Oshkosh Defense sent a big contract to the non-union South. Will it keep future jobs in Wisconsin?

August 6, 2022

Wisconsin Watch: Oshkosh Defense sent a big contract to the non-union South. Will it keep future jobs in Wisconsin? 

A pro-union sign is seen in front of the United Auto Workers Union building in Oshkosh, Wis., on July 15, 2022
Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch

Oshkosh Corp. has received over $70 million in economic development subsidies from Wisconsin. But when the Fortune 500 defense contractor a multi-billion dollar contract to build postal trucks, it opted to do the work in South Carolina, where leaders offered a $9 million grant, 40 years worth of property tax breaks, and, perhaps most importantly, only required Oshkosh to pay the state’s minimum wage of $7.25.

The tax breaks will disproportionately impact public schools, which in South Carolina rely heavily on property taxes for funding, the story notes.

Per the story:

“South Carolina has ranked number one in terms of the self-reported revenue loss by school district,” Christine Wen, a researcher with Good Jobs First, told reporters after releasing a recent report on South Carolina’s tax incentives

“Because disclosures of public performance are so scant there, we don’t know that these projects are paying off. But we do know that school districts are losing over $500 million now a year,” Wen said. “And it’s been going up at approximately $15 million every year since 2017.”

Educators in the Palmetto State report schools with crumbling facilities, including some with no air-conditioning, said Sherry East, president of the South Carolina Education Association.

“These deals are kind of behind the scenes deals that go on,” East said. “And no one really knows the cost.”

Read the full

story at Wisconsin Watch.