The snow blows over the frozen fields. But in the farmer’s mind, the plants already appear in straight rows and the blossoms are in bud. It takes an optimist to be a farmer – one who sees the potential bounty of the land. But it also takes a realist to plan for the possibility of drought, hail and pests.
It’s with that balance of optimism and realism I look forward to 2014.
I wish you all a prosperous New Year with jobs that pay a living wage for every family, a great school for every child and affordable health care for everyone. But in this wish is the acknowledgement of the real struggle Wisconsin faces to wrestle the public good away from mismanagement and private interests seeking to influence policy.
Take jobs and economic development: in the coming year the Legislative Audit Bureau will release another audit of the Governor’s keystone jobs policy – the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. The first audit showed an agency without clear policies giving limited state cash to companies without verifying a single company had created a single job. Despite tremendous public relations efforts to cover the problems I fear the 2014 audit will show similar problems with a lack of adequate financial management and misuse of state resources.
Getting our state economic development efforts in order should be job number one if Wisconsin is going to close 2014 with a better job outlook than we see now.
Life without health is a poor life indeed. My office phones are ringing as reality hits with the recent legislative decision to not cover tens of thousands of people with health care. These people make less than $11,000 a year. Many are artists, farmers, café or other small business owners. They work hard to make important contributions to our communities. The New Year was supposed to bring the promise of health care through BadgerCare. But, the Governor and majority Republicans broke that promise.