DAILY WISCONSIN

Business

Where’s Brian?

An annual gathering of the state big business lobby has been a must-make stop on the campaign trail for conservative candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. According to One Wisconsin Now Research Director Joanna Beilman-Dulin, the curious no-show of right-wing court candidate Brian Hagedorn looks like another sign his extremism is proving too much for even staunchly conservative organizations.

Via State Supreme Court Candidate Brian Hagedorn a No-Show at State Big Business Gathering | One Wisconsin Now

Consumer Demand 

I had a half-filled grocery cart at Woodman’s grocery store and found out they do not take credit cards.  I presented the cart to a worker and let the store place the items back on the shelves.

I wanted a bright yellow hat and looked at local stores to no avail.I came home and shopped Amazon Prime for pantry goods–98 pounds at no shipping cost delivered to my door.

Via Local Businesses vs. Amazon | CAFFEINATED POLITICS

Changes 

We bloggers on MyCommunityNow and LakeCountryNow websites were informed by letter today that our blogs will be eliminated effective March 31, 2016.  The reasoning was that since the Journal Company is “on the verge of moving into new ownership” they “want responsibility for all of the content posted on our site”.  We were told we could still post comments to their content if we chose….

Blogging is in my DNA at this point.  To simply discontinue would be very difficult for me…and probably for those around me.  So, I will seek out a good proposition on a new site between now and the end of this iteration of Curmudgeon’s Corner, and will publish that new link a few times in the days remaining…as we were kindly told we were permitted to do under the new rules.

More to come…

Via Blogs Going Bye-Bye @ Curmudgeon’s Corner….

WEDC, Business Lobby Let Kraft Get Away

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin ripped WMC in a press conference today, and openly questioned the motives.behind WEDC’s and WMC’s decision-making

“I think [WEDC] knew how important WMC was to the governor and the core mission of the Republican Party,” Soglin said. “If WMC says don’t go down this path, they weren’t going to go down that path. That’s a horrible thing, because it compromised the people of the state of Wisconsin. (WEDC) failed to do their mission on our behalf.”

Via Jake’s Economic TA Funhouse: WEDC, WMC show once and for all they aren’t about helping our economy.

Business Leeches Dislike Private Initiative 

You see, in Janesville, extremely wealthy individuals and politically connected pals including large corporations with hundreds of millions in cash on hand focus more on getting substantial capital hand-outs and other free stuff, usually by way of lucrative TIF deals, from local taxpayers before they commit to Janesville. It’s the first commandment from their economic development bible here. Thou shalt not invest in Janesville or create jobs before capturing some free TIF surplus capital, free land or other free stuff. Their second commandment is a warning for local taxpayers: Thou shalt not believe in false hope that growth will come without providing “incentives.” You get the idea.

Via Rock Netroots: In Janesville, Potential From Developer Attracts The Moocher Club.

Says Five Minutes Is Too Expensive

The company’s CEO, Dan Ariens, claimed it would cost $1 million for his Ariens Company to continue allowing its Muslim employees to take five-minute prayer breaks. The centuries-old Islamic practice, followed by more than 1 billion people worldwide, was just too much for the lawn mower and snowmobile manufacturer to handle.

“It gets out of control,” Ariens said of the prayer breaks.

Via Anti-Muslim CEO Is Key Walker Ally @ PR Watch.

From $384 million to $0?

Tomorrow’s [2.3.16] Assembly Ways and Means Committee meeting had an interesting last-minute addition to it, and it involves a huge business tax giveaway that you may have thought was dead.

You may remember me referencing this “economic substance” bill when they tried to jam it through a public hearing last month. At the time, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue estimated that it would cost the state up to $384 million a year, which is certainly not anything that can be done when there’s only $64 million of breathing room in the budget over the next 17 months. The bill seemed to be put underground after that.

Well, it’s BAAAACK!

Via Jake’s Economic TA Funhouse: $384 million tax cut now “clarified” to $0?

Tyco merger gives Johnson Controls CEO Molinaroli an exit strategy

Alex Molinaroli will hand over the reins of Johnson Controls Inc. to Tyco International’s top executive 18 months after the big merger of the two companies is completed this fall.

That means Molinaroli, whose brief tenure as CEO of the state’s largest company has included wheeling and dealing as well as two personal scandals, will likely be in for a big payday and poised to leave on top.

In the weeks leading up to the merger, both Johnson Controls and Tyco International moved to put some troubling matters behind them, with Tyco reaching a settlement with the Internal Revenue Service over back taxes and Johnson Controls saying a law firm found no wrongdoing by Molinaroli in his involvement with convicted Ponzi schemer Joseph Zada.

Via Tyco merger gives Johnson Controls CEO Molinaroli an exit strategy @ JSOnline.

Boss Vos Stifles Competition via a Wisconsin Baked Goods Ban

Anyone with an oven and a recipe should be able to have a baking business—but that is not the case in Wisconsin, where selling baked goods made in your home kitchen is punishable by up to $1,000 in fines or six months in jail. Wisconsin is one of only two states (the other being New Jersey) to ban the sale of home-baked goods.

Wisconsin’s home-baked-good ban has nothing to do with safety. The state bans home bakers from selling even food the government deems to be “not potentially hazardous” such as cookies, muffins and breads. The state also allows the sale of homemade foods like raw apple cider, maple syrup and popcorn, as well as canned goods such as jams and pickles. In addition, the state allows nonprofit organizations to sell any type of homemade food goods at events up to 12 days a year.

The ban is purely political. Commercial food producers like the Wisconsin Bakers Association are lobbying against a “Cookie Bill”—which would allow the limited sale of home baked goods—in order to protect themselves from competition. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who owns his own commercial food business, even refused to allow the Assembly to vote on a Cookie Bill last session, despite bipartisan support.

That’s why on January 13, 2016, three Wisconsin farmers joined with the Institute for Justice in filing a constitutional lawsuit in state court against Wisconsin’s State Department of Agriculture. The lawsuit will ask the court to strike down this arbitrary home-baked-good ban and allow home bakers to sell home-baked goods—like muffins, cookies and breads—directly to their friends, neighbors and other consumers.

Via Wisconsin Baked Goods Ban @ Institute for Justice.

Repeated Claims of Fraud 

A Menomonee Falls architecture and construction firm has agreed to pay $3 million to settle civil and criminal charges that it defrauded the federal government’s “Buy American” rules for contractors.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Novum Structures repackaged steel and other construction materials from foreign countries to appear as if it were sourced in the United States. The firm used the materials on government projects around the country, like a courthouse in Illinois, a transit center in Miami and street car expansion in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina….

A year ago, a former executive at Novum was charged in state court with embezzling more than $168,000 from the company, money prosecutors said he used to buy a horse and airplane. That case is set for trial in April.

A spokesman for the company said that case had no connection to the federal claims.

Via Falls firm to pay $3 million for violating ‘Buy American’ rules @ JSOnline.

Mass Layoffs

MADISON – In a sign of growing economic turmoil, Gov. Walker’s administration quietly acknowledged over the busy holiday season that Wisconsin surpassed 10,000 layoffs last year as a result of plant closings and economic challenges. The dismal news confirms that 2015 was Wisconsin’s worst year for job losses since Gov. Walker took office – far exceeding the 6,186 workers affected by mass layoffs and plant closings in 2014. The dramatic spike in layoffs have surprised many given the strong economic growth in neighboring Midwestern states.

Via Jennifer Schilling: Layoffs hit new high under Gov. Walker » Urban Milwaukee.