A letter from Ed Krajcir, President of the Milwaukee office of Sunbelt Business Brokers. Our firm works directly with hundreds of businesses on an annual basis. As business owners and residents of the state of Wisconsin we have a very important decision to make next Tuesday June 5th. Our decision will have a far reaching effect for the future of our State.
Our vote will impact:
Perception outside of Wisconsin on our business environment
We are in competition with 49 other states and 160 foreign countries to attract businesses to Wisconsin. Speaking from someone who has worked in many countries around the world including China and countries in Europe, the upper Midwest has one of the strongest work ethics anywhere. Companies want to move here and employ people from our great state but the tax, political and regulatory environments have been perceived to be adversarial for business. The best example is the Iron Ore Mine proposal in northern Wisconsin which was shot down because of political reasons.
Tuesday our votes will make a statement; will we welcome new businesses to Wisconsin or send them elsewhere?
What has been lost in all the political rhetoric is the intentions of the politicians being recalled. Our state and local municipalities could not afford to continue to provide the same level of service to our residents. The options were to make drastic cut backs in service which would have meant massive layoffs of teachers and public workers. Option two was huge tax increases which would have sent a bad message to business and would have stunted if not cost the state more jobs. The third and chosen option was some small shared sacrifices by public workers. This option allowed many of them to keep their jobs all the while providing the same level of service to the residents of the State of Wisconsin. In addition, it allowed individual employees to be rewarded based on their work performance. In the past these exceptional employees could not be rewarded individually for their outstanding performance. Workers were also given the opportunity to decide whether or not they wanted to be in the union. This is one of the most basic of decisions that a public worker should be allowed to make.
Since the passing of Act 10, local school boards are now able to shop their health insurance. In the past they were forced to buy the health insurance from WEA Trust. Facts have shown WEA Trust over charged the school districts tens of millions of dollars. This money could have been used to hire more teachers, reduce class sizes or provide other opportunities for our children.
Tuesday our votes will decide if we want to maintain our level of services, not have massive layoffs of public workers and do this while welcoming business to Wisconsin.
What has the last 17 months meant to Wisconsin business?
The following are some pro business bills that have passed over in the last 17 months.
- Qualified Production tax credit
- No tax hike budget
- Control and cap of property taxes
- Control of wage & benefit spending
- Capital gains exclusion for Wisconsin Investment
- A 2 year corporate income tax holiday for re-locating businesses
- Job Creation tax credit
- Tax deduction for HSA’s
- Legal reforms requiring guilt for judgment
- Comprehensive lawsuit reform
- Punitive damage limits
- Product liability time limits
- Expert witness reform
- Revamping of rules & regulations with Governor’s ability to veto new regulations
- Cost benefit analysis
- Eliminating local government’s ability to impose sick leave laws
- DNR wetland reform legislation and a complete revamp of the Departments with a focus on the tax payer as a customer
These bills have led to some major changes in the perception of our business community. A survey conducted of the Wisconsin Manufacturer’s & Commerce Business Climate in 2010 said 10% of State C-level executives think the State was headed in the right direction compared to 94% thinking we were headed in the right direction in January of 2012.
CEO Magazine released their annual rankings a few weeks ago and Wisconsin has gone from the 41st ranked State to conduct business to the 20th best in the past 2 years. This is also the most rapid ascension in the history of the Magazine.
On Tuesday our votes will decide the direction of our state. Please remember to go and vote on Tuesday!