Wisconsin policy group criticizes Brunswick

MILWAUKEE, Wis. — A liberal Wisconsin public policy group is criticizing the decision to give Mercury Marine parent Brunswick Corp. financial incentives to remain in Wisconsin, according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Fond du Lac County Board and state officials offered millions in incentives as Mercury weighed a possible move to Oklahoma.

“Brunswick stakeholders have borne the consequences of corporate malfunction,” the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future said in recently published report. “Taxpayers are footing the bill for incentive packages; shareholders have seen most of their investment lost; both unionized employees and managers have lost jobs, incomes and bonuses.”

The group, a nonprofit that does research on economic issues, notes that Brunswick has not paid corporate taxes in Wisconsin this decade.

“It’s a reasonable thing to look at when deciding whether a company should be given help,” Jack Norman, the Institute’s research director, told the Journal Sentinel.

Norman also faults Brunswick’s leadership, who he says hasn’t been fired or taken pay cuts despite falling stock prices.

Brunswick tells the Journal Sentinel it is in full compliance with Wisconsin tax regulations and has a $175 million annual payroll in the state.

As for executive pay, analyst Hayley Wolff with Rochdale Securities tells the paper that executives have been affected by stock options that are essentially worthless now.

To read the complete Journal Sentinel article, click here.

To read the full Institute for Wisconsin’s Future report, click here.

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