Wisconsin has underperformed on job and wage growth, growing a modest 10% over the past 10 years while trailing behind most of the country.
Talent and ingenuity, resources, and our Universities make Wisconsin a great place for high wage job growth but divisive politics, corporate welfare, and antiquated economic policies have kept us behind.
We have so much untapped potential. Wisconsin needs a new leader who understands how to implement and effectively lead an economic agenda that is hyper-focused on long-term growth.
As Governor, my top priority is to change the tone and create a collaborative effort addressing the challenges of the 21st century economy. We cannot move Wisconsin forward by turning to yesterday’s antiquated ways. Demographics are changing, automation is posing risks to nearly every segment of our economy, and globalization has put downward pressure on wages.
We need to make Wisconsin a great place to start a business with high talented employees, by refocusing our priorities in Madison. We must invest in our people and give middle class families tax relief instead of millions to ultra-wealthy. As Governor, I will take an evidence-based and outcome-focused approach to implement policies that have proven track records of delivering the highest return on investment to the state while delivering high wage job growth.
Here are some common questions I receive about my plans to improve jobs and wage growth in Wisconsin.
What role can and should state government play in job creation and wage growth?
The state of Wisconsin should have a comprehensive, statewide economic agenda that creates an environment for high wage job growth and attracts both investment and workers. Government can’t do everything, but government must not stay on the sidelines.
Are you setting a goal for a specific number of jobs the state would create over the next four years if you are elected governor? If so, how many?
No – Wisconsin has an approximately $325 billion dollar annual economy according the St. Louis Fed. No single politician should promise a specific number of jobs when we don’t know what will happen to the economy in the next several years. What the next Governor should be focused on is building on the strengths of the current economy and having a long term agenda that prepares the state for any national economic downturns.
What is your single biggest idea for how to help the state create jobs?
Creating a 21st century entrepreneurial hub that focuses on growing new business. 4 out of 5 workers in Wisconsin work for a company that is 16 years or older. As Governor, I would build a pathway for new businesses to grow and thrive by removing barriers, making it easier to navigate the steps to open a business and hire employees. I will also encourage talented individuals to start a business, and provide tax incentives to mitigate the risk involved with starting a business.
Would you increase the minimum wage, and if so what amount should it be?
Yes – I would partner with businesses and community leaders to set the best path forward to bring the minimum wage to $12 an hour, then index it after that. We should also allow our larger metropolitan areas the freedom to have a locality based minimum wage that reflects the higher cost of living in urban centers.
What is one other proposal you have for how to increase wages in the state?
A comprehensive infrastructure plan that includes our new energy initiatives. I’ll work with Republicans and Democrats to have a sustainable long-term infrastructure plan that is financially stable, encourages private investment, and manages projects transparently throughout Wisconsin. Our new energy initiative will bring investment to every area of Wisconsin, create jobs, and make us a leader in energy innovation.
What changes would you make at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.?
I would do more to increase transparency at WEDC, and focus it on growing our businesses. I would also work to ensure that hiring Wisconsin workers is a priority in any deal the WEDC makes to incentivize a company’s investment in Wisconsin.
What is one outside-the-box idea you have for how the state should address its labor shortage?
We need to close the skills gap. I would partner with technology companies and use data analytics to help those seeking work close the skills gap. It is common that people who have been in an industry for a long time have developed a skill set that could quickly be applied to a new industry. By taking a strategic approach to assessing where employee’s skills can be cross functional, we can mitigate the process of career transitions.