Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
August 2005
A Good Budget for Business

Every year, my colleagues at Trek Bicycles and I would huddle to set aggressive sales targets, reaffirm our commitment to continuous improvement, and achieve maximum cost savings. Governor Jim Doyle's 2005-2007 budget reflects the same commitment to both growth and efficiency. It protects taxpayers and invests in important priorities such as education and economic development. This budget is great news for the business community. It freezes property taxes to improve our business climate, cuts spending and improves efficiency, and makes strategic investments in education and job creation. The Governor has sent a strong signal that he is serious in making Wisconsin a great place to do business.

Freezing Property Taxes
The Governor's budget freezes the average homeowner's property taxes this year and reduces them by an average of $5 next year. Over the next two years, the property tax freeze will save businesses more than $270 million. In addition, local governments will retain the ability to use Tax Incremental Financing to support businesses that create jobs

Reducing Spending/Fiscal Responsibility
Any business owner knows that to be successful, a business has to constantly innovate and become more efficient. Governor Doyle has made the same commitment, cutting state overhead by $670 million and using bulk purchasing to save $150 million on everything from paper clips to photocopiers. This budget also consolidates back-office functions, which will result in further savings as we go forward.

Investing in Education and Economic Development
One of Wisconsin's foremost competitive advantages is the high quality of our schools. Our school system provides Wisconsin businesses with one of the most productive workforces in the nation. The Governor's budget makes a strategic investment in K-12 education, allowing a modest 3-percent increase in spending. By contrast, the Republican budget would have forced devastating cuts, including laying off 4,000 teachers, increasing class sizes, and forcing cuts in programs like music, art, and athletics

The Governor also approved targeted investments in economic development. He increased the number of Enterprise Development Zones from 81 to 98, freeing up $120 million in existing tax credits for new job-creation projects. The budget makes a $2 million investment in worker training for use by Wisconsin businesses through our technical college system. Additional commitments include $3.8 million for tourism marketing and $5 million in biobased industry. Altogether, Governor Doyle's budget makes prudent investments consistent with Wisconsin values while promoting fiscal responsibility. It's a budget that would make my former business colleagues proud.

--Mary P. Burke, Secretary

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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