Yes, but we want business leaders as advisers and not managers… and no campaign contributors in the mix!
By Jack E. Lohman
Governor Scott Walker wants to replace the state’s Department of Commerce with a new public-private Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).
Perhaps it could work. Sometimes resetting to zero does make sense, but Scott is a giveaway artist and must be kept on a short leash. This could easily become a path for costly political cronyism and pork.
Walker could accomplish the same thing by giving corporations more say during the current public comment periods, but this is not likely to give him the control or friendships he seeks.
I’m sure he’d like to accomplish several other things in the process: (a) streamlining operations and reducing regulations, thus making Wisconsin more business friendly, (b) reset to a new and less-costly non-unionized staff, and (c) make it a politically-friendly department that can command new and greater campaign contributions.
Yet thereby lies a problem. I don’t want Walker’s political campaigns financed by anybody other than the taxpayers he works for. But he has not supported public funding of campaigns in the past, so we’ll see where his loyalties are in the future.
So how can he really bring jobs back to the state?
- Create an optional “compliant corporation” status that protects shareholders and investors of Wisconsin corporations. This will attract new companies and jobs to the state.
- For these new corporations, reduce to zero the taxes on those that manufacture product or provide services using Wisconsin employees, but not to those that outsource employment to other states or countries. (What can go wrong? Political favors that pass tax breaks to ALL corporations — i.e., contributors — and render those in Wisconsin just more of the same.)
- Implement a state-based single-payer healthcare system that removes healthcare from employer’s costs so they can spend that money on hiring people instead. The insurance industry won’t like this a bit, but it has to be done. And will only favor Wisconsin employers.
- Implement public funding of campaigns so political decisions are based on the needs of the state (and jobs) rather than those of the private corporate contributors.
Importantly, Walker must not get hung up on reducing personal income taxes for the high end, though many of his current campaign contributors will prefer just that. Yes, decrease spending, but there is NO credible evidence that feeding money back to the elites will increase jobs, as can be seen following the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.
In fact, just the opposite occurred. Jobs decreased and the economy worsened. Far more investments are now being made in China and India, where wages are one-tenth ours and their economy is growing rather than shrinking.
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