One of the keys to the future of our state’s economy is setting and meeting goals. For too long, politicians and bureaucrats have taken the state’s economy for granted and delayed action until a business was on the verge of declaring bankruptcy or moving to a new state. Instead of reacting to each crisis as it comes, I will develop strategies for creating 250,000 new jobs and 10,000 new businesses by 2015.
These goals will guide every decision made by my administration; every initiative that’s undertaken and every program that’s administered will be examined for its effect on jobs. Every decision must be considered in the context of what it means for job creation and economic recovery. Specifically, there are six things we must do to make Wisconsin economically competitive with other states:
We must lower the heavy tax burden that prevents businesses from investing in facilities and payrolls and instead forces them to consider relocating to tax-friendly states like South Dakota or Texas. Repealing job-killing tax increases will unleash our employers to hire new workers. We must lower the tax burden for all individuals and job creators. Specifically, we can lower the tax on early stage and investment capital to make it more accessible to Wisconsin employers that want to stay in Wisconsin and expand while also luring start-ups to our state. My Administration will also work to make Wisconsin a highly attractive place to start a business by eliminating corporate taxes for the first two years of operation. Finally, I will work to begin phasing out the state tax on retirement income to help keep investment capital in Wisconsin instead of watching it go to states like Florida and Arizona.
Eliminate Red Tape
Of all the reasons a business may have for not creating new jobs, bureaucratic hassles should never be one of them. Regulations should be science based and predictable; should be written in simple, easy to understand terms; and employers should have a one-stop-shop for understanding the regulations that affect them. With new rules in place, I will demand that state employees end their “gotcha” mentality and instead focus on helping job creators comply and get their applications approved.
I will require permit applications to be reviewed in a timely and predictable manner, rather than the game playing that often happens now. My administration will reform the permitting process to require state agencies to review permit applications within 60 days of receipt. If the application is not approved or denied by the agency within 180 days of receipt, the application will be presumed approved. These reforms will put the government’s focus back on encouraging job growth instead of stifling it.
End Frivolous Lawsuits That Kill Jobs
For too many years, policy decisions in Madison have been designed to make it easier for trial lawyers in search of deep pockets to sue. I will push for legal reforms so that instead of defending frivolous lawsuits, businesses can invest in their operations and workers.
Improve the Education of Tomorrow’s Workforce
Any successful economic development strategy will require a strong integration of the private sector and our educational institutions. Despite the national recession, job creators still report difficulty finding enough highly qualified workers in all industries. This is why we must ensure that investments in our schools align with our job creation goals. Course offerings at our universities and technical colleges should be aligned with industry clusters and credits between schools must be easily transferable. Curriculum must have a better balance of employment-based learning and liberal arts so our graduates are “job-ready.” Internships and apprenticeships should be expanded for both college and high school students.
We must also leverage new technology to increase online learning to allow students across Wisconsin to have access to world-class educators and industry leaders in other parts of the state. To ensure we can retain and recruit top quality educators, we must reform the system to reward excellent teachers, mentor struggling teachers and replace failing teachers.
Make Health Care Affordable
Health care costs are often the fastest rising part of an employer’s budget. Creating jobs can’t happen without controlling health care costs. My plan focuses on getting patients the treatment they need, when they need it by eliminating government red tape that increases cost, giving families more control of their health care decisions and fighting to opt-out of the job-killing health care bill passed by Congress.
Demanding more cost and quality information be provided to patients and employers will lower costs by increasing choices. Focusing on paying for positive health outcomes, not simply for the volume of procedures, will eliminate the perverse incentives in our system to order unnecessary procedures that drive costs up for families and employers. Finally, by eliminating the state tax on Health Savings Accounts, we can make it easier for small business owners to provide health insurance to their employees.
Invest in Infrastructure
Reliable and affordable transportation and energy are crucial to rebuilding Wisconsin’s economy and competing in a global marketplace. We must diversify our energy supply based on a balance of cost and sound science with an eye toward environmental impact. We should lift Wisconsin’s nuclear moratorium to encourage this clean energy option and ensure that we continue to invest in energy transmission to move power from outside Wisconsin across the state.
We must also get back to the basics of planning for transportation projects, funding common sense projects and ending the raids on the Transportation Fund so we can adequately maintain our roads and bridges. Wisconsin has a competitive advantage in the Midwest due to our transportation system that we can’t afford to lose.
To attract job creators, Wisconsin must also ensure it has a world class telecommunications network. My Administration will seek to update telecommunications laws to encourage competition and lower prices through a fair and competitive marketplace for all telecommunications providers. By giving Wisconsin consumers choices, we can encourage the kind of innovation it will take to build a 21st century economy.
From Scott Walker's website: http://www.scottwalker.org/issues/jobs