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Wisconsin auto dealers say state will suffer if auto industry fails

Congress got turned off this week when executives from the Big Three auto makers rode their private jets to Washington to beg for federal money.

But Kenosha car dealer Andy Palmen says lots of everyday people outside the auto plants would suffer if the domestic industry collapses.

He and 30 other dealers tried to send that message personally this week when they spent two days lobbying in Washington.

Twenty-five billion dollars in federal loans were delayed, and congressional leaders told the auto executives to show exactly how the money would make them viable.

They said action is possible in December.

Palmen said he was shocked over the lack of urgency in Washington.

A tracking firm says new car sales in Wisconsin were down 26 percent last month from the year before.

Don Hansen of the Automotive Dealers Association of Mega-Milwaukee calls it a dire situation.

A Marshfield GM dealer took out a full page ad this week in its local newspaper, saying one of every 10 jobs would be affected if the U.S. auto industry collapsed, and even restaurants would be hurt.

Suburban Milwaukee dealer Andrew Schlesinger says Congress will eventually do something.

He brought up the idea of tax credits or interest deductions on car purchases.