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Fall Session will be about Jobs
With the recalls now over, the Legislature can finally return to the top issue still facing Wisconsin: creating jobs and improving the economy.
It’s important to note the incredible accomplishments we’ve already made this session:
·         A series of pro-jobs legislation in the special session on jobs at the start of the session, including targeted tax breaks for small businesses;
·         The creation of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), a public-private partnership replacing the Department of Commerce, with the sole purpose of focusing on the economy;
·         Balancing the state budget without raising taxes, sending a positive signal to job creators looking to grow or relocate to Wisconsin;
·         Turning a $3 billion structural deficit into a surplus in six months;
·         Freezing property taxes and passing the first permanent property tax cap in WI history; and
·         Seeing real results in the real world, including:
o       Lower jobless rate than the national average, as well as surrounding states Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan;
o       A 17-point jump in CEO Magazine’s ranking of business-friendly states, the greatest one-year increase in the magazine’s history; and
o       Significant improvement in the WMC 2011 Economic Outlook survey, in which 88 percent of CEOs surveyed said Wisconsin was on the right track, up from a dismal 10% last year.
But there’s much work to be done.  The fluctuating national economy still shows cause for concern, and the protests and recalls have given businesses unnecessary reason to worry about the stability of Wisconsin’s political environment. 
The Republican Fall Agenda is going to reflect Wisconsin's top priority: jobs.
Waste, Fraud and Abuse Commission Meets
Last week, the governor’s Commission on Waste, Fraud and Abuse met to discuss topics including the state’s Unemployment Insurance program.
The commission cited a backlog in claims due to the faltering economy and sharp increase in applicants, as well as turnover in the agency itself. 
DWD estimated that it recovers an estimated 78 percent of improper payments or overpayments, but 22 percent “falls through the cracks” and requires greater oversight to alleviate the problem.  DWD also requested the one-week waiting period for new UI payments as a method to combat fraud and improper payments.
DWD recommended an increase in staff, education and technology (estimated at a cost of $35 million) to address the problems.
2011 List of Top Financial Scams
The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions has released the 2011 list of top financial scams.  The financial scams list is compiled yearly by the North American Securities Administrators Association.
This year’s list includes: distressed real estate schemes; energy investments; gold and precious metal investments; promissory notes; and securitized life settlement contracts
To read more about the report please visit this link.
Please remember that if you feel you’ve been targeted by scams, both financial and otherwise, you should call my office.  We may be able to offer some assistance.


Wednesday, August 31st marks the next quarterly deadline to register for Wisconsin's Do Not Call List.
Signing up for the Do Not Call List will significantly reduce the number of unwanted and unsolicited phone calls you receive from telemarketers.

You can sign up for the list by clicking here or by calling 1-866-966-2255 toll free in Wisconsin.
Those who sign up on or before August 31st will be part of the updated list, which takes effect October 1st.
Signing up is fast, easy and free, and you can register home phones and cellular phones.
The Do Not Call List is maintained by the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and your phone number and personal information will not be used for any purpose other than keeping pesky telemarketers away.

Please note that you must renew your spot on the list every two years, and many other questions can be answered at the program's FAQ page.
Forestry Committee Update
Wisconsin Top State for Forestry Industry Jobs and Products
Statement issued by Office of Governor Scott Walker
If there was ever any question that Wisconsin is a major player in the forest products industry, a recent study by the American Forest and Paper Association puts that question to rest. According to the association’s June report Wisconsin is number one among states in forestry jobs employing 56,533 workers, and in economic value of wood and paper products shipped at a combined total of $16,201,241,000.
In recent years, all of Wisconsin’s state and county owned forests and much of the privately owned forests have been third-party certified as being sustainably managed according to widely accepted forestry practices and standards. National and worldwide demand for certified forest products is growing steadily and manufactures are eager to find sources of certified wood for their products.
"Wisconsin's national leadership in forest certification has helped propel us to the nation’s top spot as employers and producers of forest products,” said Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. “Certification has without doubt helped the state's forest industry weather the recession and compete in the global marketplace. The forest industry has been and continues to be one of Wisconsin’s great economic engines and this report verifies that fact. I look forward to further conversations with industry leaders on how we can maintain this momentum by building stronger relationships and putting the tools in place for even more growth in forest-based jobs and products.”
The Badger state holds a comfortable lead over the second place state, Pennsylvania, in forest jobs, besting that state’s forest employment by more than 3,300 jobs and has a $2.2 billion lead in shipped forest products.
 “Wisconsin and the forest industry have been linked since the days of settlement when Wisconsin forests supplied lumber that built the great cities of the upper Midwest,” said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. “The paper industry also grew along with Wisconsin and today, over 100 years later, we remain a leader in forest based jobs and forest products. Productive, well managed forests also provide abundant wildlife populations, clean air, clean water and a variety of recreational opportunities,”
“Wisconsin has aggressively sought certification for its forests,” adds Stepp. “State, county and private forest owners enrolled in the Managed Forest Law program have practiced sustainable forest management for decades. Gaining certification was relatively easy and is a great testament to our long term vision for Wisconsin’s forests and the jobs they support.”
In the News this week…
Around the Country
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Illinois raising tolls 88% on average.
Around the State
In Case You Missed It
Fmr. Sen. Plale Appointed to Railroads Commissioner
Scocos Appointed to DVA Secretary
Great Read of the Week
National Review: Expect the Unexpectedly
It is the most common adverb of the Obama years: “unexpectedly.”
·         “Sales of U.S. previously owned homes unexpectedly dropped in July,” reported Bloomberg.
·         “Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region unexpectedly contracted in August by the most in more than two years as orders plunged and factories shed workers,”reported Bloomberg Businessweek.
·         “Consumer spending unexpectedly fell in June,” reported Reuters.
·         “Dismal economic data on Thursday pointed to an unexpectedly abrupt slowdown in manufacturing and a pickup in inflation,” reported the New York Times’ business page.
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