UPDATE: Here’s a statement I received from Rep. Roys’ Congressional campaign explaining her vote in favor of SB 440.
“SB 440 was a bipartisan bill supported by Senator Fred Risser, Senator Jon Erpenbach, and cosponsored in the Assembly by Representative Sondy Pope-Roberts. A vote for SB 440 was a vote to keep high-tech, high-paying jobs in the Madison region, and to ensure they did not move out-of-state.”
In the race to succeed Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin in the 2nd Congressional district, Democratic State Reps. Mark Pocan and Kelda Roys (pictured, left) seem to be the top two candidates in the race. There’s no doubt both Pocan and Roys have an abundance of progressive credentials, and either would seem to be a worthy successor to Rep. Baldwin as she tries to win a seat in the U.S. Senate.
While both Pocan and Roys are truly progressives, I can’t help but question some of the decisions Kelda Roys has made in her race to become the 2nd district’s Representative in Congress, with one of those decisions being her decision to tout the endorsement of her Congressional campaign by Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, who in my book is no champion for progressive ideals.
However, more interesting than Roys touting her campaign’s endorsement by County Executive Abele may be a vote she cast as a member of the Wisconsin Assembly. For a little context, we need to go back to 2011, when Rep. Roys (along with 11 of her fellow Democrats in the Assembly) voted against AB 3, a bill that would have provided a tax credit for businesses that relocated to Wisconsin (LINK). In an of itself, Rep. Roys’ vote on AB 3 isn’t necessarily controversial, but it is curious in the context of her vote earlier this month in favor of SB 440, which would use a tool in Wisconsin’s tax code intended to help communities develop blighted areas to assist a Madison business to move its headquarters from the city of Madison into neighboring Middleton (LINK). As noted in a press release by Rep. Mark Pocan, the potential effect of SB 440 would be to create blighted areas in Madison to the benefit of Middleton, pitting communities against each other as they vie for tax breaks from municipalities.
What’s notable about Rep. Roys’ vote in favor of SB 440 is that she joined arch-conservative Republican State Rep. Joel Kleefisch in voting in favor of the bill, leaving me to wonder why Rep. Roys voted in favor of pitting two Dane County communities against each other in a competition for businesses in 2012 while voting against a bill that would have provided incentives for businesses moving to Wisconsin from other states.
If Rep. Roys voted with Republicans on a bill that facilitates the moving of a business from one Wisconsin community to the other, then why did she vote against a Republican-proposed bill last year that gave a tax credit to out-of-state businesses that move to Wisconsin? The whole thing doesn’t make a lick of sense to me, and in an interesting twist, the property owner who stood to benefit from SB 440 that Rep. Roys voted in favor of is none other than former 2010 Republican U.S. Senate candidate Terrence Wall.
Truly, politics makes for strange bedfellows.