Friday, August 28, 2009

Extortion & Mercury Marine

Governor Doyle said, “The State of Wisconsin has offered an aggressive package to assist Mercury Marine. I am certain this package is sufficient to sustain Mercury Marine’s market leadership, and to allow it to consolidate and operate efficiently in Wisconsin. I am equally certain that Wisconsin’s offer is competitive with any other offer from any other state.”

And, I’m sure, as of this moment, the politicians in Oklahoma are putting together and inflated package of giveaways to ensure Mercury Marine moves to Stillwater. Oklahoma already has enabled Mercury Marine to avoid a tax penalty of $1 million. This was due to an earlier incentive given to the company to create jobs – which they didn’t do – and were, therefore, supposed to pay a penalty – a clawback.

Here’s a plan: Let them move. Then we’ll declare the former Mercury Marine site blighted. The state can then take it over using eminent domain. Next, we can declare the site a TIF district and use the money to make investments into the site. We’ll have the state institute a transitional management team, employing former Mercury Marine workers to build green technology – windmills, solar panels, etc. This might allow even more federal stimulus money since it would be an infrastructure and green project.

This is better than tolerating these companies holding cities hostage and stealing millions of dollars with the threat of moving out of town.

Also, since Jim Doyle isn’t running for governor next term, he could use his legal and political knowledge to start drafting legislation to put an end to this “Economic War Among The States”.

1 comment:

auntie em said...

Merc Marine maybe wouldn't be in such a tight place, if Doyle hadn't made WI such a business-hostile state. My daughter, who has 2 related small businesses, now gets taxed TWICE due to his latest bloated budget.

She only grosses about 21K per year, nets 13K, but that wasn't enough for Diamond Jim; now she has to be double-taxed!

You need to remember something, ALL BUSINESSES EXIST TO MAKE MONEY. If they start losing money, they revamp, initiate layoffs, MOVE...Apparently, demand for their product is down 40%. They pay more than $620,000 in property taxes, which will assuredly go up due to Doyle's slash-and-burn policies. The deal they offered the union included:
* Buy-out packages of $5,000 to $25,000, based on years of service
* Medical coverage and contributions will be the same as salary plans.
* Pension plan frozen, not eliminated, at current $48 per year of service multiplier.
* Retirement plan becomes defined contribution plan (401K) with Company matching 50 cents for every dollar contributed up to 6 percent on top of benefits already earned.
* Employees retiring in 2009 may elect current retiree medical plan at current contribution rates.
* Employees retiring after Dec. 31, 2009 will be offered an optional retiree medical plan with contributions equal to salary retiree medical plan.

I suspect the union bosses are more concerned about themselves than their members, as most times, THEY don't suffer the hardships the workers do. To quote Brian Dunbar:
"I recall a report I read a few years ago following a similar decision in Tennessee: company said they could not operate, union de facto voted to close the plant rather than concede wages and benefits.

The senior members of the union made out like bandits: with state-provided unemployment benefits, union-provided benefits and etc. they were making more money after being laid-off than they were when working."

For my part, I'd take a wage cut rather than lose my job. Same for my son, who only makes $14/hr, but keeps getting laid off. He's trying to get a steady job for $12/hr. My dad (worked for Harley) always said he feared the union would strike-or-demand themselves out of jobs. Now we see it happening.