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New Research Shows Wisconsin Business Climate Improving

MADISON Wisconsin’s business climate improved in 2011, but continued reforms are needed to make the state a job-creating powerhouse and special attention is needed to promote manufacturing job creation, according to a new report released today by the U.S. Chamber’s National Chamber Foundation. Growing Wisconsin highlights the actions Wisconsin has taken over the past year to improve competitiveness.
“Wisconsin has made tremendous progress improving its business climate, particularly in the first six months of 2011 when the state passed major regulatory reform, tax relief and lawsuit reforms,” said Margaret Spellings, executive vice president of the National Chamber Foundation. “But, Wisconsin needs to continue to focus on lowering the tax burden for employers, controlling regulations and ensure the manufacturing sector is protected and promoted.”
The 16-page report – commissioned by the National Chamber Foundation and prepared by The Praxis Group – was presented to Governor Scott Walker in Madison as part of a roundtable discussion celebrating the 100th anniversary of WMC.
“This report provides a roadmap for the Legislature and the Governor as they move forward to continue to make Wisconsin the most competitive state in the nation,” said Kurt R. Bauer, WMC President/CEO. “We have made great strides, and we can do so much more. And, critical to our state’s success is to continue to defend and promote manufacturing because so many jobs come from manufacturing.”
Growing Wisconsin recommends additional steps Wisconsin can take to grow its economy and build an enterprising state including:

  • Implement tax structures targeted at entrepreneurship and job creation.
  • Streamline regulatory processes to build up the state’s existing economic strength.
  • Invest in improving worker knowledge and training.
  • Modernize government and improve efficiency to reduce compliance costs for small businesses. Focus spending on critical investments like training and infrastructure that promote growth.
  • Protect and defend manufacturing – 33 percent of the Wisconsin economy – to promote job creation in all sectors.
  • Promote assistance for manufacturers for exports, training and tax relief.
  • Improve the state’s entrepreneurial and venture capital investment systems to support small businesses and promote start-up that create the most jobs.
  • Promote the livability aspects of Wisconsin’s mid-size communities to attract younger, mid-career families to the state.
  • Build constructive lines of dialogue between government, business, education and workforce leaders to efficiently and effectively implement needed policy changes.

“By working together to identify opportunities and build consensus for potentially valuable reforms, Wisconsin can lay the foundation for a more enterprising, entrepreneurial and prosperous future,” the report says.
The report draws special attention to the Wisconsin manufacturing sector, which directly and indirectly provides 35 percent of all wages in the state.
“State leaders should do everything possible to support current manufacturers,” the report says. Wisconsin has 88 percent more manufacturing concentration than the typical state, the report says. “Manufacturing leads the way as the state’s most competitive industry.”
“Wisconsin is headed in the right direction,” Bauer said. “And this report should help policymakers focus on making Wisconsin an enterprising state so we can be the most competitive state in the nation.”
Kurt R. Bauer, (608) 258-3400
Blair Latoff, (202) 463-5682





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