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Inside Wisconsin politics. In just two minutes.

Wisconsin’s toughest business issues are being tackled in quick, two-minute video bursts by WMC, Wisconsin’s chamber of commerce, in an online news video series called “Two-Minute Drill.” This series provides insights to Wisconsin businesses and opinion leaders as a way to drive discussions on hot topic policy issues. Hear from experts, business leaders and elected officials about the issues facing your business.

To stay informed about current issues facing the business community, subscribe to WMC TV YouTube channel.

Episode 42: Water Quality Coalition Responds to Recommended PFAS Standard (July 10, 2019)

WMC’s latest Two Minute Drill focuses on polyfluoroalkyls, or “PFAS” chemicals. These synthetic compounds have been used in industry and consumer products around the world since the 1940s. However, two of the most common PFAS – PFOS and PFOA – are no longer manufactured in the United States. Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services has subverted the federal process to put a more restrictive regulation in place of 20 parts per trillion.

Check out the full news release here.

Episode 41: Manufacturing & Agriculture Tax Credit Helps Build Wisconsin’s Supply Chain (May 30, 2019)

Small manufacturers that make up the supply chain for Waupaca Foundry have been the biggest beneficiaries of the Manufacturing & Agriculture Tax Credit (MAC), according to Waupaca’s top executive.

In the latest Two-Minute Drill video released by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), Waupaca Foundry President, COO & CEO Mike Nokolai explains that the MAC has helped to keep Waupaca’s supply chain close because local companies are able to reinvest in their business.

Check out the full news release here.

Episode 40: Manufacturing & Agriculture Tax Credit Helps Small Businesses Stay Competitive (May 22, 2019)

A small manufacturer in northwestern Wisconsin gave its employees a four-week bonus this past year thanks to savings from the Manufacturing & Agriculture Tax Credit – MAC for short. The latest episode of WMC’s Two-Minute Drill series features Mark Tyler, President of OEM Fabricators in Woodville. Tyler explains that the MAC is a critical component of reinvesting in his company’s employees.

“If the credit was reduced, it is going to reduce our competitiveness,” said Tyler in the video. “We compete on a daily basis with India, with Europe and with Asia. The challenge is, anything you take out of our arsenal hurts our team members and hurts our ability to compete and bring jobs to Wisconsin.”

Check out the full news release here.

Episode 39: Manufacturing & Agriculture Tax Credit Incentivizes Investment (May 14, 2019)

Two Janesville-based manufactures would look much different today if it were not for the Manufacturing & Agriculture Tax Credit (MAC) that went into effect in 2011. The second video released in as many weeks by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) showcases the millions of dollars in investment that stayed in the state thanks to the credit.

The latest episode of WMC’s Two-Minute Drill series features Joe Pregont, Owner of Prent Corporation and Goex Corporation. Pregont underlines the importance the tax credit played when it came to building a new manufacturing facility.

Check out the full news release here.

Episode 38: Manufacturing & Agriculture Tax Credit Boosts Economic Growth (May 8, 2019)

Middleton-based manufacturer explained the importance of the Manufacturing & Agriculture Tax Credit (MAC) to its business and employment growth in a video released Thursday by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC).

In an episode of WMC’s Two-Minute Drill series, Connor Meloy, Chief Operating Officer of Automation Components, Inc. (ACI), explained how critical the tax credit is to the company. With the savings, Meloy explains that ACI was able to purchase new equipment and that the company expanded with 84 new employees in 2018.

The video was released while the legislature and governor are debating the value of the MAC to creating jobs and incentivizing economic growth. Gov. Tony Evers proposes to all but eliminate the tax credit, which would raise taxes on manufacturers by $516 million over the state’s two-year biennium. The Republican-led legislature, however, has pushed back arguing the tax credit is critical to the state’s largest economic industry.

WMC earlier in the week applauded Rep. John Nygren and Sen. Alberta Darling – the Co-Chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance – for working to remove the language from Gov. Evers’ proposed budget that essentially repeals the MAC.

Check out the full news release here.

Episode 37: Tariffs’ Impact on Wisconsin (August 20, 2018)

WMC’s latest Two Minute Drill features two Wisconsin businesses who are being directly impacted by U.S. and retaliatory tariffs. Husco International President & CEO Austin Ramirez says in the video, “I think it’s hard to find a manufacturer today other than those who make steel and aluminum that aren’t feeling the brunt of these tariffs.”

Episode 36: Business Tax Hikes (July 19, 2018)

The dark store legislation is an effort to legalize tax hikes on businesses that assessors have been attempting to impose, illegally, for more than a decade.

This debate isn’t about “closing a loophole” or forcing someone to “pay their fair share.” It’s about local governments wanting to tax to the max and villainize the businesses that provide jobs in their communities.

Read Scott Manley’s dark store issue is really about higher taxes.

Read how Wisconsin manufacturer Badger Meter would be affected by the dark store bill.

Episode 35: Federal Tax Reform (May 21, 2018)

WMC recently sat down with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan to discuss about the federal tax reform. This tax reform puts America first and has unleashed so much economic decision making for businesses in Wisconsin.

The corporate tax rate reduction is significant – dropping from 35% to 21% – making our tax rates globally competitive. Check out what else Speaker Paul Ryan had to say about how the tax reform will help Wisconsin businesses and families.

Episode 34: Wetland Legislation (December 19, 2017)

The federal Clean Water Act established extensive regulations to protect important wetlands throughout the country. Wisconsin law, however, goes even further. The State of Wisconsin regulates additional wetlands, including those that are not connected to navigable waters.

The state-specific permitting process for these non-federal wetlands is cumbersome and can result in significant project delays and added costs, even though the overwhelming majority of these projects are approved. Legislation now pending before the Legislature will make sure we can protect our environment and maintain high quality wetlands without costly and burdensome state-specific regulations.

Find out how WMC is working hard to alleviate these burdensome, Wisconsin-specific regulations in our latest Two-Minute Drill.

Episode 33: Worker’s Compensation Reform (September 28, 2017)

MADISON – One day after launching the Worker’s Compensation Employers Coalition, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) released a short video detailing the high costs businesses face because of worker’s compensation claims. WMC Board Chairman Bob Kamphuis – Chairman, CEO & President of Mayville Engineering Company, Inc. (MEC) – says in the video that worker’s compensation costs are nearly double that of Michigan, another state that MEC has facilities in.

According to the Worker’s Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), Wisconsin has some of the highest medical costs for worker’s compensation in the nation. In the most recent year they studied, WCRI found Wisconsin costs to be 47 percent higher than the national median. Looking only at serious injuries that required a week off of work, costs were 60 percent higher than the median.

It’s not just interstate comparisons that are troubling. Worker’s compensation injuries in Wisconsin also cost many times more than identical injuries that are covered by group health insurance. While most states have a slight difference between the two, the difference is striking in Wisconsin, often two to three times more expensive for identical treatments.

Episode 32: Wisconsin’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund (August 30, 2017)

Record levels of employment mean more people are working and fewer people are claiming unemployment insurance benefits. For employers, that means paying less in unemployment insurance taxes. For the third straight year, UI taxes are going down for employers, allowing Wisconsin businesses to instead invest in wages, equipment and training.

Episode 31: Wisconsin’s Economic Performance Best in 15 Years (June 7, 2017)

According to the state’s Chief Economist, Wisconsin’s economic performance is the best it has been in 15 years. John Koskinen says the unemployment rate is approaching an all-time low, the labor force participation rate is one of the top in the country and the state’s economic growth rate ranks 13th in the nation. Clearly, the policies implemented over the past six years have helped spur Wisconsin’s economic comeback, squashing dire predictions that Act 10, right-to-work and other reforms would be a drag on the state.

Just how good is Wisconsin’s economy performing? Watch WMC’s latest Two-Minute Drill to find out.

Episode 30: Congressman Duffy Tackles Federal Issues (May 23, 2017)

WMC recently sat down with U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wausau) to discuss a slate of federal issues for the 30th episode of WMC’s popular Two-Minute Drill series. Duffy discusses President Donald Trump’s first 100 days, potential tax reform, the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act and immigration reform.

Episode 29: “Dark Store” Legislation (April 21, 2017)

Potential legislation is currently being discussed in Madison that could dramatically change how property is valued in Wisconsin. This so-called “dark store” legislation would make it easier for property tax assessors to include other variables – outside of property size, location and structures – to determine the value of a building. In fact, some overly-aggressive assessors have already tried doing this with larger retail stores, leading to massive tax increases. In some cases, retailers saw their property tax bill increase by over 500 percent!

Luckily, the courts have been on the side of property taxpayers and have overturned many of these unwarranted increases. Legislation being discussed would fly in the face of current law, overruling what the courts have said. This could dramatically increase the cost to do business in Wisconsin, but it could also have unintended consequences for all property owners. While the attention has focused on the retail sector, it could set a precedent to raise property taxes on all types of property in Wisconsin. That is why WMC is strongly advocating against this “dark store” legislation.

Episode 28: Manufacturing & Agriculture Tax Credit Attacked (February 22, 2017)

Legislators are trying to hike taxes on manufacturing jobs, but WMC is standing up for businesses and workers all across the state that are benefiting from the Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit (MAC). Recently, Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) and other policymakers called for the repeal of the MAC, which was met by stiff opposition from the business community.

WMC sat down with Karl Schmidt, President and CEO of Belmark, Inc. in De Pere, Wisconsin. Karl explained that before the MAC was in place, Belmark had plans to expand the company’s operations outside of the state. However, once the MAC was implemented in 2011 by Gov. Scott Walker, they reassessed their strategy and decided to expand in Wisconsin.

Episode 27: 34,000 Manufacturing Jobs Created After Tax Credit (August 24, 2016)

The Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit will fully phase in this year, nearly eliminating the state income tax liability for those industries. Experts say the state is adding jobs while nearby neighbors like Illinois are experiencing slowed growth, particularly in manufacturing.

In this episode we travel to sheet metal fabricator Argon Industries in Milwaukee and meet with UW-Madison Economist Noah Williams, who studied how the credit is affecting employment levels.

Episode 26: Right to Work Reinstated (June 2, 2016)

A Wisconsin appeals court has reversed the Dane County judge who struck down the Right to Work law in April. Now the law is back in full effect while proceedings continue in the appeals court and possibly state supreme court.

Hear from WMC’s Chris Reader and Ogletree Deakins’ Tim Costello, who submitted a successful amicus brief in the case for WMC. Costello expects a final decision by the fall. You can learn more about our amicus brief here and even read the full text here. The court’s latest decision is available to view here.

Episode 25: Right Back in court – The Right to Work update (April 28, 2016)

This month a Dane County judge struck down a portion of the state’s year-old Right to Work law. Now Attorney General Brad Schimel and his team at the Department of Justice are heading back to court, attempting to stay the judge’s new ruling while the case heads to an appeals court and possibly the state Supreme Court.

Hear from Attorney General Brad Schimel and WMC’s Scott Manley about why the latest ruling may not affect your company yet, and why it’s important to wait for the court battle to play out before making any changes to agreements with employees.

Episode 24: Reining in the regulators (March 8, 2016)

A new bill would clamp down on overreaching state regulators. Unelected Madison bureaucrats can currently enact expensive regulations without approval from lawmakers, jeopardizing our state’s business climate. The REINS Act (AB 251) would require any regulation that could cost businesses more than $10 million over two years get approval from our elected representatives in the legislature.

The Assembly approved the bill, and a vote in the Senate on their last day in session March 15 could send this major pro-business reform to the Governor’s desk.

Episode 23: The EPA’s $292 billion mistake (November 18, 2015)

The numbers are in, and the Clean Power Plan could cripple major industries like manufacturing with energy hikes in some areas higher than 30 percent. Wisconsin is fighting with 23 other states to stay the rule, all while countries like China continue to add new coal power plants at staggering rates.

Hear from Wisconsin’s PSC Commissioner Ellen Nowak, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Delanie Breuer and WMC’s Director of Environmental & Energy Policy Lucas Vebber about the latest on what the plan could mean for rates and where our legal challenge stands.

The CPP could devastate our job climate while negligibly affecting our actual climate. A new study shows under the plan, even by 2050 greenhouse gas emissions would only be lowered 0.34 percent, or less.

Episode 22: Devastating EPA rule could send manufacturing jobs overseas (August 19, 2015)

A major Wisconsin recycler is speaking out against the new EPA rule mandating a switch to expensive energy. Charter Steel spends more than $1 million on energy every month melting scrap into steel, but company leaders fear energy rate hike here might send jobs elsewhere, without even helping the environment.

Charter Manufacturing CEO John W. Mellowes explains why the future of his industry is in doubt in Wisconsin and elsewhere stateside.

Read Scott Manley’s top five reasons the regulation would be bad for Wisconsin.

Episode 21: Wisconsin sues the EPA… again (August 12, 2015)

For the second time this summer the state will join suit against the EPA. President Obama’s newly-announced Clean Power Plan could crush Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector. To comply, it would cost energy companies billions in infrastructure upgrades, an expense that would raise rates at work and at home.

Attorney General Brad Schimel and WMC’s Scott Manley break down where Wisconsin stands and whether we can undo the EPA’s latest job-killing regulatory overreach.

Read Scott Manley’s top five reasons the regulation would be bad for Wisconsin.

Episode 20: Where are we spending $73 billion? The budget breakdown (July 22, 2015)

Find out where Wisconsin will spend billions over the next two years, and where all the cash came from. WMC’s Scott Manley break down the budget numbers and some of the biggest wins for business so far this session.

Episode 19: Wisconsin is NOT repealing the weekend (July 15, 2015)

Despite dramatically misleading headlines to the contrary, some Wisconsin workers finally have the choice whether to work overtime. In the new state budget signed Sunday retail and manufacturing workers can for the first time in nearly a century decide for themselves which overtime shifts to work, without first asking state bureaucrats for permission.

Hear from WMC’s Chris Reader, Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam) and Michelle Kussow from the Wisconsin Grocers Association.

Chris Reader’s column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (7/16/2015)

How the voluntary overtime change actually works.

Episode 18: State budget lowers borrowing and taxes (July 8, 2015)

Legislators spent weeks working behind the scenes, but now the new state budget could cross Governor Walker’s desk as soon as this week. The latest plan includes less bonding to fund big road projects and tax tweaks to help married couples. Hear from Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and WMC’s Director of Tax & Transportation Policy Jason Culotta.

Episode 17: Hiring headaches for 70 percent of Wisconsin companies (June 17, 2015)

WMC just heard from hundreds of the state’s CEOs, and a large and growing group say they are having trouble finding qualified workers to hire. WMC’s Scott Manley breaks down the numbers and finds executives are also seeing surging healthcare costs.

Read the survey result summary

Watch or download our video press release with WMC President and CEO Kurt Bauer

Episode 16: $56,000 per person and counting: our national debt nightmare (June 10, 2015)

Every American already owes more than $56,000 and the debt keeps climbing. WMC President and CEO Kurt Bauer explains why political and cultural causes may be to blame for Washington’s inability to drive down the debt. Hear from U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) and U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Campbellsport).

“If you’re just paying money on interest on the debt you don’t have the money to invest in education, in schools, in basic infrastructure to grow your economy.”
– Sen. Ron Johnson

Episode 15: Drug screening unemployment recipients could help fill jobs (June 3, 2015)

Lawmakers are working to implement drug screening and testing for some workers on unemployment insurance. The state would provide training and treatment for those that need it to help place the workers in our state’s more than 86,000 open positions. Chris Reader explains why the move could help people off of addictions and our state’s economy.

Hear from Rep. Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah), a former human resources staffer, who says many companies are struggling to find workers as unemployment rates continue to fall.

Episode 14: State budget adds funds for skills gap worker training (May 27, 2015)

Lawmakers plan to invest millions more in the Wisconsin Fast Forward program, which started issuing grants last year to help employers pay for job training. As Wisconsin’s workforce ages manufacturers and other industries will also look to programs like SkillsUSA to grow interest and abilities in technical fields.

More about the Future Wisconsin Project

Episode 13: Wisconsin dairies forced to invest elsewhere (May 20, 2015)

Wisconsin’s complex and costly water permitting rules are pushing new projects out of the state and stalling upgrades back at home. Milk Source reluctantly spent $80 million on a site elsewhere in the Midwest after enormous effort failed to find approval here first.

Businesses from farms to golf courses, and even your local water utility, are hoping increased clarity from the state can simplify the high capacity well permitting process.

Episode 12: Manufacturing tax credit targeted! (May 13, 2015)

Short-sighted special interests are trying to stall the Manufacturing and Agricultural Tax Credit before it is fully implemented. The policy, strongly supported by WMC back in 2011, is already bringing businesses over our border, but some lawmakers say they want to raise taxes and grow government spending instead.

The credit would eliminate almost all income taxes for manufacturers next year, by far our state’s biggest industry.

What is the Manufacturing and Agricultural Tax Credit?

How is the credit being phased-in?

Episode 11: Adding auditors would burden Wisconsin businesses (May 6, 2015)

Legislators will consider adding 102 new auditors to help boost funds for the state budget. But some are questioning the kind of message this sends to job creators. We talk to a family business owner who says his ongoing audit is costing time and cash, all while the state will likely end up actually issuing him a refund.

Episode 10: Right to Work under attack! (April 29, 2015)

Despite opposition from employers and Congress, President Obama’s appointees on the NLRB are pressing forward with measures meant to strengthen labor unions. These pro-union appointees have stacked the rules of workplace organizing in favor of labor unions and are now looking at undoing state right to work laws.

Episode 9: Wisconsin sues the EPA over job-killing emissions rule (April 22, 2015)

The EPA wants to pass a power plant rule that would raise electricity rates, send jobs overseas and possibly not even help curb global pollution. We talk with Attorney General Brad Schimel about why he is suing the EPA on behalf of Wisconsin.

Episode 8: UW funding cut up for debate (April 15, 2015)

Lawmakers this week will begin to vote on the state’s new budget. Among the items getting the most buzz is Gov. Walker’s proposed $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System budget over two years. Hear how that number could come down, and what legislators have to say about adding more UW independence.

Episode 7: Are gas taxes going up? Why building roads builds businesses (April 8, 2015)

We get a behind-the-scenes look at the massive Zoo Interchange project in West Allis. Hear how WMC expects the state to fund an extra $1.3 billion in transportation projects in the biennial budget up for debate.

Learn more about WMC’s transportation goals and see our complete legislative agenda for this session.

Episode 6: Repealing paperwork, not the weekend (April 1, 2015)

Recent headlines would have you believe the state is trying to steal your days off. In reality, legislators are trying to make sure some industries no longer have to ask the state permission before letting workers volunteer for overtime when business is booming to earn more for their families.

Hear from Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam) and WMC’s Director of Health & Human Resources Policy Chris Reader in this week’s episode.

Download a handout with more detail on the Voluntary Overtime proposal.

Episode 5: The top five budget bill items for businesses (March 25, 2015)

The battle over how to spend Wisconsin’s $68 billion budget is underway. We take a look inside the budget listening session in Milwaukee, and save you 1,839 pages of reading with our list of top items businesses should know about the 2015-2017 budget proposal.

See WMC’s current legislative agenda.

Episode 4: Right to Work is already adding Wisconsin jobs (March 18, 2015)

Legislators and business leaders say companies are already planning expansions in Wisconsin, citing Right to Work law, even just two weeks since the law’s signing. One state representative says the vote could have such a big impact on business that it will likely be the signature legislation of his career.

Read more about Right to Work.

Episode 3: Regulation without representation (March 11, 2015)

In Wisconsin, the legislature make the laws, right? Eric Bott explains how an unelected board is stalling entire industries, costing businesses millions, and diverting resources from helpful environmental programs and job creation.

More on businesses banned from the board

The costly rule upheld for 25 years

Episode 2: Right to Work rallies fade, myths busted in Assembly (March 4, 2015)

Scott Manley takes you inside the Assembly hearing on the bill, where WMC and others sort out the facts about worker training and free riders from big union misinformation.

Read more about Right to Work.

Episode 1: Right to Work draws votes, protests in Madison (February 25, 2015)

In the series premiere, Scott Manley maps Right to Work’s route to law and argues why it is critical to keeping competitive with neighboring states.

Read more about Right to Work.