Zac Schultz here, I’ll be filling in for Frederica Freyberg on this week’s show.
Tonight, we continue our Budget Watch series with a look at the Governor’s proposed transportation budget. We’ll show you why lawmakers and transportation advocates are nervous about the amount of borrowing for road-building, and how the Governor is shifting debt and revenue around to fund his priorities.
Then we’ll talk with Professor Charles Franklin about his latest Marquette Law School Poll, including some timely numbers on how the public views borrowing for transportation and the options we have for funding our roads. We’ll also hear what the public thinks of voucher schools and we’ll get the latest on Governor Walker’s job approval rating.
After that it’s off to the northwoods to get an update on the forest fire that burned 8,100 acres in Douglas County. We’ll also ask if there’s any connection to a series of tornadoes that took down thousands of trees in that area two years ago.
Finally, we’ll end with a little wisdom from His High Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. He was in Madison this week and stopped by the Capitol to give some advice on human values to the legislature.
While running for Governor in 2010 Scott Walker made a promise to help the state create 250,000 jobs in his first term. That promise has followed him everywhere since then, with Democrats reminding the public constantly how far behind the Governor is on that goal.
The Department of Workforce Development released the latest jobs numbers Thursday, showing Wisconsin gained 32,000 jobs in the last year. That adds up to 62,000 jobs in his first two years in office.
Republicans have had total control of state government the last two years, and Democrats accuse them of focusing on divisive politics instead of job creation. But Republicans say it was the divisive nature of the recalls that stunted job growth in the Governor’s first two years.
Democrats have repeatedly pointed out that Wisconsin ranks in the bottom ten states for job creation, most recently coming in 44th.
The statement put out by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) on the latest numbers is focused on the positives, “It’s a proven fact that Wisconsin is creating jobs. Our reforms are paying off for the state; more people are back to work. We are moving Wisconsin forward. However, our work is not done.”
The public agrees the work is not done. In the most recent Marquette Law School poll 49% of respondents say Wisconsin’s job creation efforts are lagging behind other states. Only 35% say Wisconsin is the same.
So far the job numbers have not hurt Governor Walker’s favorability ratings. He survived his recall election despite low job numbers last June, and he’s still at 51% in the most recent polling. The big question for Republicans is whether that rating will stay strong if the job growth doesn’t pick up before the election in November of 2014.
Fires are always news stories but the headlines are partiicularly ablaze this week in Wisconsin. Here’s a May 14 look at the fire in Douglas County along Germann Road. The flames eventually reached into the Town of Highland, consuming 9,030 acres and destroying several dozen structures. No injuries have yet been reported. Firefighters are in their second day of the battle. Here and Now Reporter Zac Schultz has determined this is the same area where significant timber blow-down from a 2011 tornado caused concern about the area becoming an eventual fire hazard. We are checking with the DNR to determine how much clean up happened in the aftermath of the 2011 storm…and how much–or how little–the remaining dead wood could have been an accelerant this week.
It was produced a few years before television programming actually started showing up in gas pumps. I remember the first time I used a pump with a video screen and programming created especially for the pump. The BP on Willy Street in Madison had just been remodeled. I was not pleased.
Television screens have been showing up everywhere in the last few years. It used to be just an old RCA in the corner of the oil change place sadly churning out day time television. Now flat screen monitors are a ubiquitous feature of any modern business design.
Travel to any airport and you’ll see a passenger waiting area with a 52″ monitor blaring the latest news to an audience of business travelers with their eyes glued to the screens of their iPhones and Blackberries.
Then I heard a story about how, before Hurricane Sandy, one company that programmed to gas pumps in the New York Area realized that this asset was useful to help prepare people for the storm. So the whole idea of video-fed gas pumps seemed slightly more appealing.
Then, I caught wind of this gem, the Tonight Show bit you may have seen with the singing couple. If this happened more often at the gas pump, I’d be all for the video screens:
Tonight on “Here and Now,” the fall-out from the UW System’s reserve accounts. We take you to the Capitol where Republican lawmakers read the riot act to the UW System President. We also hear from the President of the UW Board of Regents, as well as the student representative on the board.
Plus in more of our Budget Watch coverage, Zac Schultz, looks at performance based funding for Wisconsin’s technical colleges.
“Here and Now,” tonight at 7:30 p.m. statewide.