Project Milwaukee

It was nearly a year ago that Gov. Walker proclaimed - Wisconsin is open for business. In order to re-enforce that message, his administration successfully advanced a number of tax breaks to encourage businesses to hire and even relocate to the state. There was some bipartisan support for the incentives, although Democrats labeled them marginal and later blasted the governor and Republican lawmakers for slashing money from things such as education. Still, Walker maintains Wisconsin is in a much better place with a balanced budget and improved business climate. Is that the case? WUWM’s LaToya Dennis posed the question to Abdur Chowdhury. He’s chair of Marquette University’s Department of Economics.

We now continue “Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval.” All week, we’re examining the divisive year Wisconsin has experienced politically, with perhaps economic worries at the core. Last fall, for the first time in over a decade voters put Republicans in control of state government. New Gov. Scott Walker insisted he had the formula to erase the state’s massive deficit and create jobs.

State of Business

Dec 13, 2011

From the beginning, Gov. Scott Walker said once he took office his focus would be on creating jobs. During the 2010 campaign, he vowed to create 250,000 private sector positions during his first term. To help, he converted the commerce department into a public-private entity called the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and instructed it to focus exclusively on fostering business growth, rather than also regulating the private sector. Walker also instituted a number of tax breaks for companies that create jobs here. In this installment of Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval, WUWM’s LaToya Dennis explores the impact the changes are having on business growth. Things are bustling at Cree Ruud Lighting in Sturtevant. Until earlier this year, it had been just Ruud - a firm making commercial and energy efficient lighting. Then, Cree, a company based in North Carolina, specializing in LED lighting bought the Wisconsin operation for $525 million. Construction crews have since broken ground for a gigantic addition.

Our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval series features a roundtable discussion with journalists of all political bents analyzing the past year’s political events. That panel includes: Bruce Murphy, editor of Milwaukee Magazine; Lynda Jones, editor of the Milwaukee Courier; Steve Jagler, executive editor of BizTimes Milwaukee; Mark Kass editor of the Business Journal of Milwaukee and David Haynes, editorial page editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

A Historical Precedent for an Unprecedented Year?

Dec 12, 2011

We try to figure out whether a seemingly unprecedented year in Wisconsin actually does have a historical precedent. Historian John Gurda is the author of nineteen books, including The Making of Milwaukee and Cream City Chronicles. He’s also a regular Lake Effect contributor, and he spoke with Stephanie Lecci as part of our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval series.

Attorney & Blogger Tracks Gov. Walker's Rise

Dec 12, 2011

Our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval coverage continues with Milwaukee attorney and conservative blogger Rick Esenberg, and his take on the meaning and the legacy of the past year.

John Gunther

Earlier this morning we talked with Scott Walker about his first year as governor.

He has been the driver of the sweeping and controversial changes in Wisconsin.

They include restricting public union rights and deeply cutting money for education.

As a result, critics are attempting to recall him, while supporters praise him for being bold.

In this segment of our series, Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval, WUWM’s Ann-Elise Henzl shares insights from people who have observed Walker become the politician he is today.

Gov. Scott Walker
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Today we begin Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval. All week, we’ll explore the intersection of Wisconsin’s volatile political and economic climates in 2011.

The central figure in the drama has been Republican Gov. Scott Walker, now approaching his first anniversary in office.

Later this morning, we'll talk with people who've observed the politician over the years.

This hour, Walker reflects on his first year as governor, and his ideological formation. He chatted with WUWM’s Ann-Elise Henzl.

A Year in Review: Wisconsin Politics of 2011

Dec 9, 2011

From Journal Sentinel reporter Craig Gilbert to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, our montage of voices from the past 12 months previews our next special series, Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval. It starts Monday on Lake Effect and WUWM News. The series culminates with a live Lake Effect broadcast from the Pabst Theater next Friday.

Series Preview

Dec 9, 2011
Eric Thayer/Getty Images and AndyStenz.com

In the coming week, WUWM’s Newsroom reporters and Lake Effect producers will reflect on the divisive year in Wisconsin politics.

Our series, Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval will address the subject from a variety of perspectives, including why so many sweeping policy changes were enacted in 2011, how the state has changed as a result, and where Wisconsin is headed.

While religion and politics have always been difficult subjects to broach in mixed company, politics has been especially troublesome. Conservative Scott Grabins and liberal Katie Songer are the founders of Reach Out Wisconsin, a Madison-based group that brings together people on both ends of the political spectrum for civil conversations about often-polarizing issues. We spoke to them as part of our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval series.

Panelists represented interests ranging from politics to business to the environment.

Tom Hicken

We wrap up our Project Milwaukee: Southern Connections series on development in the region between Milwaukee and Chicago with one of its highlights: our community forum. It was held Wednesday, June 8, 2011 before a live studio audience at the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread in Racine. WUWM invited a panel of civic leaders, planners and business leaders to discuss the pros and cons of cultivating the corridor from Milwaukee to the state line. In part one of the forum, we ask questions of each panelist, followed by a broader conversation.

Tom Hicken

We wrap up our Project Milwaukee: Southern Connections series on development in the region between Milwaukee and Chicago with one of its highlights: our community forum. It was held Wednesday, June 8, 2011 before a live studio audience at the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread in Racine. During the second part of the forum, we ask transit related questions and open up the forum to audience questions.

DCD Commissioner Rocky Marcoux says Milwaukee benefits even when companies locate elsewhere in southeastern Wisconsin.

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