As we all know, Wisconsin and America are facing the worst economic times since the Great Depression.
While we are facing tough challenges, I believe we also have great opportunities. And here in Wisconsin, we are working hard to make sure that as the national economy comes back, Wisconsin is poised to grow and expand.
The Obama administration has been a strong partner in these efforts, and through the Recovery Act, we have been able to protect our basic priorities – protecting our schools from major cuts, providing health care for people who desperately need it, keeping our communities safe, investing in our infrastructure, and giving people the help they need to get through this difficult time.
On the first anniversary of the Recovery Act, I am proud to report that we have created and retained 44,000 jobs in communities throughout Wisconsin – from police officers, firefighters and teachers to construction workers. I would like to thank President Obama and our congressional delegation, particularly Congressman Dave Obey, for their leadership on this important issue.
Since President Obama signed the Recovery Act, we have gotten to work on completing major projects in road construction, water infrastructure, and a new high-speed rail line that will create thousands of jobs and help us become the nation’s leader in high-speed rail manufacturing. Wisconsin is also the only state to direct all the Recovery Act’s state energy funds to help our largest manufacturers find savings through energy efficiency and create jobs.
Creating jobs and growing the economy has been a top priority of mine since I took office in 2003. Last year, the budget I signed created some of the strongest economic development tools in the country to help businesses create jobs and get people back to work. We’re spurring research and development through new incentives. We’re giving investors new tools to create start-ups. And we’re using powerful new tax credits to help manufacturers create and retain jobs.
Because of these new economic development tools, we have seen business success stories like Mercury Marine, Republic Airways, ULINE and many more, but there is more work to be done. I will do everything I can to help our businesses create jobs and give our workers the opportunities to get those jobs. Nothing is more important.
We have laid out plans to continue building the state economy, including passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act to create 15,000 clean energy jobs, establishing the Wisconsin Green to Gold Fund to help manufacturers reduce energy costs and create and retain jobs, and passing the CORE Jobs Act to strengthen successful programs for manufacturing, research and development, and worker training.
I know we are facing difficult times right now. But I always think about what my parents saw in the 1930s. They did not give up in the face of adversity. With what little they had, they made sure their schools stayed strong. They built the infrastructure that would serve this country for generations.
I believe we are at a moment when we can make a similar mark on history. But we’ll have to stay focused. We can’t lose this opportunity to small-minded partisan bickering. Through the Recovery Act and other actions we are taking, we are positioning Wisconsin to grow when the national economy turns the corner.
Jim Doyle is the governor of Wisconsin.