Was Wisconsin's State's economic future hurt by selfish choices, bad rules?

John Menard, no slouch when doing battle with the DNR or anybody else, might do well to accept the Iowa proposal, which includes no big delays in state approvals, plus a $1.25 million in public grants and certain tax benefits. Riverside Paper Corp. is among local companies who have found Iowa's business climate to its liking. Menard, a big backer of Gov. Jim Doyle, had kind words for Doyle, who tried to help Menards as it faced DNR roadblocks. He couldn't overcome an environmental policy, which is cumbersome and discouraging to business.

Nine hundred jobs. That's the loss to Wisconsin with the state Department of Natural Resources "decision" on a Menards expansion and the United Steelworkers of America Local 2-209 rejection of a Harley-Davidson Inc. expansion concession package.

The truth be told, a lot more jobs have been lost over the years as companies in Wisconsin and outside the state decide against considering it for expansion because of state policies and union attitudes.

It may be politically incorrect in some circles to think there's nothing wrong with forcing some swans to find a different pond so Menards can expand and for union workers to face the economic facts of life in today's manufacturing climate, but I think the two decisions are unhealthy for Wisconsin's economic future.

It seems imprudent to so casually drive away jobs when we see our local corporate giants Kimberly-Clark and Banta Corp. cutting jobs and Glatfelter closing a plant, among many others in the state. Those 900 jobs being rejected would be welcomed to the Fox Cities, even if the added Harley workers would be earning less than the existing workers and the swans or Canada geese had one fewer ponds to land in.

Read more of Arlen Boardman's column in the Appleton Post-Cresent.


Waste Manager said...

Hold on a minute. Don't forget you're talking about John Menard, whose is in the top 40 (24th if I'm not mistaken ) wealthiest Americans. A man that is so cheap that he smuggled toxic waste from his company to dispose in his personal gargage can to avoid disposing of it properly. Jobs at Menard's are one step more valuable that jobs at Wal-Mart.

CANRAC said...

This thing was just bizarre with its timing, of course I've got my own take on it.

What campaign fodder for Green and the Repubs saying Doyle's administration sent 900 jobs packing. What they would really be saying is that "we don't care if environmental laws are broken and the DNR is circumvented", Doyle lost these jobs. They've done that in a way.

Menards is a champion of thumbing their noses at DNR and environment laws, and doing everything illegal they can. When they had thier big fire years ago they actually tried to keep the fire department out because they knew what would be found, and what would occur with all the runoff which would be tainted with the wonderful illegal products they used. Menards has gone after state enforcement officials with a passion, thinks they are exemmpt from laws.

Doyle and the Dems on the other hand like Menard as a supporter. From his days as State Attorney Doyle knows of Menards shenanigans, I think he's just of unacknowledged this whole deal. He didn't have a good choice, it was either be accused to turning away jobs, or supporting a pollutor. I think he handled it right.

And Menard......I think he came out in defense of Doyle and against the DNR because he has people in office he wants. I think(wish) he'd have just kept his mouth shut. Hard to tell what his real motive is.

Personally I hope he moves ALL of his manufacturing and corporate to Iowa, wouldn't bother me one bit.