Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Crash Landing Was Predicted For Walker's Jet-Building Scheme

Who remembers that Scott Walker had bragged about a plan to bring a passenger jet plant to Wisconsin just as the recall movement was taking off? 

In the headline-grabbing world of corporate raids-and-relocations, it doesn't get any jazzier than jet planes, and Walker was talking big - - a firm lured here from another state, for an entirely new factory with at least 600 jobs.

But in January, 2012, on the eve of Walker's State of the State speech, and when news of his jet plane coup was everywhere, I wrote this:

He'll also tout [in the speech] as a personal victory his role in luring a small airplane plant to choose Superior over a site in Maine  - - but will not dwell on the need for more than $100 million in state subsidies that originate nearly entirely with the evil Obama/Big Federal administration, or the highly-speculative, boom-and-bust nature of the small-plane, corporate-flying SUV business. 
Now fast forward to last week and Exhibit B, a story by the Cap Times' indomitable Mike Ivey - - with a bonus connection to the faltering and mismanaged WEDC which Walker created and chairs - - that really ties the whole tapestry together: 
In January 2012, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker traveled to Superior for a stunning announcement that suggested he wasn’t blowing smoke when he vowed Wisconsin was be “open for business.”
Kestrel Aircraft Company said it going to invest $120 million in a production facility that would employ 600 workers, the most new jobs in Superior since World War II. The company would produce a high-performance, single-engine plane made from carbon fiber. 
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Walker's public-private corporation that replaced the state's Department of Commerce, quickly stepped in with $18 million in Enterprise Zone Tax Credits and a $2 million economic development loan. 
But nearly two years later, Kestrel has yet to open its factory and is now 90 days late in payments on two state-administered loans.


Anonymous said...

"That package includes the use and creation of $3.1 million in tax increment financing and a $2.4 million low-interest loan through the city of Superior, and the transfer or county owned land adjacent to the Bong Airport and a $500,000 loan through the Douglas County Revolving Loan Fund." More than state money was lost Nice going Walker, you probably bankrupted Superior and Douglas county:

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

but of course, the non-speculative Talgo train plant that was actually already in place was producing transportation products that non-rich people used (and not to mention the federal matching funds that were included) was sacrificed to the ideological chopping block.

Costing the state millions.

Heckuva financial manager, our Scotty.

Boxer said...

Though I s'pose Scooter counts the 600 unmaterialized jobs in his job creation success rate.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

The WMC put Kestrel's claim of "600 jobs" in their absurd ad claiming Wisconsin's economy was taking off like a rocket.

Keep this in mind when you look at the $18 million being given away in Kenosha for that Amazon warehouse

Gareth said...

Kestrel has been trying to raise the $120M it needs to go into production for going on two years now. Why is there no private venture capital available to fund this "revolutionary" aircraft? What does the private sector know that WEDC and Walker can't be bothered to learn? This Potemkin business deal is looking increasingly pathetic.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Well, of course an Amazon warehouse is more important than high-wage manufacturing jobs like Talgo. They have few employees and treat them like crap.