Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Campaign Cash

Big Bucks Back Trucking Industry Handout

Business, manufacturing, agricultural, and trucking interests behind bill gave $7.1 million to legislators since 2015.

By - Feb 13th, 2022 02:30 pm


The trucking industry is backing Republican bills that would stick the state with up to half the cost of commercial driver training programs.

The measures, Assembly Bill 941 and Senate Bill 929, would also provide $500 grants to individuals and employers if the newly trained drivers stay with their employer for more than a year.

The bills, which are backed by the state trucking industry as well as groups representing business, manufacturing, and agriculture, among others, are part of a state and federal effort to address a decade-long shortage of professional truck drivers that has worsened since the pandemic.

But a TIME report last November disputed the industry’s claim of a shortage of licensed drivers. The report looked at the numbers and found that there are more licensed commercial truck drivers than jobs and that licensed drivers are leaving the industry because of low pay and lousy working conditions. “ There’s no trucker shortage; there’s a trucker retention problem created by the poor conditions that sprung up in the industry in the wake of 1980s deregulation,” the report said.

And in Wisconsin, an industry spokesman said part of the difficulty trucking companies have finding drivers is that drivers job shop among employers for better pay and benefits.

Rather than taxpayers subsidizing the cost to train and license new drivers, better pay and working conditions would help lure and retain drivers who are already licensed, according to industry observers cited by Urban Milwaukee columnist Bruce Murphy.

Special interests behind the taxpayer handout have given generously to GOP lawmakers.

Business, manufacturing, agricultural, and trucking interests that back the bill contributed more than $7.1 million to current Republican legislators between January 2015 and June 2021, including about $234,100 from the trucking industry.

GOP lawmakers and committees who topped the list of contributions from the trucking industry between January 2015 and June 2021 were:

Republican Assembly Campaign Committee, $44,000;

Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, $38,750;

Rep. John Spiros, of Marshfield, $22,425;

Sen. Andre Jacque, of DePere, $11,300;

Rep. John Macco, of Ledgeview, $9,675.

If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us