Wisconsin Republicans are celebrating the Pew Center’s report, using it to slam Governor Doyle. Perhaps they forgot they controlled the Assembly until this year? The RPW will find any excuse to accuse Doyle and the Democrats of being pro-tax and anti-business.
Meanwhile Republic Airlines is adding 800 jobs in Wisconsin, citing a positive tax environment. Mercury Marine, through lies and schemes, added hundreds of jobs in Fond du Lac (unfortunately at great cost to taxpayers).
I posted a few days ago about the RPW attacking Democratic job proposals, while offering nothing of their own. I missed one nothing. Another attack on the Dem proposal, heavy on assertions, light on substance.
Back to the Pew Report. It is a fact state lawmakers used a lot of federal stimulus money, a one-time payment, to balance the state’s budget. They won’t have that luxury in 2011. If the RPW would offer something besides unfounded attacks in the meantime, that would help the cause. Unless the party is more concerned with being in power than the well-being of Wisconsin…
UPDATE: Badger Blogger fulfilled my prediction, although their post went up hours before mine. I haven’t seen every paper yet though, I’m holding out hope.
Kohl’s announced today its Menomonee Falls distribution center will close next year. The stores serviced by Menomonee Falls will then be serviced by Kohl’s newest DC in Ottawa, Illinois. Despite no evidence Kohl’s moved for reasons other than logistics, Wisconsin conservatives will use the move to claim the state is a “tax hell.”
In related news the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future released a report today on Mercury Marine (owned by Brunswick Corporation) scamming taxpayers for millions. The report backs up my earlier claim, essentially that Mercury Marine scammed taxpayers for millions. [FYI- Despite a statement of non-partisanship, IWF admits to a left-leaning agenda]. I am now of the opinion that the threat to move the Fond du Lac plant to Oklahoma was nothing but a bluff to elicit the concessions of labor, which Mercury Marine ultimately received. The report makes no mention of this, but there is really no way to know.
Regarding Kohl’s, I’ll be keeping an eye on the opinion pages tomorrow, and letting you know if I’m right. If I’m wrong you’ll have to figure that out yourself.
Regarding Mercury Marine, read the report. Brunswick Corporation’s behavior was (and still is) appalling.
In late August the machinists union at the Mercury Marine plant in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin rejected a contract extension which would have frozen wages for seven years, increased the cost of employees health insurance and cut pay by 30% for new employees and employees returning from mandatory furloughs. Mercury threatened to move the plants operations to a non-union Oklahoma factory as leverage to force the rotten deal through the union, but the union stood its ground and rejected the contract.
Last Friday the union voted on the deal a third time, this time accepting Mercury’s crap deal. The workers must have bought into the “some job is better than no job” rhetoric right-wing talk radio had been throwing out since the “No” vote. Ashamed to face the unemployment line they caved to the greedy Mercury executives, who in turn screwed over their employees in Oklahoma, closing the plant that stood to benefit until Fond du Lac agreed to the concessions.
It gets worse. Mercury Marine was rewarded for their bullying and greed. Since the initial threat to move operations to Oklahoma the stock of parent company Brunswick Corp has doubled in value. The city and county have offered Mercury up to $50 million in tax breaks and incentives to keep the plant in Fond du Lac, shut down the Oklahoma plant and move some (certainly not all) of the jobs to Fond du Lac.
County supervisors and Fond du Lac City Manager Tom Herre are all hailing the vote to approve the contract as a victory for the area. The $50 million in tax breaks and incentives amounts to over $1.000 for each resident of the city. Currently Mercury employed 850 factory workers and 1,000 at its headquarters building in the city. The factory jobs were going to Oklahoma if the union did not approve the contract. The headquarters jobs were up in the air. The plant closing in Oklahoma employed 380 people, not nearly as many will be moved to Wisconsin, Mercury will consolidate positions wherever possible.
This is a raw deal for Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and Stillwater, Oklahoma. It is a raw deal for employees and taxpayers. The only beneficiaries are the executives getting rich by cutting the pay of their hard working employees. That is just plain wrong.