Sunday, February 20, 2011

Governor Walker: The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Illinois

Little did anyone know that on November 2, 2011, when, by the slimmest of margins, the voters of Wisconsin got duped into electing Scott Walker as governor, that this would be the game winning ticket for Illinois.

Even before getting elected, Walker gave the state to the south a huge gift of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs by refusing to allow Wisconsin to be part of the future.

When Illinois decided to address their budget woes head on and gave a hike to their taxes, Walker thought he was in the clear and that jobs would be fleeing to Wisconsin.  Despite having his Lieutenant Govern waste her time playing telemarketer, the only business that left Illinois due to the taxes was Jimmy John's and they moved to Florida, which is, of course, the exact opposite direction from here and about as far as you can get from Wisconsin.

Walker then decided to alienate one of the fastest growing markets by screwing with the wind power companies.    Illinois jumped on the chance and started wooing them to their state.  As he was ticking off this market, Walker thought he'd pander to on of his wealthy campaign donors by given him special permission to pave over some wetland so they could get the Pro Bass Shop to open up a store.  What Walker didn't do was his homework and so didn't know that this company was very ecofriendly and wasn't about to build on wetlands.

Now, we are into one full week of the most amazing show of democracy as tens of thousands of people gather in Madison each and every day to protest Walker's overreach of trying to take away our rights.  The outrageous proposal by Walker, and the overwhelming response to this threat from within, is awe inspiring to those of us who love our freedom.  But at the same time, this can be unsettling to businesses.

Walker and his acolytes have told us for months that businesses crave consistency and security in knowing what to expect..  Having daily demonstrations that have garnered national and international attention is not very stable or settling.  And again, Illinois is ready to jump in and take advantage of Walker's blundering by showing that his state, which Walker had once mocked, is doing just fine and doesn't have all the unrest that Wisconsin does:
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton is again thanking Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for his contributions to Illinois’ economic rebound. 
“I must say, I really did not expect Governor Walker to work this hard to make Illinois look so good. Once again, I’d like to thank Governor Walker for his ongoing efforts to market Illinois as a great place to live and work,” Cullerton said. “First he let everyone know how much lower our tax rates are than his, now he's focusing on how much more stable Illinois is than the chaotic Wisconsin he's created. I can’t wait to hear how he’ll help us next.” 
The Illinois Senate President issued his comments upon learning that Wisconsin Senate Democrats had sought refuge in Illinois in an effort to get the Wisconsin governor to reconsider his heavy-handed ultimatums and efforts to strip public sector employees of workplace rights and protections. 
Cullerton welcomed his Wisconsin colleagues to Illinois and hoped they’d enjoy their stay in stable, low-tax Illinois, where even with the recent tax increases the rates are lower than in Wisconsin. The Senate President also thanked Walker for the added and unexpected economic boost. 
“He’s even helping our tourism.  What can’t Governor Walker do for Illinois?” said Cullerton
Since his election, Walker has worked tirelessly to bring jobs to Illinois and promote its economic stability. 
“When Scott Walker promised to create 250,000 jobs, I mistakenly assumed he meant in Wisconsin,” Cullerton said. “He’s certainly turning out to be a great neighbor.”
It's not only Illinois that is watching the unfolding Walker-created chaos.  Local business leaders are also watching and taking a much more distanced approach to Walker than they have in the past:
The deciding factor though is how much pressure the business community puts on Governor Walker to settle. Business leaders fear that the protests will embolden union members to fight back harder against concession and lockout threats. As Wisconsin based labor organizer Andy Gussert told me the other day, “Thank you Scott Walker! If we were given a million dollars, there is no way we could have taught so many kids about solidarity, labor organizing, and the power of the people when they unite”. 
As a result of the protests, the business community is finding itself on the defensive. Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce President Tim Sheehy would not commit to giving support to strip collective bargaining from public employees in an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio. Sheehy said, “so I think it’s fair to discuss the narrowing of collective bargaining. Whether we throw it out or not is not something we’ve taken a position on.”
To be fair, while monitoring the twitter feeds that were coming out of today's events, one would have seen that one business is enjoying a strong surge from the current events.  Ian's Pizza is receiving orders from Egypt, yes, Egypt, asking them to make and deliver pizzas to the people  who are fighting to maintain the freedoms that our forebears earned through hard-fought battles.  I saw another business that closed its doors to the public, but is making more money by being open for protesters only.  Another eatery, the name which escapes me, sent out a tweet of thanks, saying this has been the busiest they've been in 16 years of operation.

With Walker's ham-fisted way of dealing with things, it isn't any wonder that 65% of the people are against his power grab.  The only people that do approve of Walker's management style all live in Illinois.

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