If you read the news these days, chances are that you may notice a pattern —Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on anything. From Capitol Hill to the Capitol in Madison, our communities are split down the middle with self-interested politicians leading the way. That’s why I was surprised to see stories last week in which Republican leaders in the Legislature agreed with me that the Foxconn scam Walker is ramming through a government review cannot be done in total secrecy.
When I was appointed at the end of October to the board of directors for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. — the agency responsible for reviewing the Foxconn incentive package — I announced that I would push Scott Walker to let me review the Foxconn contract. My reason is simple: This deal, if it amounts to anything, could be the most expensive giveaway of taxpayer money to a single foreign corporation in our state's, and possibly even our nation’s, history. We cannot open the taxpayer-funded pocketbook without real evidence that we’re going to get a return on our investment.
We also need to know more about Foxconn’s intentions to stay here in Wisconsin. For weeks, members of the public, the business community, and the Democrats like me have been asking Scott Walker for more details about the deal. And what information did he provide? A single sheet of paper with a hand-scribbled note in which Walker signed away $3 billion for (maybe) 3,000 jobs. It contained no clawback clauses, no information about what kinds of jobs these would be, and no assurances that this was a smart investment for our state.
I spent 30 years building my business in Eau Claire and I can tell you that I never signed a contract or a deal without knowing the specifics. It takes hard work and due diligence to grow a successful business and to foster a healthy economy. The way Walker is throwing around our tax dollars on sweetheart foreign deals, it’s clear he doesn’t know what he’s doing.
But you don’t have to be a small business owner to know that money doesn’t grow on trees. For every $1 of the $3 billion Walker is spending on Foxconn, that is $1 less for our schools, health care, and the essentials that keep us in business like roads, bridges, and emergency services. Given the dramatic cuts that Walker made to the UW System in the 2015-2017 budget, the stagnant K-12 education budgets, and the stalled road construction projects across the state, it is clear we that don’t have money to burn.
I am running for governor of Wisconsin against Scott Walker because I know that we have to invest our money on the things that matter and on the things that will produce a healthy return on our investment. When you saw Scott Walker’s re-election campaign announcement, I hope you saw through the rose-colored glasses he seems to wear while parading around the state on his motorcycle. Take off the glasses or, better yet, step down, Scott.
Wisconsin deserves better.
Rep. Dana Wachs, D-Eau Claire, is a Democratic candidate for governor of Wisconsin and a member of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. board of directors.
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