How many jobs have to be involved to justify making the Foxconn deal the official economic policy of Wisconsin? Do they need to be new jobs or current jobs?
Governor Scott Walker this week put both questions in play. He effectively makes 600 current jobs his new threshold. He explained as follows:
Retaining outstanding Wisconsin companies like Kimberly- Clark is just as important as attracting new companies to our state, which is why I’m proposing we offer larger tax credits to ensure the company keeps those 600 jobs where they belong – in Wisconsin.
Blogger Owen Robinson at Boots and Sabers responded, “Booooo…” to this tweet from Walker: “To keep 600 jobs here in Wisconsin, I asked the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to offer Kimberly-Clark the same deal for jobs as Foxconn.” Robinson succinctly framed what will be the key issue confronting the Legislature as it considers Walker’s proposal:
“Foxconn is at least bringing new jobs to Wisconsin in a new, growing, high-tech industry. Kimberly-Clark is a marvelous company with a long history in the state, but it is also experiencing a negative global market shift. We should not use tax dollars to try to fight against market forces.”
As this debate unfolds one wonders what the coalition of business leaders who want Milwaukee’s I-94 East-West freeway rebuilt are thinking? Does Miller need to explore a relocation of jobs to other breweries to get the governor’s attention?
And, of course, is 600 current jobs the floor for enlisting the governor’s support. Employers all over Wisconsin with several hundred workers might want to know.