Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc.
Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett says the June 5 gubernatorial recall election will come down to the issue of jobs. "This state has lost more jobs than any other state in the country," the mayor told reporters this afternoon, citing an inaccurate and outdated report. The election is about having "a governor who's going to focus on creating jobs," he said. But in an interview with THE WEEKLY STANDARD Tuesday afternoon, Barrett was unable to name a single policy he'd pursue as governor in the next six months to create jobs.
Barrett said that, if elected, he will call a special session of the legislature, but that session will focus on restoring collective bargaining, not creating jobs. "Then again, [job creation] might be an area where we'll work with legislators and others, and clearly if there's good ideas, we'll implement them as soon as we can," Barrett added. But he had no specific job creation ideas of his own to offer.
Asked by a local reporter if he would keep any of Walker's policies in place, Barrett replied: "What I'm going to look at--I'm going to look at the basic right to organize. That's where I'm going to focus my energies--to restore the right to organize and the right to bargain."
Here's a transcript of the interview:
TWS: Mayor Barrett, what are a few policies you would pursue in the next six months to create jobs in the state of Wisconsin?
BARRETT: Well, obviously focusing on jobs, working with agriculture, working with small businesses, working with biotech, high-tech, venture capital, manufacturing. I think one of the strengths of Wisconsin's economy is it's diversity--and in making sure that we're doing everything we can to have a state government that's responsive to that and being here and encouraging people to expand their businesses here. I believe that most of the growth in our state economy is going to come from businesses that are already located here or will start here, and most of the jobs are being created by small businesses. So to focus on what we can do to help small businesses grow.
TWS: Are there a few specific policies, though, that you would pursue or [bills to] send to the legislature?
BARRETT: I want to make sure that as we look at the tax code in particular that any tax incentives are actually tied to actual job growth, job creation. As mayor of Milwaukee, I've had many developers come and many businesses come and have asked for financial assistance from the city, and my questions have always been: how many jobs are we talking about and are these family-supporting jobs. So those are my opening questions: how many jobs are we talking about and are they family supporting jobs?
TWS: So no [job creation] legislation ready to go to send to the legislature?
BARRETT: We're not planning any special session on that. We will look at restoring rights for workers.
TWS: In the special session?
BARRETT: In the special session, yes. Then again, that might be an area where we'll work with legislators and others and clearly if there's good ideas, we'll implement them as soon as we can.