Friday, July 18, 2008

WMC Doing Lousy Sales Job For Wisconsin Business Climate

Just how good are the lobbyists at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce? And are they worth the money selling the virtues of locating a business in Wisconsin? Lets see…

Wisconsin manufacturing employment dipped below 500,000 last month to reach the lowest level ever for June.

The Department of Workforce Development said state manufacturing jobs went down 13,300 from June 2007. That’s the biggest year-to-year drop, of 2.6%, since a 3.1% decline in January 2004. The state’s net loss of jobs was 17,800 since June 2007.

According to JSOnline: Wisconsin manufacturing has had year-to-year job losses for the last 20 months in a row. Since hitting a June peak of 603,000 manufacturing jobs in 2000, state employment in that industry has fallen 107,000 positions or 17.7%.

Way to go Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. It’s not like the state hasn’t taken a big hit on business taxes pushed by WMC. Let's recap...

A 2006 AP story reported “Wisconsin businesses paid more than 85 percent of the profits they earned in Wisconsin in 1982. By 2000, that tax bill was 33 percent of profits. A separate analysis by a vice president of the Federal Reserve found Wisconsin ranked among the bottom one-third of states in 2000 when when comparing taxes to profits.

Harold Schaefer The chief executive officer of Schaefer Brush Manufacturing Co. Inc. in Waukesha said Wisconsin is mistakenly perceived as a high-tax state for businesses. He has a harder time keeping up with his health care costs and his fuel bill than paying his taxes. "I don't feel like we're held over the coals," Schaefer said of his tax bill.

The drop in taxes as a percentage of profits is not necessarily due to anything state or local officials have done … more aggressive use of tax shelters, more profitable companies and a relatively constant tax burden. The analysis comes amid an ongoing debate among lawmakers on whether Wisconsin's business tax climate is competitive and if tax cuts are needed to attract and retain companies.

It seems WMC is more interested in pushing an extremist right wing agenda than bragging about how business friendly our state actually is. If I could borrow a few words from Phil Gramm, "We have state filled with Republican whiners."

Someone had to say it.

NOTE: July 19-JSOnline: The state Revenue Department reported these percentage increases in collections through June 30 for the three largest taxes: Individual income taxes, up 1.3% over the previous year; sales taxes, up 1.5%; and corporate taxes, down 10.3%.

The drop in corporate taxes was slightly worse than expected; But corporate taxes bring in only 6.2% of annual general-fund income. The personal income tax makes up 51.7% of those funds; the sales tax, 32.7%.

Corporate taxes down by 10.3%? Only 6.2% of general fund income? God, when are we going to stop picking on corporations and taxing 'em right out of our state?

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