Friday, February 18, 2011

More Republican "Respect" for the Workers

On Wednesday (February 16), I wrote a post with the (admittedly rhetorical) title "Is Cutting Jobs Programs to Create Jobs Like Cutting Taxes to Increase Revenues?"

Today, I'd like to offer up a few more examples of how the new governors' of Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin are treating workers within their states as they "create" jobs.

To begin with, we have yesterday's report of Initial Unemployment Claims for last week. After falling to a 2 1/2 year low the week before, yesterday's report showed an increase once again in the initial claims:

There were 410,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended Feb. 12, according to the Labor Department. That was up 25,000 from the week before, and slightly more than the 408,000 claims economists surveyed by had expected.

Continuing claims -- which include people filing for the second week of benefits or more -- rose by 1,000 to 3,911,000 in the week ended Feb. 5, the most recent week available.
Of course, the economists interviewed looked on the sunny side of life because the trend "is still pointing downward." I'm sure that is bringing a warm feeling to the nearly 15 million unemployed and the 25 to 30 million un and underemployed. Why at the rate things are trending downwards, we might once again reach full employment in, oh, maybe in the year 2525?

I assume most folks have been watching with some level of interest the activities in Wisconsin and the protests against new governor Scott Walker's "austerity" plans. As David Dayen noted at FDL News:
Needless to say, unions had nothing to do with budget deficits in the states. You can attribute that to a near-depression caused by a financial crisis. In Wisconsin, you can attribute this particular budget deficit to Scott Walker’s immediate decision upon taking office to cut taxes for his business buddies. In fact, the “budget repair bill” would force areas of the budget like mass transit to pull off a complete restructure or lose $45 million in federal funding, because federal law requires collective bargaining rights as a condition for aid. That part of the “repair” bill, then, could add to the deficit.

Governor Scott of Florida presented his budget plan to the state a couple of weeks ago, proposing to cut taxes, and increase jobs at the same time. Many officials around the state have contested the governor's figures though. The Palm Beach Post (via the Orlando Sun-Sentinel) had it:
The South Florida Water Management District may be forced to lay off employees and halt some Everglades restoration efforts if Gov. Rick Scott sticks by his proposal to cut water management districts' property taxes by 25 percent, board members and staff said on Wednesday.

"I think [the cuts] would have a devastating impact," district board Chairman Eric Buermann said about Scott's proposal, which calls for close to $180 million in property tax reductions for the state's five water management districts over the next two years.
It seems a recession has been going on and has already cost many organizations significant revenues these last few years.

The Miami Examiner presented this:
Florida Gov. Rick Scott provided his first budget proposal on the afternoon of February 7. Next year's budget would be about $66 billion due to $4.6 billion in cuts. This represents one of the most fiscally conservative state budgets in the nation.

Scott wants to cut 8,700 state jobs, many of which are now occupied. Scott said that he knows this will increase the state unemployment rate, but that the best way to grow the Florida economy is to shrink the state government.

As I said Wednesday, cutting jobs programs to save jobs - just like cutting taxes to raise revenues! What a deal!

Speaking of Wednesday and the reports that Governor Scott's decision to reject Federal funds for the High Speed Rail Fund, this chart and article from CNN offers discussion on where the rail money is going. The chart may be a bit out of date already however since California and New York are both looking to capitalize on Florida's loss.

Economic development is not easy, even in the best of times and is far more difficult when state and municipal budgets are constrained. And of course, as this article from McClatchy mentions, it is the businesses that can sit back and take bids on the give-aways in order to set up shop in a race to the bottom:
Across the nation, counties and cities are fighting to attract a small number of potential employers while U.S. corporations sit on more than $2 trillion in cash, awaiting clearer signs of economic normalcy before spending it to expand and hire.

"It is a challenge," acknowledged Timothy Troxell, the executive director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission. "I don't have as many programs, but most of my competitors don't ... either."

States are slashing budgets, pulling back money from the very development agencies charged with enticing employers to locate or expand in their territory, thus creating jobs and generating tax revenue.

So while Governor Scott of Florida apparently contemplates running for President in 2012 so he can help do to the nation what he has already done to Florida in his short time in office, I'll close with this little gem about Governor Kasich of Ohio apologizing for calling a police officer an "idiot" last month for having had the audacity to give him a traffic citation.
In a YouTube video that has made the Internet rounds, Kasich is seen last month repeatedly describing a police officer who ticketed him for a traffic violation as "an idiot." Kasich was cited for passing too close to an emergency vehicle.

Doncha just love how much the Republican governors respect and appreciate their constituents and public service workers?

And because I can:

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