To get Wisconsin moving again…
July 6, 2011
If there is a political consensus on one issue in these contentious times, it’s that Wisconsin’s most critical need right now is economic development and the job creation that results from business growth.
And it’s also pretty much a consensus position that transportation and economic growth go hand in hand. The Walker budget places heavy emphasis on both.
- The budget sends $160 million to the new Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to help lure new businesses to the state.
- The budget reverses the familiar and disreputable practice of raiding the transportation fund to increase spending in other areas.
- The budget moves several economically important highway projects closer to completion – the Zoo Interchange and I-94 between Milwaukee and the Illinois state line; I-39/90 in Dane and Rock counties; US 10 and Highway 441 in Calumet and Winnebago counties; Highway 15 in Outagamie county and Highway 38 in Racine and Milwaukee counties.
- The budget funds about 600 other state and local projects that will rehabilitate or replace 1,260 miles of roadway and 250 bridges throughout the state.
- The structure of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation will give the state an economic development leader that’s flexible, creative and responsive to job creation and business expansion opportunities.
Over the past two years, this newsletter has deplored the decline in manufacturing employment here in Wisconsin. That sorry trend is now reversing: through the first four months of 2011, Wisconsin has added more than 26,000 jobs with more than 13,000 in manufacturing.
By holding the line on taxes, curtailing unsustainable spending and emphasizing a private-sector style of promoting job creation, the Walker budget should accelerate the turnaround.