Good news, of course, is always happily reported.
A new economic ranking - this one being touted by Gov. Scott Walker - pegs Wisconsin as the country's 17th-best state for business.Never mind that the bad news about the Chamber of Commerce (OMG the Chamber of Commerce???) issuing dire news about the state of our state was hidden in an article entitled "Scale Up Milwaukee Initiative Looks to Create Jobs", this one, touting good news has the good news right up front in the headline "Chief Executive magazine ranks Wisconsin 17th-best for business".
Chief Executive, a Greenwich, Conn.-based magazine that annually surveys the nation's CEOs on their perceptions of states' business climates, published the latest list, which Walker cited Tuesday in a news release.
Never mind that this good news is based on the "perceptions" of CEOs on a state and not on actual, you know, facts. It's good news and good news for Scott Walker and the GOP MUST, naturally, be reported.
The Chief Executive rankings aren't based on data such as tax rates, number of business start-ups, education of the workforce or level of venture-capital investment. Rather, they reflect the perceptions of CEOs. Those perceptions, arguably, are important. They also come from a group likely to be friendly to a Republican governor.(emphasis mine)
Thanks for admitting that and for the update at the bottom of the article that referenced the Chamber of Commerces bad news, but tucking the bad news in the bottom of this article and hiding it in a local article about Milwaukee jobs just doesn't cut it. If the Chamber of Commerce issued such a dire report on a Democratic Governor and Legislature, as a lifelong reader of the Journal Sentinel (and it's parent newspapers), I would have seen it as front page news with extensive coverage on local television.
It's not just JS, but the Wisconsin State Journal had a similar sunshiney piece on this good news, as well. Howwever, unlike the JS article, they didn't mention the Chamber of Commerce ratings. Neither did they publish a single mention of the Chambers downgrade of Wisconsins ratings when the report was issued.
By the way Texas was rated #1 in the CEO ratings. I guess they love the Explosively Booming (and, yes, I do mean kaboom) business climate there. That alone tells me everything I need to know about the validity of this rating system.
In other news, we have more poorbashing courtesy of our Republican Legislature.
The legislation would provide an explicit prohibition in state law on both buying and selling FoodShare benefits and the food purchased with those benefits. The bill's opponents said that was redundant.That's right. It's already illegal to buy or sell food stamps, but they made it illegal some more to score cheap political points by making it seem like they're closing some sort of welfare cheat loophole. The Walker administration has increased the budget for welfare fraud investigations since he came into office because he's convinced there's a lot of welfare cheating. Had any cheating been uncovered, no doubt it would have been widely proclaimed.
"This bill is unnecessary," said Harris. "It's already illegal, so why are we making it illegal a second time?"
The Cheese (and other foods) as Junk Food Bill is due for an Assembly vote today. I'll be watching for it.
The WEDC mess continues to get worse. For those who aren't in the know, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is a private entity set up by Scott Walker to replace the State of Wisconsins Department of Commerce. Walker made himself the head of this agency.
Since it's beginning, it's been a mess. An audit later revealed tens of millions of dollars in business loans that WEDC lost track of. And there have been waves of reginations when scandal after scandal is uncovered.
The review by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau found that last year WEDC didn't require financial statements from companies receiving incentives; gave awards to ineligible businesses and ineligible projects; and awarded nearly $1 million in tax credits to companies for actions taken before they had signed their contracts with the state. The agency didn't adequately follow up to see if jobs were being created and didn't clearly report the jobs numbers that it did have, the audit found.The latest in the ongoing mess:
In the wake of a cutting audit and resignations at two top posts - including one Monday - Democratic lawmakers called en masse Tuesday for holding up funding for the state's flagship jobs agency and for overhauling or disbanding it.(emphasis mine)
Dozens of Democratic lawmakers held their Capitol news conference the morning after the man brought in to burnish the image of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. resigned over tens of thousands of dollars in income tax and jobless benefit claims made against him. Two weeks ago, WEDC brought on its third chief financial officer in less than two years - only to see him resign within 24 hours to take a promotion at his former company.
Gillespie, who WEDC brought in as its new public information officer in April, owes $36,047 in back taxes to the State of Wisconsin, according to the Department of Revenue's delinquent taxpayer list. Claims made on that list may be disputed by those who are named in it.And now, hang onto your lunch:
In a separate case, online court records show the Department of Workforce Development filed a legal action against Gillespie in March 2012 in Outagamie County Circuit Court, seeking what state officials said was $7,770 in improper unemployment insurance benefits.You read that right. Gillespie was hired to be the public information officer of this quasi private state agency even though he owed tens of thousands of dollars in taxes to the state AND had a legal action filed against him by the state for funny business in unemployment comp. Nice job of vetting (not).
Of course, even that bad news has to get some good news tossed in. And, of course, it is - another mention of the sunshiney CEOs "perception" that Wisconsin is in 17th place nationally. And, naturally, Republicans continuing to express their "disappointment" in WEDCs performance. If this was a welfare or food stamp office in this much disarray, Republicans wouldn't be expressing disappointment, they'd be screaming from the top of their lungs.
UPDATE: Hahahahaha Edition: The Cheese as Junk Food bill (AB 110) was laid on the table. Despite the total lack of media attention, this bill had huge opposition. The GOP tabled the bill. Watch for this to become a zombie and rise off the table when the heat is off (they didn't vote it down, just took it off the table).
This is a huge surprise since every Republican on the committee voted for it (committee vote 7:2 in favor) and it was fast tracked to the Assembly the following week.
4:18 PM PT: Well, just when I thought the Republicans did something sane, Downstate Democrat informs me in the comments that the stinking bill passed.
According the to Assembly website, they suspended the rules and passed it 68-26 so it's off to the Senate where it will continue the Republican ram through that has become the standard around here for the last 2 years.
Our last hope will be the Feds who will be the last line of defense. The state needs the Feds to issue a waiver to allow them to adopt new FoodShare standards. So far the Feds have refused to grant waivers on request of states when it comes to these types of changes.