On Tuesday: MI, NM, WI Govs to Deliver ‘State of State’ Speeches
Effects of GOP Governance on Display: Poisoned Water, Economic Stagnation, $250M College Cuts
Today, GOP governors in Michigan, New Mexico, and Wisconsin are all set to deliver their annual State of the State address.
And while their paths may have differed, these states all share at least one thing: Republican governors have led them into a state of disarray.
In Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder’s failed leadership led to the poisoning of Flint’s water supply, resulting in a public health crisis that Snyder admitted was “his Katrina.”
With RGA Chair Gov. Susana Martinez at the helm, New Mexico has been named the worst run state in the country. Under Martinez’s leadership, New Mexico has also ranked last in poverty levels and chronic unemployment, and second-to-last in education – while the governor’s political operation faces an FBI investigation.
And in Wisconsin, Martinez’s RGA Vice Chair, Gov. Scott Walker, faces a lagging economy and a budget disaster that led to $250 million in higher education cuts.
“Today, the worst of Republican gubernatorial leadership is on display,” said Jared Leopold, DGA Communications Director. “Here’s what Governors Walker, Martinez and Snyder won’t say today: Their states are in a state of disarray. These Republican governors have given their citizens a poisoned water supply in Michigan, dramatic education cuts in Wisconsin and the worst run state in the nation in New Mexico. We look forward to replacing these three disastrous governors in 2018.”
Snyder Conceded That His Administration’s Handling of the Flint Water Crisis is a Stain on His Legacy, Reflects Poorly on His Leadership, and is Aptly Compared to President Bush’s Mishandling of Hurricane Katrina. According to National Journal, “Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder conceded Monday that his administration’s handling of the Flint water crisis is a stain on his legacy, reflects poorly on his leadership, and is aptly compared to President Bush’s mishandling of Hurricane Katrina. ‘It’s a disaster,’ he said when asked about the comparison some critics have made to the 2005 natural disaster in New Orleans that became a symbol of government mismanagement—city, state, and federal. ‘It’s clearly a negative on what we’ve accomplished since I’ve been governor.’ In a wide-ranging interview on the eve of his state of the state address, Snyder said he knew last summer about his top aide’s concerns that Flint residents were ‘getting blown off’ by the Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality. The MDEQ waved off his office’s concerns, Snyder said. He accepted responsibility for the lack of adequate follow up, but the twice-elected GOP governor said he would not heed calls for his resignation.” [National Journal, 1/18/16]
New Mexico Named the Worst-Run State in the Country. According to the New Mexican, “According to a new report by the online financial publication 24/7 Wall St., ‘New Mexico is the worst-run state in the country with some of the worst social and economic outcomes.’” [New Mexican, 12/3/15]
New Mexico Led All States in Long-Term Unemployment in 2014 With an Average of 44.9 Percent of the State’s Unemployed Unable to Land a Job for 27 Weeks or Longer. According to the Albuquerque Journal, “Chances were good last year that losing a job in New Mexico would lead to chronic unemployment, a state labor study shows. New Mexico led all states in long-term unemployment in 2014 with an average of 44.9 percent of the state’s unemployed unable to land a job for 27 weeks or longer, the Department of Workforce Solutions reports in its latest Labor Market Review report. The average long-term unemployment rate nationwide was 33.5 percent in 2014. Long-term unemployment is defined as lasting 27 weeks, or more than six months, and longer.” [Albuquerque Journal, 6/12/15]
Education Week Quality Counts 2016 Ranked New Mexico 49th in the U.S. According to the Albuquerque Journal, “New Mexico students have shown achievement gains in math, reading and graduation rates since 2003, but the state still ranks near the bottom nationally on quality of education measures, a new report shows. New Mexico ranked 49th in the U.S. – ahead of only Nevada and Mississippi – in Quality Counts 2016, an annual report issued by the Education Week Research Center. The state scored an overall grade of D, which is unchanged from last year, when the state also ranked 49th. Fourth- and eighth-grade students scored among the lowest math and reading test scores in the nation in 2015, even though student scores showed marked improvement over the last 12 years, the report found. ‘When we look at reading and math scores, we see that New Mexico is near the bottom on current performance,’ said Sterling Lloyd, senior research associate at the Education Week Research Center. ‘But when we look at achievement gains, New Mexico is doing fairly well over time.’” [Albuquerque Journal, 1/8/16]
Wisconsin’s Economy Has Been Slow to Recover and Walker’s Most Recent Budget Cut University Funding by $250 Million. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Walker ended a roller-coaster presidential run in September after just 70 days, saddled with more than $1 million in campaign debt. By November, he had dropped to a 38% approval rating in his home state. The state has seen its jobs picture improve over Walker’s time in office — but less so than the national average and the fortunes of neighboring states. And while the governor and GOP Legislature have enacted substantial tax cuts, for now the state budget has little room to launch any big ideas.” In July 2015 Walker signed the state budget days before announcing his presidential campaign. “The two-year, $72.7 billion spending plan doesn’t raise taxes, freezes tuition at University of Wisconsin campuses, cuts university funding by $250 million and puts off until later a lasting solution for funding highways.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/18/16; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/12/15]