Saturday, July 26, 2014

Walker's troublesome WEDC goes Dark, until after the Election!!!

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation's chairman Scott Walker has an abysmal record for mismanagement and lost taxpayer money. Recently, we discovered two companies offshored jobs and laid 279 workers off after Walker gave them public funding.

It’s campaign magic for Mary Burke, who’s been reminding voters just how bad WEDC has been mismanaged by pretend “small businessman” Governor Walker. Not anymore.

After laughably “weighing the public’s right to government information against any potential harm to the public’s interest,” WEDC is about to dark. It's a media blackout.

In fact, Walker isn't even trying to hide his blatantly obvious intentions from Wisconsin voters, who I hope will be outraged. Note to the WSJ, this is not a page 5 story:
Walker’s office is no longer disclosing the names and phone numbers of companies that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is working with on economic incentive packages. The … legal counsel determined releasing the information could “wreak havoc” with WEDC’s mission of retaining and creating quality jobs in the state.
Below is every reason the public DOES have a right to know where their tax dollars are going, and more importantly, who’s buying influence:
“Harmful information could include, for example, that a business is considering relocating to or from Wisconsin, expanding or downsizing, moving its headquarters, shifting its focus to a new industry, developing a new technology, or experiencing a hardship,” the statement said. “If businesses hesitate or simply refuse to deal with WEDC because they fear disclosure of this information, the people of this state suffer the consequences.”
Why shouldn't businesses take the heat for accepting corporate welfare and government favors if what they’re doing would piss taxpayers off?

We’ll tell you After the Election: No, really, that's what Walker is saying. Walker is trying to eliminate any possible bad press from WEDC, at least until after the election:
“Because there may come a time when it will no longer harm these discussions if the businesses names are revealed, it may be possible that we will be able to release the names of these businesses at a later date,” the statement concluded.
You can't make this stuff up. And conservative voters, you're okay with Walker's calculated scheme? 

Summing it...
Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, disagreed with both arguments for withholding the information. “There is a public interest in knowing who the state is meeting with over subsidies. If you want money from us, you should be willing to accept that the public has a right to know it. There should be no question that at some point, the public has a right to this information. Already, we know if and when a corporation does get state support. There is also a public interest in knowing who the state says ‘no’ to.”

1 comment:

  1. The 4 page WEDC special advertising section which appeared in at least some of the print editions of the June 9 to June 22 2014 issue of Business Week is full of the same old same old. It was possibly also partially sponsored by American Family Insurance.

    "Just four years ago, 10 percent of our employers said we were headed in the right direction," Walker says. "Now, 95 percent believe we are headed in the right direction. We've successfully changed the whole attitude of the state, and improved our business climate. To me, that's not because of any one factor, but rather any accomplishments that have lead to out tremendous turn-around. We've put in place long-term structural reforms that allow us to invest in our priorities. We will continue to put our foot on the accelerator to help employers in the state grow their businesses, and create good, family supporting jobs."

    Here are a few more paragraphs:

    Wisconsin has a wide range of tax incentives to encourage business growth and job creation, and has reduced its tax burden by $2 billion over the past three years. The state lost over 130,000 jobs in the four years before Walker took office, but over the last three years more than 100,000 jobs have been created in Wisconsin, sending the unemployment rate below 6 percent for the first time since November 2008. In addition, more than 19,000 net new businesses have been created in Wisconsin since Governor Walker took office.

    Wisconsin has also balanced its budget-one of the few states in the country to do so-and is the only state in the nation with a fully funded pension system. Another striking fact: companies located in nearby states are choosing Wisconsin to grow their businesses because the economic climate is so favorable.


    Amazon is one of more than 270 businesses and communities that WEDC assisted last year says Hall. The WEDC provided ore than $330 million in financial assistance in the for of loans, grants and tax credits to businesses and communities in 2013.

    WEDC not only assists multinational companies with their business initiatives but also supports growing Wisconsin companies and innovative startups that need capital to hit the ground running. WEDC also works with more than 600 partner organizations-including the state's educational institutions-to help companies succeed.

    It's available online. Just search for the Betsy Vereckey (the credited author) + Scott Walker.