Monday, May 06, 2013

E-Update from the Desk of Governor Scott Walker

E-Update from the Desk of Governor Scott Walker
One of the most important duties I have serving as your Governor is to provide you directly with updates related to the operation of our state government. I also frequently provide updates on Facebook (Governor Scott Walker) and Twitter (@GovWalker). Please feel free to share this update with your family, friends, and others who may be interested in state government operations.

Tourism Tour
Today, I joined Stephanie Klett, our Department of Tourism Secretary, on a tour exploring the economic impact of tourism in Wisconsin. We traveled to the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay, the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, took a ride on the Original Wisconsin Dells Ducks, and ended the day by visiting La Crosse Queen Cruises.

Tourism supports one in 13 jobs in Wisconsin. For every $1 the Department spends on marketing, $6 is returned to the state and local government in tax revenue. The Department is doing a great job raising awareness of travel opportunities to our great state. In addition to being able to share the beauty of our forests, lakes, and tourism spots, the economic impact is a great benefit for Wisconsin. The summer campaign is about to kick off, you can click here to watch what one media outlet called the “world’s greatest tourism ad.” The ad will run in Wisconsin, northern Illinois, the Twin Cities, and eastern Iowa.

Fostering Small Business Entrepreneurship
The budget I submitted to the Legislature focuses heavily on growing our economy, helping the private sector create jobs, and developing our workforce. In order to grow Wisconsin’s economy, we must specifically increase efforts to foster entrepreneurship because small businesses are the driving force behind job creation and economic growth. 
The budget focuses on helping small businesses thrive in some of the following ways:
  • Seed Accelerator and Capital Catalyst Programs: Invests nearly $6 million in Seed Accelerator and Capital Catalyst Programs at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). These programs focus on providing mentorship, business planning, networking, and financing to entrepreneurs. Partnerships between WEDC and local communities are already making these programs a success.
  • VETransfer Grant
    • VETransfer is a business accelerator for our military veterans who are looking to start their own businesses. The budget proposes an additional $500,000 grant through the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Trust Fund. We owe more than we could ever repay to these courageous men and women, and I believe we should do everything we can to serve them, after they have served us so bravely. This program is just one way of doing that.
  • Angel Investment Tax Credit
    • The budget removes the maximum cap, which is currently set at $47.5 million, but retains the annual limit, effectively allowing this program to continue into the future.
    • Lifting the cap on this tax credit program encourages private investment in start-up companies.
Another important link in fostering startups is to decrease burdensome regulations. 2011 Act 46 reformed the Small Business Regulatory Review Board, and small business employers are now determining the impact of regulations on business. Their report was published in January 2013, and it identified over 300 modifications from 218 rule chapters. These rules are being modified through the regulator process and also as a part of the Assembly’s “Right the Rules” process.

Together, these proposals and investments allow us to foster the spirit of entrepreneurship and focus on growing our economy.

State Agencies Reduce Overtime Costs
This week, the Department of Administration (DOA) released overtime data compiled for calendar year 2012, which shows there was an overall reduction of 22 percent in overtime costs across all state agencies. 2012 was the first full year that state government operated under the reforms contained in Act 10.

Because of the difficult choices and long-term structural reforms we made in the past, Wisconsin now has a surplus. The reduction in overtime costs improves our outlook for the 2013-15 budget, which is working its way through the Legislature. 
I will continue to look for ways to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in government as we work to make our state operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. These savings were achieved because of strong leadership and effective management at each agency.

Below are a few highlights of the information recently released from DOA:
  • Overtime across all state agencies fell from $63.1 million in calendar year 2011 to $49.4 million in 2012, which represents a reduction of 22 percent;
  • Total overtime in the Department of Corrections fell from $37.7 million in 2011 to $29.1 million in 2012, which represents a reduction of 23 percent;
  • Total overtime in the Department of Health Services fell from $8.9 million in 2011 to $7.6 million in 2012, which represents a reduction of 15 percent; and,
  • Total overtime in the Department of Department of Transportation fell from $5.7 million in 2011 to $4.1 million in 2012, which represents a reduction of 28 percent.

It has been a pleasure communicating with you. It is an honor to serve as your Governor and represent the residents of Wisconsin.

Governor Scott Walker

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