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GOVERNMENT there seems some redundancy in state government. I question the role of the DPI and why the powers and funding from the DPI wouldn’t be better diverted to the local levels at the local school board. I do believe there is much redundancy in the state government and our state would be better served by diverting Madison control back to the local where possible and feasible. This would result in saving money and better manage our precious resources and make our government delivering less bureaucracy. 4. Hintz: The first step should be to not make things worse. Unfortunately, the 2011-2013 budget put Wisconsin on a financially unstable course that begs for revisiting recent legislative decisions. For example, tax credits can play an important part in stimulating growth if they are targeted and accountable. However, the special session in January 2011 included an untargeted jobs credit of $92 to $310 for any business that hires anyone for any job, not enough to provide a hiring incentive but a nice gift that cost the State $33.5 million. Repeal of combined reporting gave a few large national corporations tax breaks of $46.8 million by re-opening a loophole allowing them to avoid paying state taxes. Lastly, the new Domestic Production Credit has the potential to eventually reduce any tax liability for selected businesses without any link to job creation. The cost estimate is $44.2 million in FY2013 but more than $128.7 million every year after 2015. We need to make more intelligent use of tax credits. In the short term, postponing or cancelling projects that have been authorized but not started would be my primary recommendation. If not sufficient, then across-the-board reductions with Administration discretion for critical services might be necessary. In the longer term, the State needs to establish a stabilization fund to cover fluctuations in revenues. It can support this fund by (1) dealing with the labor skill gap to generate economic development, (2) using public resources more efficiently, and (3) creating a 2lst Century tax system to stabilize revenues without changing tax rates.

Assembly District 55

(Includes Neenah, town of Grand Chute and portions of Appleton and northern Winnebago County) 1. Kaufert: We have taken many positive steps forward over the past two years by passing economic, regulatory, and tax reforms that have improved Wisconsin’s business climate and made our state a more attractive place to do business and create jobs. We eliminated a $3.6 billion budget deficit without raising taxes, paid down our state debt, enacted a property tax freeze, passed a job creation tax credit for creating new jobs, reduced the tax on investment income, and created the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. charged with attracting new businesses to our state and creating jobs. These reforms have helped to significantly improve Wisconsin’s business climate. According to a Chief Executive Magazine survey, Wisconsin has moved up a nation best 21 spots in their ranking of best states to do business in since 2010 (from 41st to 20th). By comparison, our neighbor Illinois ranks 48th. There is still more that can be done. We need to maintain a balanced state budget which has improved our credit rating.


PROFILE Name: Dean Kaufert (R) Incumbent Residence: Neenah Job: Former retailer and small business owner. Political experience: Currently in 11th term in the Wisconsin Assembly, elected in 1990; City of Neenah Common Council from 1985 to 1991. Education: Neenah High School Web site:

I support passage of mining legislation, and believe we also need to work toward reforming our income tax system. 2. Kaufert: I supported and co-sponsored the Assembly mining legislation to streamline and modernize the permitting process for iron mining in Wisconsin. This legislation passed the Assembly, but failed in the State Senate last year. Mining legislation should be brought forward again next session. These common sense reforms have the potential to create thousands of good paying jobs in our state, directly in northern Wisconsin, but also throughout the entire state in industries that are necessary to support and supply a mine. This can be done safely where there are proper safeguards to ensure that the environment is protected, but at the same time make it feasible for a mining company to operate and invest in Wisconsin. 3. Kaufert: Last session, we enacted landmark tort reform legislation, Special Session SB 1, during the January 2011 Special Session on Job Creation called by Governor Walker. This legislation was a significant step forward in creating a more fair and reasonable liability climate in Wisconsin. We need to consider further reforms that would help allow defendants to seek cost repayment from plaintiffs who file frivolous lawsuits against them. 4. Kaufert: Because of the economic development initiatives passed by Governor Walker and the legislature over the past two years that have started to move our economy back in the right direction, Wisconsin now actually has a projected budget surplus of $274.1 million dollars and another $125.4 million in our Budget Stabilization Fund, or “rainy day” fund, according the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. We need to continue efforts to reduce waste and fraud and to make government run more efficiently.

State Senate District 18

(Includes most of Fond du Lac and Winnebago counties, including all of the 52nd, 53rd and 54th Assembly Districts) 1. King: In July, I requested the creation of a Senate Committee on Venture Capital to restart talks on the development of a Wisconsin venture capital fund. I believe it is essential to restart our efforts to develop, promote, and leverage early stage investment capital in Wisconsin. We have a strong tradition of entrepreneurship and small business growth is the economic future of Wisconsin. We have sophisticated science and information technology under development throughout the state

October 2012  

Regional business magazine