Monday, November 08, 2010

MMAC is M.I.A.

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) claims to be "the key private-sector partner for economic development, working to strengthen our business base and attract and retain jobs and the talent to fill them." They further claim that they "serve as the region's advocate for member businesses at the local, state and federal levels." Given that description, it seems odd that MMAC has been largely missing in action while development, hundreds of jobs and businesses have been threatened in Milwaukee over the last 5 days.

I'm specifically talking about MMAC's silence on the killing of the high speed rail project in Wisconsin. Because of the dogmatic and often irrational opposition to the project by Scott Walker, the project was officially put on hold last week. There have already been reports of up to 300 current workers being laid off as a result with hundreds more hanging in the balance. This is not to mention the thousands of potential jobs that are directly tied to this project. Then Talgo's comments that Walker's killing the project could possibly cost Milwaukee their new plant, the hundreds of jobs that go with it and the needed development of the former Tower Automotive site. I don't know this but I'd have to imagine that Talgo and some of the other affected businesses are members of MMAC. Exactly where has been the MMAC "advocacy" for those "member businesses" on this issue?

Perhaps MMAC is working the internal channel to Walker that they carved out by funneling $400,000 to benefit his campaign for governor. However, given their absolute silence on these recent and unfortunate developments, we don't know if they are actually doing anything to save these businesses and the jobs and development that go with them. There is a quickly closing window of opportunity for MMAC to make a difference in this situation. The question is will they take advantage of it or will they continue to be missing in action? Their actions in the coming days will say a lot about their real values. Are they really living up to their mission or are they simply becoming the latest Republican club for the business elite?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No. It's clear that MMAC has generally checked out and no longer has a purpose.

They were in their stride when Democrats controlled things and Barrett had not yet made it clear that he was heading back to the Mayor's office.


Probably a good thing too.