In news that if applied to Mary Burke, would sink her run for governor, WEDC Chairman and Governor Scott Walker continues to dole out taxpayer money just to KEEP jobs in Wisconsin, not create them. Walker made himself an easy mark for extortion when he bragged that he’d do anything to appease big business, even pay them to stay in this now supposed business friendly state.
The end result is not just breathtaking, but a warning to voters who would blindly give everything up to private business, our supposed “job creators.” It looks like the loss of 1,924 jobs turns the old "job creator" slogan into vapor. WSJ:
The WEDC board, which is led by Gov. Scott Walker, OK'd Ashley Furniture getting $6 million tax credit, cutting 1,900 jobs … with a condition allowing the company to eliminate half of its state workforce … the award would allow the Arcadia-based global furniture maker to move ahead with a $35 million expansion of its headquarters and keep 1,924 jobs in the state. But it wouldn't require Ashley to create any new jobs, instead granting the company license to lay off half of its current 3,848 Wisconsin-based workers in exchange for an enterprise zone tax credit, one of the most valuable and coveted state subsidies. The company has not been finalized.
A desperate Walker administration should have expected this predictable corporate threat?
The company has indicated “that if the project is not undertaken it will either downsize or close the Arcadia manufacturing plant completely.”
Not the first Threat: Ashley learned early on closings and job threats worked:
The company faced criticism for expanding its headquarters into a wetland in 2005. The project took more than a decade to obtain the required environmental approvals and resulted in the company spending $1 million to build nearby wetlands more than twice the size of the land it developed. An Ashley Furniture spokeswoman told the State Journal in 2010 that if the permit had not been granted, the company would have moved its headquarters and about 2,000 jobs to another state.
In what can only be described as the best argument against corporate welfare:
WEDC spokesman Mark Maley said, “Obviously, WEDC is very interested in working with one of the largest employers in northwestern Wisconsin to find ways to help ensure that the company can continue to flourish here in our state,” Maley said. “WEDC is committed to doing whatever it can to work with the company and preserve those jobs.”
Ashley’s new excuse for the state handout (it’s always something); health care costs, which wouldn't be an issue under a national single payer system:
“The company is very concerned with the job retention figure due to health care costs for its employees continuing to rise…,” the memo said.
Saying the obvious:
Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, of Kenosha, said he has concerns “the goalposts keep getting moved.”
Our Secret Welfare Agency: Why didn't Barca take his outrage to the media? Because the board’s actions using taxpayer money is confidential:
Democratic Sen. Julie Lassa, of Stevens Point, declined to comment, saying “as a board member it would not be appropriate for me to comment on information shared during a closed session.”
In a flippant comment no Democrat would be allowed to get away with:
Walker said … “My guess is a year from now, you’ll see Ashley in the state with a much higher volume of jobs than they have today.”"My guess?" It’s not just me seeing where this policy is taking us. Check out the following CEO warning and acknowledgement:
Paul Radspinner, CEO of Madison-based Flugen and a WEDC board member who supported the Ashley Furniture award, acknowledged … “If there’s very clear-cut evidence that we can confirm that there’s going to be a huge job loss if we don’t provide assistance … I would certainly look at something like that,” Radspinner said. “But the very last thing we want is a race to the bottom.”