Growing Wisconsin’s Economy

 By Rep. Travis Tranel

Over the past year, I have worked to lower the burden government places on our citizens and job creators so that we can get our state’s economy back on track.    For the most part, our local economy seems to be taking steps in the right direction.  According to the Department of Workforce Development, Grant County’s unemployment rate has seen a significant decline over the past year.  The unemployment rate has dropped from 7.4 percent last January to 5.2 percent in the latest November report.  
This is a positive sign for Southwest Wisconsin and a testament to the hard working people I represent.   Jobs and improving our state’s economy will continue to be my main focus going forward.  This year I am supporting legislation that will help our veterans find jobs, encourage private sector job creation, and grow agricultural jobs. 
Helping veterans who have served and sacrificed for our freedoms is very important in a challenging economy.  This is why I am co-sponsoring three bills that are geared toward helping our veterans find jobs once their service has been completed.   
The first veterans bill will give tax credits to employers who hire disabled veterans and will have an emphasis on full-time and long-term employment (AB 437).  The second bill will require state examining boards, the Department of Safety and Professional Services, and other boards and departments to put greater emphasis on military experience when evaluating qualifications for professional licensure and certification (AB 438).  The final bill will modify Wisconsin’s disabled veterans appointment program. State departments will be allowed to appoint a disabled veteran on a non-competitive basis to any position in classified civil service for which they are qualified (AB 428). 
My hope is that the bills will have strong bi-partisan support and quickly pass through both houses of the legislature early this session.   Helping our veterans will continue to be a high priority.
This week the state legislature will move the proposed iron mining legislation forward.   The legislation offers a significant opportunity to encourage private enterprise to create hundreds of good paying jobs in Northern Wisconsin.   These jobs are desperately needed and will help support families by lowering the regions extremely high unemployment rate.  
However, it is important that responsible safeguards are in place to protect the environment.   It is possible to utilize our state’s natural iron ore resources in an environmentally responsible manner with reasonable state oversight.  I am hopeful that both Democrats and Republicans will come together to work out a bi-partisan compromise on the bill.  This bill will help get people working again and make Wisconsin’s economy stronger for decades to come.
Finally, the state’s agricultural community received some very good news two weeks ago, when Governor Walker announced that he would authorize new rules allowing Wisconsin’s specialty meat processors to sell their products across state lines for the first time.   Local small businesses like Weber Meats and Hauber’s Processing Inc. will now be able to sell their high quality products to new customers outside Wisconsin.   Expanding to new markets will help our local economies by bringing out-of-state dollars back to Wisconsin and facilitate job creation in the agricultural sector. 
As Vice Chairman of the Assembly Agricultural Committee, I strongly supported authorizing and funding ten additional meat inspectors for our state.  This helped pave the way for the Governor to approve this important rule change.  I will be fully supporting the approval of the new rules by the legislature.
It is an honor and privilege to represent the people of the 49th Assembly district.   I will continue to work with my legislative colleagues to find positive ways to improve our state and move Wisconsin forward.