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Would Wisconsin Democrats Have Opposed Louisiana Purchase, Too?

August 1, 2017

The effort to land large and economically healthy businesses within our state is a most competitive undertaking.  Multiple states vied for the technology giant Foxconn, each offering incentive plans which included tax deals to sweeten the pot.  That is the reality of how public and private interests now need to work to ensure great strides are made for economic development.  While I have long been supportive of such undertakings, I readily admit my surprise when Lo and Behold Wisconsin landed this deal.

And not just any deal, either. The Foxconn development plan would be the largest green-field investment by a foreign-based company in our nation’s history.

With a $10 billion investment by Foxconn which will directly stimulate 13,000 jobs, with a large number of spin-off developments and jobs, means this is the powerhouse proposal Wisconsin needs.  While there are always hurdles and bumps in such planning the attempts by some to sour the good news should be kept in perspective.  There are always naysayers.

So I was not surprised about the negative comments which came from some members in my party.  To hear some of my fellow Democrats snort over the Foxconn deal makes me wonder how hard they want to be in the majority again in this state?  After all, packaging state resources into a powerful program to create jobs over a wide array of communities is the smartest thing to have emerged from our statehouse in a very long time.  And my party needs to get on board this plan and provide hearty support.

The seeming lack of awareness about spending money today for a larger and smarter pay-off in employment and tax revenues tomorrow seems lost on some legislators.  For too long other states were more than willing to make inroads where Wisconsin was hesitant to tread.  That was a damn shame.  And while I have many legitimate complaints about policy moves from Governor Walker I must say his work with this massive plan makes me smile.   This is exactly how state government needs to operate in the world in which we live.

I have not been shy about calling for Walker and other elected officials to respond to job growth needs in the state.  From December 2013 I penned the following.

There are prayers for jobless people in church on Sunday morning, and local talk shows deal with the political impact on those who are elected to make choices that spur job growth.  I am not sure there is any FDR type of politician in Wisconsin.  But if there were the mission would be clear.

This state needs someone with the ability to not only tackle the employment needs of the citizens, but also lift the spirit and hopes to again allow Wisconsinites the knowledge that things will again be better.  That jobs with living wages will be created and our communities can again be made whole.

I genuinely believe this is a plan that will not only create jobs, but lift spirits, and allow for a larger part of the state to also receive benefits from other investments.  For instance, I am heartened to learn the ways UW-Madison is seeking research relationships with Foxconn.  With that in mind, I would love to see this legislature also pass a meaningful venture capital bill to help seed the new ideas and small businesses that can be spun off from the Foxconn deal.  I do not wish to think small anymore when it comes to where we might head economically in our state.

While I am most confident this huge incentive plan can be marshaled to completion, I also know we need to design our incentive package smartly.  I am mighty concerned about the environmental impact that this business could have on our state. For instance, I am not pleased with the  possible discharge of production materials into the wetlands surrounding the company. I understand the need for a company to make profits but respect to our land, air, and water must not be disregarded.  There is no wiggle room for a cheap way out of making sure the environmental regulations of our state are not undermined.

With all the work and effort that Walker and his administration have already undertaken to get the state to this point with Foxconn makes me confident that true safeguards can be guaranteed in regard to environmental issues.   If Walker can achieve those standards with this massive job creation, and revenue producing venture his election in 2018 is all but assured.  This development proposal is that large–both to the state as a whole, and to the Governor’s political future.

There have been many reasons to take rhetorical slaps at Walker, and I have made many over the years at Caffeinated Politics.  But there is a time for politics, and then as I always say, there must be a time to do the work of governing.  So I must decry the tone that some have used about this deal.  I get the fact that at the statehouse partisanship is king, and logic is often left at the parking garage.   But after all that we have been through with employment woes, slack wages, and divisive government the time has come to take a breath, step up, and do the state’s business. 

  1. Richard Brown permalink
    August 3, 2017 9:59 PM

    Thank you, very nice

  2. August 3, 2017 9:37 PM


    I used my blog post title to make a point. And from the coverage it has received across the state the point was received by many citizens. At the time of the Louisiana Purchase some questioned if the Constitution allowed for such an undertaking, Others questioned if those who were living in the area would at once become citizens of the nation, etc. Viewing that purchase, as seen from those alive at the time, the majority were very much in favor of Jefferson’s desire. It made sense then for both domestic and international reasons. It would have been foolish to have known at the time what Americans knew, and opposed the purchase. That same level of ‘no joke Sherlock’ can be employed now to analyze how some Democrats in power need to come to the side of reasoning. My desire is to see support from my party about job creation, in a way that allows for the needed messaging to voters in my state, that was lacking in 2016. While I have been solidly opposed to Walker’s policy and tone on a variety of topics, as I noted in my post, I also know from my years at the statehouse the need to find the middle path. This deal is the way to forge a path that works for all of those in this state who truly desire a better way forward.

  3. nonquixote permalink
    August 3, 2017 8:59 PM

    Today’s Dems would have at least been acting on a solid guarantee to actually receive something in return for the near $12M spent at the time. Parts of what would become 15 future states of the Union.

    So from the ridiculous analogy in this blog piece title, featured at the Cap Times likely as a joke, as I expected there isn’t one bit of reasoning or one fact supporting his allegations here about how great the “conn,” will be for Wisconsin.

    Unicorns shi**ing rainbow sparkles doesn’t a great deal make. WEDC audits have shown that not one single job can be confirmed anywhere in the state as having been created with the several billion in ag and manufacturing tax credits thus far given to Walker campaign contributors.

  4. August 3, 2017 12:54 PM

    Anytime you have someone like Blaska agreeing with you (Hi Dave!) you really should check yourself…

  5. August 3, 2017 12:34 PM


    I am not sure why anyone should be surprised as I have long been a supporter of government (be it city, county, state) being in partnership with private business so to create jobs, and added revenue. I would be very much oou of character has I not made a statement of strong support. This is one of those issues that Democrats need to work on–around the nation–if we want to have a leading role at the tables of government.

    I was a strong advocate, for example, of Exact Sciences in Madison when they were working with local leaders for a downtown location with the aid of TIF funds. I have only ever found reason to be less supportive when such endeavors with tax dollars are used for sporting facilities and that has to do with a rather complex argument I have which goes to human nature.

    All in all, Mark, I truly believe Foxconn is a correct mission for this state.

  6. Mark E. Bye permalink
    August 3, 2017 12:18 PM

    Quite frankly, I’m speechless in my reaction to your post.

  7. August 3, 2017 10:45 AM

    Jake Formerly of the LP – you obviously suffer from Walker derangement syndrome.

  8. Jake formerly of the LP permalink
    August 2, 2017 9:06 PM

    This is a very bad take. The problem is not that Scott Walker struck a deal with Foxconn to try to make his re-election prospects better. The problem is that they are giving away UP TO $3 BILLION OF OUR TAX DOLLARS TO DO IT. Shouldn’t we question whether that is “the state’s business”, especially when we are already staring at $1 billion deficits in our General and Transportation Funds in the next budget?

    Why are we bribing these guys with bags of cash, (literally, we would be writing them a check because manufacturers already pay nearly 0 in corporate taxes), and why are we letting them wreck the environment and cut corners on regulations to do it? This is a blatant giveaway that will hamper our ability to pay for our roads, our schools and our services, and there is no guarantee any jobs that are created will be around for humans in 5 years, after the payoffs come for putting up the building.

    Same goes for the conveniently floated rumor that Foxconn may want another plant for more tech-related items in Dane County. We shouldn’t just give these guys anything they want, and denigrate our working and living conditions in the process.

    We can attract jobs in many ways that are better than literally giving away the state’s resources to a company that probably could not care less about what they leave behind. This would be like if Jefferson was going to pay $100 million and bankrupt America for the Louisiana Purchase, instead of the $15 million he spent. We’d be right to call that out and demand a better deal along with more information.

    This type of mealy-mouthed, overly-calculated “moderation” and “reasonableness” is exactly why Dems lose. JUST SAY NO to this scam, and expose it as the shameless desperate fraud that it is.

  9. August 1, 2017 6:23 PM

    Reblogged this on Stately Blaska Manor and commented:
    Greg Humphrey, former Democrat(ic) assembly aide, resident of Madison’s Isthmus:


  1. A lonely Democrat on Foxconn – Steve The Presteblog

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