Tour Stop: GE Power & Water

This September, Citizen Action of Wisconsin announced a tour of companies that have outsourced jobs and received public money. Last week, we unveiled a live map of tour stops as we highlight where these companies are in our state. Click here for that map.

We also have a new feature with the map, a live count since Walker announced in 2014he was in favor of ending public funds going to companies that outsource jobs (yet nothing has been done!)

Today, we add a new company - General Electric (GE) Power & Water, Waukesha WI

GE has a long history of outsourcing American jobs, with one article referring to it as a "pioneer of outsourcing", but the story of GE Power & Water in Waukesha is a bit different.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did a long piece on the plant closure in Waukesha, where GE declared that the failure of Congress to reauthorize the "Export-Import Bank" led them to move their business to Canada, which does have an equivalent. The Export-Import bank services to facilitate trade and credit for trade with other countries.

The MJS story highlighted how Senator Ron Johnson first voted to end the bank in 2012, then in 2015 flipped his vote in favor of reauthorizing it. A move that the paper said "wasn't popular with some of his fellow conservatives who would rather see it closed."

Beyond the question of the Export-Import Bank (which the union for these workers also doesn't accept as the only story, "Nobody has outsourced more manufacturing jobs, without the excuse of the bank, than GE") we need to look at this company as another example of a company receiving special tax treatment and outsourced jobs.

GE has, as has been pointed out by others, outsourced jobs before in Wisconsin. The difference is that when they did talking heads blamed it on taxation, attack ads and regulation. John Torinus for example, the former head of Serigraph (also a company that has outsourced Wisconsin jobs by the way) championed the "Manufacturing Tax Credit" in a blog in response to GE cutting jobs as a way to keep companies around. Except, 4 years after the passage of said giant tax giveaway and reductions in state corporate accountability rules, GE is still outsourcing "approximately 80 jobs" from Waukesha. The company has left, and our taxpayer money given to the company in a tax credit has left too. Think we'll get that back?

On top of that, GE Power & Water would also be eligible for a special tax break for companies moving operations, even out of the country. And while Wisconsin Democrats tried to introduce a bill to end this special tax giveaway to companies outsourcing in 2011, it failed to secure Republican support and didn't pass. And let's not forget that the company is notorious for not paying federal incomes taxes too.

Despite all the tax giveaways, all the cut regulations, companies are still outsourcing jobs. The solution isn't to give special treatment to companies and hope they don't leave, it is to make public assistance contingent on them not leaving, and on creating good local family supporting jobs. Otherwise they must give the public dollars back! No company deserves public money, and especially no company that outsources jobs unless they can prove our resources and our community is safe.

The State Legislators representing the districts where these jobs were lost from (Waukesha), Rep Scott Allen (R-Waukesha) voted AGAINST ending public funds to outsourcers (2015 Assembly Vote 441), while Sen Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) did not vote for or against ending public funds to outsourcers but DID vote against a bill that would've blocked companies like GE Power from getting a state tax break for moving out of the country.

Join this campaign, ADD YOUR NAME to learn more about new companies we'll reveal as outsourcing

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