Monday, March 24, 2014

“10,000 new businesses” promise falls short, and then some -- net totals decreased under Gov. Walker’s watch

But Walker administration insists Girl Scouts, Ping Pong clubs make up the difference

One of the forgotten promises of then-candidate Scott Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign that tied in closely with his jobs pledge was his commitment to bringing 10,000 new business entities to the state by the end of his first term.

It’s now nine months away from that deadline, and what does Walker have to show for it? Nothing much. In fact, just the opposite: the net number of business entities in the state has dropped.

In December 2010, Wisconsin had 156,752 businesses in the state. According to the latest Quarterly Census report (commonly referred to as the QCEW) put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that number has...decreased by nearly 400 net business establishments.

(But wait, you might ask: those two QCEW reports focus on two different time periods, the third quarter from 2013 and the fourth quarter from 2010. Do we compare any better when looking at the third quarters of both years? Not by much, and it’s still bad news. Businesses in the state have still dropped, by a net loss of 2 entities during that time. At best, that’s no growth at all.)

So instead of growing our state’s businesses, Walker’s economic policies have driven more away. Has that deterred the Walker administration from their plans and strategies?

Not at all. In fact, last fall the Walker administration claimed victory in this promise, stating that the state had actually surpassed his campaign promise by that time.

How can that be? The Walker administration is using a separate metric to count businesses, one that the average Wisconsinite probably wouldn’t take into account: Walker is counting the establishment of Girl Scout Troops, Little League teams, and even a Madison area ping-pong club as “new businesses” created since he took office.

The establishment of these new businesses, Walker said last year, “says something tremendous about the business climate in the sate.”

Those who were listening to his words probably never imagined that their community’s Little League teams were important aspects of economic growth, at least according to Gov. Walker. To everyone else, they’re just kids playing baseball. And they shouldn’t count in the calculation of new businesses.

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