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Green rolls out job creation plan

In addition to becoming Wisconsin's next governor, Republican Mark Green says he also wants to be Wisconsin's chief jobs officer.

Green rolled out a sweeping jobs creation program which he says will be put into place if he's elected in November.

He says one of the primary goals of his program is to keep college graduates in the state by providing better, higher-paying jobs. He's calling the new program "Keep Our Kids in Wisconsin."

"The top age group leaving Wisconsin are 20-to-29 year-olds," said Green. "As governor, I'll work to keep these young people in Wisconsin. As a dad, I don't want my kids to look any place other than Wisconsin to achieve their dreams."

As part of the program Green would eliminate the Department of Commerce and replace it with a public-private non-partisan Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation that he says will move at the "speed of business."

The WEDC would be made up of a 12-member board of directors with the governor as the chair.

Other individuals of the board would include members of the business community, labor and the University of Wisconsin.

He also says he will take a very active personal role in recruiting companies into the state and will put a "Job Line" in the governor's office saying that anyone looking to create jobs in the state will only need to call one number.

Green says that Indiana recently created a similar economic development corporation and netted a new Honda plant and 2,000 jobs. He also said Indiana's governor took a very active role in the recruitment of Honda.

Another role of the WEDC would be to review the state's current 152 economic development programs and 26 associated councils with the goal of reducing them to 10 or less.

Green cited a recent report by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau which stated that the state's current economic development programs have $152.8 million which is administered by 8 different agencies and overseen by 26 different councils or other governing bodies.

"It shouldn't be a surprise then that a recent study found that nearly half of the businesses that went to the state looking for help reported receiving incorrect or conflicting information," Green said.

Another element of Green's plan would be to provide tax relief by capping state revenues at the previous year's levels and then use any surplus revenue for deficit reduction or tax relief in his first budget.

He would also create a refundable job creation tax credit of $1,000 for any jobs created that pay 10 percent above the average salary in the county the job is created in.

Green's plan would give tax credits to employers who cover their employees higher education costs.

Saying that death should not be a taxable event, Green says he would veto any attempt to re-establish the state's death tax which is currently being phased out by Dec. 31, 2007.

To help the creation of new companies in the state Green's plan calls for the expansion of venture capital and investment tax credits and would create a capital gains tax exemption for investments in qualified state companies.

Green says he would also sign legislation which protects companies from being sued for products which they never made.

Recent state Supreme Court rulings allowed companies to be sued even though it could not be shown they manufactured the product which caused the harm.

He also wants to reform the state's environmental regulatory reform process so that state agencies must meet a deadline for issuing permits.

"Wisconsin has the people, the work ethic and the resources to attract great jobs. We don't have a people problem, we have a leadership problem," Green said.

Green announced his jobs plan during campaign stops in Milwaukee and Green Bay on Monday.