Thursday, June 21, 2018

Foxconn could be Walker's disabling campaign Scotthole

As Walker ignores Wisconsin's crumbling roads and instead focuses on all things Foxconn - - and highways to serve it - - fresh polling suggests Foxconn could be his biggest campaign Scotthole.

The latest Marquette Law School poll shows that a strong majority of people beyond SE Wisconsin don't think their local businesses will benefit from the Foxconn project, and more people than not statewide see the Foxconn's $4.5 billion public subsidies as a bad bet.

So what we have here, fiscally, is a generation's worth of public assistance pledged in the name of a doubtful public by a Governor who has failed to close the political side of the Foxconn deal with voters who could send him packing in less than five months.

So people have had almost a year to digest the Foxconn deal and it's leaving a bad aftertaste. 

Advantage, Democrats? We'll see.

I have been writing about these issues for months, including this March post:

The signs have been evident for months and summarized at this post since July, because Foxconn at Walker's direction will tax people and state budgets for decades, is upending state road spending, throwing out long-standing environmental standards, will emit air pollution, heavily taxes local governments near the site, comes with no transit or housing components for the projected thousands of workers, needs a Lake Michigan water diversion which raises substantial supply and discharge problems, etc. etc... 
In July, 2017, I pointed out some of the obvious risks staring Walker in the face as he began adding big highway spending from statewide coffers to ballooning billions for Foxconn: 
In round numbers, there are about 360,000 people in various cities, villages and towns in the counties of Racine and  Kenosha, and also about 600 people in the Jackson County Town of Northfield on the other side of the state, and all of them have a vested interest in the $3 billion from various public funding pots which Walker and his fellow Republicans want to throw at Foxconn...
Note, however, that Walker tossed 250 million borrowed dollars into the $3 billion deal for Foxconn via the state budget whenever it's approved to hurriedly complete the over-built, under-funded reconstruction and expansion of I-94 though Racine and Kenosha Counties which Vos had been demanding even before Foxconn made the news...
$250 million could have repaired most or all potholes on our state's rutted and poorly-ranked roads, which is why it would be useful to ask the good people of cash-strapped Northfield, Wisconsin across the state from Vos' district where the main road has crumbled back to gravel what they think about Walker and Co. throwing around staggering amounts of public highway borrowing which all the people of the state will have to repay.
And speaking of what local folks think, remember that Walker's break-the-bank, bet-the farm Foxconn plan also will require unnamed municipalities gaining some or all of the electronics firm's buildings to contribute to-be-determined local financing through the borrowing procedure known as Tax Incremental Financing, or TIF.
Through TIF, a municipality borrows to construct streets, sidewalks, street lights, parking and other enhancements for a development, then repays itself with the fresh property taxes a project (hopefully) generates...
The catch is that until the borrowing is paid off over years and decades, that increment - - the project-spurred tax payment growth - - must go to pay down the TIF loan payments and does not flow to local governmental services, like schools, police, fire or public health program costs...
As, later, I noted in December:
Expect Walker to deny, distract over $30 mil. Foxconn road
Walker is using our money to bet his re-election on convincing taxpayers far from Foxconn's site in SE Wisconsin that what's good for Mount Pleasant there is good for Mount Horeb, Mount Hope and Mount Calvary, too:
Taxpayers paid for a thinly-veiled Scott Walker re-campaign visit to Green Bay last week, as our right-wing Governor and Foxconn bellhop keeps trying to convince taxpayers far from the Racine-to-Chicago Foxconn gravy train that they will benefit from the $3 billion in public subsidies collected from taxpayers statewide that Walker is shoveling to Foxconn at the expense of programs and growth in all 72 counties...
Send Walker back when the winter thaw leaves Brown County with a few thousand new potholes that can't be repaired because I-94 near the Foxconn site needs another lane
As I noted two months ago
Given Walker's fevered love affair with all things Foxconn, you'd have thought he'd have cut a ribbon when road-graders launched the first of hundreds of millions of dollars of Foxconn-related roadwork this week on a two-mile upgrade of frontage road along the Racine County project's site.
But Walker can't highlight the lavish road spending he's ordered for Foxconn right in the middle of pothole season without drawing attention to the road projects statewide Foxconn will drain of funding or push farther down the priority list - - and which will inevitably get more expensive through inflation, or be forgotten altogether. 
As I wrote in mid-January
The [state electoral] turnaround can happen in November...
I'd argue that of late he's taking his successes for granted and following a counter and potentially self-destructive path - - the Politics of Indifference - - when it comes to much of his base, and to basic governance, Walker transfers hundreds of millions of dollars in state transportation funding, plus billions in state tax breaks to the Foxconn project in the Southeastern corner of the state while roads statewide have deteriorated to the second worst in the country... 
Progressives and grassroots activists and Democratic opponents should be able to defeat Walker's Politics of Indifference with passionate organizing, clear-mindedness about the role of government and an agenda of equity, honesty and empathy.
And because potholes, polluted water, rampant wildlife disease, subsidies for multi-billion dollar foreign businesses, short-changed schools and parks with higher admission fees while donors get all the parkland they want isn't the Wisconsin we want.
And as I added last weekend: 

So I'm glad to see this strong story in the Wisconsin State Journal that suggests that indeed the times are a-changin' because there's something clear happening here:

Unease growing in Wisconsin GOP base over environmental rollbacks
Since taking over state government in 2011, Republicans have eased pollution enforcement, sold off public lands, rolled back protection of ground water, curtailed Department of Natural Resources scientific research, and silenced DNR experts who once were free to publicly comment on legislative proposals...
But Republican-leaning hunters and anglers have begun debating whether the changes have gone so far that they are threatening the lakes, streams and access to hunting land that have made the state great, said Rodney Sempf, a middle school teacher in northeastern Wisconsin who loves to hunt and fish.
I've argued that Walker's contemptuous enabling of widespread and continuing environmental pollution harms traditional Wisconsin values and treats his voting base with a contempt which would catch up with him:

Walker's politics of indifference ignores base, basics
A full archive of Foxconn posts is here.


Anonymous said...

Foxconn Smchoxconn. The media will continue to catapult the propaganda this is good! Rural voters, especially farmers & farm wanna-bes will continue to vote for Walker, just like they voted for Donald Trump.

We know that election systems were hacked in 2016 -- that is not speculation, it is an objective fact. We do not know if votes were changed, as the system is entirely unverifiable. Jill Stein, regardless of what your opinion of her is (and mine is not high for her or the U.S. Green Party) did identify problems (but did not really identify the scope or confirm that the recorded vote count was accurate).

Even if you doubt concerns about election fraud, it is an objective fact that our totals are not verifiable and are hackable. Walker's "wins" in recall and 2014 do not pass basic mathematical scrutiny -- likely every here remembers hearing all day in each of these races that it was going to be "too close to call" and we'd be up all night for final totals (Don't get me started on the shenanigans from Waukesha during these races and the Prosser election in 2011).

Election fraud is impossible without:

1. Bogus polling data
2. Media complicity

Marquette Law Poll mirrors the questionable and unverifiable numbers of Donald Trump's "win" and everything Scott Walker. It is reasonable to suspect its integrity.

The media in Wisconsin continues to lie about Walker -- he has never had a real balanced budget as he has postponed debt payments and borrowed money off-the-books. In a recent budget, he even put borrowed funds in the state's Sunshine Fund for fiscal emergencies. This is the height of irresponsibility, but the media falsely proclaimed this was evidence of Walker's miraculous financial management.

The Foxconn deal is a disaster, but the real issue that should be front-center across Wisconsin is our terrible, dangerous, and even deadly highways & infrasctructure -- reported to be the worst in America. Walker's fiscal mismanagement has doubled the debt payments for Wisconsin road work.

Don't get too excited about this Politifact report from 6/11 as propaganda always has some truth. In this case, MJS is reporting an objective fact in one article that most voters will never see. Every other day, there website and paper are full of pro-Walker bold-faced lies. Some of these lies are regularly published under the name of Christian Schnieder and other times the "news" is full of misleading statements that are attributed to Walker and repeated without access their merit and accuracy.

It looks like the fix is in for Walker in 2018 and it is time more people talked about this.

Anonymous said...

$4.5 Billion is such a staggering amount of money for a state with fewer than 6 million people and no tax revenue from the richest corporations and people. I don't know how people will cope with the tax burden even if they don't pay for the things they really want like schools and roads. This is going to be very hard on middle income people and fixed income homeowners who will not benefit from FoxConn. I want to be optimistic about the whole "transforming Wisconsin" thing but I can't see how the numbers work out. I gotta tell ya, I'm leaving as soon as possible to avoid paying for this.

Anonymous said...

We certainly have a lot of ammunition to use in this campaign, but I am very pessimistic over kicking Scooter's worthless butt out of office. I can not even convince family members to vote against him. My Mom thinks that he and his family have been persecuted. All the man has been trying to do is save thousands of unborn children. Then there is my brother, who constantly complains about the potholes (he even calls them scottholes now), but it is a fair trade off because Walker has really stuck it to the union contractors. Add in my other brother who had his family on Badgercare for years. The poor guy would have to be on Obamacare if Walker didn't save the state's assistance program.

I just gave three simple samples of what we are dealing with. People who are normally rational, honest, and intelligent people who are absolute nincompoops when it comes to deciding on whether walker stays or gets fired. They have become political morons who have listened to all the lies spewing from talk radio. Before the end of the Summer, my Mom will have another grandkid moving out of Wisconsin. She will be the sixth college educated one to move because of our state's crappy economy. By the way, of those 6 mostly conservative young adults, not a single one would ever vote for Walker.

So here are the real issues: 1. The people who need to change their minds are not going to admit that they voted in a buffoon, so they will not change and will vote. 2. A lot of young people who would vote for anyone but Walker, have left the state. 3. Elderly people will not change their opinion on someone when they are constantly bombarded by nonsense from talk radio. 4. Their are a lot of hypocrits, who call themselves Christians, who will vote for the guy even though he lies all the time. 5. People from 60 on up have put this guy in office because of their own greed and selfishness. They would rather save a penny in taxes instead of fix a crumbling school.

All ten Dem candidates have to join forces and go after the fool.Every add he puts out needs to be immediately and brutally attacked for the lies in them. Every time the media (ex. JS) puts out a supporting article, it needs to be attacked as a lie. Heck, the Wis SJ actually has convicts giving their opinion on politics. Don't even mention Walker's name, just call him "the Fool Governor". The little toddler gloves need to come off.

No more kid gloves when dealing with the fool.

Anonymous said...

Ed Wall has now stepped forward to criticize his old buddy, The Fool Gov. The ad is pretty good but hopefully there is more to come. This issue should be a knockout punch to The Fool. Wisconsin will be paying 19 million bucks to a girl because The Fool ignored requests for help. A young girl is handicapped for life because The Fool did nothing. Unfortunately the GOP butt kissing hypocrites, who claim to be pro-life, could care less about a girl in a juvenile detention center. In my opinion The Fool should be charged with abuse, should pay the fine, and be imprisoned. The major state media has backed him and they are also guilty.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with the overall message from anon 9:08, the fact is that all democrats are now cowering in the corner over Foxconn. Peter Barca caved right off the back (he has always been a lackey of the republicans). While there were some other legislators that held sessions in Milwaukee last spring, they have all abandoned this.

No one has the courage to challenge this because Scott Walker and Foxconn are throwing out the number "13,000 jobs". The deal was intentionally structured to make that platitude meaningless just like Walker's pledge for 250,000 in his first term.

So I want to state more-directly: The massive failure in Wisconsin and now at the national level is that the "opposition" party to the one-party republican monarchy is worse than feckless -- they are useless.

Hillary Clinton was the "most qualified candidate to ever run?"


She entirely ignored Wisconsin and had no meaningful campaign in the states she needed to win. She spent more-than twice the money that Donald Trump did, so the free publicity given to him by Morning Joe and others is not what made the difference.

The baby boomers (refered to by anon 9:08) are the first generation to steal as much wealth from their parents/grandparents as they are now stealing from their children.

Are we going to see a democratic candidate for governor plainly and clearly speak the truth about Walker's fiscal disaster? I wouldn't hold my breath.

But this I know for sure: If we do not call out democrats on how they fail us, Walker will become king for life.

Steve Arnold said...

"the road projects statewide Foxconn ... which will inevitably get more expensive through inflation"

They won't just get more expensive due to inflation. Imagine what happens to the repair costs for your home with a neglected leaky roof. They go up a lot more from *water damage* than inflation! That's what happens to road when their waterproof seal is broken by cracking--water gets into the road base, makes it soft and semiplastic, and allows heavy trucks to break up the pavement over the unstable base. The result is that the road must be reconstructed, with new base, not just resurfaced.

A few extra years of delay on road resurfacing can cause costs to triple! These costs will be borne by local property taxpayers (or lead to more delays and expenses spiraling out of control).

Anonymous said...

Steve -- and please understand why I add this important point. I am not challenging you at all.

But Walker's terrible highways literally kill. They are not safe to drive on. No one in the media will speak this truth though. It is "inconvenient", but it is a fact as sure as there will be a sunset today.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

All Democrats caved on Foxconn? Not even close. Barca lost his job as Assembly Dem Leader for that, and Foxconn was the most common line of attack on Walker and WISGOP at the Dem convention.

Foxconn is one of the biggest things the Dems will bring up in these elections as reason to remove Walker abd other GOPs. Not only is the Fox-con horrible economics and cronyism, but it's an electoral LOSER in every area code that's not 262 in this state.

There are reasons to not like some of the strategies and things the DPW does. But they have been all over Foxconn.