MADISON, Wis. — While claiming they will seek public input for an unspecified new scheme on state taxes, the administration of Gov. Walker is barring the media and general public from invite only, closed door meetings between top state officials and big business representatives.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “Banning the media to meet behind closed doors at invite only events with big business special interests is about as far as you can get from hearing about what the people of Wisconsin need.”
According to a news report, Walker’s Secretary of Revenue said the administration would, “…get input from the citizens of the state on all of the things they’d like to see.” But, as reported by the Beloit Daily News, Lt. Gov. Kleefisch personally directed a roundtable event, advertised as soliciting input on tax policy, to be closed to the media. She also refused a request to release a copy of video of the event made by a state employee to the reporter she barred from the meeting.
In attendance at the closed-door Beloit meeting was a representative of ABC Supply, a business that paid no state corporate income taxes for four consecutive years and whose owner donated $510,000 to Gov. Walker’s recall campaign.
One Wisconsin Now has filed a request under the state open records law for the video taken by a state employee of the Beloit event. Kleefisch’s office has yet to turn over the video, or offer a reason why they believe they are permitted to withhold the record.
Ross concluded, “It’s not surprising that closed door meetings with big business is how Gov. Walker’s administration appears to be crafting their new tax schemes. After all, this is the same gang that doled out billions in tax breaks for big business and the wealthy while making record cuts to public education and kicking tens of thousands of Wisconsinites off their health care just before the holidays.”