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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

 10:02 AM 

Senate Dems say special session doesn't focus enough on jobs

Senate Dems today called on their GOP counterparts to drop bills like creating new immunity for the pharmaceutical industry and making it harder to crack down on tax cheats and instead focus this fall's special session on bills that they say will actually create jobs.

Minority Leader Mark Miller, D-Monona, and fellow Dems told reporters ahead of this morning's floor period that they were heartened Republicans had included some of their bills in the special session call. But they said too much of the legislation included either lacks details or won't create jobs.

Instead, they encouraged Republicans to focus on things like more aid to technical colleges to support training for more skilled workers to meet needs in areas like manufacturing.

Miller said the current special session seems to be following the same path of the one the guv called earlier this year, noting unemployment has risen since Republicans pushed through that agenda.

"The first one apparently didn't take," Miller said. "But much like the first, it seems that much of the focus is on anything except jobs.

"What do these bills do with helping people get jobs?"

Listen to the news conference.

UPDATE: Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, countered this morning's news conference by pointing to two bills the Senate approved during session. SB 5, approved 32-1, doubles the money available through the state's Jobs Tax Credit and moves up the payment date. The Senate also voted unanimously to approve SB 203, which creates a state tax exemption for the reimbursements employees receive to cover health care payments for adult dependents. It mirrors a federal tax exemption already on the books.

"We’re making real progress during tough times -– the decisions we’re making in Madison will have an impact in the real world," Fitzgerald said. "The Democrats are clearly in ‘attack mode,’ but political rhetoric simply doesn’t create jobs. We’re putting action behind our words, and all the Democrats are offering is more politics."


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