State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
Jobs. That is the #1 concern of Wisconsinites today. It should have been the #1 concern of the just-completed general legislative session. Sadly, job creation and improving our dismal business climate was not a high priority. The legislature did little, if anything to strengthen economy.
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue reports the state lost over 163,000 jobs since the beginning of the recession during 2007. The Legislature has done nothing, or too little too late, to spur job growth or jump start our sluggish economy. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development reports between January 2009 and January 2010,
Our state business climate remains one of the worst in the nation. The nonpartisan Tax Foundation in
During March 2009, shortly after the general legislative session began, businesspeople told
The task force was developed by legislative Republicans during 2009 after the
Thirty-three business leaders from around the state testified at the Task Force meeting, and legislators listened. The meeting that I attended gave businesspeople an opportunity to share their valuable expertise about what is wrong with the state’s business climate and what must be done to rejuvenate our slumping economy.
I heard comments like, “We’re at war!” and “I’m in business. That doesn’t make me GM or AIG.” One business person was so frustrated, she told the Task Force, “I’m not some faceless bastard. I’m a capitalist.”
I was struck by the number of scathing remarks about state government’s hostile attitude toward and treatment of business. The most complimentary comment came from one businessman saying there is a “misunderstanding” in
Laurie Bucaro of Fun Things Toy Service in
“We’re being demonized as businesspeople for making profits. That’s wrong. We’re making jobs,” said Al Schmitz of Schmitz Ready Mix in
“I encourage you to put a face on real businesspeople,” implored Sue Szymczak of Safeway Sling in
Rich Hacker, the General Manager of Engineered Pump Services in Mukwonago said, “Let me keep more of my money and I’ll invest it and hire people.” David Kliber, the President/CEO of SF Analytical Laboratories Inc. in
Following statewide listening sessions, the task force incorporated their suggestions from businesspeople into a comprehensive report Including numerous recommendations to jump start the state economy and business climate. Here are some of the recommendations:
Reduce the Personal Income Tax
Repeal 11% Employer Tax Hike Passed in February 2009
Freeze property taxes
Simplify and Streamline Tax Code
Stop the increase in the Capital Gains Tax
Reduce the Tax Burden on Expansion/Retooling
Freeze on new regulations
Expediting the permitting process
Bring State Regulations in line with Federal Regulations
Stop the “Brain Drain”
Help small businesses afford health insurance
Reform the Medicaid
Guarantee reasonable caps on non-economic damages for
medical malpractice cases
Stop raids on Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund
Don’t increase the Wage Claim Lien
Don’t increase the state minimum wage above the federal minimum
Don’t increase auto insurance costs
The majority party ignored the cries for help from representatives of the business community that told the Task Force their sales are down, revenues are down, hours worked are down; however taxes, fees, insurance, inflation, health care, and advertising are all up.
During the recession,
State businesses, faced with trying to compete in a hostile business climate, have few options. They can move their business to another, more favorable location. Or they can stay and work hard not to pass on additional taxes and fees to their consumers.
One of the questions businesspeople were asked to consider during the roundtable discussion was, “What does state government currently do right to help job growth?” None of the attendees was able to furnish an answer.
The message is clear. We must create a friendlier environment for business in