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Capitol Update Vol. 1 Issue 4

This Week in the Legislature

This week in the legislature the Assembly moved forward on several fronts:

1) Expanded School Choice - The legislature passed a bill that will expand school choice in Milwaukee County.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/wisconsin-state-assembly-passes-bipartisan-school-choice-expansion-121700293.html
http://www.federationforchildren.org/articles/321

2) Telecommunications Deregulation - The legislature passed a bill that provides deregulation in the telecommunication industry that recognizes the changes in communication technology. The bill updates Wisconsin 20th century regulations in order to provide an environment that expands our new 21st century technology.

http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2011/5/12/state-legislature-passes-telecom-deregulation

3) Voter ID - Voter ID is now required in Wisconsin. The much needed reform is imperative to protecting the integrity of our voting process.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/12/us-wisconsin-voter-id-idUSTRE74B0WR20110512

If you have any questions regarding these important moves forward for our state, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Rep.Kooyenga@legis.wi.gov     608.266.9180

I would like to invite everyone to a Listening Session/Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, May 18th at the Safety Building in Brookfield, 2100 N Calhoun Road.  The meeting will take place in the Municipal Courtroom at 7 PM. 

Below you will find some encouraging news regarding the economic status of our state.

Wisconsin Jumps 17 Spots in Business Ranking

Wisconsin Saw Greatest Improvement in Survey of CEOs

As reported by
http://chiefexecutive.net/best-worst-states-for-business

Today, a ranking of the best and worst states for business was released by Chief Executive Magazine, which was based on a survey of more than 500 CEOs who considered a criteria ranging from taxation and regulation to workforce quality and living environment. This annual ranking shows that Wisconsin, who in 2010 was ranked the 41st best state to do business in, jumped more than any other state in the nation to the 24th best state in 2011.

According to Chief Executive Magazine: Wisconsin and Louisiana posted the two biggest gains since 2010…

By contrast, Illinois has dropped 40 places in five years and is now in a death spiral. Its bond ranking is 49th, ahead of only California. The state may play host to fugitive state senators from nearby Wisconsin and Indiana who avoid voting in their home legislatures, but businesses are heading for the exits.

Business leaders graded the states on a variety of categories grouped under taxation and regulation, workforce quality and living environment. “Do not overtax business,” offered one CEO. “Make sure your tax scheme does not drive business to another state. Have a regulatory environment and regulators that encourage good business—not one that punishes businesses for minor infractions.”

Not surprisingly, states with punitive tax and regulatory regimes are punished with lower rankings, and this can offset even positive scores on quality of living environment. While state incentives are always welcome, what CEOs often seek are areas with consistent policies and regulations that allow them to plan, as well as intangible factors such as a state’s overall attitude toward business and the work ethic of its population… Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels slowed state government payrolls to the point where Indiana has the nation’s fewest state employees per capita. In addition, while at least 35 states raised taxes during the recession, Indiana cut them. These are some of the actions that encourage business leaders.

As another CEO respondent remarked, “We need some political backbone to control spending, address out-of-control debts, and use common sense on environmental and other governmental regulations. Quit demonizing businesses. Who do they think provide real jobs?”

Three Major Credit Rating Agencies Affirm Wisconsin's Ratings

As reported by GOVPress@wisconsin.gov

The three major credit agencies have all affirmed their credit ratings for the state of Wisconsin. Moody’s affirmed its Aa2 rating, Fitch affirmed its AA rating, and Standard & Poor’s will affirm its AA rating.

“Having our bond rating confirmed is great news for Wisconsin taxpayers that will keep debt payments lower,” said Governor Scott Walker. “It also shows the importance of a fiscally responsible budget, paying off the bills that we inherited and making the hard choices in this budget.”

In Fitch’s release they noted Wisconsin’s broad and diverse economy with considerable economic resources. They also take note of the progress made in the Governor’s proposed budget toward addressing the state’s structural deficit.

Moody’s wrote that the Aa2 general obligation bond rating “reflects the state’s improved liquidity position…as well as the fully funded pension system.” They note that “the state’s ability to make progress toward structural budget balance and improve its liquidity and fund balances will be important to future credit analyses.”