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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wisconsin’s business community is a house divided

From a post by Steve Jagler on Milwaukee Biz Blog:

The controversy over Gov. Jim Doyle’s proposed Clean Energy Jobs Act illustrates a deep philosophical divide that is emerging within Wisconsin’s business community.

In some ways, the emerging chasm pits the politics of tomorrow against the politics of yesterday.

On one side of the divide – in favor of the green jobs plan - stand the coalition for Clean, Responsible Energy for Wisconsin’s Economy (CREWE) and the Wisconsin Business Council.

The CREWE includes venerable companies such as CleanPower, Alliant Energy, EcoEnergy, Johnson Controls Inc., Xcel Energy, C5•6 Technologies, Axley Brynelson, Madison Gas and Electric, Orion Energy Systems, Forest County Potawatomi Community, Wisconsin Energy Corp., Poblocki Sign Company, Emerging Energies of Wisconsin, MillerCoors, American Transmission Co., WPPI Energy, DTE Energy Services and Kranz, Inc. . . .

The plan also has the support of the Wisconsin Business Council, which includes leaders from several of the state’s key businesses, including American Transmission Co., Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, AT&T Wisconsin, Commerce State Bank, Dean Health System, Midwest Natural Gas, MillerCoors, Mortenson Construction, Orion Energy Systems and Park Bank (in Madison). . . .

On the other side of the divide stands the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), which is joined by 22 other business organizations, including the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), in opposition to Doyle’s proposal.

The WMC cited a study by the conservative Wisconsin Policy Research Institute that contends the proposed green legislation would kill 43,093 private-sector jobs in Wisconsin. . . .

Adding even more intrigue to this philosophical divide among Wisconsin’s business community is the fact that many members of the CREWE and the Wisconsin Business Council in favor of the green jobs plan also are dues-paying members of the WMC, the MMAC and the other organizations that are against the plan.

“It’s really created massive fault lines within the business community between the deniers (of global warming) and those that think something must be done,” said Thad Nation of the CREWE. “It’s probably going to get messier before it gets better.”

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