In his eighth State of the State Address, Governor Jim Doyle outlined proposals to build the economy, create jobs and provide property tax relief for homeowners, while protecting key priorities like education and health care and helping those hardest hit by the struggling national economy.
“I stand before you tonight at a difficult time in America’s history,” Governor Doyle said. “We have been hit hard by an economic crisis – the depths of which we have not seen since the Great Depression. I have a year left as Governor, and I want to be very clear about what my top priority will be. I will do everything I can to help our businesses create jobs and give our workers the opportunities to get those jobs. Nothing is more important.”
2009 Business Success Stories
The Governor thanked Speaker Sheridan, Majority Leader Decker and all the legislators who passed his most recent budget that created some of the strongest economic development tools in the nation. Wisconsin now has powerful new tax credits to help manufacturers create and retain jobs, new tools to help investors create startups, and new incentives to spur research and development. Wisconsin now ranks 30 in business taxes, one of the best business tax environments in the nation.
As a result of these tax credits, numerous companies expanded or moved operations from other states to Wisconsin in 2009, including Republic Airways in Milwaukee, Oshkosh Corp., ULINE and ACCO Brands Corp. in Pleasant Prairie, Herman Miller in Sheboygan, Enzymatic Therapy in Green Bay, A&E Incorporated in Racine, Actuant Corp. in Menomonee Falls, and Integrated Genomics and Exact Sciences in Madison. Eight biotech companies relocated to Wisconsin from Minnesota, Massachusetts, Colorado, and Florida.
Governor Doyle Outlines Job Creation Efforts
“Our country will emerge from this recession and when that happens, Wisconsin is positioned for the future,” Governor Doyle said. “We are helping our bedrock industries like agriculture and manufacturing. But we must also seize the opportunity to grow a strong new part of our economy in clean energy.”
During his State of the State Address, Governor Doyle unveiled the Wisconsin Green to Gold Fund, a $100 million revolving loan fund for manufacturers to reduce their energy costs, improve their bottom line and create jobs. The Governor will also invest $1.75 million through the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership to help small and mid-sized manufacturers use sustainable practices to give them a competitive edge.
Governor Doyle called on the Legislature to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act, building on state successes to develop a clean energy economy. The bill will strengthen the state’s renewable portfolio standards to generate 25 percent of our energy from renewable sources by 2025. And it will reduce energy consumption by 2 percent by 2015 by improving efficiency for businesses and homes. The plan would create 15,000 jobs in Wisconsin.
Several Wisconsin companies that are creating clean energy jobs were recognized, including Tower Tech, Nature Tech, Energy Performance Specialists, The Crave Brothers, Virent, Johnson Controls, Orion Energy, Kohler, Cardinal Glass, Waukesha Electric, ZBB Energy, Helios USA, Renewegy, and Wind Capital Group.
“We were one of the first states to enact renewable portfolio standards,” Governor Doyle said. “As a result, we’ve seen a rapid expansion in renewable energy production and real growth in clean energy jobs. Let’s not let partisanship get in the way of passing this bill and making Wisconsin a leader in the clean energy economy.”
Governor Doyle also called on the Legislature to pass the Wisconsin CORE Jobs Act to provide millions in tax credits for angel and venture capital investments, and called for the passage of the Southeast Regional Transit Authority (RTA) bill. Last week, the Governor joined CEOs from southeast Wisconsin’s biggest companies to highlight the importance of an RTA for businesses.
To create jobs in the state’s agriculture industry, Governor Doyle called on the Legislature to extend the expired dairy modernization tax credit to help hard-pressed dairy farmers position their businesses for future growth. He also called for a Food Processing Modernization Tax Credit to allow companies to invest in new technologies, find savings, expand their operations and create jobs.
Governor Doyle Calls for Passage of BadgerCare Basic to Help Struggling Families
Under Governor Doyle’s leadership, Wisconsin has also emerged as a national leader in health care, despite difficult national economic times. Through the Governor’s BadgerCare Plus program, every child in Wisconsin has health coverage. In 2009, Governor Doyle created the BadgerCare Core program for adults who work in lowincome jobs but don’t have children, but the program had to be capped to stay within budget. Last week, Governor Doyle unveiled BadgerCare Basic, a self-funded program providing basic care for those on the Core waiting list.
“If I have to choose between making sure people can see a doctor and get the medication they need – at no cost to taxpayers — or worrying whether the insurance companies might be upset … to me, that’s an easy choice,” Governor Doyle said. “I’m standing with the people of Wisconsin who desperately need health care.”
Governor Doyle Calls for Property Tax Relief for Homeowners
Governor Doyle called on the Legislature to begin the process of amending the uniformity clause in the state Constitution to focus property tax relief on homeowners. Wisconsin is one of only a handful of states that is prevented from directing property tax relief solely to homeowners.
Since taking office, Governor Doyle has improved Wisconsin’s tax ranking dramatically, moving the state from the 4th highest taxed state to 15th today. When considering taxes and fees, Wisconsin’s ranking improves to 24th. The state’s tax ranking has fallen for six consecutive years – unprecedented in state history.
Governor Doyle Protects Education, Calls for MPS Reform
Under Governor Doyle’s leadership, the state has improved access to four year old kindergarten, reduced class sizes, increased school breakfast, provided students the opportunity go to college through the Wisconsin Covenant, nearly tripled financial aid and adopted the highest standards to better assess student achievement.
The state has made large investments in Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), directing more than $5.2 billion to the district under Governor Doyle. The state and federal governments now fund 80 percent of the MPS budget. Yet test scores show Milwaukee consistently ranks at the bottom of urban districts in the country.
“It is becoming harder and harder for the people who are fighting to defend the status quo,” Governor Doyle. “We need a superintendent appointed by the mayor who will have a clear mission of reform and the ability to drive real change, day after day, month after month, year after year. Only this Legislature can make this change. If you do not act now, you will be picking up the pieces of a broken school system within a few years and failing children who desperately need your help.”