Saturday, September 16, 2006

Love it or leave it

Woe is us. Our business climate is going downhill. Again. Or still. Take your pick.

The prophet of doom? None other than John Jazwiec, the head of something called RedPrairie in Waukesha, who thinks Wisconsin is a socialist state.

If that sounds familiar, it's because he said the same things in June, when the Journal Sentinel gave his views a huge amount of space and attention. JJ went on to offer some advice to Democrats: Be more conservative than Republicans and all will go well.

He pretty much repeated himself on Friday, but it was worth another 26-inch story in Saturday's business section.

JJ insists he's not looking for handouts, but here's what he wants:
Jazwiec's "wish list" is ambitious and, at least in part, likely to remain wishes: an immediate 50% tax cut by the incoming governor and eventual elimination of taxes; phasing out of "the welfare system;" elevation of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee "into one of the nation's elite schools;" less state attention to Madison and more to Milwaukee; and development of technology centers near "creative" areas of the city such as Brady St.
Commerce Secretary Mary Burke pointed out that many firms are thriving and expanding here, including GE Technology just down the road from RedPrairie, which hosted Friday night's debate between the candidates for governor.

"It's just very dangerous to take one person with 200 employees and make what his personal opinion is representative of business," Burke said.
Sure, we'd like RedPrairie to stay here and grow, but if that means state and local officials must line up to kiss his rear end -- and apparently more than once -- we may want to consider putting out energy elsewhere.

It's a good thing I'm not the governor. (Many people will agree with that sentiment, not that there was ever any danger I would be.) I'd probably tell JJ to love it or leave it, and not to let the door hit him in the rear end if he decides to leave. He's a chronic malcontent who will never be satisfied or appeased, and there's something about his tone that just sets me off.

But the Journal Sentinel seems to think he is the Voice of Business. Maybe the newspaper could give him Paddy Mac's op ed space so he could bitch and moan twice a week.

I'm a little tired of the JJ Show. Can you tell?

UPDATE: Brew City Brawler catches JJ bragging about RedPrairie's ability to attract top-notch people.

UPDATE 2: Tom Still of the Wis. Technology Council, in a column:
MADISON – Two news stories in the past week have stirred debate about the future of Wisconsin’s high-tech sector. Is the state competing in the global economy, as CDW Corp.’s acquisition of Berbee Information Networks Corp. suggests, or a low-talent, high-tax backwater, as RedPrairie executive John Jazwiec repeatedly insists?

While there’s good reason to listen to Jazwiec when he says he has trouble recruiting top-flight executives to Wisconsin, the $175-million acquisition of Berbee by Fortune 500 company CDW is a far stronger signal about the state’s standing in the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century.


At 12:58 PM, Blogger atarijpb said...

I agree with you. I am so sick of this guy bitching and moaning for a break - if you don't like it...get out!

I also agree with your statement about tone. How about trying to work with the people who make the decisions rather thatn broadsiding them with pie-in-the-sky wishes that not even the most conservative of socially responsible businesspeople would support. If things are so terrible here, go to Iowa, Minnesota or Illinois - maybe they can cater to your unrealistic wishes.

At 8:29 PM, Blogger krshorewood said...

I sat in on the presentation on Friday morning and a lot of it was pretty outlandish. For example he stated that thanks to libertarian policies in Russia, that country is doing well economically.

He also claimed that the Third Ward was having a "fake" revival.

I would say having your taxes cut 50% works out to be a pretty good handout, expecially since someone else would have to pay for the necessary functions government provides.

As for having trouble attracting talent, none other than the guru of the creative class Richard Florida says Milwaukee has all the makings of a creative class city.

My wife, who is in HR, suggests maybe Red Prairie might be offering salaries that are not up to snuff.

At 9:04 AM, Blogger BoBoBloggerBoy said...

Mr. Jazwiec needs to be honest. He's having trouble attracting talendted knowledgeable young people to WAUKESHA. The creative class he is seeking would rather be living in the dynamic urban environment that is found downtown, in the third ward, and in parts of the eastside. Not all of them, but most. They'd rather live and work in city centers -- not Waukesha. Mr. Jazwiec is hoping to whine and complain long enough to get some taxpayer HANDOUTS and WELFARE to move his firm to Milwaukee. I believe the term Welfare King will apply if this happens.

At 3:16 PM, Blogger George Roberts said...

Brilliant analyses; thanks, all above -- and especially B.C. Brawler for the fine research (including into its own files) that ought to have been done by the Journal Sentinel before it even began to give this blowhard a podium. That the editors continue to do so is ridiculous.

If the editors still continue to do so, after B.C. Brawler's expose, may they follow him to whatever town is willing to take Jazwiec's badmouthing ways -- or, as you say, willing to give him the welfare handout that he clearly seeks.


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