One Wisconsin Now (yes, I am on OWN's 501-C-3 board), has it right: the fee is aimed at keeping out everyday folks, such as those without jobs and the means to pay. What a bone-headed idea, and sure to backfire.
For Immediate Release
September 20, 2011
Contact: Cody Oliphant
Walker Latest Scheme: Public Can Pay $50 to Hear His Job Ideas
‘Appalling Scheme to Deny Unemployed Access to State Event,’ Says One WI Now
Madison -- Gov. Scott Walker, facing a steadily-increasing state unemployment rate despite passing $2.3 billion in tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy, has announced his latest scheme: charge the public $50 to attend a state-sponsored “jobs summit.” Walker’s fee will likely restrict public access, particularly the unemployed and those in need of jobs.
“Gov. Scott Walker hands out over $2 billion in new tax breaks to corporations and the rich, but will charge the public $50 to hear his latest failed ideas on jobs,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now. “The big question is: when the unemployment rate goes up again here in Wisconsin, can people who pay the fee get a refund?”
Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, both of whom have no notable experience creating jobs in the private sector, are hosting a “jobs summit” at Lambeau Field this November 1. The event, which is being advertised on the state-finance Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority's (WHEDA) website, includes a $50 fee for registration payable to WHEDA.
The state has seen a steadily rising unemployment rate over the summer, after nearly two years of falling (2009-10). Despite Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature passing $100 million in new corporate tax breaks and breaks for the wealthy in January, the state’s unemployment rate has skyrocketed from 7.3 percent in April to 7.9 percent in August. This is the highest increase in over two-and-a-half years.
“Walker gutted public education, slashed the University of Wisconsin and tech colleges, attacked health care and stole the rights of working people. And the numbers show his way is a complete failure,” said Ross. “Gov. Walker has already cut over $50 million from the newly-unemployed and now he wants them to pay $50 to hear his latest corporate-dictated talking points.”
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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.