Pro-Growth Policies Signed into Law as Part of State Budget
WMC’s effort to make Wisconsin the most competitive state in the nation for business has taken significant steps forward during the first six months of the legislative session. Reforms focused on streamlining regulation, lowering taxes and reducing the cost of doing business have advanced as a result of WMC’s advocacy. Many pro-jobs policies were signed into law by Governor Walker on June 30, 2013 as part of the state budget.
Following is a list of pro-growth highlights from the legislative session thus far:
- Income Tax Cut – $650 million in individual income tax relief was approved for the next two years across all tax brackets.
- Manufacturers’ Tax Credit – More than $100 million in business tax relief will be provided over the next two years to the manufacturing and agriculture sectors for producing in Wisconsin. (This credit was included as part of the 2011 budget but goes into effect this year)
- Iron Mining Reform – A major overhaul of our iron mining laws will help attract a $1.5 billion investment and create thousands of jobs without lowering air or water quality standards.
- Air Permit Streamlining – Regulatory burdens on employers will be reduced by expanding the availability of the streamlined “registration operation permit” (ROP) threshold to 50 percent of major source thresholds, and directing the DNR to exempt many minor sources from permitting.
- Unemployment Law Reforms – Improved the Unemployment Insurance system by adopting several significant reforms, including defining “misconduct” to include a substantial fault standard, meaning an employee could be discharged for violations of law or an employer’s rule without receiving UI benefits, and cutting the number of quit exceptions by half.
- Unemployment Tax Relief – Legislators included $30 million in the state budget to pay interest on the federal unemployment insurance loan the state acquired during the recession to pay overdrawn benefits. In the past, this additional cost was billed to employers.
- Research & Development Tax Credit – Beginning in 2013, pass-through entities like LLCs and S corporations will become eligible to claim the research and development tax credit.
- Federalized Depreciation – State rules for depreciation and depletion will be phased out starting in 2014 in favor of federalization, easing taxpayer compliance.
- Electrician Licensing Relief – Delayed a costly electrician licensure mandate signed by Governor Doyle in 2007 that was scheduled to begin in 2013. WMC is now working to fix the law going forward to ensure companies won’t have to shut down due to non-compliance with the unnecessary licensure and inspection requirements.
- Worker Training Initiative – Governor Walker signed the “Wisconsin Fast Forward” bill earlier this year to help address the skills gap in our state. The package provided $15 million in worker training grants for public and private entities and created the Labor Market Information System (LMIS) to help connect job seekers and employers.
- Regulatory Certainty for Groundwater Permits – Employers will be protected from costly litigation by activist environmental groups seeking to invalidate their high capacity well permits, saving time and money for the dairy, agriculture, manufacturing and food processing sectors.
In addition to these victories, WMC has made significant progress on other priorities including tort reform to curb lawsuit abuse, funding for venture capital investment and reforms to human resources and employment laws. We will continue to advocate for policies that improve our business climate and make people want to invest in Wisconsin.