How Will Walker Celebrate Wisconsin ‘CEO Pay Freedom Day’?

Average CEO Has Now Gotten Same Pay as Average WI Household Will Earn All Year

MADISON, Wis. — Today is the day the chief executive officers of Wisconsin’s publicly-traded companies have on average earned as much as the median household will earn in Wisconsin this year. One Wisconsin Now is wondering how Gov. Scott Walker will highlight the day as part of his effort to hand over the state’s regulatory and treasury to the power of big business.

“It is fitting that as Gov. Scott Walker ends the first week of turning over the state’s treasury and regulatory power into the hands of big corporate special interests that we celebrate ‘Wisconsin CEO Pay Freedom Day,’” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “As the average CEO has as of January 7 earned more than the median household in Wisconsin will earn in a year, this is a day worth noting.”

A 2009 analysis of the compensation packages of CEOs in Wisconsin by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, showed that the CEO’s of Wisconsin’s 51 publicly-traded companies had an average compensation package of $2.8 million. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in Wisconsin is $52,103, making January 7 the day when the average CEO has earned more the median household in the state will earn throughout the year. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/24/10; U.S. Census Bureau]

“Gov. Walker has shown in his first week his intent is to further the already-drastic imbalance between corporate power and the rights of working men and women in Wisconsin,” said Ross. “Wisconsin’s workers don’t want an unfair advantage, they just wanted to be treated as equals, and this is too much for Gov. Walker’s corporate donors and string-pullers.”

Walker has been roundly criticized for plans to privatize the state Department of Commerce and his unprecedented power grab to seize all control of the regulatory process from the legislature. One Wisconsin Now previously categorized this as an effort by Walker “to turn the Governor’s office into the state’s largest lobbyist waiting room.”

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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.