It’s nothing but magical thinking…no better than “if you build it, they will come”. It is not the “rising tide that lifts all boats” that Jack Kemp, one of the earliest advocates of enterprise zones, promised when he introduced the use of tax cuts to stimulate economic growth in certain areas. Thirty-five years later, this newest plan set forth by Rep. Dale Kooyenga and Sen. Alberta Darling to create enterprise zones in poverty stricken urban areas (you know they mean Milwaukee, right?) is further proof of the ineffectiveness of the concept. The plan includes eliminating corporate income taxes for new “industry”, ending minimum mark-up, and preventing unionization of the workforce. I can’t begin to comprehend how these so-called incentives would infuse cash into the surrounding community, thereby lifting the residents out of poverty. It’s just more of the same failed policies. If folks can’t get a good paying job, they can’t spend any money. If there’s no money to spend….the whole thing doesn’t work.
Seeing as poverty is the number one reason for poor performance in school, their companion proposal to implement recovery zone policies for the same areas is even more insulting. The only way to combat poverty is to guarantee a minimum level of food, shelter and medical care…Medicare and Social Security have proven to be the most effective programs to combat poverty ever implemented in the US.
Wisconsin needs to demand better from our legislature (and our Governor) than these old, tired ideas.