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Harley’s plight is another blow to Democrats

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Lonna Morouney
May 13, 2010

The recent news that Harley-Davidson will have to cut operating costs of $54 million to stay in business in Wisconsin is a devastating blow to a state already reeling from losing another 2,200 jobs in March and a rising unemployment rate, currently at 8.8 percent. The 1,400 employees who work for Harley-Davidson could lose their jobs and may have to look for work in a state that has few new family-supporting jobs to offer.


In February 2009, the Democrat-controlled state Legislature enacted the combined reporting tax. This new tax requires two or more related entities engaged in business inside and outside of Wisconsin to calculate their tax burden as a single unit. Combined reporting creates a disincentive to invest in and grow Wisconsin businesses, and it will result in more job losses and business closings in an already weak economy. This new tax cost Harley-Davidson $22.5 million in additional taxes.


Once again, the legislative leadership in Wisconsin is facing the loss of another large manufacturer and will most likely throw tax credits and other financial incentives its way in a desperate attempt to convince Harley not to leave. The problem is that Wisconsin, with its high taxes and burdening regulation on businesses, is just not a favorable place for job creation and job retention.


We must enact policies that will foster economic growth for all companies and employees. That means lowering taxes, namely repealing combined reporting. Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan recently stated, “Harley-Davidson is a staple in this state. We’re going to do everything we can to keep them right here.”


Let’s hope he has better luck with Harley-Davidson than he did with General Motors.


Republican Assembly candidates Ken Brotheridge, Jeff Klett, Jim Reseburg, Amy Loudenbeck, Evan Wynn, Republican state Senate candidate Rick Richard, and state treasurer candidate Scott Feldt have publicly stated their opposition to the combined reporting tax. They will work to repeal this legislation if elected. These candidates have explained their positions on combined reporting in detail on www.rockcountygop.com.


The 2010 election is pivotal for people of Wisconsin. Voters will have a choice: either continue with the current leadership under Speaker Sheridan and the Democratic majority who have given us higher taxes, high unemployment and increased government spending, or choose a different path; a conservative path of lower taxes and smaller government that will yield a stable and growing economy.


Lonna Morouney is media coordinator for the Republican Party of Rock County, 121 W. Milwaukee St., Janesville, WI 53548; website rockcountygop.com; e-mail media@rockcountygop.com.

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