Fox­conn cre­ates a job — for a top Walker cam­paign con­sul­tant

Wisconsin Gazette - - Opinion -

Any doubt cam­paign pol­i­tics is the driv­ing force be­hind Gov. Scott Walker gam­bling $3 bil­lion on a sub­sidy for Tai­wanese elec­tron­ics man­u­fac­turer Fox­conn has been dis­pelled by the cre­ation of a sin­gle job.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port from wis­pol­i­tics. com, the lob­by­ing firm hired by Fox­conn has brought on Keith Gilkes, Walker's long­time cam­paign man­ager and the head of the Un­in­tim­i­dated PAC, which sup­ported Walker's pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tions, to do “pub­lic af­fairs and com­mu­ni­ca­tions.”

“Scott Walker's long­time cam­paign man­ager work­ing with the firm lob­by­ing for the state sub­sidy for Fox­conn epit­o­mizes how Scott Walker op­er­ates,” said One Wis­con­sin Now ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Scot Ross. “With this guy, it's all about his po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tions and his next cam­paign. His scheme to de­liver the largest state sub­sidy to a for­eign cor­po­ra­tion in his­tory is no dif­fer­ent.”

Cam­paign fi­nance re­ports for Walker's gu­ber­na­to­rial cam­paign show Walker has paid the con­sult­ing firm run by Gilkes nearly $90,000 in just the first six months of 2017. Be­tween Walker's cam­paigns and the Repub­li­can Party of Wis­con­sin, Gilkes has been paid hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars for his work on Walker's 2010, 2012 and 2014 gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tions and as the head of the PAC sup­port­ing Walker's failed run for pres­i­dent.

Walker has been on a fre­netic, cam­paign­style tour of the state tout­ing his plan to pro­vide the largest-ever state sub­sidy to a for­eign cor­po­ra­tion.

But Walker's boos­t­er­ism doesn't change the facts of the pro­posed deal, which will have Wis­con­sin tax­pay­ers send­ing state tax dol­lars to sub­si­dize the bot­tom line of a multi-bil­lion-dol­lar for­eign cor­po­ra­tion in­stead of in­vest­ing in lo­cal pub­lic schools, roads and bridges or Main Street busi­nesses.

Ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by Fox­conn and analy­ses by the non­par­ti­san Leg­isla­tive Fis­cal Bureau, the costs to tax­pay­ers will be huge, even un­der the rosy sce­nario spun by pro­po­nents. The scheme would an­nu­ally gen­er­ate $181 mil­lion in tax rev­enue but at an an­nual cost of $250 mil­lion.

The Leg­isla­tive Fis­cal Bureau found the deal will not pay off for a quar­ter cen­tury, at best.

In the 2017 bud­get, the deal is pro­jected to cost more than $15.6 mil­lion and bal­loon in the 2019 bud­get to more than $522 mil­lion. Over the next 15 years, the deal would be a net loser of more than $1 bil­lion for state tax­pay­ers.

A bill be­ing con­sid­ered by the Leg­is­la­ture to im­ple­ment the deal comes with no guar­an­tee Wis­con­sin tax dol­lars will only go to sup­port Wis­con­sin jobs. It also fails to in­clude spe­cific claw­back lan­guage to help the state re­cover the money it spends on Fox­conn if the com­pany fails to de­liver on prom­ises.

“Scott Walker cut a deal with Fox­conn with 30-sec­ond po­lit­i­cal ads for his re­elec­tion in mind,” Ross said. “One of the first jobs be­ing cre­ated by the deal go­ing to his top po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tant doesn't make the deal any bet­ter for us, it just makes it eas­ier for him.”

One Wis­con­sin Now is a statewide net­work spe­cial­iz­ing in online or­ga­niz­ing to ad­vance pro­gres­sive lead­er­ship and val­ues.

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