Far from the wolves of Wall Street and the political corruption of Washington, D.C., but within the "pay-to-play" political corruption under our state's Capitol dome, Scott Walker is now turning his back on Main Street businesses and on Wisconsin's tourism, agricultural and manufacturing sectors.
First it was Walker's attack on public school teachers, then his attack on the UW and technical college systems — and now, ironically, Walker is turning his back on the businesses and communities that helped him get elected three times.
Over the last six years, the Walker administration has failed to increase the funding for improving our states roads, highways, bridges and public transportation infrastructure. As a result of Walker's political neglect, Wisconsin has earned a dismal D- rating for transportation safety and economic development infrastructure. That will likely prevent Wisconsin businesses and industries from expanding and creating new jobs in Wisconsin — and out-of-state businesses from expanding in our state.
Instead of Wisconsin becoming a national model for safe roads and highways and improving our rural and urban public transportation infrastructure — which would increase revenues for our tourism, manufacturing and agricultural industries — our governor is more interested in positioning himself nationally as the "slash-and-burn budget" governor among tea party and Donald Trump supporters.
Why? So Scott Walker can once again run for president, soon after Donald Trump fails to win the White House.
Not only has Walker failed to create a strong and vibrant state economy with new 21st century jobs, during the last legislative session he flatly refused even to consider bipartisan legislation to increase Wisconsin's tax on gas by 5 cents. Instead, Walker immediately threaten to use his veto power to kill any such attempt to raise our state's gas tax during this period of historically low gas prices.
Even with political support from road builders; local chambers of commerce; Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce; environmental, public transportation and consumer groups; the construction trades and architectural firms; and the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups and other aging and disability nonprofit advocates, Scott Walker said NO to increasing public transportation safety and NO to Wisconsin communities and businesses who need improved transportation infrastructure. Those are two essential economic development components for Wisconsin businesses to grow and for improving Wisconsin's local and regional economies.
Walker's veto threat and rejection of bipartisan legislation reflects his deep lack of understanding and knowledge of successful economic development and job creation.
What Walker is best at is catering to those out-of-state billionaire donors with their extreme political views — who will help him erase his $1 million debt from his failed presidential campaign, and then help him raise new funds for his next presidential campaign.
A.J. Nino Amato is president and CEO of the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups. He served as president of Forward Wisconsin, a public-private economic development partnership under Gov. Tommy Thompson and as president of the Wisconsin Technical College System Board under Gov. Jim Doyle.
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