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Revenue secretary says Wisconsin is poised for growth

Members of the St. Croix Economic Development Corp. listen to a message from Revenue Secretary Richard Chandler that Wisconsin's business climate has undergone significant improvement under Gov. Scott Walker. Photo by Randy Hanson1 / 2
Wisconsin Department of Revenue Secretary Richard Chandler addresses members of St. Croix Economic Development Corp. in a meeting at the county Government Center last week. Deputy Secretary Jack Jablonski, right, a UW-River Falls grad and former chief of staff for state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, accompanied Chandler. Photo by Randy Hanson2 / 2

The business climate in Wisconsin has improved significantly since Gov. Scott Walker came into office in January 2011, Department of Revenue Secretary Richard Chandler told members of the St. Croix Economic Development Corp. in a meeting last week.

Chandler highlighted the major tax changes adopted by the Legislature and signed into law by Walker as part of the state budget and a special session on jobs.

"Traditionally, in Wisconsin we have had a reputation for having an outstanding workforce and a very good education system. We haven't always had a reputation for having a competitive tax climate," Chandler said.

He said that had changed as a result of the 2011 action by the Legislature and governor.

The biggest incentive for business expansion adopted was a tax credit for income derived from manufacturing and agricultural property located in the state, he said.

The credit will be phased in starting at 1.875 percent in 2013 and reach the top level of 7.5 percent in 2016. Considering that the tax rate for business income is 7.9 percent, the credit is a significant incentive, he said.

Chandler said manufacturing and agricultural businesses were chosen to be eligible for the credit because they are a driver for the rest of the state's economy.

"If those sectors do well, every other sector is going to do well," he said.

The revenue secretary spoke for about half an hour in the last Tuesday afternoon, May 8, meeting in the St. Croix County Board Room.

It was the day of the recall primary election and marked the official beginning of the recall election race between Democratic challenger Tom Barrett and Gov. Walker, a Republican. The election is June 5.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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