Business starts are often a good proxy for economic health — more business starts usually equals more growth, more jobs and a more vibrant economy.
But Gov. Scott Walker’s claim that 17,000 new businesses have emerged ready to hire during his three-plus years in office is a big stretch of the truth.
As PolitiFact Wisconsin pointed out Sunday, Walker’s assertion “crumbles upon examination.”
Walker has taken to pointing to the number of newly registered “business entities” to show that his conservative policies are boosting the state’s economy. But many of the organizations in Walker’s count have no workers at all — and aren’t likely to have any.
Walker’s count includes hundreds of nonprofit organizations such as Scout troops, youth athletic leagues and condo associations. It also includes thousands of limited-liability companies that often are set up by real estate investors simply as holding companies for property. Walker’s count, according to PolitiFact, includes out-of-state companies that register in Wisconsin because they might one day want to do business here. And the governor’s list includes start-ups that are barely organized.
That’s not what you’d think, to hear the governor tell it. Walker has suggested that all of the new entities he has recently cited are producing jobs or soon will be. As PolitiFact noted, Walker told a Door County business group in April: “On average — some will do more, some will do less — but if in the next year or so they each add up to 10 new employees, you add that to the more than 100,000 new jobs we’ve created and you see we surpass 250,000 new jobs.”
Walker’s goal, of course, is to deflect attention from his most high-profile campaign promise: The governor promised that Wisconsin companies would create 250,000 net new jobs during his first term. The latest scorecard shows 105,800 jobs have been created, and even the governor’s most ardent supporters realize that he won’t be able to fulfill his promise by the end of his term in January.
We’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: We believe there is very little that any governor can do to directly affect job creation. Business hiring decisions are based on demand for products or services.
Wisconsin has been slow to recover from the devastating recession that began with an international credit crisis nearly six years ago. But that has more to do with the state’s mix of industries than with anything the governor has — or hasn’t — done.
State government can help — or hurt — at the margins of those hiring decisions, but only at the margins. The state needs to provide adequate funding for its key responsibilities, including the transportation network and schools from kindergarten through college. And it can encourage new business start-ups through tax incentives, a larger state-sponsored venture capital fund and other means. That is good policy: New businesses are a prime driver of job growth.
The state needs to do whatever it can to reasonably and responsibly promote business creation. That serves the interests of the state and its citizens. Stretching the truth, as the governor is doing in this case, serves no one but himself.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service — if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.
Powered by WPeMatico