Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Thought the WEDC outsourcing issue was fixed? HAH!

Our media in Wisconsin has generally fallen down on the job when it comes to following up with the actions and consequences of this governor's policy, but one notable exception has been Greg Neumann and Channel 27 news in Madison when it comes to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). It was Neumann and Channel 27 that noted last July that Plexus Corp and Eaton Corp had received tax credits from WEDC as incentives to create jobs, but they also turned around and outsourced Wisconsin jobs to other countries. In addition, it was revealed that executives at each of those companies also had donated money to Governor Scott Walker's campaign. This was especially noteworthy because the Chair of the WEDC Board that decides to hand out these tax credits is none other than...Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

That revelation, combined with other stories that showed WEDC tax credits had more correlation to Walker campaign donations than job creation, led a panicked Governor Walker to announce in September that WEDC would not be associated with outsourcers.
Companies that accept financial awards from WEDC will now be required to alert the agency if they outsource Wisconsin jobs....

"If people want the privilege of getting taxpayer funds to help their business go forward, then there's some requirements," Rep. [Peter] Barca told his fellow board members. "The requirements are you're not gonna outsource."

Gov. Scott Walker, who serves as WEDC Board Chair, echoed Rep. Barca's sentiment.

"I don't think its unreasonable to say, if you're going to make a change in those circumstances, which we understand change is gonna happen, we'd like to know," said Gov. Walker.

Companies that outsource would also have to disclose that information in their annual reports to WEDC, while new companies seeking funds would have to sign a document stating no WEDC money will be used to outsource Wisconsin jobs.
So flash ahead 7 months, after Walker was re-elected, and take a look at what hit the news yesterday.
Eaton Corp. announced last week it is permanently discontinuing the manufacture of printed circuit boards at its facility in Watertown, which will result in the elimination of 93 employees there.

"We first informed employees in April 2014, one year ago, that we would be moving the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) line from Watertown and consolidating it into another existing facility in Tijuana, Mexico," Eaton Corp. Spokesperson Ann Marie Halal told 27 News. "These actions are in response to ongoing business and market conditions and a continued challenging business climate. They will allow the business to continue to compete globally and meet market demand."

A 27 News investigation from July 2014 found that Eaton Corp. had received over $190,000 in WEDC tax credits despite laying off 163 employees at its Cooper Power Systems plant in Pewaukee in April 2013. The company moved those jobs to Mexico as well.
Oops! Here's the TV report from last night, where Neumann also mentions the $23 billion in sales that Eaton pulled in last year.

Well imagine that! Scott Walker and WEDC didn't follow through on their promises, and corporations continue to steal from taxpayers while taking away workers' jobs. Sure, the WEDC staff claim that they'll try to get back some of the $370,000 Eaton received, but given that they still can't find tens of millions of dollars they previously loaned out, would you count on them to do so?

This Eaton outsourcing episode reiterates two things-

1. Do not take your eyes off of Scott Walker for a second, and require that there be actual proof of action before you believe he will ever live up to his word. For example, Walker's tax-exempt campaign fund says it will pay back Wisconsin taxpayers for all the campaign trips Walker has taken in recent months. Don't accept it, and keep asking about it, until there is an actual check that clears.

2. It's well past time to shut down the slush fund known as WEDC, and put those funds toward filling some of Walker's many budget holes.

1 comment:

  1. Our American Revival spokeswoman AshLee Strong said Thursday that the group will pay for the travel costs, including those related to Walker's state patrol security detail.

    Strong says taxpayers will not pay for any of the costs on political trips, which include money spent on hotels, flights and rental cars.

    Taxpayers will continue to pay for official trips, like Walker's recent trade missions to Europe.

    Still paying for trade missions and Walker's how many people in the party? entourages.


    WEDC- Not once. Not twice. RICO