Is Walker’s big deal turning into just another empty election year promise?
By Dave Hansen, State Senator Dist 30
Green Bay Progressive (9/8/18)
GREEN BAY, WI – Since Governor Walker’s initial announcement of the Foxconn deal he has been promising it will create 13,000 jobs.
But anyone who remembers his promise back in 2010 to create 250,000 jobs during his first term in office knows to take such promises with a large grain of salt.
The same day that Walker made his promise of 13,000 new jobs, Foxconn’s owner Terry Gau would only commit to creating 3,000 jobs and even President Trump said 3,000 jobs would be initially created.
Since that time the Foxconn project has been a moving target with Foxconn officials recently admitting that they now plan to build a much smaller plant less than half the size of the original and one that will require far fewer workers.
As Foxconn pulls the classic bait-and-switch on jobs and commitment to Wisconsin, the people are stuck with a deal that will cost everyone for 25 more years.
That number is likely to become even smaller now that Foxconn admitted what many of us already said would happen: that most of the assembly and production jobs will not be done by people. Foxconn executive Louis Woo admitted as much when he said it’s more likely that Foxconn will only hire 2,000 workers initially and that the majority of the assembly jobs will be done by robots.
The only promise that holds — you will pay
The impact on other state businesses is now a question mark as well since Foxconn also recently announced they will go to businesses in other states for the parts and materials they need.
The one thing that does seem consistent here, though, is that the people of Wisconsin will be paying off this boondoggle for a good part of their lives.
In fact, even if Foxconn doesn’t hire a single employee, it can still reap up to $1 billion or more in public assistance including: $764 million in local property tax subsidies, $164 million in new state and local roads for Foxconn at the expense of our own local roads and highways, $120 million for a new electric line that will be paid for by utility customers who may have no connection to Foxconn whatsoever, a $139 million sales tax exemption for building materials, and $15 million in state grants to help local governments pay for Foxconn.
It’s been estimated that the Foxconn deal could cost every man, woman and child $500 or more and that taxpayers won’t see their money returned in full until at least 2043 and possibly later.
Governor Walker and Republicans are fond of saying that “you know how to spend your money better than the government does.” Except, of course, when they’re doing favors for their corporate friends. In this case they’ve decided that billions of your and your children’s money is better given to a foreign billionaire than used to feed your family, pay your rent, put toward your health insurance or invest in your local schools and roads.
Given Foxconn’s ever-changing stories, their past history of making big promises only to renege on them, and the Governor’s own issues with the truth, it’s time to call the Foxconn deal what it is, a classic bait-and-switch that is harmful to taxpayers and that will do nothing to help the vast majority of struggling families and communities around the state.
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )
Scott Walker’s Ex-DOT Secretary Says Governor Isn’t Telling The Truth About Our Roads
Democratic Party of Wisconsin (9/9/18)
This morning, yet another one of Scott Walker’s former cabinet members is sharply criticizing his old boss.
This time, it’s former Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb, who told the Journal Sentinel Walker isn’t telling the truth about the states’ roads, which rank 44th in the nation under the Governor’s failed leadership. Gottlieb slammed Walker’s understanding of the state’s road projects, describing them as “increasingly inaccurate,” high risk, and “profoundly disrespectful” to public and private sector experts in the field.
From the Journal Sentinel story:
“Gov. Scott Walker’s former transportation secretary says the GOP governorisn’t telling the truth about road projects and is taking a high-risk gamblethat could see the state invest billions of dollars in obsolete highways.
“Walker has been “increasingly inaccurate” when describing the state’s highway system, said Mark Gottlieb, a Republican who was in the Assembly for eight years and served as Walker’s transportation secretary from 2011 to 2017.
“Gottlieb is the third former top aide to Walker to speak out against the governor in recent months as he faces a re-election challenge from Democrat Tony Evers, the state schools superintendent.
“Most highways being actively considered for expansion in Wisconsin are already unacceptably congested today, causing delay, economic loss and higher crash rates,” Gottlieb said in his statement.
“How much risk are we willing to accept to see if the governor’s predictions hold true? If they don’t, we will have spent billions of dollars to duplicate 1960-era designs that will be obsolete the day they are built.”
His criticism comes after a week of bad headlines surrounding Walker’s failures on infrastructure. Walker raised eyebrows when he claimed Wisconsin didn’t need to expand its highways at all, which runs contrary to findings in multiple state studies, and ultimately prompted Gottlieb to speak up. Then a report broke that Walker’s DOT mysteriously withheld $46 million in federal funding from local municipalities, which they still haven’t provided an explanation for.
For those counting at home, this is the THIRD former Walker cabinet member to publicly denounce the governor for putting his own political interests before the good of the state.
Former Finance Secretary Peter Bildsten spoke out against Walker for forcing him to cater to special interests and lobbyists, and that he was directed to avoid creating public records. And former state Corrections Secretary Ed Wall tore intoWalker for refusing to meet with him during the Lincoln Hills crisis.
It’s clear there’s a pattern here. Those who know Scott Walker best know he has failed to put Wisconsin first. Whether it was the corrections system, the state’s finances, and now its infrastructure, it’s clear Scott Walker is only worried about himself – Wisconsin be damned.
Tony Evers Leads, Boosting Democratic Hopes. But Walker, Who Survived Two Elections And A Recall, Thrives In Adversity
By Ben Jacobs
The Guardian (9/9/18)
In November, Scott Walker will seek to beat the Democrat Tony Evers and secure a third term in the Wisconsin governor’s mansion. Like many midterm races across the US, the election will take place under the shadow of a president who has polarized the electorate like none before.
Democrats are energized. So the question is, can a governor who took on the unions and survived a ferocious fightback muster enough Republican support to succeed?
Donald Trump’s former chief White House strategist, Steve Bannon, told the Guardian that when Walker faced a recall election in 2012, he was aided by grassroots conservatives “going to the sound of [the guns] to save Scott Walker”.
Now, though, that support may not be so strong. Longtime Wisconsinconservative radio host Charlie Sykes, for one, is wary. “There’s definitely voter fatigue,” he said, questioning whether Walker’s base will “still crawl through glass and walk through fire” to vote for their governor. …