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Misery Loves Company

Chris Christie is coming to Wisconsin today to campaign for Scott Walker, and the two have much in common. Both governors were once considered Republican frontrunners for 2016, but have since been tainted by ongoing investigations and a record of fiscal failures.

A new business survey released last week showed that Wisconsin and New Jersey rank pathetically as the 46th and 47th best states for businesses. The pair of governors present themselves as business-friendly policymakers, but the facts show otherwise. Moreover, each faces looming budget shortfalls thanks to budget overhauls that gave tax cuts to the wealthy while gutting education.

Christie has presided over an astonishing eight credit downgrades in his tenure in the Garden State, while Walker’s Wisconsin is last in the Midwest in job growth. Walker is now statistically tied with his challenger in a race he hoped would only be a formality on his path to running for President in 2016, while Christie is struggling to remain relevant on the national stage.

Scott Walker and Chris Christie are long on topics for commiseration, and short on good ideas for their constituents.

Background:

Christie And Walker Lagged On Quality Of Their State’s Business Environment

James Rowen: Wisconsin Ranked 46th Best State For Business By American Economic Development Institute. According to an Opinion by James Rowen, “The American Economic Development Institute (http://aedi.us/about-us/) and Pollina Corporate Real Estate, Inc. (http://pollina.com/), which jointly produce the Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States, have expanded the release of their research findings to include the Ten Worst States for Business….Just being Republican does not automatically grant you status as a pro-business guru. Of the bottom ten ranked states, three are run by Republicans including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, two darlings of their Party. New Jersey ranks #47 but ranked #45 when Governor Christie took office in 2010. Wisconsin ranks #46 but ranked #44 when Governor Walker took office in 2011. Unemployment for New Jersey is 6.5 percent ranked a weak 32nd,, and Wisconsin has an unemployment rate of 5.8 percent ranked a more respectable 25th nationally.” [James Rowen, 9/24/14]

New Jersey Was Ranked 47th In Terms Of The Quality Of Business Environment. According to the Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro Business States For 2014 Study by the American Economic Development Institute, “For decades, Northern states have suffered from inconsistent and poor leadership when it comes to creation of pro-business environments. Today, if you exclude Indiana #7, Michigan #18, and Ohio #23, which are progressing rapidly, you have a region with political leaders who appear to be content with their failure. Of the ten worst ranked states (#41 – #50), eight are Northern states, including Massachusetts #41, Vermont #42, Connecticut # 43, Maine #44, Wisconsin #46, New Jersey #47, Rhode Island #48, Illinois #49, and California #50.” [American Economic Development Institute, 9/29/14]

Under Walker, Wisconsin’s Budget Faces $1.8 Billion Shortfall

Wisconsin State Budget Was Projected To Have $1.8 Billion Shortfall For Next Budget, And A $396 Million Gap In Current Budget.  According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “The expected shortfall for the next two-year state budget starting in July has risen to nearly $1.8 billion, or about half of what it was when Gov. Scott Walker took office in January 2011. Meanwhile, the state’s projected gap in its current budget ending June has risen to $396 million — or about 1.2% of the spending planned for the 2013-’15 budget.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/8/14]

Walker Slashed Education Funding

2011-12: Scott Walker Cut School Funding More Than Any Wisconsin Governor. According to PolitiFact, “Based on the latest census figures, for 2011-’12, the Wisconsin cuts were the largest based on two measures — state revenue provided to local schools and overall spending by schools of state, federal and local money..” [PolitiFact, 9/7/14]

Wisconsin Ranked Last In Jobs Growth In Midwest By Percentage Over Walker’s Term

Wisconsin Ranked 33rd In The Country In In Job Growth Rate And 8th  Out Of Ten In The Midwest For The Period From March 2013 To March 2014.  According to the Capital Times, “New figures were released Thursday, which showed an increase of 28,712 private-sector jobs in Wisconsin from March 2013 to March 2014. The 1.2 percent growth rate ranks the state 33rd in the nation, and lags behind the national growth rate of 2.08 percent. Among the 10 states Walker and Burke use to define the Midwest, Wisconsin outpaced Illinois and Minnesota in percent job growth for the first quarter of 2014.” [Capital Times, 9/18/14]

  • Over Walker’s Term Wisconsin Ranked 9th In The Midwest In Total Job Growth And 10th In Percentage Job Growth. According to the Capital Times, “From the fourth quarter of 2010 — the last quarter before Walker took office — to the first quarter of 2014, Wisconsin ranks ninth out of 10 Midwestern states in total job growth, and tenth out of 10 in percent job growth.” [Capital Times, 9/18/14]

New Jersey’s Credit Rating Lagged Under Christie

New Jersey’s Credit Was Downgraded 8 Times During Christie’s Administration, The Most For Any Governor In New Jersey’s History. According to Bloomberg, “New Jersey had its credit rating cut one step by Standard & Poor’s, handing Chris Christie his eighth downgrade, the most ever for a Garden State governor. The reduction to A, the sixth-highest level, with a stable outlook follows a Sept. 5 downgrade by Fitch Ratings.” [Bloomberg, 9/10/14]

  • Only One State Had A Lower Credit Rating Than New Jersey. According to Bloomberg, “It gives New Jersey the same general-obligation grade as California, which is on track for an upgrade as revenue exceeds Democratic Governor Jerry Brown’s estimates. Only Illinois has lower ratings than New Jersey among U.S. states.” [Bloomberg, 9/10/14]
  • New Jersey Was Downgraded By All Three Credit Agencies In 2014.According to Bloomberg, “Revenue shortfalls led all three credit-ratings companies to downgrade New Jersey earlier this year, leaving Christie with six downgrades as of May, tying him with Democrat James McGreevey for the most credit reductions for a New Jersey governor. Last week, Fitch cited the lack of progress in fixing budget gaps when it cut the state one step to A.” [Bloomberg, 9/10/14]