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Thompson: Wisconsin recalls bad for economic development


UNDATED (WSAU) Former Governor Tommy Thompson says the rash of recall elections creates a political instability that’s harmful to Wisconsin. The Republican U-S Senate hopeful tells the Wisconsin Radio Network that recalls are not only tearing state residents apart – they’re also creating uncertainty which holds back economic development. Thompson says new investors could be scared away by the uncertainty over which lawmakers will be in office – and what kind of tax policies they might promote.

He says recall organizers are acting like quote, “kids on a playground,” striking back only because they didn’t win in last fall’s elections. And Thompson says it’s wasting money that could have been used to create new jobs.

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign says over $44-million were spent on this summer’s recalls – in which G-O-P senators Randy Hopper and Dan Kapanke lost their jobs because they supported the new limits on public union bargaining.

Since then Assembly Republicans Robin Vos and Paul Farrow have introduced a constitutional amendment to allow recalls only when an official commits misconduct. The earliest the amendment could be approved is 2013 – and therefore, it could not stop the recall efforts mounting against Republican Governor Scott Walker and more senators from both parties early next year.

The first legislative recall in Wisconsin history happened while Thompson was governor. Racine Senator George Petak lost his job in the mid-1990’s for his vote on favor of the regional sales tax that built Milwaukee’s Miller Park baseball stadium. Until this year, only one other state lawmaker was recalled – Milwaukee Senate Democrat Gary George, who went to prison for taking illegal kickbacks from a now-defunct social service agency.