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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Politically, Republicans Own Everything. But Local Newspaper Finds Blame For Democrats

This article (pay site) from the Janesville Gazette is an amazing piece of local political story-telling propaganda.

The story begins with a local property owner/developer stating he lost a lease from a business who would have moved 200 jobs from Illinois to Janesville if the money he wanted to borrow to the company could be paid back through state tax credits. It could not - so the deal fell through.

But first, to bolster the moral of the story, we must ignore the fact that local conservative business leaders expect and demand an expanded role from government and require collectivism to coerce private industry. Now that we got that out of the way ...

Basically, the owner/developer wanted the tax credits the newly moved company would have qualified for, to be used as collateral for a loan to pay for re-location, but the state requires that the credit can only be used as an offset for taxes on profits. For whatever reasons and there could be many, the original qualifying company was not reporting sufficient profits to apply the credits effectively.

The Gazette then implies the so-called deal fell through because ...BECAUSE a revised bill to make these kind of tax credits transferable was stalled in the legislature by a local democrat, Sen. Tim Cullen and a few other legislators.

JG Excerpt:
The bill stalled because Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, and other lawmakers believed its language did not specifically hold a company accountable for job creation and capital investment benchmarks.

"The bill stalled because" ...

Here's the problem, there is no way one democrat (Cullen or even a few) can block or stall a bill in the Wisconsin legislature or its committees. If that's the case, then why aren't democrats stopping the entire right-wing ALEC Kochtopus being forced down Wisconsin's throat? Simply because they can't stall or stop it.

From what I understand, Cullen rightfully opposed the original portable tax credit bill because it lacked accountability and that the tax credits did not incentivize job growth. But he's just one legislator. Pointing to Cullen and attaching his position as primarily responsible for preventing 200 jobs is not only plain wrong, it is willfully dishonest.

That a company chose to move or not to a new location unless for government aid is a free market decision. But if you're looking to point fingers at the legislative process, only Republicans can stall or stop bills because the state assembly and the senate are held by republican majorities. Politically in Wisconsin, republicans own everything.

But the Gazette wasn't finished. After they painstakingly constructed a villain in Democrat Cullen, they now needed a republican hero.

JG Excerpt:
Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, authored the revised Assembly bill that allows for up to $15 million of economic development tax credits to be re-assigned over a three-year period under regulation from the state Department of Revenue and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

Basically, they're saying there's free money on the table and that they doctored the bill just right for the profit takers ...come and get it!

JG Excerpt:
It would allow the transfer of tax credits if the original recipient is a company that either is headquartered in Wisconsin or plans to move to the state and base the majority of its employees here. It further mandates that the original recipient increase its Wisconsin workforce by 10 percent or make a significant capital investment in its Wisconsin operation.

Well whoop-de-doo. But that is not completely correct.

The bill doesn't mandate the original recipient must increase its workforce by 10 percent. The "fixed" bill merely stipulates that the WEDC must authorize the transfer of tax credits if the business meets only ONE of four conditions (one of which is 10% workforce increase) in addition to being authorized to claim the credits. The "end" recipient of this "jobs creating" tax credit need not create even one job. The only requirement for the end recipient is it must be an existing vendor or supplier in the network of the tax credit eligible business AND have enough profits to claim the credit against. Plus, nowhere in the "revised" bill is there the mandate to return equal value from the tax credit back to the original recipient, such as to pay back the "loan" described in the set-up prop.

Basically, this tax credit is an anti-free market redistribution give-away for the top covered up with a series of invisible hoops and phony job creation convolutions. Early opponents such as Sen. Cullen had little choice but to support it in the end or risk forever being labeled as anti-jobs and anti-business by the local media.

On Amy Loudenbeck's ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

Loudenbeck is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and serves as an alternate on the ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force. In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Rep. Loudenbeck co-authored 1 bill that reflects ALEC models, according to an analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy. About ALEC

ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills.


Anonymous said...

I was also surprised when I read that article and the one before that the Gazette bothered to demonize Cullen as anti-business since announcing he won't be seeking re-election. He's a lame duck. What was the point?

RNR reader

Lou Kaye said...

The point is to send a message to anyone running for his vacated seat that these handouts are what is expected from them - or else. It’s a warning shot.

Anonymous said...

Politically selective editing and writing isn't journalism -- it's propaganda.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of spin writing, check out the opening sentence in today's (20th) editorial in the Fishwrap:

"State lawmakers should stop playing political games and pass the Cancer Treatment Fairness Act."

Typical Gazette BS. That ought read "Republican Robin Vos & his insurance industry bought Republican cronies should . . . ."

Lou Kaye said...

I agree. For a newspaper like the Gazette to sugarcoat it as "political games" or shenanigans is absolutely obnoxious. They would blame anything, the concept of government, partisanship or politics for the disaster sell-out politicians bring to the table. It's the "money game" plain and simple. There's no room or reason for honest pragmatic legislators to stick around. The Beloit Daily News has a similar editorial but with more focus on the sell-outs. But even they look for excuses...

"One might also wonder if significant political contributions"

"But the cancer pill measure had strong Republican support, so it seems a stretch that any legislator’s stand was merely responsive to contributors’ wishes."

If these newspapers are only in the stage of "ifs" and "wondering" or that it might be a "stretch" at this point, we are in a heap of trouble.

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