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Foxconn: Failure & Fraud

There are two national publications with recent updates on the Foxconn project, and each report highlights fundamental problems with the billions in public subsidies for that foreign corporation. Here’s a roundup of the latest on this dodgy corporate welfare:   Bruce Murphy (writing online for national tech site The Verge) reports Wisconsin’s $4.1 Billion Foxconn Boondoggle (“Gov.…

In Whitewater and Elsewhere, Employment’s Only Part of the Story

 In times of high unemployment, of course it makes sense to get people back to work. Jobs, jobs, jobs isn’t a bad mantra when people don’t have work.  (Work isn’t simply about an income, but a place in society.)  Today is not, however, the Great Depression. Listen to ‘development professionals’ go on about job-creation at…

Foxconn’s Predatory Reliance on Eminent Domain

Taiwanese-owned Foxconn is relying on eminent domain to seize Wisconsinites’ private homes for the sake of that foreign company’s project. Principles of eminent domain, sadly, have been vastly increased since a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision expanded government’s power to take from ordinary homeowners, among others. Those expanded governmental powers mean that residents who lose their…

The Walker Cabinet Officers’ Open Letter

Four cabinet secretaries of the Walker Administration have come forward to criticize the governor, and three of them have co-written an open letter against Walker’s relentless emphasis on political gain over sound policies. One of the signatories of the letter is Paul Jadin, who was Walker’s first Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation leader. It says all…

The ‘Republican’ Candidate’s Meet and Greet

One reads that the self-described Republican candidate for the 43rd Assembly District will hold a meet and greet next week at a private establishment in town. Good for him – free speech is a core political right. (He’s also scheduled to appear at a local candidate’s forum this week. See The First & Last Questions.) He’s a…

Majority of Walworth County’s Renters are Rent-Burdened

A new study, Paying the Rent, from the Wisconsin Policy Forum finds that a majority of Walworth County’s renters are rent-burdened, placing the county in the top five most distressed in the state by that measurement. (There are, of course, 72 counties in Wisconsin, so Walworth County is among the weakest of a very large…

Walworth County’s Working Poor

In Whitewater and throughout Walworth County, huge numbers of residents are “asset limited, income constrained [yet] employed” (ALICE®). A report from the United Way of Wisconsin, entitled ALICE® ASSET LIMITED, INCOME CONSTRAINED, EMPLOYED WISCONSIN, reveals the truth about many in our community. Walworth County measures slightly worse than the already-disappointing state average. The talk of…

Foxconn’s Secret Deal with UW-Madison

These last several years in Wisconsin have seen a politics of corporate manipulation of public spending and a retreat from principles of open government. Businesses and business lobbying groups routinely expect public money for business projects that should be wholly private. (Scheming development gurus often refer to taxpayer money as their ‘tools,’ as though the…

The Two Questions that Haunt Old Whitewater

Two questions haunt Old Whitewater (where Old Whitewater is a state of mind rather than an age or a particular person): What does it mean to be a college town? and What is meaningful community development? (There are other serious questions, but one can be sure – at the least – that these two have Whitewater…

“Later This Year”

One reads that Foxconn [is] planning to buy land for innovation centers later this year. Read a bit closer, however, and one learns that ‘later this year’ is about as undependable as ‘the check is in the mail’ or ‘I gave at the office’: A question regarding innovation centers was one of many from Democratic Assembly Minority Leader…

A Tax Incremental Financing Review

Today at four o’clock, the Joint Review Board is scheduled to review Whitewater’s tax incremental districts. Views of tax incremental financing – especially in a place like Whitewater – are a good test of someone’s basic understanding of economic development. Indeed, the test reduces to a simple relationship: the more one contends that tax incremental…

Foxconn Deal Melts Away

Rick Romell and Molly Beck report Foxconn now declines to say it plans to build type of factory named in state, local contracts: But in a shift from its stance of two months ago, the company on Wednesday did not offer assurances that it still plans to build the type of liquid crystal display panel plant…

The Trump Tax Bill: The Illusory Pay Bump

In the spring, before and after a local election, the Whitewater Community Development Authority issued two press releases praising a part of the Trump tax bill as good for Whitewater.  CDA executive director Dave Carlson presumably wrote the releases, and Larry Kachel, the CDA chairman, stars in one of them as offering gratitude for gerrymandered congressman…

The Trump Tax Bill: Massive Federal Deficits

The Whitewater Community Development Authority’s press releases flacking a part of the Trump tax bill for Whitewater show only that they either don’t understand what the Trump bill means for America, or that they hope others won’t understand. (See press release 1, press release 2.) This bill will drive the federal budget deficit to astonishing and…