Monday, May 21, 2012

Pay the Guv, he'll pay you back. And on our dime

Good report from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign going over how giveaways and special legislation in the Scott Walker/WisGOP budget are costing families $235 in taxes this year, and $300 down the road. Basically the report tracks how certain industries gave Walker and the GOP millions, and then how protections were repealed, tax credits handed out, or taxpayer-funded projects awarded to these groups, which means us plebes will end up paying more to make up for it. It's another example of how these privatization schemes really don't save taxpayer dollars or help the economy, it merely changes who gets the money. And more often than not, that money goes to the well-connected that have much less accountability to the taxpayer.

And here's another link to check out, where Bill Lueders and others at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism show how Scott Walker loves to make time for businesses that donate and support him. Here's a good taste of how this works, and a good primer on who you might not want to give your money to.
Center reporters pored over more than 4,400 calendar entries during this 13-month period to tally Walker’s contacts.

The analysis suggested that big donors got more access. Three-quarters of all PACs that have given Walker at least $20,000 are associated with companies that show up on his calendar. In contrast, about a quarter of the PAC donors that gave under $20,000 are listed.

Companies and their executives appear in Walker’s calendars in jobs announcements, factory tours, check presentations, phone calls and private meetings -- sometimes labeled “no media,” as with 3M and Caterpillar Inc.

The list includes many big businesses, such as Harley-Davidson, IBM, Northwestern Mutual, Johnsonville Sausage, Walgreens and Uline. No one company dominated Walker’s time: Leading the list, with four contacts, was Ashley Furniture, based in Arcadia, Wis.
If the concept of Walker showing up for those who gave him cash sound familiar, it should. I touched on this 3 weeks ago, where I noticed that several Walker appearances and tax credits coincided with companies that had given him money.

There's even a nice connection to Walkergate, as Walker showed up at a few weeks ago for a tepid job expansion at a Waukesha-area company called Spancrete, and Spancrete employees gave thousands of dollars to Lt. Gov. candidate Brett Davis in September 2010. The Davis connection matters because accused Walkergate criminal Kelly Rindfleisch basically admitted working for Davis' campaign as part of the job that Walker hired her for in Milwaukee County. This Rindfleisch/donor connection reared its head again last week, when Walker and Kleefisch donor Michael Eisenga was fined $144,000 for contacting people on the state's no-call list. Among those working for Eisenga's sketchy mortgage company?....Kelly Rindfleisch, who worked for Eisenga's company in Columbus right after leaving her taxpayer-funded campaign job for Walker. Makes you wonder how Kelly got hooked up for the job, doesn't it?

When I told people that Scott Walker would be Jim Doyle's sketchiness on steroids, many might have doubted it. But it turns out I was understating it, because I didn't know in November 2010 that the only way our new Governor would be showing "transparency" would be in revealing how bought off he was. But now we know, and because of that new information we have to send him back to Tosa (and Faux News) in 15 days.

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