Monday, December 17, 2007

Paul Soglin Unmasks The WMC

For years, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, representing many large Wisconsin businesses, has had a free pass to bash government and cry crocodile tears over how allegedly unfriendly is the state's attitude towards the private sector.

The WMC has had it both ways, whining about the 'bad' business climate, yet watching its massive lobbying presence in Madison win and protect sweet tax breaks.

These include exempting manufacturing and computer equipment from taxation, while promoting tax incremental financing and industrial revenue bonding used routinely to bring government subsidies to private sector projects.

All adding free money to their bottom lines.

Besides higher profits, these government welfare programs have transferred much of the state tax burden in Wisconsin from businesses to individual taxpayers and property owners.

This trend has been documented by Jack Norman, Ph.D, a former colleague of mine at The Milwaukee Journal, and who is now with the Institute for Wisconsin's Future.

Former Madison Mayor Paul Soglin (full disclosure: I worked for him in what seems a lifetime ago in the 1970's) has emerged as a credible spokesman telling the truth about Wisconsin's economy and unmasking the WMC's counter-productive and very partisan propaganda.

A recent sample of Soglin's exposure of the WMC in the Madison Capital Times is here, another was in this Sunday Crossroads section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, here, and more is on Soglin's Waxing America blog.

Soglin knows of what he speaks, as he has watched the WMC expand its influence from its Madison bunker just blocks from the Capitol.

And he's got the financial and political experience to unravel the truth from the WMC's increasingly partisan fulminations and communicate that knowledge to a broad audience.

One Wisconsin Now has been increasingly effective in outing WMC's partisan political work: wonder how the group feels playing on a leveling field?

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