There is no doubt: Wisconsin, and the City of Milwaukee in particular, needs jobs. Unemployment remains high and too many struggling families are out of work.
We need to change our state laws to tear down the barriers to job creation and to make sure we attract new investment to our state.
Updating the state’s telecommunications law is a good place to start. Wisconsin can not only keep and create new jobs, but also attract private sector investment that will fuel more job creation in all sectors of our economy.
Wisconsin’s telecom law was last updated in 1994. Since then, advancements in technology have dramatically changed – and improved – our lives. Think about it. Did you have a cell phone in 1994? Do you have one now? Do you still have a landline phone in your house?
In an age of cell phones and even smart phones, our state regulations from the old rotary dial telephone era are still in place. This hurts Wisconsin’s ability to attract investment, economic development, and the deployment of new technologies.
Put simply: Wisconsin’s old laws are requiring telecommunications companies to invest resources in old technologies that consumers no longer desire, instead of investing in new technologies like broadband and wireless that consumers prefer and businesses require, and that creates jobs.
That has to change. Wisconsin needs to compete in the 21st Century economy, and can’t be held back by outdated regulations that no longer make sense and are actually hindering jobs and investment growth.
We need jobs – jobs in Wisconsin and jobs in Milwaukee.
A recent study by Wired Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Technology Council examined the impact of updating Wisconsin’s telecom law. That study found that Wisconsin would create or save 50,000 jobs alone and have an economic impact of $2.6 billion – just by modernizing its telecom law, all at no cost to the state.
Milwaukee could use those new jobs now more than ever.
Other nearby states like Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Iowa have all recently updated their laws – and they have enjoyed the jobs and investment that follow. Why not Wisconsin?
Governor-elect Walker will take office in January. He just spent the last year telling us that he wanted to bring jobs to the state. Now is the time for Governor-elect Walker to, in his own words, “put up or shut up.”
Governor-elect Walker needs to pass comprehensive telecom reform as soon as possible when the Legislature comes back in January.
We need jobs, and this is a good start.