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How to make jobs top focus in 2010

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Jim Haney
January 14, 2010

It is time to act in bold ways to improve Wisconsinís business climate and create jobs! The quality of life we enjoy in Wisconsin hinges on assuring a strong economy with a growing job base.


The global economic recession has hit Wisconsin hard. More than 120,000 jobs have been lost in our state during this recession, and beyond this many people are underemployed. Most experts are predicting it may take years to restore the jobs lost during this deep, lengthy recession. As the national economy improves, Wisconsin will have to compete with other states to be sure jobs are retained and new jobs created in our state.


Unfortunately, Wisconsinís business climate is rated low on most national surveys. We must act to transform the Wisconsin business environment to create jobs!


States ranked with a more robust business climate have:


--Tax systems that are low, fair, and simple to administer.


--Business-friendly regulatory systems that issue needed permits quickly and efficiently.


--Fair and predictable civil justice systems.


--Aggressive programs that bring together the resources of government and education to assist existing businesses with expansion, as well as recruiting new businesses.


All Wisconsin residents have a stake in improving the Wisconsin business climate. A strong, free-market economy provides the tax base necessary to support governmentís role in educating, building infrastructure, protecting the environment and caring for the needy.


Private business is the engine of prosperity, not government. We must position Wisconsin to lead the national recovery or risk further stagnation and decline.


Three game-changing priorities are the key to this transformation. Adopting these priorities and taking actions to implement them will demonstrate that Wisconsin is serious about becoming the most competitive state in the nation.


Wisconsin Jobs 2010 Agenda
Living within our means

Controlling government spending means more money in consumersí pockets and enables business to create more jobs for our families. We need to limit government spending and provide tax relief for individuals and businesses. That starts by:


--Putting limits on government spending increases and setting aside money for a rainy-day fund.


--Balancing the state budget under generally accepted accounting principles.


--Sending a message to the world that Wisconsin is open for business by repealing recently enacted tax increases and providing incentives for job creation.


Unleashing private investment

When employers are burdened with unnecessary regulation, it costs us jobs. Fair regulations keep us safe; unfair regulations and regulatory delays lead to slower growth and higher unemployment. That starts by:


--Ensuring state regulations are in line with federal regulations and those in competitive states.


--Establishing the Department of Commerce as the central business permitting agency, charged with quickly and aggressively securing all needed approvals for economic development.


Ensuring justice for all

Everyone deserves a day in court. A fair legal system provides a stable climate for job creation. But frivolous lawsuits and other lawsuit abuse hampers job creation. That starts by:


--Enacting comprehensive product liability and other legal reforms.


--Establishing strict limits on punitive damage awards.


Jim Haney is president of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which represents 3,500 businesses in Wisconsin. WMC is dedicated to making Wisconsin the most competitive state in the nation. Mailing address: 501 E. Washington Ave., Madison, WI 53703; phone (608) 258-3400; Web site wmc.org; e-mail jhaney@wmc.org.

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