Sixth Annual Economic Forecast

Community State Bank hosted a sixth annual economic forecast featuring, Speaker of the Wisconsin House of Representatives, Robin Vos, and Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Paul Ryan. More than 200 business and community leaders were in attendance.

Vos began by saying that he wanted to keep his comments positive and that there are a lot of positive things happening in Wisconsin, such as low unemployment, increased participation rate, strong home sales, ranked number 6 for New Business, ranked number 10 for Business Development, increased tourism, and lower state property taxes.

Vos also said they are working to balance the state budget, lower state income taxes, and review state regulatory rules. He talked about the worker shortage crisis, 60,000 people graduating and 100,000 retiring. He said we need to figure out ways to attract more people to the state.

Finally, he cautioned the audience that they would hear from the media in the coming weeks that he sharply disagrees with the governor on how to handle the transportation situation. Vos strongly believes that we need to address the transportation needs now and believes that we should adopt the flat-tax proposal as a tool to help fund transportation needs.

Speaker Ryan praised Wisconsin for the good work it is doing and said they were working on the following issues at the federal level: analysis of 15 regulatory agencies, overhaul of the Dodd-Frank law, a new healthcare law, securing the borders, and rebuilding the military.

Ryan said they are also reviewing our tax code law, which he said can range from 35-44.6 percent for businesses, which compares to 25 percent for many other industrialized nations. He also said they are exploring the production of more US oil and gas, so that we are less dependent on foreign sources for this.

He said that due to the use of current technology, Texas alone can produce more oil and gas than the entire Middle East. Next year, they want to address the welfare system, which they believe could encourage more people to get back into the work- force. Like Vos, Ryan believes that work- force shortage is holding back U.S. growth.

Ryan concluded with a comment about healthcare. He said that they need to create policies that help consumers bear pressure on the marketplace through transparency and education. They believe that encouraging wide usage of HSA health savings accounts will give consumers more voting power on the costs and services they are willing to pay for. Ryan believes that the market will then react by meeting the needs of the consumers with more competitive pricing and services.

We have hired Stephanie Hansen of Ft. Atkinson as Executive Assistant. The former business co-owner and manager will oversee administrative functions, meeting planning and coordination efforts with area businesses while reporting to me.

Stephanie brings not only shirtsleeves skills in getting an organization working smoothly, she also has real-world entrepreneurial know-how vital to what our clients and services are all about.” Hansen and her husband owned a metal fabrication business in Jefferson for 20 years.

By Derek D’Auria, Executive Director, WCEDA

Republished with permission from The Beacon & Good Humour, May 19, 2017.