There’s something inherently wrong with commercial sponsorship's that pays for vital public services. What happens when a business pulls its sponsorship or demands a better deal once they know government needs and depends on their money?
The argument from the Walker administration? Other states are doing it. Yes, 17 other states took the plunge. But then you gotta ask, has there ever been an original thought in Walker’s agenda?
Who Likes Insurance Companies Anyway? Let's face it, when it comes to health care, they're monsters. When it comes to auto insurance, they've gamed the system and shifted all the expenses to you. It's also not surprising that every auto insurance company below has a lousy rating. But the state of Wisconsin has now given their blessing to State Farm Insurance, because apparently, they like the way they do business:
PBS News Hour (Dec-2016): A unanimous Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a jury verdict that State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. committed fraud against the federal government after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. State Farm shifting Mississippi claims to federal flood insurance that should have been paid by private wind insurance.That's a rocky history! Again, to be fair, all car insurers have made the top ten in "bad faith practices," even a company I tend to like because I liked their convenient roadside assistance window sticker. But then I haven't needed their services yet, knock on wood:
Mississippi filed its own civil fraud lawsuit against State Farm, saying the state paid as much as $522 million to State Farm policyholders after the company manipulated the reports of adjusters and engineers to limit its responsibility.
WSJ: The Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced Monday that it has sold corporate sponsorship of the department’s roadside assistance services to insurance giant State Farm … the first of its kind for the department … The newly named “Wisconsin DOT State Farm Safety Patrol” will bear the company’s name and logo on roadside assistance trucks … the patrol operates on heavily trafficked highways and in road-construction zones, where breakdowns can create safety hazards and traffic bottlenecks.
Hunt said the deal will help defray the department’s cost of about $1 million a year to provide the services … a $225,000 sponsorship fee the first year, with the fee open to negotiation in subsequent years … “It has kind of a stadium naming rights feel to it,” DOT spokesman David Hunt said. “It’s the same good service for less cost to the taxpayer.”
Seventeen other states, including Illinois, have similar agreements with State Farm. DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp created controversy in 2015 when she said that the state would consider selling naming rights to state parks to help them operate without tax support — a step the department has yet to take. Todd Berry, president of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, said the State Farm deal may irk some … But Berry said the deal is “not unusual in the public context. It may be new for state government, but it’s old hat for state universities and counties and municipalities.”