Merc study reveals tax dodging, greedy execs and other no-longer-surprising tales of corporations gone wild

A study by the Institute for Wisconsins Future about the Mercury Marine debacle that unfolded earlier this summer reveals the true nature of the corporate greed thats taken over our economy, turned the free market on its head and is destroying working families, all for the sake of padding the pockets of the those at the very top.

Since 2005, IWF reports, Mercs parent company Brunswick has shed over 5,300 and those that were lucky enough to keep their jobs were forced to take massive pay and benefit cuts. This summer, Merc threatened to leave Fond du Lac unless the union accepted a ridiculous seven-year pay freeze and other massive cuts. Like one union rep said, corporate basically gave workers two choices: vote against the concessions and lose everything (cut off your head) or vote for the concessions and at least have something (cut off your leg). At least if you cut off your leg, you still have a chance to walk someday.

Shares in the company dropped 70% and even management claimed Brunswick corporate screwed them — in September, 100 Merc managers filed suit against Brunswick when the company refused to pay promised bonuses for management efforts to cut costs. The bonus program promised to pay out bonuses of 10% of whatever savings were realized, but when the time came to pay out the $7 million, corporate refused.

But guess whos done really well since 2005? Brunswick CEO Dustan McCoy! Since he took over in 2005, right as Brunswick started shedding jobs and losing money, McCoy has taken over $10 million EVERY YEAR. Five senior board members also received an average of $506,000 each year. So while they drive the company into the ground, these fat cats are grabbing as much cash as they can get their hands on. Sick.

Then the icing on the cake. As part of the package Brunswick extorted from the taxpayers of Fond du Lac County were $53 million in incentives so the company would stick around. For the first time ever, Fond du Lac County residents have an extra sales tax levy for the privilege of keeping Merc in town.

Which means that every citizen of Fond du Lac will be what Merc Marine is not: tax payers. The IWF study uncovered Merc/Brunswick hasnt paid Wisconsin income tax since 2000. So let me get this straight: corporation who doesnt pay income taxes demands tax breaks to stay in town? Sounds about par for the course for these corporate piranhas.

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