• WisPolitics


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

 1:59 PM 

Wanggaard, Lehman spar over job creation

GOP state Sen. Van Wanggaard charged on “UpFront with Mike Gousha” that his Dem challenger John Lehman does not have a plan to create jobs and was the “architect” of the Dem budget in 2009 that hiked taxes and fees.

Lehman, who lost to Wanggaard in 2010 and is now challenging him in a recall election, countered the incumbent and Gov. Scott Walker’s understanding of how jobs are created could fit in a tea cup while they’re “pretending they have a bath tub of ideas.”

“The Republicans have done nothing about jobs,” Lehman said on Sunday’s show, which is produced in conjunction with WisPolitics.com. “But they’ve taken that jobs issue and used it as a smokescreen to cover that other agenda, that ALEC-kind of agenda, that right-wing agenda that they’ve been working on.”

Wanggaard, R-Racine, said he has done exactly what he was elected to do, and that includes eliminating the deficit he says Lehman and former Gov. Jim Doyle left behind without raising taxes, while working to create jobs.

“I feel pretty confident with my record, and it’s pretty positive,” Wanggaard said.

Wanggaard acknowledged he did not campaign in 2010 on largely eliminating collective bargaining powers for most public employees. Still, he said he made the law better by insisting that the guv’s proposal be changed to include protections for discipline and the grievance process, along with unfair termination.

He also said it was no secret that Walker was looking at changing collective bargaining, pointing to a comparison piece from a public employee union that warned as much and the fact opponents had a domain name for recalling Walking registered even before the 2010 election was held.

“This is just smoke,” Wanggaard said.

But Lehman countered Republicans pushed through the changes in what he said was an “aberration to the normal process” as Republicans embarked on “a radical agenda, which people weren’t prepared for.”

Wanggaard, however, said Dems last session pushed through a more than $1 billion tax hike in 24 hours with Lehman serving on the Joint Finance Committee. By comparison, he said there was significant debate on the collective bargaining legislation in the Assembly, but a conversation couldn’t be held in the Senate because Dems fled the state in an effort to hold up a vote. He said Lehman has indicated he would have joined the 14 Dems if he were in the body.

“How can you have a conversation when you don’t sit at the table, you don’t do your job?”

Lehman defended the Senate Dems, saying they were trying to slow down the process so a conversation could be had on the changes rather than allowing Republicans to ram it through quickly.

“Van’s in a little bit of a bubble about what they did. This was a very radical approach, something we hadn’t seen in Wisconsin history,” Lehman said. “Hopefully, we won’t see it again.”

-- By JR Ross

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