Watch Scott Walker. Learn how not to create jobs.

Before I cut to a great quote from Michael Silverstein’s must-read post “Wisconsin: A Case Study In The Politics Of How Not To Create Jobs”, let’s review two facts:

*Wisconsin lost more jobs than any other state in the United States in the last 12 months.

*Scott Walker promised creation of 250,000 jobs and 10,000 businesses in Wisconsin by 2015

“Take it out on teachers as well as the poor, in other words, and they will come — “they” being job creating businesses that supposedly love a state where taxes don’t help the needy too much or pay attractive compensation to the state’s own workers.

Such is the theory. Except that while this approach might work beautifully in an Ayn Rand novel, its doesn’t seem to work that way in real life.

Why? The answers are obvious. Most businesses have a local customer base. If a lot of these customers lose already very modest government benefits, or receive less compensation from state employment, they will have less to spend at most local businesses. You know. Real Life. Not ideology.”

$$ Voting Made Easy: Empowering the 99%

I’m about to buy a lawn mower, but I don’t want my money used to attack Wisconsin workers and families.

There are several lists of companies to avoid when making purchasing decisions, such as companies led by people who gave big donations directly to the Walker campaign. Buying local is usually a wise decision, but even that is problematic when most Wisconsin businesses support the Chamber of Commerce (national or local), or other organizations hostile to Wisconsin’s workers and families.

For example, Wisconsin-based Ariens is out because they belong to WMC. Illinois-based John Deere is even worse, because they not only belong to WMC, they also belong to ALEC.

It can be difficult to find a non-evil company to reward with my consumer spending, but it’s worth the effort. At the moment, I’m considering buying a Husqvarna mower. Husqvarna is apparently a Swiss company, although I’m not sure the where the mowers are actually manufactured.

Boycott lists are a good start, but aren’t enough. We need better ways to help each other identify and support companies that believe strong and prosperous families are good for the economy.

For starters, I need your suggestions on what mower to buy, and where to buy it.

Wisconsin’s sustained job loss streak is “a little bit inexplicable”. Time for a new Walker TV ad.

On Thursday a jobs report for Wisconsin will be released. Is Scott Walker a little nervous?

Yesterday this article came out from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Wisconsin missing out on U.S. jobs gains
6-month losing streak raises stakes for upcoming January report

“Frankly, it’s a little bit inexplicable to us,” said Mike Klonsinski, chief operating officer at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the recently restructured state Department of Commerce.”

Seriously? The Walker administration’s strategy of cuts, corporate hand-outs, punishing unions, and praying to God is not working? I don’t think it’s possible for Scott Walker to rethink his strategy. I have a hunch he’s written it 100 times in front of Grover Norquist and David Koch and sworn on a stack of Tea Party flags to uphold it no matter what it does to the rank and file citizen of Wisconsin.

However it is possible for him to afford another piece of propaganda advertising.

At the end of his ad he asks the viewer to pledge him to stop the recall.

That’s why at the end of my post I’m asking you to SUPPORT Walker’s recall.
It’s not just that it can happen. It must happen.

This is a link to the RECALL WALKER HQ

The latest:

Scott Walker. About those jobs…

Scott Walker never promised you a rose garden. He promised 250,000 jobs for Wisconsin – the equivalent of full employment. That’s right. Scott Walker promised that my state would achieve zero unemployment by 2014

Regarding that promise, the non-partisan organization Badgerstat announced, “Through December 2011, the state’s job growth is below the pace needed to reach the goal.”

This slightly partisan blog says “Scott Walker, you gave the public an unattainable promise to get the job of governor.” and it must conclude with the exclamation, “LIAR!”

Find more stats to exclaim over at Badgerstat.

Scott Walker’s Soup Lines

The only good result of enduring many, expensive commercials – bought by the wealthy who don’t even live here – is that we know Walker has apparently had practice so that he can help serve our citizens soup on the poverty lines that have already begun for many in the state of Wisconsin. These soup lines are a result of Walker’s policies!

[Watch that commercial showing Walker serving the poor at a food pantry here.]

We know that almost 50% of us now live in poverty. The fact that we’ll have many more public employees in poverty, as districts use up their stimulus monies this year, adds to a shocking reality of the effects it will have on us all. Our state now leads the nation in having lost more jobs than any other state in the union. Walker and colleagues gave millions of our tax dollars away. Wisconsin was one of only two states that ended the previous year with a surplus! This is an outrageous and unnecessary outcome of Walker’s laws and policies!

When we should be doing everything we can to build up our public schools, we see huge amounts of our education dollars given to privatized schemes that don’t have to meet the high standards that we’ve been known for around the world.

This is the saddest of all the outcomes of Walker’s policies that we’ll see. Our most precious resource – our children – won’t have the means to succeed as their education and future is given away. Citizens must act quickly to get our government back.

Remove Walker now!

For more on the GOP’s plan to route public K-12 dollars to private schools:

March 1, 2012 Wisconsin Education Reform Only ALEC Could Love

Feb 27 2012 Wisconsin school aid up in the air under voucher program:
Parents in 37 school districts across Wisconsin could become eligible for a program that would let them use state aid to offset the tuition costs of private schools.

Children enrolled in Appleton, Freedom, Hortonville, Kimberly, Menasha and Neenah public schools could be eligible if the state expands the voucher program, according to a recent Wisconsin School Boards Legislative Update.

Jan 13 2012 Capitol Report: State superintendent Tony Evers calls on Assembly to ‘keep promise,’ close voucher loophole:

“The so-called loophole was inserted into the state budget at the final stage of approval in June by members of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee. The last-minute language allowed voucher schools to expand from their sole location in Milwaukee to Racine.”

Featured image by Simon Rankin

Are You Kidding Me? Another Month of Job Losses?

I have mixed feelings about the ease of my self-assigned task of reporting Wisconsin’s employment data in the worst light possible. Obviously it hurts to see so many Wisconsinites still looking for full-time, decent-paying jobs that just aren’t there, but it’s no surprise that Walker’s economic strategy has resulted in a 6th straight month of job losses. I have no hope that things will turn around under Walker, and the bad numbers help reinforce the need to boot him out of office. I’m glad that at least Walker’s reign is dying quickly. I would hate to see this drag out another 3 years.

As you have probably guessed by now, The Department of Workforce Development released preliminary employment numbers for December, 2011 this morning. Wisconsin lost 3,900 private sector jobs. We gained 2,200 public sector jobs for a net loss of 1,700 jobs in December.

So why the mixed feelings? Well, I’m starting to feel guilty. I spend all month thinking up ways to portray the inevitable job gains as bad news for Walker, then the numbers come out and it’s another loss, just as it has been every month since Walker’s budget was implemented on July 1st, 2011.

I want a challenge! Reggie Newson, the Secretary of the DWD, is having all the creative fun, cherry-picking the monthly data and issuing press releases that prove up is down, black is white, job losses are actually job gains, and that Scott Walker’s reforms are working. Why can’t that be me fudging all those numbers?

Secretary Newson must be relieved that all those good-paying government jobs created in December nearly brought Wisconsin back into positive numbers, but he can’t say that publicly. Government is the enemy after all, but I’ll bet he’s almost giddy today, walking up and down the halls and telling everybody at the DWD “Only seventeen hundred jobs lost this month! Keep up the good work, everyone!”

Lucky bastard. Here I sit having to find a way to get Walker-weary Wisconsinites to read the same story month after month.

We’ve lost just under 28,000 private sector jobs since July. How do you dress that up as disastrous when it’s already disastrous? It’s like telling Scott Walker to come up with a Halloween costume that makes him look like a dead-eyed mouth-breather.

Wisconsin is “open for business” but somebody apparently forgot to tell the job creators. Come on, private sector! If this keeps up the recall elections will just be a boring landslide in favor of anybody without an “(R)” after their name. Give me something to work with here. Please!

Simple, Straightforward Report Shows Wisconsin’s Economy Worst in the Nation

The Institute for Wisconsin’s Future (IWF) issued a report recently that documents why it is that, according to the IWF’s accompanying press release, “Since the beginning of the fiscal year in July, Wisconsin ranks 50th – dead last — among the states in job performance, losing 27,600 jobs.”

That date is important. July 1st was the day Governor Scott Walker’s first budget was implemented.

The report, titled “The Price of Extremism: Wisconsin’s economy under the Walker administration“, is not bogged down with think-tank-style doublespeak. It does not invoke one-time-only mathematical equations or perform logical loop-de-loops to support a pre-drawn conclusion. It just lays out the numbers, like these:

One-year impact of cuts directed at individuals:

One‐week wait for unemployment insurance – $48 million
Elimination of indexing for Homestead Credit – $7 million
Reduced benefits in Earned Income Tax Credit – $28 million
Higher tuition at UW campuses – $36 million

Total in cuts to individuals: $119 million

The report includes just the right amount of reinforcing graphics to drive home the main point: Walker’s policies are not only not working, they are making things worse. It is perhaps the most powerful indictment yet of Scott Walker’s failed policies. I highly recommend reading the report.

Don’t get me wrong. There is no doubt the IWF has a political and social viewpoint that it wants to advance, as do many similar organizations from across the political spectrum, but it’s also clear from looking at their “about us” and staff profile pages that the IWF is a legitimate advocate for its mission:

• Sustain strong communities where effective public structures ensure every person and business has the opportunity to succeed and prosper.
• Promote a revenue system for Wisconsin that generates adequate funding so that local government, school districts and state programs can maintain quality services.
• Strengthen citizen engagement and power in public policy decision making through community education and organizing.
• Champion state and local tax policies that are fair and progressive.

As a person who tries to rely on the same legitimate sources as the IWF did in its report, I appreciate that there are not a lot of bells and whistles needed when the data are so clear. Walker is a failure. The numbers don’t lie.

Walker Administration Finds New Excuse For Job Losses

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released preliminary national employment numbers today for the month of November. Once again, Wisconsin leads the way in job losses – 14,600 jobs lost after adjusting for seasonal factors. From the BLS report:

The largest over-the-month statistically significant declines in employment occurred in Wisconsin (-14,600) and Minnesota (-13,700).

When explaining away job losses previously, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Secretary-du-jour (there have been three DWD secretaries under Walker so far) would blame President Obama and other unspecified national and international economic trends.

The national statistics, however, have shown that Wisconsin’s job losses are the exception. The rest of the country as a whole continues to make a painfully slow recovery, but a recovery nonetheless.

Now, the Walker administration just blames the data, pointing out that the BLS has revised its preliminary numbers often over the past year:

“October was the fifth straight month and the eighth month this year in which the federal government overestimated the preliminary job loss numbers or underestimated job gains for Wisconsin,” Secretary Newson said. “I am particularly concerned by the disparity in the October preliminary numbers, which were off by 7,300 for total jobs and 7,900 for private-sector jobs. These unreliable employment statistics out of Washington misinform the public and create unnecessary anxiety for job seekers and job creators about the shape of our state’s economy.”

(I think that’s why they call them “preliminary”, but I’m not a professional statistician.) What hasn’t changed is that even the revised numbers published later show job losses every month since Walker’s first budget was implemented on July 1st of this year.

Walker blames the data when it shows he has failed, but it was the Walker administration that was eager to trumpet the BLS preliminary numbers from June earlier this year. Walker eventually had to walk back an embarrassingly ignorant claim that implied Wisconsin was responsible for over half of all jobs created in the nation that month. As I said, I am not a professional statistician, but I could see his faulty math immediately. The nation had a net gain of 18,000 jobs that month. Wisconsin had a net gain of about 9,500 jobs, so Walker and his right-wing media allies were quick to make an idiotic implication that Wisconsin had miraculously created half the new jobs in America that month.

As my high school friend’s mother, an elementary school teacher, used to shout from the kitchen when she overheard us struggle with questions while playing Trivial Pursuit: “Third grade!”

Walker campaigned on creating 250,000 jobs in Wisconsin by the end of his current term. That sounds like a lofty goal, but when factoring in population increases, that would only get Wisconsin to slightly better than it was before the recession began. Walker probably thought it was a shrewd campaign maneuver to throw out what sounded like a big number. As bad as the economy was, it was a safe bet that it would be improved in 4 years. He knew that even a third grade governor could “create” 250,000 jobs just by doing nothing.

Here’s what the numbers show: Walker has actually done worse than if he had done nothing at all. That has to hurt. One thing about labor statistics is that trends are what matter, not individual data points. The trend in Wisconsin shows that Walker’s policies are failing.

The Fable of Governor Scott Walker’s Job Creation

This is a nicely done video from the citizen journalists at WI Voices which counters Walker’s disinformation campaign on jobs. As so many of us remember, he was elected with the promise tall tale that he’d deliver 250,000 jobs.

Assuming we got those 250,000 jobs, we’d be at 0% unemployment, making that both a tall tale and a tall order. The lowest recorded unemployment rate in recent Wisconsin history is 2.4 percent in 1999.

Celeste Koeberl of Hudson, Wisconsin speaks to the camera from a protest. She explains that while Walker crowed about 150 jobs gained in her neck of the woods, the bigger pictures reveals Wisconsin experienced its 5th straight month of job loss in November.

Roll that film:

For more on jobs in Wisconsin try these blue cheddar selections:
Walker, Fitzgerald Attempt Smokescreens While Recall Succeeds and Job Creation Fails

Wisconsin Leads Nation in Total Jobs Lost in October

Walker, Fitzgerald Attempt Smokescreens While Recall Succeeds and Job Creation Fails

Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and Governor Scott Walker each yelled “squirrel” today, attempting to distract the hounds that are getting close to recalling Walker. Fitzgerald spewed some nonsense about restructuring the non-partisan Government Accountability Board (GAB), the agency that oversees elections in Wisconsin. He also introduced a bill to make signing a recall petition more than once a felony.

It’s all noise, as is the Walker campaign’s announcement that it had filed a lawsuit to try to get the GAB’s plans for verifying recall signatures declared “unconstitutional.”

Their smokescreens were an attempt to hide two sets of numbers that were announced elsewhere today: Recall organizers said they have already collected over 507,000 of the 540,208 necessary signatures to force a recall election against Walker, while the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) whispered as quietly as possible that preliminary seasonally-adjusted numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show Wisconsin lost 11,700 private-sector jobs in November. That makes 5 straight months of private-sector job loss in Wisconsin.

The report shows the number of public service jobs also went down by 2,900 in November. That makes for a grand total of 14,600 jobs lost last month.

The DWD press release points out that the preliminary BLS numbers for October were revised and showed a much lower loss of jobs than previously announced. But it was still a loss, so the streak stands at 5 months. The state of Wisconsin has lost over 21,000 jobs since Scott Walker’s first budget was implemented on July 1, 2011.

Jobs going away while recall signature totals skyrocket adds up to a very, very bad day for Scott Walker and his dwindling circle of die-hard supporters. If his past history is any indication, expect Governor Walker at a photo op with military veterans within the next couple of days. It’s his favorite method of shielding himself from growing public frustration over his failed economic policies, outrageous power grabs, and lack of compassion for working people.

Translating WEDC Into Cynic

The CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), or as I like to refer to it, The Scott Walker Campaign Donation Reimbursement Center and Corporate Welfare Department, posted a column today explaining his desire to hand out taxpayer money to unproven start-up companies that are so ill-conceived they can’t get money from private sector venture capitalists.

There must be something wrong with me, because when I read Paul Jadin’s words:

“Non-refundable tax credits are by far the most used investment tool by WEDC. However, even when credits are refundable (i.e., paid irrespective of tax liability), as they are under our broadly popular Enterprise Zone Program, they still are not a good fit for start-up companies,”

…I can’t help but hear this:

Even though we hand out free cash and call it a tax credit despite the fact that the company might actually owe no state taxes, that’s not good enough because the company has to have actually done some business first and created a few jobs.

When Jadin continues:

“We need to think broader rather than just concentrate on a strict venture capital-level strategy. We need a structure that includes angel co-investments at the seed capital level; supports new and emerging early and mid-stage companies; supports expansion capital for when companies have proven their products, markets and management and have begun ramping-up manufacturing and shipping goods to customers,”

…only a cynic would translate it as:

Scott Walker’s campaign contributors need to recoup their campaign donations faster and more consistently. They can’t wait until tax-filing season. We need to pay out immediately and often, with no bureaucratic red tape like requiring that a “business venture” prove its viability. We need to be there with suitcases full of cash on Day 1 to thank these job creators even before they create Job 1, and every day thereafter to make sure they have every taxpayer dollar they need to ease the harsh competition in the free market, if they make it that far.

When Mr. Jadin adds:

“There is a tremendous amount of new business activity going on in Wisconsin that doesn’t fit into the traditional venture capital financing mold,”

…only the most distrusting soul who hates capitalism would hear:

When banks, Wall Street investors, and professional venture capitalists have declined to invest in a company because they feel it’s unlikely to make money, Wisconsin should step in with taxpayer money that would otherwise be wasted on roads, bridges, schools, health care, rape victims’ services, and veterans benefits. I mean, who needs that crap, right?

And when, in conclusion, Jadin says:

“WEDC is working with the Legislature and others to develop and implement programs to get capital into businesses that will grow and prosper in Wisconsin. Thirty states already have capital investment programs because they realize that new businesses are the foundation for new jobs. Wisconsin needs a similar program tailored to our state’s specific needs and resources and dedicated to keeping our best and brightest talent and business growth opportunities within its borders,”

…only an America-hating conspiracy theorist would think he’s really saying this:

ALEC has already written legislation that our corporate masters have managed to hoodwink 30 other states into adopting. Pretty good, huh? We can just change a comma here or there, find a stooge in the legislature to introduce it, and name it something with “Wisconsin” in the title. Those dumb Wisconsin taxpayers won’t even notice.

Walker Announces Tax Credits to Assist Company That Hopes to Create “at least 3 new jobs”

When I wrote previously about the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) handing out millions of taxpayer dollars to Spectrum Brands and Collaborative Consulting, my brother (who lives in another state) joked that he would offer to move back to Wisconsin and create 1 job for himself, but only if WEDC agreed to pay him a couple million dollars. He threatened to move to Arizona if WEDC didn’t take him up on his offer.

Maybe he should stop joking and submit an application. Scott Walker today announced that WEDC, a public/private corporation created by Walker to hand out taxpayer money to private companies, has approved two tax credits for investors in a company called OnScreenBrands, Inc., of Milwaukee. According to an announcement on the WEDC web site:

“OnScreenBrands has projected creating at least three new jobs in Milwaukee over the next three years.”

Whoah! Slow down there, OnScreenBrands. You know what happens to businesses that expand too quickly!

In order to help pay for this rapid expansion, the taxpayers of Wisconsin have agreed, through WEDC, to provide two tax breaks for the company. The Qualified New Business Venture certification and the Qualified New Business Venture Capital Gains certification will provide a 25% tax credit to investors in the company, and will allow them to defer capital gains tax liabilities if they invest their gains back into the company.

Thank goodness! Finally some good news about jobs, right? Just last week, Trane announced 98 layoffs at its facilities in La Crosse, Wausau Paper announced they will be closing their paper mill in Brokaw and eliminating 450 positions, and Schield Family Brands announced that the company’s Mosinee facility will close by the end of next year, affecting over 500 employees.

There’s no stability in making things like furnaces, windows, and paper products, anyway. Any kid in China or Mexico can make that stuff. We all know the real money is in “services for streaming video providers that operate through enhanced interactive video”, which is what OnScreenBrands will be doing. That sounds like a much safer investment – providing something that people really need.

Seriously, bro. Call WEDC and make your offer. They apparently never say no.

Meanwhile, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released figures for new unemployment claims for the week ending December 3rd.

Surprise! Wisconsin led the nation in the number of new unemployment claims that week at 8,172. Michigan was second at 2,643. In the “state-supplied comment” about the increase, Wisconsin’s reason for the increase is shown as “Layoffs due to the holiday.”

The reasons given by the other four states with significant increases were layoffs in construction and manufacturing. Whew! At least we don’t have those problems, we’re just dealing with huge rounds of layoffs that always happen between Thanksgiving and Christmas when business slows way down and nobody is buying anything.

Spectrum Brands Receives 4 Million Taxpayer Dollars for…What?


The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is a quasi-public corporation that was created by Governor Scott Walker to replace the state’s Department of Commerce. Their main function is to funnel public money to private corporations, allegedly to help create jobs.

Governor Walker and WEDC (wee-dik) announced yesterday that Spectrum Brands, headquartered in Madison, will receive a grant for $4,000,000 to….not leave. This despite the fact that the company, which was originally founded in Madison as Rayovac, just relocated its headquarters from Atlanta back to Madison last year and had given no indication that it was planning to move again. When asked by a local radio reporter if the company had planned to leave, a Spectrum spokesman answered “No, not really.”

They got the money because they asked for it. Jobs were not threatened. They were paid for promising to do what they had already planned to do.

The WEDC press release gives details of the “award”:

“This award has been provided to preserve jobs at Spectrum Brands headquarters as part of the company’s investment in its operations,” according to Paul Jadin, CEO of the WEDC.

The terms of the award require Spectrum Brands to maintain up to 470 existing full-time jobs in the Madison area and make at least $40,000,000 of capital investments in its Wisconsin operations in order to meet the conditions of the award. In addition to its Madison-area worldwide headquarters, Spectrum has battery manufacturing plants in Fennimore and Portage, and a returns center in DeForest.

The release also implies that Spectrum’s plans to add positions at its Madison headquarters was related to the awarding of the taxpayer-funded cash windfall:

As part of today’s announcement, Spectrum Brands said it plans to immediately hire up to 60 persons to fill positions primarily at its Madison headquarters in key functions including sales, marketing and operations, as well as other general and administrative functions such as finance and accounting.

Companies hire people when demand for their products and services go up. If Spectrum needs to hire 60 people, it’s because they have more work to do, which is a good thing, but the new hiring is not a result of WEDC handing them 4 million dollars. The implication in the WEDC press release is deceptive and shallow.

John Nichols of the Capital Times and The Nation magazine described the award this morning on Madison radio as an example of bribery, incompetence, corruption, and desperation. Wisconsin has lost jobs for four straight months, included leading the nation in the number of jobs lost in October. Walker and WEDC will claim the “saved” jobs are a victory, but there is no evidence the jobs were ever in danger.

Wisconsin Leads Nation in Total Jobs Lost in October

I reported last week that the state of Wisconsin lost 9,700 jobs in the month of October, based on figures released by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD). The Secretary of the DWD placed the blame for the losses on challenges in the national and global economies.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released October figures Tuesday for all 50 states, and it turns out that Wisconsin’s shedding of jobs is uniquely awful and is not consistent with national trends. According to the BLS:

The only state with an over-the-month statistically significant decline in employment was Wisconsin (-9,700).

The report also indicates that Wisconsin led the nation in the raw number of jobs lost in October:

In October, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 39 states and the District of Columbia, and decreased in 11 states. The largest over-the-month increases in employment occurred in Illinois (+30,000) and California (+25,700). The largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in Wisconsin (-9,700), followed by New York (-8,300) and Minnesota (-6,100).

Got all that? Wisconsin lost the most jobs of all states in October. Illinois, the state Walker loves to hate, created the most jobs in the nation in October. If this were an NFL game, the Chicago Bears would be beating Green Bay 40 to nothing, including 5 safeties given up by the Packers. (Gee, I hated writing that.)

Governor Scott Walker ran on a campaign of creating 250,000 jobs in the state before the end of 2014. Instead of focusing on real solutions to create jobs, though, Walker and the Republican-led legislature have spent the better part of a year destroying the social safety net, busting public-sector unions, and passing other bills favored by social conservatives but completely unrelated to creating jobs. The latest statistics from the BLS show the results. Wisconsin continues to lose jobs while most of America slowly recovers from the recession.

Walker has been a disaster for Wisconsin’s economy. He and his DWD Secretary cannot continue to blame the rest of the nation or the world for the mess Walker has made.

Governor Walker, Wausau Mayor Arrange $2.7 Million in Corporate Welfare to Buy 200 Jobs

182:365 Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker were on hand in Wausau Monday morning as the CEO of Collaborative Consulting, Bill Robichaud, announced plans for his company to locate 200 new jobs in Wausau over the next two years.

Collaborative Consulting is based in Massachusetts and their CEO made the announcement after conducting an extensive nationwide search for the proper place to build and staff a software development and support facility. Walker was there to emphasize that the state of Wisconsin will be contributing 2.25 million dollars toward the new facility in the form of tax credits arranged through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). The city of Wausau will also kick in up to $450,000.

According to the agreement, Collaborative Consulting has until December 31, 2014 to “create 200 new full time positions with an average wage of $18.75 per hour in Wausau….” They must then “maintain each of these new full-time positions in Wausau, Wisconsin until December 31, 2018” in order to qualify for all the tax credits.

That $18.75 figure is an average. The agreement stipulates that each new position must pay at least 150% of the federal minimum wage, which would be about $10.87 per hour.

Another interesting clause in the agreement states that the “Jobs Tax Credits are refundable.” The credits will first be used to offset any state income taxes that might be owed by Collaborative Consulting, but after that, the company will get what the agreement refers to as a REFUND of the unused credits. The Earned Income Tax Credit works the same way for the working poor in Wisconsin. Low income workers get a credit on their state income taxes that is refundable even if it exceeds their tax liability.

Governor Walker’s recent budget slashed that tax credit for working families. In March, Governor Walker defended the cuts, calling the Earned Income Tax Credit a “redistribution program” that involves “taking money from other taxpayers and giving it to individuals who have a limited tax liability.”

If all the tax credits are utilized by Collaborative Consulting, Wisconsin and Wausau taxpayers will pay $13,500 in credits and refunds for each one of the 200 jobs.

Governor Walker calls that the free market creating private sector jobs. I call it a redistribution program that involves taking money from Wisconsin’s taxpayers and giving it to corporations who have a limited tax liability. I also predict that shortly before 2018, Collaborative Consulting will be dropping hints about leaving Wausau if they don’t get more handouts from Wisconsin taxpayers.