wisconsin capitol
Press Release
May 6, 2010

Walker Ignores Elephant in the Room on Harley-Davidson

Economics 101: National Economic Collapse Caused Consumer Demand for Motorcycles to Plummet

“In response to Harley’s news, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, a Republican candidate for governor, claimed that the state’s move to combined reporting for corporate taxation had hurt the company. But Harley officials have said in the past that combined reporting…had nothing to do with its cutbacks. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/3/10]

MADISON, Wis. — Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s dwindling credibility on job creation was dealt another blow Thursday, when he implied Harley-Davidson will cut jobs due to closing of the “Las Vegas” financial loophole. The motorcycle maker has pointedly said the ending of the controversial tax shelter has had “nothing to do with our work-force reductions.”

Walker’s refusal to acknowledge the nose dive in consumer demand due to the economic collapse is what drove down Harley-Davidson’s revenues, due to the economic collapse, shows how little understanding he has of job creation.

“Scott Walker used his taxpayer-financed job to give himself a $50,000 raise, so he’s clearly not living in the real world compared to Wisconsin’s working families,” said Ross. “That Walker doesn’t understand Harley’s revenues sank when the economy collapsed, that people couldn’t afford new motorcycles due to the failed policies of the Bush administration, is why he thinks the solution is more of those failed Bush-style tax cuts for the rich we can’t afford.”

Rather than offering help to the Milwaukee-based manufacturer, Walker has tried to score cheap political points at Harley-Davidson’s expense, saying that reopening the Las Vegas financial loophole and Harley jobs remaining in Wisconsin was an either-or proposal.

Walker’s distortions came in response to continuing criticisms of him and former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann’s budget-busting proposed tax cuts to benefit big business and the richest Wisconsinites. Neither Walker nor Neumann has said how they will pay for their respective $2-billion spending sprees.

“The people of Wisconsin deserve a straight answer to a direct question once and for all from Scott Walker and Mark Neumann,” said Ross. “How will they pay for their $2-billion in Bush-style handouts that overwhelmingly go to big business and rich people?”

The non-partisan Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau has indicated the state faces a $2-billion deficit in 2011, meaning Walker and Neumann would need to slash funds for public education and university system, health care, senior car, police, fire and vital public services to finance their tax schemes.

“Scott Walker is going to have to invent new things to get wrong about job creation,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “But let’s not forget it’s coming from the same guy who says he’ll end all unemployment in Wisconsin by opening tax loopholes for bankers and cutting taxes only for people making more than $225,000”

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

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