When the new legislative session began in January 2011, the State Legislature’s top priority was creating an environment favorable to job growth in Wisconsin. During the last eight months, we have worked hard to get our state’s fiscal house in order. A $3.6 billion state budget deficit has been eliminated and jobs are being created in communities across the state.
Examples of this new job growth are evident in Western Wisconsin. Last week, 3M announced the expansion of their Menomonie facility, which will add 25 new, high-paying jobs to the community. OEM Fabricators is also expanding their facilities, which will create 50 new jobs in Woodville. In July, Schaffer Manufacturing broke ground on their new addition that will bring 20 jobs to Milltown. Also, AP Supply in Osceola is on track to hire 50 new employees by the end of the year. These new family-sustaining jobs in our region are a good start, but we need more to reverse the effects of the recession we have experienced.
The special session job creation bills that were passed earlier this session have already had a positive effect on our state. By passing those bills, the State Legislature has put Wisconsin on a path to improve our economy. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is below the national average of 9.1 percent and lower than each of the surrounding states of Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.
However, even as we make gains, Wisconsin's unemployment rate remains too high at 7.8 percent. This means the upcoming fall agenda is going to continue to reflect our state’s top priority - jobs. I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues on both sides of the aisle to develop legislative proposals aimed at improving Wisconsin’s overall economic opportunities in order to encourage job growth in the private sector.
Do you have any suggestions for job growth opportunities or economic development? Please stay in touch by calling my office at 1-800-862-1092 or sending me an e-mail to Sen.Harsdorf@legis.wi.gov