WKOW: WMC head: Don't ban state subsidies to companies that outsource jobs

September 12, 2014
Greg Neumann

MADISON (WKOW) -- The top executive at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) says a proposal being considered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to ban financial awards for companies that outsource state jobs should be approached with caution.

"We don't want taxpayer funds going to subsidize the movement of jobs elsewhere," said Kurt Bauer, WMC Chief Executive Officer.  "Having said that, it is the political season and we think its not maybe the best time to establish a policy that maybe, ultimately, comes back to bite us as far as job creation and job attraction."

Bauer made his comments to 27 News while taping a segment for the show Capitol City Sunday, which will air this Sunday at 9:00 a.m. on WKOW.

Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin), who chairs the WEDC Board, voiced his support for the idea of cutting off funding for companies that outsource at a meeting of that board on Monday.  The proposal came from WEDC Board member and State Representative Peter Barca (D-Kenosha), who said all companies that accept state awards should be required to notify WEDC if they outsource jobs after receiving the money.  The full board is expected to vote on a formal proposal at its meeting in September.

Bauer told 27 News the idea seems politically motivated.

"I think it was," said Bauer.  "Let's face it, this whole conversation (on outsourcing) we're having is because of the gubernatorial conversation."

Both Gov. Walker and his Democratic challenger Mary Burke have been trying to paint each other as hypocrites on the issue of outsourcing for the past three weeks.

On July 9th, the Burke campaign responded to a 27 News story about two companies that outsourced jobs after accepting WEDC tax credits by saying Mary Burke would make sure that didn't happen if she was Governor.

The Walker campaign then attacked Burke for those comments by pointing out that Trek Bicycle, the company she was an executive at and still profits from today, has shipped Wisconsin jobs overseas to China.

Then on Monday, Gov. Walker pledged his support to Rep. Barca's proposal, adding that it should apply not only to companies that outsource jobs overseas, but to other states as well.

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