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Falk Talks Jobs, Education, Endorsements During Milwaukee Visit

Dane County Democrat and candidate in likely gubernatorial recall election announces plan to restore technical college funding by closing corporate tax loophole.

Just two weeks after she announced her campaign to run against Gov. Scott Walker in a recall election — and possibly other Democrats in a primary election — former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk made her campaign pitch about job creation, school funding and collective bargaining in luncheon Wednesday hosted by WisPolitics.com.

Already, she has received endorsements from WEAC, AFSCME, Emily's List and Clean Wisconsin. With the unions, she signed a pledge to veto any budget that does not restore collective bargaining. When Patch asked whether the pledge indicates a loyalty to unions, Falk said she made the pledge because she wants to be upfront and honest about what she will do as governor.

"Us candidates are supposed to tell people what we will do to accomplish their goals, and people want collective bargaining. I have been openly asked about what I will do to get that done, and this isn't the time to be wishy washy," Falk said. "This is the time to stand up and say which side you are on, and I'm on the side of collective bargaining."

Falk also used the luncheon as an opportunity to announce her jobs plan for the state. The plan, dubbed "Invest in Success," would restore the $36 million that was cut from state technical colleges by closing a tax loophole that allows multistate corporations to avoid paying Wisconsin taxes on profits generated in Wisconsin. Falk said the loophole cost the state $46 million in the biennial budget and will rise to an annual cost of $40 million starting in 2013.

With one out of five high school graduates going on to technical college, and Walker stating nearly 33,000 job openings in Wisconsin are unfilled because employers cannot find skilled workers, Falk said her plan will help technical colleges provide worker training and create partnerships that connect worker training to available jobs.

"His philosophy is to give big tax breaks to a few companies, and then the biggest cuts in public education," Falk said. "My philosophy about how you balance the budget is through shared sacrifice, and that's what I've done as a county executive."

In an e-mail statement, Walker campaign spokesman Tom Evenson said the plan would hamper economic development by increasing taxes on corporations.

“Kathy Falk is a one-trick pony with one answer for everything: “Raise taxes," he said. "Falk’s plan would put a wet blanket on Wisconsin’s economy by saddling job creators with over $350 million in job-killing tax increases. Wisconsinites simply cannot afford Falk’s failed tax and spend policies.”

Since her candidacy announcement on Feb. 8, the campaign season is still young. Falk said she plans to reach out to both Republicans and Democrats on the campaign trail, saying she campaigned in conservative Waukesha County just last week.

State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) has also declared her candidacy, and Secretary of State Doug LaFollette is reportedly entering the race later this week. Falk said she is not sure whether there will ultimately be a Democratic primary. And, of course, many observers believe Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett also will run.

"I'm just grateful we live in a democracy," she said. "I would never talk somebody out of running for office."

There is no scheduled date for the recall election, which was triggered after Democrats filed more than 1 million signatures a month ago.

Originally from the south side of Milwaukee and raised in Waukesha County, Falk graduated with a law degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison and spent 20 years as an environmental lawyer, mostly through her work as a public intervenor in the state Department of Justice. She was elected Dane County executive in 1997, a post she held for 14 years.

In 2002, she lost a three-way Democratic gubernatorial primary to former Gov. Jim Doyle and Barrett, and in 2006, she narrowly lost the attorney general election to Republican J.B. Van Hollen.

At the age of 60, she said she was motivated to re-enter the political scene after seeing Walker's policies play out in Wisconsin, which she said have led to six straight months of job losses in the state.

"We just want good schools for our kids, decent health care when we need it, a decent paying job and some clean air and water to enjoy those few hours of the day when we're not working," she said. "We don't ask for much, and Gov. Walker has set our state back on every barometer."

Walker's campaign could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

While Walker stocked $12 million into his campaign warchest in 2011 and ran a series of campaign advertisements, Falk said the polls show it has not been effective.

"Once you have lost someone's trust, no amount of money can get it back," Falk said.

Tim Scott February 25, 2012 at 03:08 PM
"SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KFVS/AP) - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn laid out a pretty grim budget Wednesday afternoon. His plan includes closing 59 state facilities, from prisons to offices of the Department of Human Services. "Today, our rendezvous with reality has arrived," said Gov. Quinn during his speech. In his budget address Wednesday, Quinn said the need to lower state spending "gives us no choice." Gov. Quinn talked a lot about restructuring the state's Medicaid program as well as strengthening the public pension systems." http://www.kfvs12.com/story/16989115/quinn-to-propose-closing-prisons-in-grim-il-budget The compassion of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) is eternal! Hopefully the financial death for the union public employees he discarded under the wheels of the bus will be quick and merciful. To think that Evil Incarnate Governor Walker Scott Walker would subject union public employees to the ignomy of pay cuts and paying more for their benefits and pensions - why they might lose their gas-guzzling SUV, vinyl-sided McMansion, or (GASP) not be able to afford that Spring vacation in Florida. It's inhumane subjecting union public employees to "death by 1,000 cuts". Imagine not being able to outspend your neighbor! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!
morninmist February 27, 2012 at 03:30 PM
The recall election is a GO-- Walker the weasel is not challenging any recall sigs. HE has NOTHING! http://elections.wispolitics.com/2012/02/citing-time-crunch-walker-camp-wont.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
CowDung February 27, 2012 at 03:55 PM
I didn't realize that twitter was only for sharing 'deep thoughts'...
Bob McBride February 27, 2012 at 04:01 PM
It's for deep thoughts exclusively, CD... Kim Kardashian ‏ @KimKardashian Reply Retweet Favorite · Open Wow Angelina went fun & sexy!!!! LOVE
morninmist February 29, 2012 at 11:09 AM
Ah, a good day for Wisconsin. Go Kathleen! http://www.politiscoop.com/us-politics/wisconsin-politics/766-scott-walker-in-a-political-free-fall.html Tuesday, 28 February 2012 14:36 Walker in a Political Free-Fall Madison – Gov. Scott Walker’s window of opportunity to change the public’s perception of how well he is doing his job has slammed shut. In recent months, Gov. Walker’s campaign and Koch funded friends have saturated Wisconsin television airwaves with commentary attempting to mask the destructiveness of his draconian polices. With six straight months of job loss in the Badger State, Wisconsinites are more apt to believe what they are experiencing and observing in their communities rather than what they are seeing on television. When you couple steady job losses with massive cuts to BadgerCare and education and when you consider a recent report indicating the state’s budget is still not balanced,... According to PublicPolicyPolling.com or commonly referred to as PPP, a recent poll of 900 Wisconsinites was conducted Thursday through Sunday. With the poll having a margin of error of plus or minus 3.27 percentage points, three of Gov. Walker’s possible opponents were ahead of him in the poll, and five others were not far behind. From the PPP Poll: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett led Walker 49% to 46% Kathleen Falk led Walker 48% to 47% ... ..

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