't see a rosy future. Wait until people realize the impact the payroll tax holiday ending has on their take home pay and cut back on spending. And in Dane county for those state employees who also are hit with higher contributions to health insurance and retirement. Nope, doesn't look so rosy.

Nav
Nav

There already is job improvement all over the country, and it is due to the policies President Obama has put in place.

But of course, Governor Walker will take the credit for any job improvement in Wisconsin. I am still waiting for the 250,000 jobs the Governor promised..

tomtom33
tomtom33

We have less people working today than when Obama first took office. Improvement?

Warren G Harding
Warren G Harding

Roosters think their crowing makes the sun come up. The jobs are gone and are not coming back. Most new jobs will be part time, minimum wage with no benefits. Predatory financial capitalism rules the world. A rooster may think Obama is to blame. The student loan scam will be the next bankster-created bubble to pop. Perhaps if Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and VA benefits are taken away, another Iraq War is started, and the capital gains tax abolished the job creators can get busy creating more jobs in the Cayman Islands and Bangladesh. A rooster not remember the Iraq War, but it remembers itself to the tune of $2 trillion and counting. (Did Cheney and Rumsfeld find the "WMDs" yet?) A rooster may not remember the Bush tax cuts that were passed by the Republicans to pay for the Iraq War, either. ("pay for" in reverse) The last bright shining trophy to set on the mantle of this corrupt blood-thirsty nation would be the regulatory capture by the financial rulers of gov't. How many roosters could explain Glass-Steagle, Gramm-Leach-Bliley or a collaterized debt obligation? Not very many roosters. So, as anyone can see, Obama cooked all this up.

Warren G Harding
Warren G Harding

As a student at Marquette, Scott Walker and his campaign had to take all the issues of the student newspaper out of circulation because the lazy libruls were spreading lies about his campaign for student body president. It's the same thing with the Wisconsin Commerce Dept; he had to privatize it to keep the lazy libruls' hands off the cash. The cash he protected, about $30 million, is now safe though the lazy libruls are blaming Governor Walker's privatized Commerce Dept for protecting it from them. The lazy libruls were going to squander that $30 million giving it to lazy greedy public school teachers and welfare queens.

DriveThru
DriveThru

WI job "improvement" is way below the national average, at least since the Weasel took over! Republicans have lost 5 of the last 6 presidential elections but the Weasel wants to be president. What a joke! He'll be like Robme: set a new record for loosing his home state by the highest margin in history! Hehehe.

tomtom33
tomtom33

Yet WI is still way below the national unemployment rate.

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