It seems that another Janesville institution may be set to close it's doors. For more than 120 years, Janesville has been a manufacturer of Parker Pens. The company was founded in the city and had grown to be the standard for the industry, but now it may leave the city of Janesville for good - taking with it 153 jobs.
This is very bad news for a city with 14.4% unemployment.
I know that this recession has hit some places harder than in Wisconsin - at least in terms of numbers - but this is getting to be a disturbing pattern. Why is it that when we hear of businesses that are looking to consolidate and save money - like Mercury Marine, Chrysler and Parker Pen - it seems that quite often the company will choose to close the facilities in Wisconsin?
Our political leaders have brought this problem on themselves. During the last few budgets and budget repair bills they have not cut spending or made government more efficient. Instead they have raised almost every conceivable tax on businesses. Such irresponsible policies have very serious consequences and we are beginning to see the end results of those bad policies.
We must change our tax code in Wisconsin to welcome and encourage business and job growth. Passing idiotic measures such as combined reporting only make the cost to businesses that much higher. In a recession as deep as this one, we cannot afford to shoot ourselves in the foot, yet in the last budget the Democrats in the legislature and Governor Doyle aimed a howitzer at our big toe.
I know that legislative leaders and the Governor and their supporters will dismiss this as another sign of how bad the recession is and I am sure that blame will be put on evil corporate America and the GOP, but at what point do we stop trying to blame others and fix the problem?
Wisconsin is in desperate need of a new direction. We need to cut wasteful spending and eliminate unnecessary programs and reform our tax code so that businesses look at Wisconsin as a great place to do business. How many more businesses need to leave before our "leaders" act? Is Harley going to have to threaten to leave before we wake up, or will it take Miller threatening to leave? Oh, wait, they already moved their corporate offices to Chicago.
It's time to demand action from the legislature and the Governor. Wisconsin's economy is in crisis, will they act, or fiddle while the Dairyland burns?