Matt Rothschild
Op-Ed

All the Way With the WMC

Wisconsin Manufacturers honors 65 legislators who followed their dictates on 100% of votes.

By , Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - Oct 22nd, 2016 11:27 am
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Governor Walker delivers remarks at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce's Business Day in Madison. Photo from the State of Wisconsin.

Governor Walker delivers remarks at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce’s Business Day in Madison, 2013. Photo from the State of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), the state’s largest business group, has hailed all of the nearly seven dozen GOP legislators for voting in favor of the group’s pro-business policy and spending wish list during the 2015-16 legislative session.

WMC is a heavyweight among the hundreds of special interests groups that push their agendas at the State Capitol. The group refuses to disclose how much it spends on most of its activities, which usually consist of negative broadcast ads to smear Democratic candidates and support Republicans and conservatives. But the Democracy Campaign estimates the group has spent more than $26 million since 2006 to elect governors and lawmakers who will support WMC’s core agenda of lower business taxes, more local control, weaker environmental and consumer protections, and reduced worker rights, protections and pay.

WMC’s legislative scorecard showed that 65 of the legislature’s 82-member GOP majority voted WMC’s way 100 percent of the time on 47 issues. The remaining 17 Republicans voted with WMC 87 percent to 96 percent of the time. All of the legislature’s 50 Democrats scored low ratings, between 5 percent and 21 percent.

WMC spent about $1 million on lobbying state policy and spending bills between January 2015 and June 2016.

Among the WMC-backed legislative proposals that the legislature and Republican Gov. Scott Walker approved were:

  • Right-to-work legislation, which prohibits requiring workers to make payments to unions as a condition of employment;
  • Sweeping changes to state campaign finance laws that allow corporate contributions to parties, reduce disclosure about wealthy donors and double contribution limits to state candidates;
  • Elimination of the bipartisan Government Accountability Board (GAB), which was replaced by two partisan Ethics and Elections commission to oversee state campaign finance, ethics and election laws;
  • Overhauling the state civil service system to loosen the firing process for thousands of state workers and open up hiring to patronage.

In addition to voting for measures it supported, WMC also congratulated GOP lawmakers for successfully killing items it opposed, including:

  • An increase in the state’s minimum wage, and allowing local governments to set their own minimum wage;
  • Requiring all employers to provide paid sick leave;
  • Repealing the state’s controversial school-voucher programs;
  • Allowing Wisconsin residents to vote on a statewide referendum to make special interest influence on elections more transparent and to reduce the influence of money in politics.

Matthew Rothschild is executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

30 thoughts on “Op-Ed: All the Way With the WMC”

  1. Joanne Brown says:

    I think you mean less local control, not more …

  2. Jason says:

    I don’t understand what the problem is here. When did creating more jobs for Wisconsinites become such a horrible thing. We could do all that is required on the progressive list of demands but who then is going to risk the capital to provide those expensive costs on employees. A better progressive stance would be to take the proposed $160 annual city of Milwaukee wheel tax and bring up to $1600 a year than we can do some of these silly ideas. We can redistribute wealth from the employed to the unemployed masses, force individuals on mass transit and provide sick days, free water and day care.

  3. Dave Reid says:

    Just to clarify. There is no proposed $160 city of Milwaukee wheel tax. There is a $60 Milwaukee County proposed wheel tax.

  4. Jason says:

    Dave the citizens of Milwaukee already pay $100 each year(wheel tax) to have the right to drive. The proposal is to add $60 to the Milwaukee vehicle rider, hence $160 each year.

  5. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    No Jason- the people in Milwaukee pay $75 to the state DOT, and $20 to the City of Milwaukee. KNOW THIS.

    Bottom line, the Wisconsin GOP has been WMC’s lapdogs and have given them everything their corporate puppetmastets have wanted. And we lost more jobs than any state in America last month, and have lost 13,000 since March.

    Time for a new strategy, and new leadership. Fire WMC and the clueless puppet politicians who promote their regressive agenda.

  6. WashCoRepub says:

    Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was 4.1% for September, (3.6% in Waukesha County, home of hard-working & motivated people!), the lowest since 2001. The budget has a surplus, and the rate of property tax increases has slowed considerably. Smart budgeting and smart policies leads to success. Forward, Wisconsin!

  7. Jason says:

    I think the liberal thinking is with black employment at 18 percent in Milwaukee that raising wages to $15 an hour will magically make the masses enter the work force.

  8. Dave Reid says:

    @Jason You wrote: “…the proposed $160 annual city of Milwaukee wheel tax and…” You attributed the $160 to the City of Milwaukee, which is not correct. As Jake pointed out the State of Wisconsin wheel tax is $75, the City of Milwaukee’s wheel tax is $20 and finally Milwaukee County is proposing a $60 wheel tax.

  9. Jason says:

    So let me get this straight if some one is getting assistance from the federal government for housing, food stamps, earned income tax credit, free phone and internet than from the state you receive heat assistance and Badgercare. According to County Exec. Abele and the County Board you are soon to get free transportation from County transit for being underemployed. Why give that up to work at a job that wipes out all your benefits at $15 an hour.

  10. Vincent Hanna says:

    Jason do you agree with WashCoRepub? According to him everything is wonderful and getting better all the time. He paints a picture of a thriving Wisconsin. You, however, are always doom and gloom, going on and on about the low labor participation rate. You’ve insinuated that things are bad all over and everyone is suffering. Both of you are conservative, yet you paint entirely different pictures about the state of things. Which is it?

  11. Vincent Hanna says:

    Jason how many people do you personally know who are living the life you describe? I am guessing zero, but you can prove me wrong. Your post suggests some kind of utopia in Milwaukee where everyone lives a great life courtesy of handouts. That is absolute right-wing nonsense and in no way reflects the reality of life in the city. Turn off talk radio and leave Glendale once in a while. You need a reality check.

  12. Jason says:

    Let s look at it an other way, Vince. We have $15 dollars an hour in Milwaukee. Which for the Walmart on Capital is a 33 percent increase in the cost of labor and Social Security benefits. Is the store productive enough to keep open now? Let’s say yes. my second job paying $9.50 an hour looks less desirable in Bayside. You don’t think Walmart in Milwaukee is looking to dump its least productive or simply looking at more automation to replace the least productive? If were looking at state wide $15 an hour a lot of jobs may be in jeopardy.

  13. Vincent Hanna says:

    Way to not answer a single direct question Jason. You are useless.

  14. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    Of course Jason is useless. You think he’d spend all his time clinging to this failed WMC/GOP BS if he had an ounce of pride?

    Hey WashCo Repub- Kansas has a low unemployment rate too. Know why? BECAUSE NO ONE WITH TALENT WANTS TO LIVE THERE and people are leaving in droves. Funny how that happens in states owned by Koch/ALEC oligarchs.

    Hope that was worth your nickel post, kid.

  15. Vincent Hanna says:

    Ah yes Kansas. The 46th worst economy in the U.S. A conservative experiment that failed miserably. They cut taxes for the wealthy and taxes for businesses, and the state went straight down the crapper.

  16. WashCoRepub says:

    Fortunately, Jake puts his really important points in ALL CAPS so we know the weight and wisdom contained therein.

    Awww, your home value still underwater, son? Still can’t back that moving truck up to get your butt back to your LP and out of this state you love to drench in your foaming, bitter bile?

    Keep your chin up, Jake. Beautiful day out here in the WOW counties, life is good!

  17. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    No White Trash Repub- I live in Dane County, with property values going up 5% a year and the population going up 5% in the last 5 years (3 times faster than WhiteTrashington County). And guess what, our largest private sector employers PUBLICLY REJECT WMC and know that their way doesn’t work. And funny, we keep attracting the talent that keeps this state from completely collapsing.

    The WOW Counties will be ghost towns amd boarded up strip malls in 15 years, once the Boomers’ and GenXers’ kids grow up. They know angry, regressive fools living in exurbs are sooo 20th Century, and they want no part of those cultural.cesspools.

    I think Kansass or Mississippi is probably more to your liking, Koch Boy. Go there, and stop have your bosses and WMC from screwing up the state that I chose to live in.

  18. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    PS- I went to K-8 schools in a WOW County, and graduated HS in another burb. I know how mediocre and limited you people are, and so do a whole lot of others like me

  19. Vincent Hanna says:

    WashCoRepub, why do you think you and Jason paint such different pictures about the state of things? Do you reject Trump, because Jason’s worldview aligns with his, that everything is going to hell and things are bad all over. You say otherwise, that’s things are great and getting better. How do you explain that?

  20. Jason says:

    Jake, yes when all the tax money is funneled to Madison and the largest university is there do we not expect great wealth. Note to Vince. Yes their are different factions of the Republican party.

  21. Vincent Hanna says:

    Of course there are. Doesn’t render the question meaningless. You two see the whole world differently. It’s more than a minor difference.

  22. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    Jason- Funny how that works when you invest in education and cultivate talent and the city chooses to take advantage by providing a high quality of life, isn’t it?

    You don’t think the same might happen in more places if we took that strategy statewide, instead of defunding higher ed and cutting shared revenues and services to the state’s largest city, do ya?

  23. Jason says:

    -Were limited people. Really Jake. Plumbers, electricians, mechanics and small business folks who chose to escape from Milwaukee progressives. The conundrum for most of the twenty somethings is this. Will you be satisfied with your cat or dog for the rest of your life. Will you have a desire to procreate. If so, your living in Milwaukee and how do you change MPS to meet your educational standards, or do you fly away to Madison to join Jake and all the white people in Dane county minus the University.

  24. Vincent Hanna says:

    Spoken like someone who actually hasn’t spoken to someone in their 20s in decades.

  25. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    The other thing I don’t understand about WMC is that for a “business organization”, you’d think they’d tell WisGOP to back off on the racism and regressive social policy. It’s pretty obvious that this mentality is clearly keeping the state from reaching its full economic potential, as few people with talent want to relocate here (other than Madison and the City of Milwaukee, of course).

    But they don’t do that. Instead, they’re all about backing WisGOP no matter what crookedness or idiocy they try to pull, and they don’t care about the overall economic climate of the state, just as long as they grab more and more of the profits from it. Which is yet another reason both of these organizations need to be fired ASAP if you give anything resembling a damn about the future competitiveness of this state.

  26. Vincent Hanna says:

    I feel that way about MMAC as well Jake. These business groups must know how younger people view the GOP especially after the infamous party autopsy. They must know what attracts younger people to cities and what tends to repel them. They must be aware of the fact that Obama got 67% of the youth vote. Their obtuse focus on the right is harmful to the state’s business climate.

  27. GF says:

    Look at a map of the US that shows where most of the high-tech start-ups are located. Northern California and Northeast – both among the most liberal, open minded, highly educated in the world.
    Wisconsin before Scott Walker was a Mid-Continent liberal stand-out that was world-famous for it’s pioneering social progressivism and clean government practices, reverence for the environment, and for being the “Machine Shop of the World”.
    Now with all that flushed away by John Birch Society/Bradley Foundation-driven GOP AMradio talkers, for years talking down traditional Wisconsin values that made Wisconsin better than our peers, all fronted by Walker, Wisconsin is losing older partisans passing away, losing children as child-bearing populations look elsewhere for an empowering environment, losing graduates who’ve seen the world and want more culturally stimulating environments to put their quality educations to work, is last in start-ups for many of the same reasons, hasn’t gained the 250,000 jobs Scott Walker promised, it’s time for a Wisconsin Restoration political movement that will return Wisconsin to the tried and true.

  28. Jason says:

    Open mindedness, and the left making elementary school children already having it hard enough going to bathroom at school but told the future is telling Kindergardners that Billy can go to any bathroom he chooses. Wow. You want to see Hispanics with large family jump ship. Your so inclusive. The power one transgendered child has in the school district of Kiel Wisconsin. The school board bent over backwards for her choosing to be him. All school s in Kiel are now inclusive.

  29. Liloldlady says:

    Jason,
    we’re (not “were), then (not “than), you’re (not “your”).
    Your credibility suffers from illiteracy–among other things !

  30. Vincent Hanna says:

    Are you OK Jason? That post is unintelligible.

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