Wisconsin’s GOP Governor Scott Walker has finally proven that “trickle down” economics really works… alas, it only seems to work for him.
Winona Daily News reports Ashley Furniture gave Walker a hefty $20 campaign contribution… Just two weeks after the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) approved $6 million in tax breaks to reward them for “only” laying of 1,924 workers at their Arcadia, Wis. headquarters.
The award was premised on the company investing $35 million in a headquarters expansion and keeping at least 1,924 of its current jobs in the state — or half of its current employment levels — over the next five years. Typically the agency makes awards to companies retaining 100 percent of their employees or creating jobs.
Oh, and guess who presides as chairman of that board? Why, Scott Walker, of course.
Perhaps we’re slightly oversimplifying things. Ashley Furniture the company didn’t pay Walker directly. Instead, four members of the Wanek family each donated $5,000 to Friends of Scott Walker, as revealed by state campaign finance records: Ashley founder and board chairman Ronald Wanek, his wife, Joyce; President and CEO Todd Wanek; and his wife Karen.
Scot Ross from the liberal group, One Wisconsin Now, voiced strong objections to giving tax breaks to companies that lay off workers instead of creating jobs.
““The timing of $20,000 in contributions to Gov. Walker made on the same day just two weeks after a $6 million taxpayer-funded tax break was approved for the company by WEDC should raise serious questions. That the company’s tax break also involves actually cutting 1,900 Wisconsin jobs is outrageous.”
The Wisconsin State Journal — which broke the story — adds that the WEDC — a public agency — didn’t even take the trouble to disclose their approval for this tax credit to the public or post it to their website. Instead they just “quietly” approved it back in January and hoped no one would notice.
The tax credit enables Ashley to put $35 million into expanding their headquarters, but … (and there’s always a big but):
it wouldn’t require Ashley to create any new jobs, instead granting the company license to lay off half of its current 3,848 Wisconsin-based workers in exchange for an enterprise zone tax credit, one of the most valuable and coveted state subsidies.
What good is an economic development tax credit that doesn’t create any new jobs. Oh, it’ll just prevent Ashley from cutting any more jobs. Because of course their spokesman keeps whining about how Arcadia’s so expensive.
Gee, here’s a brilliant new idea: Try giving economic development grants to companies with business models that create well-paying jobs that benefit communities instead of ones whose business models suck communities dry to further swell the top brass’ bloated carcasses.
Scott Walker’s economy gets an F-.
As is the case with other GOP governors, Scott Walker’s record on economic growth is abysmal.What else can we expect from anti-worker, income inequality promoting policies that leave consumers with little or no money to spend?
The Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel reports:
In 2013, as in every year since Walker became governor, job growth in Wisconsin significantly trailed the national average and Wisconsin ranked just 37th among U.S. states in the rate of employment growth. Taking all three years (so far) of Walker’s tenure as a whole, employment in Wisconsin grew at just 59% of the national rate.
Wisconsin hasn’t even kept up with surrounding states, and its economy has gotten dramatically worse since Walker took office:
Indeed, in 2010, the year before Walker became governor, Wisconsin’s rate of job growth was 42% higher than the nation’s, in large measure thanks to an unprecedented surge of federal expenditures in the state (in part, from the Obama stimulus that Walker and his allies loudly opposed). In 2013, by contrast, Wisconsin’s growth rate was 40% lower than the national rate, and preliminary 2014 data indicate that Wisconsin continues to lose ground, with a job growth rate over 60% lower than the national rate between January and May 2014. Whatever the long-term trends, relative employment growth changed sharply for the worse in Wisconsin in 2011.
h/t One Wisconsin Now. Featured image: Composite.