As Tuesday’s elections gave the Republicans control of the Legislature and the governor’s seat, a Wisconsin business advocacy group encouraged them to pass policies that they said would further improve the state’s business climate.
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce President Scott Bauer released a statement on Wednesday praising Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature for their work in making the state more business-friendly. He added this work must continue in the next legislative session and said the national attention on the state provides a good opportunity for the state to encourage businesses to invest here.
“In 2011, Walker and the Legislature passed tax cuts, lawsuit reform and regulatory reform and balanced the budget without tax hikes,” Bauer said. “We have made unprecedented progress, and we need to keep pushing to be more competitive. … We need to seize the momentum. This is a rare opportunity, and we need to capitalize on it.”
WMC spokesperson Jim Pugh said Walker made the state more business-friendly by balancing the budget without raising taxes and implementing reforms in regulations and lawsuits.
Pugh noted legislation furthering tax cuts for businesses, as well as removing unnecessary regulation, could help Wisconsin become more pro-business in the Legislature’s next session. He added he would primarily like to see the Legislature pass a mining bill, a measure that failed during the last session.
“One of the things we are very interested in is [the] iron mining [bill for] northwestern Wisconsin,” Pugh said. “We also hope to see tax cuts to lower tax burdens, more work on the regulatory front and making regulations that are working and reasonable.”
Pugh refrained from providing specific examples of what the WMC hopes the Legislature takes action on, as he said WMD has not “finalized its public policies yet.”
Eric Peterson, spokesperson for Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, said he hopes the Legislature becomes more bipartisan next session. However, he said Republicans may not want to cooperate with his party on economic issues.
“I think we will see a ruling party that will put their ideas forward, and if the Democrats are lucky, maybe be briefed before whatever they want passed is sent down the pipe,” Peterson said.
Peterson cited last session’s mining bill as an example of partisanship slowing progress. He said the mining industry’s desire to reduce regulations may possibly impede the bipartisan efforts brought by the Senate Mining Committee Chair, Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville.
Peterson said the Democrats “offer more compelling alternatives” than Republicans, adding one of their main focuses will be ensuring economic growth as well as job training to educate people for today’s work force.
Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, also said her party would be working on creating jobs and growing the economy, calling that the party’s “number one priority.”
The way to do this, Lazich said, is having the Legislature ask job creations what they need to do to help them create jobs.
“We need to ask them if there is a way, if any, that the Wisconsin government can help,” Lazich said. “We have to ask if the government is getting in the way, and if so, how we can fix that.”
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