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Development

‘Our Guy’ Isn’t Our Guy

Some months ago, in a radio interview to tout part of the Trump tax bill, the Whitewater Community Development Authority’s executive director Dave Carlson referred to Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner as ‘our guy.’ Sensenbrenner, a pro-Trump septuagenarian multimillionaire from a gerrymandered district, is – literally – Whitewater’s federal representative. Sensenbrenner has never been – and…

The Outrage of Corporate Welfare (Amazon, Foxconn, and others)

You may have heard by now that Amazon’s new headquarters will soon call the New York and Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas home. This decision has engendered much criticism. But the Atlantic staff writer Derek Thompson doesn’t think the vitriol is enough. “We should all be screaming mad about the state of corporate handouts in this country,” Thompson…

Foxconn Roundup: Outside Work and Local Land

Foxconn’s boosters each day inch closer to a corporate welfare version of Scientology: it doesn’t make any sense, but adherents keep to themselves and repeat a shared list of crackpot claims. The latest news to pierce the cultists’ bubble: Molly Beck and Rick Romell report Wisconsin taxpayers could pay Foxconn for work done outside of Wisconsin,…

The ‘Real’ Residents

Emily Badger reports Are Rural Voters the ‘Real’ Voters? Wisconsin Republicans Seem to Think So: In much of Wisconsin, “Madison and Milwaukee” are code words (to some, dog whistles) for the parts of the state that are nonwhite, elite, different: The cities are where people don’t have to work hard with their hands, because they’re collecting…

Foxconn Roundup: Indiana Layoffs & Automation Everywhere

A sensible person would never have listened to a Walker Administration operative in Whitewater tout Foxconn without laughing or looking about for a nearby tomato.  No sensible person would have made that operative a guest speaker at an annual dinner or written about the event without criticism.  (See, about that Greater Whitewater Committee dinner and that…

Foxconn Roundup: Desperately Ill Edition

Before and after the recent election, solid assessments on Foxconn came to press, and they confirm how irrational and wasteful is that project. Earlier this year, the local business lobby (the Greater Whitewater Committee) invited the state capitalist stooge official overseeing the project to a dinner in Whitewater. I’ve no idea whether Matt Moroney will show…

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…

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…

On New Market Tax Credits for a Fairfield Inn and ‘Community Engagement’

The use of government-issued New Market Tax Credits will bring Whitewater a Fairfield Inn and a building for the existing local campus to lease. Proponents of an ordinary hotel and a lease agreement for the university cannot offer any evidence that these projects will boost local individual or household incomes. What one can show –…

“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…