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Special Legislative Session Aims to Spur Job Creation

Last week, Governor Walker called a special legislative session to promote job growth in Wisconsin. This week, the Legislature is actively considering several proposals put forward by the Governor in an effort to change the way our state government approaches job creation. Below is a snapshot of each proposal and how it relates to creating and retaining jobs for Wisconsin workers. Legislative committees are currently holding public hearings, considering amendments and voting on these proposals.

Re-Organization the Department of Commerce: This proposal would turn our current Department of Commerce into a public/private partnership called the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation or WEDC. The WEDC’s exclusive purpose would be to help create jobs for Wisconsin workers. This proposal intends to encourage companies to bring jobs to Wisconsin by promoting a positive relationship between the state and businesses.

Tax Credits for Health Savings Accounts: Under this proposal, individuals would receive a state tax credit for contributions made to a Health Savings Account (HSA). By encouraging the use of HSAs, the proposal aims to assist businesses in providing affordable health care to their employees.

Regulatory Reform: This proposal would create a tighter system of checks and balances on the agency rule-making process and would require the Governor to approve all new agency rules. This proposal is an effort to ensure that elected representatives have appropriate oversight over the rules that affect job creation in this state.

Creating a More Job-Friendly Legal Environment: Commonly referred to as “tort reform,” this proposal creates a balance between protecting consumers and protecting the businesses that employ Wisconsin workers.

Tax Relief for Small Businesses: The Governor proposed that small businesses with gross annual receipts of $500,000 or less per year would receive a tax credit. The Legislature is considering modifications that would instead provide a tax credit based on actual jobs created.

Tax Relief for Businesses Relocating to Wisconsin: This proposal would create a tax credit for businesses that relocate to Wisconsin in an effort to persuade companies to bring jobs to our state.

Increasing the Amount Available for Economic Development Tax Credits: This proposal would increase the amount of tax credits available to companies creating jobs in Wisconsin by $25 million.

More Accountability for Increasing Taxes: This proposal would require a two-thirds vote by the Legislature in order to increase taxes in an effort to ensure that the potential impact of a tax increase on job creation is taken into full consideration.