Monday, February 21, 2011

Not quite open for business

By Bill Kraus

Tom Still has abandoned journalism, where he once starred, and now runs an organization called The Tech Council which is the best hope for a prosperous, innovative, new economy in Wisconsin.

In a lucid and well written (what else would you expect from a journalist?) column in the February 20 edition of the Wisconsin State Journal Still reminds us that the 2010 campaign for governor was about jobs, jobs, jobs.

My own take on this initiative from my peculiar, and lonely, vantage point in the “reform” camp was that Wisconsin, because it has a reputation of having a government that works, has an asset that businesses that create jobs value: a clean, stalemate-free, uncorrupt state government.

In an earlier blog post I suggested that we might adopt a non-partisan, disinterested redistricting plan to show the world that we--unlike initiative and referendum hogtied California, New York where parochial warfare is fierce and nonstop, and Illinois where the government is broke and jailhouse bound---are a less afflicted place to do business.

This suggestion, if it got airborne at all, went over like a lead balloon.

Too bad.

What is worse is that we are now giving the impression not that we are “open for business” as the governor wants us to be regarded but that we are a battleground for an uncivil civil war, that we are more like the aforementioned states than is comfortable.

This isn’t Cairo, of course, but it isn’t much of a role model either.

What business wants is reasonable taxation, moderate and modest regulation, and a government that goes about its main business of providing infrastructure, an educated citizenry, helping the helpless, and pretty much staying off the front page of the New York Times.

Tom Still reminds us that the number one item on the Wisconsin agenda is jobs, closely followed by a 21st century economy, whatever that may be.

Everything else is in third place, 47 games out of first.

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