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Tom Barrett: A Man Without A Plan

5:49 PM, May 21, 2012 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Politicians are notoriously evasive when asked to offer detailed plans of what they would do if elected. But Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who is challenging Wisconsin governor Scott Walker in the June 5 recall election, goes far beyond typical shiftiness in this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article by Jason Stein

Barrett has said he doesn't want to raise taxes beyond the levels they were at when Walker took office. He said he would look at undoing some tax cuts passed by Walker, including the business tax cuts mentioned above, since he says they've been ineffective in creating jobs. He said he would consult with businesses to ensure the changes are not unduly harmful, but he has not said which taxes he might raise.

"I'm going to be very mindful of the cost of these because they explode in the out years," Barrett said of Walker's tax cuts.

Barrett has criticized Walker's property tax caps but has not said whether he would loosen them or by how much. The mayor wants to restore tax credits for low-income families that were eliminated by Walker and Republican lawmakers, saying the governor broke his no tax increase pledge to the neediest families.

He has not said where he would get the money to do that.[...]

Barrett has said that he wants to undo ... changes [to a state health care plan called BadgerCare] before they take effect. But [he] said he doesn't yet know what changes that would take by lawmakers or where he would get the money. [...]

Barrett has said he wants to restore union bargaining for public employees that was repealed by Walker and Republican lawmakers. He said he was focused on that and hadn't considered what to do about cases where the repeal of union bargaining has allowed the state to save on overtime costs or allowed schools to save money by bidding out their health insurance.

This is not a parody. And it actually gets worse. 

Barrett says the central issue in the recall election is job creation (not Walker's now-popular union reforms and spending cuts that balanced the budget and caused the recall). "What we're going to do between June and January is create jobs in the state, and it's our hope in January we'll have a much better handle on what to do to reverse his cuts to education" and health programs, Barrett told the Journal last month. So what is his plan to "create jobs" between June and January in the hopes that there is more revenue to spend on education next year? The Journal reports: 

Barrett said that it would be unlikely that he would make changes in the current budget, which goes through June 2013. But if he succeeded in boosting the economy and tax revenue, he said he would try to increase funding for schools in the next two-year budget that he would submit in February 2013. 

The mayor said that, though he would work immediately on economic development, he didn't expect to seek new legislation on jobs until the Legislature returns in 2013.

So Barrett is going to focus on creating jobs between June and January, but he has no legislation designed to spur job creation between June and January.  A governor only has two tools to encourage job creation: tax policy and spending policy. How would Wisconsin's economy create more jobs under Barrett than Walker the next 6 months if Barrett plans to maintain Walker's policies?

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