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Wisconsin Business Climate Improves in 2011

MADISON – Wisconsin’s business climate improved dramatically this year as Governor Scott Walker and the Legislature approved historic pro-growth reforms that will foster long-term economic growth, WMC said Tuesday.

The virtual phase out of income taxes on Wisconsin manufacturing income will strengthen the state’s economy for generations and lead to high-wage job creation.

“Governor Walker and the Legislature deserve tremendous credit for improving our state’s business climate with a long list of pro-growth policies that will lead to job creation in the long run,” said Kurt R. Bauer, WMC president/CEO.

Objective national observers have taken note of the pro-employer reforms. Wisconsin jumped the 24th best business climate in the CEO magazine rankings, up 17 positions from 41st. The new Forbes 2011 Best States for Business ranking was released. Wisconsin improved to 40th, moving up from 43rd in 2010 and 48th in 2009. Earlier this year, CNBC ranked Wisconsin 25th — up from 29th in 2010.

Governor Walker and the Legislature approved the following pro-growth reforms:

Manufacturers Tax Credit — A manufacturers tax credit that nearly eliminates income taxes paid on income generated from manufacturing in Wisconsin. The plan will dramatically reduce income tax liability for manufacturers and make Wisconsin an attractive place to create high-wage manufacturing jobs. (2011 Wisconsin Act 32)

No-Tax-Hike State Budget — A two-year state budget that included no new taxes and was balanced without accounting gimmicks. The plan eliminates chronic deficits and runs a surplus at the end of two years to provide stability in our economy. (2011 Wisconsin Act 32)

Controlling Property Taxes — Limits on property tax increases imposed by municipalities, schools, counties, and technical college districts. (2011 Wisconsin Act 32)

Controlling Wage and Benefit Spending — Comprehensive collective bargaining reform that will help state and local governments control spending, and will diminish the strength and power of public employee unions in Wisconsin. (2011 Wisconsin Act 10)

Encouraging Reinvestment in Wisconsin — Full exclusion for capital gains reinvested in a Wisconsin business within 180 days of the sale of the asset generating the gain, and a 100 percent exclusion for gains from the sale of a Wisconsin capital asset (real estate, personal property, ownership interest in a Wisconsin business) held for at least 5 years. (2011 Wisconsin Act 32)

Corporate Income Tax Holiday — A two-year corporate income tax holiday for new businesses that locate in Wisconsin. (2011 Wisconsin Act 3)

Job Creation Tax Deduction — A jobs tax deduction of $4,000 per new employee for companies with less than $5,000,000 in payroll and $2,000 per new employee for companies with more than $5,000,000 in payroll. (2011 Wisconsin Act 5)

Job Creation Tax Credit Expansion — An expansion of the jobs tax credit and the angel or early stage seed tax credit.

Tax Deduction for HSAs — State tax-deductibility for health savings accounts to help employers and employees control health care costs. (2011 Wisconsin Act 1)

Require Guilt for Judgments — A restoration of the age-old concept that a plaintiff must prove the defendant caused the harm. Repeals a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling regarding collective liability for lead paint manufacturers. (2011 Wisconsin Act 2)

Comprehensive Lawsuit Reform — Comprehensive lawsuit reforms that ensure that businesses are protected from frivolous lawsuits and predatory personal injury lawyers. (2011 Wisconsin Act 2)

Punitive Damage Limits — Limits in punitive damage cases to $200,000. (2011 Wisconsin Act 2)

Product Liability Time Limits — Common sense time limits for launching a lawsuit against a manufacturer. (2011 Wisconsin Act 2)

Expert Witness Reform — A change that cracks down on unqualified experts in the courtroom. (2011 Wisconsin Act 2)

Governor Veto of New Regulations — Common sense reform to require the governor to approve the development of any state agency administrative rule, and allow him to veto any proposed rule. This will help cut red tape and provide accountability. (2011 Wisconsin Act 21)

Cost Benefit Analysis — Reform that requires a cost-benefit analysis to be conducted for any new rule. (2011 Wisconsin Act 21)

Reigning In Rules — Reform that bans state agency rules from being more restrictive than state law. (2011 Wisconsin Act 21)

Eliminating Local Anti-Business Regulations — Prohibit local governments from enacting their own family and medical leave laws. (2011 Wisconsin Act 16)





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