Mayor, Please Answer My Question
By Wayne Staats - Letter emailed to the mayor April 30, 2009
Mayor Barrett: Earlier this week I posed a question to you which, based upon your answer, you did not seem to understand my intention. I would like to re-phrase it now:
What will YOU do to encourage and support Milwaukee area businesses, their creation and their growth in this climate of unprecedented economic stress?
The basis for my question lies in basic economic fact. Any regional economy will only improve if the productivity of workers improves. “Improved productivity” means that for all the hours worked by all of the constituents in a given geographic region (business and government jobs combined) more goods and services are produced than before for the equivalent amount of effort. Additionally, increased taxes result in lower business activity resulting in fewer jobs, lower tax receipts and a dimmer future for everyone. This is fact, not theory. And anyone denying it is either uneducated or naive, and certainly wrong. But a lousy business climate is determined by more than just the level of taxes. Business “red tape,” laws that work against the business community and lack of support by the governmental units in charge all contribute to the climate. And Wisconsin (and particularly Milwaukee) leads the way in creating a lousy business climate!
In the current socialist/Marxist environment seemingly sweeping the country, businesses and constituents are flocking to better environs wherever they can find them. [And in the case of Milwaukee, that means somewhere else!!] People want better jobs, more pay for their hard work and better services from the governing bodies to which they pay taxes and MORE FREEDOM, which comes only when they have more dollars left over at the end of the month to do with as THEY choose, not some unknown bureaucrat. For the past several years and at an accelerating pace recently, the Milwaukee region seems to be doing everything it can to adopt “no-jobs initiatives” on businesses and drive them out of our community.
What can/will you do to stop this nonsense? I keep asking the question, but I keep getting non-answers like yours: political boilerplate. What will you do to LEAD this community to encourage business creation and growth?
And, more spending IS NOT the answer!
Please answer my simple question. We need leadership from our leaders, the kind of leadership that tells their constituents when “enough is enough!!” We need to produce more before we spend more! And we can only produce more productively if our hard earned money is not re-directed by bureaucrats rather than by the very businesses that create the jobs in our community! If allowed, those businesses WILL invest in better education (that will lead to improved productivity), they WILL invest in improved facilities and business infrastructure (that will lead to improved productivity) and they WILL create more jobs (that will lead to improved productivity). This WILL lead to greater freedom to choose whatever constituents desire rather than what faceless, nameless bureaucrats want! When I wrote to you last month, I told you that as a businessperson I had to change my expenditure budget for 2009 from purchasing thousands of dollars of goods from other local businesses and from hiring additional help to making my payment of grossly increased property taxes: you didn’t respond! My increased property taxes did NOTHING to improve the business environment around Milwaukee. And, do you understand the ripple effect that tax increase had on the local economy (not just my tax increase, but the combined effect of all the businesses in the area facing the same dilemma)? Decreased business activity, fewer jobs, decreased Milwaukee area asset values - that was the net effect!! It is time that Milwaukee area leaders LEAD, not couch their decisions in political speak that can be interpreted anyway that the people listening want! LEAD!!
No, Mayor Barrett, your answer to my question was a foul ball. And that is not just my opinion. Nearly every person that I spoke with who heard your response Monday agreed that you did not answer the question and most thought that perhaps you didn’t even understand it. Please clarify. Please LEAD, before that car you referenced in your speech does drive off the proverbial cliff!
Wayne Staats is a lifelong resident of the Milwaukee area and long time area businessperson.
Read his blog at: www.BecomeTheLeadDog.com