With only two
days to go to Election Day, here are a few questions that weren’t fully
answered – or, in some cases, even asked – during Wisconsin’s campaign for

(Because the
shot-clock runs out Tuesday, I’ll bypass the campaign handlers and supply my
own answers on behalf of incumbent Scott Walker and challenger Mary Burke… who
may reserve the right to claim full plausible deniability.) 

Burke, who will serve on your Cabinet? If you can’t name names, tell us what
kind of management team you hope to build.

voters deserved to hear:
“I don’t know yet who would serve on my Cabinet,
but I can describe the type of people I’ll hire. I want managers who bring a
sense of business principles and public service to the job. That’s a tough mix,
though, as I learned when I joined the Doyle team as Commerce secretary and
quickly realized government doesn’t always work like business. Government pay
is pretty mediocre at the top compared to the private sector, so I will likely
recruit a mix of top managers who are nearing retirement and want to give back
to Wisconsin – or up-and-comers who can grow in the job… without making too
many rookie mistakes.”

Read this commentary in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel here. 

Walker, you set a goal of creating 10,000 companies in four years. You say more
than 26,000 have been created, counting limited liability companies. You know
most LLCs don’t produce actual jobs, right?

voters deserved to hear:
“I get that. Many, if not most, LLCs are legal
entities that exist for pass-through reasons. Most don’t have employees or
payrolls. But they are still companies – and that counts in my book. Most
economists agree LLCs are a fair barometer of economic activity, especially in
real estate and construction. There are 26,000 new companies registered in
Wisconsin today that weren’t there before I took office in 2011. Quibble all
you want, but that’s better than heading in the opposite direction.”

Burke, you haven’t criticized the creation of the Wisconsin Economic
Development Corporation to replace the old Department of Commerce. Why?

voters deserved to hear:
“Let’s be honest… most Democrats liked that idea,
too, including Tom Barrett when he ran for governor in 2010. I was inside
Commerce for a while and saw that some people there spent as much time worrying
about carnival rides and petroleum tanks as they did economic development. It
would sound pretty hypocritical today if I was to say it wasn’t time for a
better system. What matters most is how the system is put to work.”

Walker, the Tax Foundation just ranked Wisconsin’s tax climate 43rd-best
in the country. Or, put another way, seventh worst among the 50 states. The Tax
Foundation’s dial never seems to move, no matter who is governor. Will these
guys ever be satisfied?

voters deserved to hear:
“I must admit it’s frustrating to think you’re
making progress and still get dinged as a high-tax state. In the last two legislative
sessions, the state repealed its inventory tax on rental property, improved its
property tax system from 36th to 31st best, and improved its corporate tax
system from 30th to 25th best. But the Tax Foundation still doesn’t like us
because they’re flat-tax fanatics. They should at least give us credit for
moving to 39th on combined state and local taxes.”

Burke, you have claimed Wisconsin wages are declining at double the rate of
other states, and that unemployment is up. That earned you a couple of “pants
on fire” rankings on the Journal Sentinel’s Truth-o-Meter. What gives?

voters deserved to hear:
“I probably should have double-checked those
jobless claims a little better before approving that first TV ad. While
unemployment was pretty low during my tenure as Commerce secretary, the trend
has been down during Walker’s watch after spiking up during the recession. As
for the wages compared to other states, we may have cherry-picked an outdated
report. It’s not like Walker hasn’t had a smoldering back-side on a few issues,

Walker and Burke, do you agree that fiscal and economic decisions made by
governors today may not pay off for years – and that mistakes made by past
governors can haunt the next occupant of the East Wing?

voters deserved to hear
: “Yes, we do. But it’s much more fun to blame
someone else for the bad stuff and take credit for the good stuff. That’s
politics, stupid.”