Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wisconsin GOP and Business Groups Promote " Bad for Business" Nationwide Campaign. It's Working.

You would think that pro-business groups, like Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce, would do everything they can to put a positive spin on the corporate friendly policies of the state. That would be a common sense approach to expanding jobs in the state. They have chosen instead to never mention any of these positives because essentially, that’s just water under the bridge. Their agenda is to turn everything over to business, give away the farm, and abdicate their corporate responsibility to employee communities by not paying their fair share of taxes. Hey, businesses supply jobs, isn’t that enough? To illustrate what I mean, here’s a recent AP story on the failed bid to keep GM in Janesville:

"Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, which advises the governor and Legislature on economic development and other issues, said the incentives designed for the automaker may end up luring other, more attractive businesses to Wisconsin.

New tax breaks, some of which were included in the state's $195 million pitch to GM, were passed by the Legislature this year despite a $6.6 billion budget shortfall."

You would think that was a good thing. But the Democrats passed tax breaks for business, not the Republicans, and now WMC and the GOP are fuming mad. For example, take the two following complaints that now have no meaning:

"Republicans have criticized the Democratic-controlled Legislature as bad for business/But praise for the new economic development tools is getting lost among a sea of criticism from Wisconsin's business community over higher taxes included in the state budget."

Always quick to emphasize the negative, Jeff Schoepke, director of tax and corporate policy for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce said:

"On balance, our thought is that there's a lot more bad things for economic development or things that will negatively impact economic development." WMC has criticized the budget even though it includes many of the group's suggestions for economic development. Those included consolidating economic development programs, offering new incentives to encourage existing companies to expand, and making up to $10 million in capital gains invested in Wisconsin companies tax exempt. The business community has been particularly critical of the Legislature for lowering the tax exemption for capital gains from 60 percent to 30 percent.

But the Commerce Department's Zack Brandon said the budget shields businesses with the $10 million capital gains exemption, which he called "unheard of."

But the Democrats cut taxes, and that’s not something WMC or the Republicans don’t have a rehearsed response for yet. Maybe just not mentioning it will work.

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