A DC based think tank’s new report takes on Governor Walker’s ideas about privatizing state commerce. Phil Mattera, Research Director at Good Jobs First, says they looked at seven states that changed their economic marketing into a public-private alliance.
Mattera says such transitions often led to mishandling of public funds and less accountability. This in a time when Wisconsin is ranked 2nd in the nation for disclosure in the group’s other report, “Show Us the Subsides.”
Supporters of the bill say the new public-private commerce agency would still be subject to open records laws.
During a news conference sponsored by Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Mattera says he hasn’t seen any evidence in states, including Wisconsin, to back up the belief that privatizing commerce saves tax dollars. The group cites the Badger State’s attempt, Forward Wisconsin, in existence from 1984 to 2007; which he claims exaggerated its impact on job creation.
Also present was Bryan Kennedy, President of AFT-Wisconsin, which represents numerous public-sector employees. Although most commerce workers would likely be hired under the new Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, he’s concerned because current collective bargaining agreement protections would no longer be in place. Kennedy emphasizes such union protections are designed to prevent politicization and graft in the civil service.