Thursday, October 15, 2009

Great Recession Ushers in Great Corporate Welfare State

You won't believe this story of corporate welfare. It's a glance at the future of business in America, thanks to the Republican Great Recession. The Capital Times:

"Jack Norman, Research Director at the Institute for Wisconsin's Future, released a report this week titled "The Twisted Saga of Mercury Marine." The report ... helps explain how the firm basically blackmailed its employees and taxpayers by threatening to leave the state.

Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac ... pressured workers in Fond du Lac to accept large concessions and got local taxpayers to dole out $53 million in incentives -- all the while it hasn't paid a dime in state income taxes since 2000.

But perhaps most telling is the way many right-wingers used the Mercury case as an example of how Wisconsin's high taxes are driving companies out of the state.

In reality, Mercury Marine/Brunswick hasn''t paid a dime of income tax in Wisconsin since 2000, according to Norman's' report and records obtained from the Department of Revenue.

"The Mercury Marine/Brunswick Corporation melodrama in Fond du Lac had nothing to do with Wisconsin wage levels, business climate or tax policy," says Norman. "It was just another example of corporate mismanagement causing implosions that leave citizens, workers, taxpayers and other business people to clean up the mess."

That's not all:

According to the report, the key player was Illinois-based Brunswick Corporation, which took over Mercury Marine in 1961. Brunswick had been in a financial meltdown since CEO Dustan McCoy became head of the firm in December 2005. Since then, Brunswick has shed 5,300 jobs with those remaining facing pay and benefit cuts. Shareholders have lost 70 percent of their stock value while white-collar managers claim they were betrayed by the company ... the only people protected from loss have been the decision-makers at the very top of the Brunswick hierarchy: CEO McCoy collected over $10 million in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and his five senior Board members received an average of $506,000 each during this same time period, the report says.

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