Scott Walker’s campaign gets $20,000 from Ashley Furniture after Walker’s WEDC approves $6 million in tax credits to company

I’d love to hear some of you conservatives defend this.

The board overseeing the state’s flagship job-creation agency has quietly approved a $6 million tax credit for Ashley Furniture Industries with a condition allowing the company to eliminate half of its state workforce.

As approved by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. board, the award would allow the Arcadia-based global furniture maker to move ahead with a $35 million expansion of its headquarters and keep 1,924 jobs in the state.

But it wouldn’t require Ashley to create any new jobs, instead granting the company license to lay off half of its current 3,848 Wisconsin-based workers in exchange for an enterprise zone tax credit, one of the most valuable and coveted state subsidies.

I’m not entirely sure how the WEDC, the agency Gov. Scott Walker personally oversaw the creation of and which is tasked with economic development (creating jobs) in Wisconsin can justify giving away $6 million in taxpayer dollars to a company while granting that company permission to lay off half its workers in Wisconsin.

As if that’s not bad enough, just two weeks after Scott Walker’s WEDC voted to give Ashley Furniture a $6 million taxpayer handout while allowing Ashley to cut jobs in Wisconsin, the owners of Ashley Furniture donated $20,000 to Gov. Walker’s reelection campaign. Whether you’re a fan of Gov. Walker or not, I would hope we can all agree that there’s something really wrong with the circumstances surrounding Ashley Furniture receiving $6 million in taxpayer handouts and then donating $20,000 to Gov. Walker’s reelection campaign. Pay-to-play certainly comes to my mind, and I know I’m not alone.


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25 thoughts on “Scott Walker’s campaign gets $20,000 from Ashley Furniture after Walker’s WEDC approves $6 million in tax credits to company

  1. Zach, thanks.

    A lot of wingnuts are beginning to figure out that unlimited campaign donations really means unlimited shakedowns by the party in power.

    1. It sounds like the “layoff” stuff is/was some kind of contingency woven into the tax credit which Ashley has no intention acting on. Time will tell.

        1. I think the net result is “partially” protecting, Ashley, tax payers, Ashley employees so that Ashley remains in Arcadia, WI. It’s the sort of a “hostage” type situation many of us just hate.
          That’s probably a better outcome than Ashley moving to a state with lower cost labor.

          1. I don’t know what the wage scale is for workers in Arcadia, but from what I understand the scheduled $35M plant upgrade included robotizing many current human manufacturing operations. The $6M tax break was specifically to assist in costs for diverting the Trempealeau river to hopefully prevent damage from a future flood (not a small undertaking it appears).

            Labor costs or saving jobs in a plant scheduled to undergo this type of modernization is not a factor to the tax break or Ashley’s willingness to stay in WI. Jobs will be drastically reduced in the near term. 200 extra jobs stated to be needed by the company currently, may include temporary workers focused on the re-vamping of the company, could actually be local contractors hired to do the expansion work.

            There are too many publicly unknown factors here, but my guess is that the happy talk about not reducing the work force at all is simply immediate propaganda and cover for the governor, who company owners support and who got a $6M tax break. One does not undergo a $35M plant upgrade unless they are significantly profitable to begin with and the NEED for the company to get this tax break (pullin’ themselves up by their own bootstraps, eh?) in the first place, other than to solicit partisan campaign contributions from the owners, I will remain highly skeptical of.

      1. No intention of acting on since the story exploded. Sen. Schultz is right. Wisconsin is so wrecked, all we can play is defense. Clearly, Ashley was threatening to leave and doubtless had a tax-subsidy package in-hand from a race-to-the-bottom state.

        If Walker had actually wished to govern Wisconsin rather than build his Tea Party credentials for national office, how different things might look for him now. A focus on growing jobs from day 1 with a qualified team around him would have made him untouchable. I can’t imagine why any traditional Republican would bother donating or voting for him anymore. He’s a joke.

        1. Emma.with no sympathy for Walker, the $20,000 he received from Ashley was a mere pittance compared to the millions and conditions or exceptions Ashley received to maximize future corporate income. They “took” Walker, the WEDC, the state, and Wisconsin tax payers IMO. To use a current phrase, “You’re killing us, Ashley!” And so too those of Ashley’s ilk who Walker worships and serves.

          I take my ethics and morality on judging this issue from Pope Francis’ “THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL.” In his Chapter Two,I,53,”SOME CHALLENGES OF TODAY’S WORLD, he states, “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shall not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.”

          WOW, “Such an economy kills!” I ask Pope Francis, “Many of see the greed and inhumanity, but are powerless to effectively reject the ‘bought and paid for’ representative of the people such as Walker and others at the state and federal level.

          But even worse, Pope Francis concludes in this type of economy, “Human beings are themselves considered to be used and then discarded.”

          I ask you, Emma, and fellow members of BB to read the specific chapter and verse cited above at:

          What a moral guideline!

          As a corporate guy all my life, I was fortunate to work for an outfit with a conscience. it can be done with profit and a return on investment without “killing” the workers.

          Better yet, forward Pope Francis’ guidance on “Thou shall not kill” and cited passages to your “pro-life” representative.

          Sean Duffy, as my representative, are you listening to and following the interpretation 0f, “thou shalt not kill” in “THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL” as it applies to a majority of today’s corporate America?”

          1. Yes, the sort of capitalism practiced now in the U.S. is immoral and not much to do with the free-market either. Yet plenty of voters will elect or send back politicians too easily bought, too anxious to do the bidding of corporations this November. Because freedom or something.

  2. Keep the low informed, low informed Zach. Propaganda is so much fun

    ►the provision is meant to offer worst-case protection for the company, which will invest $35 million in its Wisconsin plants as part of the deal, and will donate the $6 million to the City of Arcadia for a much-needed flood control project.◄

    oh how terrible. The $6 million will fund flood protection to the city and the workers that reside in it. They were denied federal funds so this was the next best solution.

    oh wait there’s more:

    ►The Waneks have donated to Walker in the past — $10,500 collectively in 2010 and 2011, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, which tracks money in state politics. The two couples also contributed a total of $18,500 to Democrat Jim Doyle from 2002 through 2006. And Ronald Wanek contributed $1,000 to Tom Barrett in August 2010 when he was seeking the Democratic nomination to run for governor.◄

    So you are against jobs, flood protection, and apparently didn’t known they also donate to democrats.

    1. trademark’s gone ecoterrorist.

      “….$6 million to the City of Arcadia for a much-needed flood control project.

      oh how terrible. The $6 million will fund flood protection to the city and the workers that reside in it. They were denied federal funds so this was the next best solution….”

      Next you’ll be wanting government subsidies for Wisconsin energy independence via solar, wind, and biomass.

    2. And we see agian, the pure false equivalency implied from the right-wing nut in this comment thread in the statement that the Ashley principals also gave money to Democrats.

      What you don’t see is the reference to any political or economic, “favors,” from these Democrats prior to or soon after the receipt of these individual campaign contributions. Not even a single mention of the appearance of anything that could be construed as a quid pro quo and moreover, nothing that might have appeared to be intentionally exchanged in a round about manner to obscure the donors’ and/or the eventual recipients’ real identities.

      If there are any, mr false equivalency, more informed than anyone here, inventor of endless straw arguments, surely ought to have them posted here within a few minutes.

    1. David, that’s a lie, and I’m disappointed you’d write that, but I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

      Your comment is irrefutable proof that I allow comments from conservatives.

      1. OT >>> The only plain Steve I have ever encountered in any manner, who appears pompous enough to claim to have registered (®) the universally common name Steve, and who also appears insensitive and cowardly enough to challenge a blog owner’s personal integrity immediately after the blog owner announces a break for reasons of medical necessity. Nice twofer to be able to claim.

        I believe the archives to former posts and comments are still available here, how about an example of who “they,” are and where, “they,” were shut down upon having, “owned,” any particular discussion? We could all likely use a good laugh this morning. I try not to spit my coffee on the keyboard.

        Maybe you are actually a Steve with your own blog, oh, let me think a second, isn’t there a Prestegard with the same given name, someone who can point us to some factual comments you’ve made. The Steve mentioned in the comments at this truthful blogger’s site:

        And please understand that we are all so very glad you enjoy commenting and taking responsibility for your frequent lies, as you prove in your own declaration above at 10:35 AM, “Propaganda is so much fun.”

        1. I agree with you, NQ. It appears by disruption or distraction, “Steve” has achieved one of his goals; that is, he changed the topic, at least temporarily, from Walker and Ashley to “Steve.”

          Based upon my past experience, Zach is readily available by personal e-mail to respond to suggestions, complaints, or problems related to Blogging Blue.

          Also, “Steve” completely ignores Zach’s invitation for all to join, in the topic discussion even if dissenting, “I’d love to hear some of you conservatives defend this.”

      2. Steve, I allow your comments, and you’re a conservative, so that kind of undermines your point.

        The fact is, despite Blaska’s blathering, the only comments I don’t allow are from folks who’ve been banned for a pattern of bad behavior – and having a conservative viewpoint isn’t my definition of “bad behavior.”

    2. Comments always seem welcome, false accusations and general blather about unsubstantiated beliefs, not so much. But par for the course BlasKKKa (yes, I will keep referring people to your blame the victims of institutional racism schtick, find it here readers,, another pointless comment.

      OT ->>>, And for a bonus dear readers, Michelle Litgens at the 13:00 minute mark proving the real Republican intention of the early primary elections where she seems simply astonished so few people are even aware of the upcoming election, spoken on the August 8 issue of that WPR segment.

      If you can stand listening, you’ll also hear her fret about those filthy illegal child immigrants that don’t belong here either. So telling of the real compassionate conservative generosity.

  3. Meanwhile, check out The Guaurdian’s “Chatanooga Gig” article this morning. Democratic mayor takes advatage of Federal money and uses it to build fastest Internet access grid in the western world and now has a fledgling tech boom on his hands.

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