MADISON, Wis. — University of Wisconsin – Madison professor Noah Williams has been an outspoken public defender of a tax giveaway, adopted by Gov. Scott Walker and legislative Republicans, that has cost huge sums since its enactment but created no verifiable jobs. Behind the scenes, according to records obtained by One Wisconsin Now, Williams was also seeking a role with Walker’s short-lived 71 day presidential campaign, using his university-provided email.
“Here we have a Professor at UW-Madison who has defended Scott Walker’s failed tax policies soliciting Gov. Scott Walker’s staff for opportunities for him to help boost Scott Walker’s political ambition,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “It’s yet another example of how reality is much different than the Republican rhetoric about what’s happening on college campuses in Wisconsin.”
In his emails to staff in Gov. Walker’s state office, Williams offered to provide, “… economic analysis and advising for Governor Walker.” He went on to write, “I am interested in finding out more about any possibilities to get involved in aiding or advising, particularly with the Governor’s potential Presidential campaign.”
One Wisconsin Now yesterday submitted a request to UW-Madison under the state open records law for any other communications from Williams, using his taxpayer funded email, with key Walker advisors, Walker’s campaign or state legislative staff.
Williams has recently been defending a state tax credit projected to cost $1.4 billion through 2019, as good for jobs. But according to the most recent statistics, in 2016 Wisconsin lost a net of nearly 4,000 manufacturing jobs. Overall job growth in 2016 was anemic even by the standard set by Scott Walker, who has yet to fulfill a 2010 campaign promise to create 250,000 jobs by the end of 2014.
Walker’s own administration also appears to be lacking proof to back up William’s confidence in the success of their tax policies. In response to a request under the state open records law for documentation of jobs created attributable to the tax measure in question, the state Department of Revenue indicated they had none.
Ross noted that state Republicans are poised to spend more state tax dollars to get more of the of kind of sycophantic support for their agenda offered by Williams. Despite their record cuts to higher education and technical colleges, Republicans are proposing to spend $3 million of general tax dollars in the 2017 state budget to create a new academic center on the UW-Madison campus, named after longtime Republican Governor Tommy Thompson and to be overseen by a board of GOP appointees.
He concluded, “It’s obvious what Republicans are up to. They want to intimidate and silence voices on campuses that disagree with them while wrapping the research they purchase to support their failed tax policies with the veneer of academic legitimacy.”