CAP TIMES: WMC lobbyists 'very excited' about GOP budget

June 24, 2013
Jack Craver
news photo

The gang at Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce is "very excited" about the budget that now awaits Gov. Scott Walker’s signature. The state’s largest business association released a video on Friday featuring four of the group’s lobbyists discussing the many elements of the budget that will benefit Wisconsin companies.

I was notified of the YouTube clip by a disgruntled legislative staffer, who described its contents thus: “Just a few of the former GOP staffers who give the Legislature its marching orders from outside the building.”

All four of the lobbyists in the video indeed once worked as aides to Republican legislators.

“Gov. Walker introduced his budget in February and, really from our perspective, introduced a pro-growth budget that makes an investment in personal income tax reductions, continues his freeze on property taxes and makes critical investments in our state’s infrastructure system,” said Scott Manley, the group’s vice president of government relations, to begin the video, before asking his colleagues to explain a number of economic policies that he described the organization as being "very excited" about.

The performance of the video’s stars, a TV critic might opine, is not exactly the stuff of primetime television. The subdued demeanor of all participants reflects WMC’s old-line image.

Although WMC may very well be the best-financed and most powerful political group in the state, it has not jumped into the social media game that most other advocacy groups play. Its 1,193 “likes” on Facebook might sound respectable, for instance, but they pale in comparison to the 7,590 likes earned by Wisconsin Right to Life or the 29,659 likes of We Are Wisconsin, the union-backed liberal group.

WMC marketing director Katy Pettersen says the organization is trying to get more active in the social media sphere. To that end, the group recently set up a video studio and plans to do more “talk-show” style videos explaining what WMC lobbyists are up to.

“While the audience is primarily our membership and other businesses in Wisconsin, we understand that a medium such as video will give members of the Legislature and media direct access to information related to WMC's stand on issues,” she says.

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