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Tom Barrett’s Plan for
Getting Wisconsin Working
The global recession has hit Wisconsin hard. Our unemployment rate doubled as we lost
180,000 jobs from December of 2007 to December of 2009. One-eighth of our manufacturing
jobs and one-fifth of our construction jobs disappeared. Communities have been devastated as
major employers have closed up shop. Recovery is underway, but it is slow and has put too few
of our people back to work.

We need ideas and action to get Wisconsin’s economy moving. We need policies to create jobs
immediately – not vague promises to create jobs in the distant future. Moreover, we need a
comprehensive plan that will build long-term economic success – not simplistic “solutions” and

Tom knows that businesses create jobs. However, he also understands that we can build an even
stronger economy in Wisconsin with a full partner in the Governor’s office paving the way.
Tom has a specific plan that will create jobs, improve Wisconsin’s business climate, encourage
the entrepreneurship at the heart of the new global economy, spur new business activity, jump-
start needed construction, and develop the workforce talent to attract new businesses to our state
He will reform the state’s economic development approach to make it more efficient and
effective. In addition, he will bring to state government a coherent vision for sustained
economic growth in emerging new industries that allow us to capitalize on our traditional
strengths in manufacturing, agriculture, and outstanding institutions of higher learning. He will
make that vision a reality with detailed plans for making the investments in financial capital, our
colleges and universities, and workforce skills that make the difference in whether the high-
paying jobs of the future come here or go elsewhere.

The Barrett Plan is a comprehensive vision to create jobs and boost business across Wisconsin.
As Governor, Tom will overhaul and strengthen the state’s entire economic development
approach to make it more efficient and effective. He will bring to state government a clear
vision that builds on Wisconsin’s traditional strengths of manufacturing, agriculture and
outstanding institutions of higher learning to sustain growth in emerging new industries. Tom
has detailed proposals to make investments in financial capital, our colleges and universities,
and workforce skills that are the difference in whether the good paying jobs of the future come
to Wisconsin.

Tom’s plan features comprehensive inter-related ideas to address our economic future; his
vision is built around five core principles to create Wisconsin jobs:  
• Tax cuts to stimulate private sector job creation. Tom will make sure that tax cuts are
targeted to stimulate the economic activities that will create the high-paying, high-
growth jobs we need. Tom will provide tax cuts, linked directly to job creation, in the
following areas so that people can get back to work:

o Construction to jump-start the projects we need to strengthen our economic

infrastructure and create jobs now
o Research & development expenditures, as well as patent and software royalties,
to encourage development of the products of the future right here in Wisconsin
o Venture capital and angel investments, to ensure that Wisconsin entrepreneurs
have the capital they need to launch new businesses
o Investments in bio-fuels, green buildings, and the other new technologies we
need to lower our energy costs, achieve energy independence, and make us more
competitive in the industries of the future
o Dairy production and processing, and farming coops, to preserve the traditional
backbone of our communities

• Jump-start job creation right now. Tom’s plan starts with his “Jobs Now” Initiative
because that’s what Wisconsin families need. Tom will start immediately to provide the
kinds of assistance and incentives that businesses need to create jobs quickly. He’ll cut
the red-tape to get new construction projects going – projects that are needed for our
long-term economic vitality. And he’ll invest in the workforce training and skills
development that will attract new economic activity and translate into new job

• Job creation – in the Governor's Office. Tom knows that creating jobs will be his
main job. To make sure that every decision in his Administration is focused on job
creation, Tom will create a Jobs Office combining oversight of all job creation,
attraction, retention, and training efforts and locate this office right in the Governor’s
Office. In the Barrett Administration, jobs will be Job One.

• Streamline state programs to make them more efficient and effective. Tom
understands that, for the private sector to create jobs, the public sector must play its role
effectively and then get out of the way. As Governor, Tom will order a complete
performance review of all economic development programs to identify those that work
and eliminate those that don’t. He will simplify regulations and streamline the
regulatory process to lighten the burden on business without sacrificing protections for
workers, families and our environment. And he will create ‘one-stop shops’ to expedite
the permitting process so that businesses can start and expand in Wisconsin more
quickly and easily.

• Create a state venture capital fund. Wisconsin needs more venture capital if its
entrepreneurs hope to create the kind of high paying jobs that will transform our
economy to compete in the 21st Century. We are home to one of the greatest research
universities in the world. We have a skilled work force and a legendary work ethic.
However, we lag the region in venture capital availability and the region lags the nation.

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The Wisconsin Entrepreneur’s Fund would be a fund-of-funds modeled after the best
elements of programs that have demonstrated effectiveness elsewhere in the nation. It
would commit up to $100 million to eight to ten venture capital funds over five years
that will raise at least $500 million in aggregate funds and commit to offices, staff, and
investments in Wisconsin.

With these five core principles in mind, Tom created a comprehensive six-part plan to get
Wisconsin back on track and back to work. This plan includes:
• Part I: Jobs Now Initiative
• Part II: Reforming Economic Development
• Part III: Encouraging Entrepreneurship
• Part IV: Growing Wisconsin’s Economy for the 21st Century
• Part V: Keeping Wisconsin’s Agriculture Strong
• Part VI: Investing in Wisconsin’s Workers

Part I of the Barrett Plan for Getting Wisconsin Working presents Tom’s Jobs Now
Initiative to improve Wisconsin’s business climate and stimulate immediate job creation.

Tom will provide strong leadership and greater accountability in economic development –
and that starts with the governor’s office, which is discussed in Part II. Part III lays out Tom’s
ideas for creating more and better jobs for Wisconsin for the long-term by encouraging
entrepreneurship, especially in high-potential industries.

And Tom’s plan for capturing a larger share of industries that are growing faster and pay higher-
than-average wages is presented in Part IV. Tom’s plan for building on our traditional
strengths in manufacturing and agriculture is presented in Part V.

Finally, whether it is in our traditional strengths or in emerging new industries, whether it is

expanding existing Wisconsin businesses or attracting and creating new firms here in our state,
today there is one requirement for growth: making Wisconsin workers the top priority. As
the national economy recovers, skilled workers will prosper more than unskilled ones. Tom will
give Wisconsin a competitive edge by building a pool of skilled workers for in-demand jobs
with policies detailed in Part VI.

That’s Tom’s plan for Getting Wisconsin Working. And it will work.

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I. Tom’s Jobs Now Initiative .........................................................................................................................................6
II. Reforming Economic Development .......................................................................................................................13
III. Encouraging Entrepreneurship ..............................................................................................................................18
Encouraging and Commercializing R&D ................................................................................................................ 19

Increasing Access to Capital .................................................................................................................................... 20

Promoting Entrepreneurship .................................................................................................................................... 22

Encouraging Minority and Women Businesses ....................................................................................................... 24

IV. Growing Wisconsin’s Economy for the 21st Century ...........................................................................................26

Manufacturing .......................................................................................................................................................... 27

Clean Energy............................................................................................................................................................ 29

Demand-Reduction Technologies............................................................................................................................ 30

Health Care and Bio-Tech........................................................................................................................................ 31

Advanced Manufacturing......................................................................................................................................... 33

The Emerging Water Industry.................................................................................................................................. 34

New Media and Film................................................................................................................................................ 35

Promoting Innovation in Manufacturing.................................................................................................................. 36

Expanding “Cleantech” Industries ........................................................................................................................... 38

Promoting Biofuel Availability and Use.................................................................................................................. 39

Expanding the Use of Biomass ................................................................................................................................ 41

Building a Market for Demand Management Industries ......................................................................................... 41

V. Keeping Wisconsin’s Agriculture Strong............................................................................................................. 44

Making Wisconsin America’s True Dairyland ........................................................................................................ 45

Expanding Other Value-Added Agriculture ............................................................................................................ 47

Energy Independence Through Agriculture............................................................................................................. 52

Restoring the Wisconsin Idea to Production Agriculture......................................................................................... 53

Keeping Wisconsin’s Rural Economy Competitive ................................................................................................ 55

VI. Investing in Wisconsin’s Workers ........................................................................................................................60

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I. Tom’s Jobs Now Initiative:

Promoting Wisconsin businesses and creating jobs

“Tom has a plan not just to create a brighter long-term economic future for our state, but also to promote
immediate job creation now.”

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Wisconsin workers have taken a beating during the recession. From December 2007 to January
2010 Wisconsin lost 181,500 jobs. The unemployment rate increased from 4.5% to 8.7%,
manufacturing and construction jobs decreased by 15.3% and 24.0%. We’ve seen some positive
signs in the early months of this year, but we’re still in a big hole. Wisconsin needs more jobs

The recent recession has produced a greater percentage of job loss than the three most recent
previous downturns in 2001, 1990, and 1981. To get Wisconsin moving forward and putting
people back to work, we need immediate action to reallocate resources, provide a range of
services to assist immediate job creation, and to aggressively pursue federal waivers to get
Washington out of the way so jobs can be created now.

Most importantly, Wisconsin needs a Governor who has a plan to create jobs immediately rather
than an empty promise to create jobs in the distant future. Improving our business climate
would be important whether or not we were in a recession – but it’s especially important
because we are in one. Tom has a plan not just to create a brighter long-term economic future
for our state, but also to promote immediate job creation now.

Tom understands that this must start with improving the business climate by reducing the drag
government imposes on the economy – and that means fixing the state budget, cutting taxes in
ways that will create jobs and create jobs quickly, eliminating unneeded restrictions and
streamlining burdensome regulations. But Tom also recognizes that government has a role –
including stimulating job creation at this crucial juncture in both the public and private sector.
Finally, Tom knows that businesses can’t put people to work if they can’t find the skills they
need right here in Wisconsin, so we must make sure we give workers the ability to acquire in-
demand skills as quickly as possible. As Governor, Tom will:

• Fix the state budget. It’s time to balance the budget honestly, for the long term – just
as Tom has done in Milwaukee. Madison needs to change. Tom will stabilize the
state’s finances and make the state bureaucracy function better – which will make it
easier for businesses to invest in the state. Tom will soon be releasing a complete plan
on Making Madison Work – slashing waste and inefficiency, making state
government more transparent and accountable, and demanding results.

• Provide a job-creation tax cut. Tom knows we have to be real: Wisconsin is already
facing a $2 billion structural deficit, and the people of Wisconsin need a governor who
talks straight with them. Both Republican candidates are talking about huge tax cuts,
none of which are targeted for working people or the middle class – but we cannot bring
to Wisconsin the George W. Bush-style tax cuts for the wealthy and the powerful that
explode deficits, reward elites, push more burden on working and middle class families,
and got us in this economic mess in the first place.

The Barrett Plan? Tax cuts tied to job creation. Tom will provide tax cuts, credits and
incentives tied directly to businesses that invest in Wisconsin and create, save and attract
jobs here – as we did with Republic Airways and 1,600 saved and created jobs. The

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specific tax incentives – in areas ranging from agriculture to venture capital – are
discussed in appropriate sections throughout the rest of this paper.

• Reinforce job-creation by making sure we get Combined Reporting right.

“Combined reporting” of corporate income for
tax purposes is an important way we make sure
that large national – even global – corporations
pay their fair share of taxes here in Wisconsin
so that Wisconsin businesses and taxpayers
don’t have to pay more. Combined reporting
makes sure that these large businesses operating
elsewhere can’t use tax gimmicks and
accounting tricks to shift their reported incomes
– and thus their tax liabilities – artificially to
other states or off-shore tax havens, thereby
avoiding paying their fair share to Wisconsin.

These profits are generally shifted out of

Wisconsin into states with low or no corporate
income tax, like Nevada. At the same time,
hard-working families and local business
owners remain responsible for paying taxes on
their income earned. As a result of corporate
income tax avoidance, the rest of us – and especially Wisconsin businesses employing
Wisconsin workers – are forced to pay more for local services, highway maintenance
and other public services.

Combined reporting for corporations doing business in Wisconsin started with

Republican governor Tommy Thompson. Twenty-two other states use combined
reporting measures,1: And sixteen of those have done so for more than 20 years – and
there hasn’t been a mass exodus of businesses from those states. Only 13% of
businesses in Wisconsin are affected by combined reporting and only 11% of Wisconsin
businesses will see an increase in their corporate income tax liability because of recently
enacted changes. Forty-one of the largest corporations in Wisconsin already comply
with combined reporting in other states, without shutting down operations or laying off
employees, and 80% of Wisconsin’s 50 largest manufacturing employers, nine out of 10
of the biggest banks and all 15 top retail employers already do business in combined
reporting states. And, of course, combined reporting will have NO impact on
corporations that operate entirely in Wisconsin.

That’s why Tom is confident that we can make sure combined reporting works in our
state, so that every business pays their fair share for the profits they earn – and, at the
same time, get rewarded for the jobs they create – in Wisconsin. He will work with any
Wisconsin company, which as a result of recent changes is losing jobs in Wisconsin, but,
most importantly, he will make sure that the entire Wisconsin tax structure is aimed at
job creation.

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• Create a Small Business Ombudsman and widely publicize the position in appropriate
agency publications and on the agency's website. The ombudsman will be responsible
for receiving and responding to complaints received by the agency from small business;
providing technical advice and assisting small businesses in resolving problems and
questions; and reporting small business concerns and recommendations to the agency

• Launch a comprehensive regulatory reform and streamlining effort. As Wisconsin

Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) says, “When employers are burdened with
unnecessary regulation, it costs us jobs. Fair regulations keep us safe; unfair regulations
and regulatory delays lead to slower growth and higher unemployment. That starts by:
Ensuring state regulations are in line with federal regulations and those in competitive
states, and establishing the Department of Commerce as the central business permitting
agency, charged with quickly and aggressively securing all needed approvals for
economic development.” Tom will do just that as Governor. The Barrett Administration

o Use one-stop business and licensing models.

o Rewrite regulations to make them simpler.

o Require automatic sunset provisions in all new business regulations.

o Reduce the time and expense of securing regulatory permits by creating a

coordinated system that simplifies and speeds up permitting, and expands the
licensing program.

o Expand the state’s electronic government programs, including government-to-

business systems such as online professional licensing, online competitive bid
processing, e-procurement expansion to benefit small business and access multiple
departments involved in procurement, environmental regulation of business; and
interactive employer/employee job posting and recruitment.

o Reform the DNR permitting process to ensure that, on average, it takes Wisconsin no
longer than Minnesota and Illinois (or other peers) to permit a business expansion.
Environmental protection is consistent with administrative efficiency in other states
– we can do at least as well in Wisconsin.

• Expand in-state business activity. The Barrett Jobs Now initiative will spur faster
business expansion and greater business-to-business activity among Wisconsin
companies through:

o Pro-active rapid response team. In addition to rapid response services to assist

those losing jobs to plant closings, a pro-active rapid response team will be
developed to quickly provide services to companies looking to expand. That

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team will be charged with fast tracking regulatory/permit issues, job training
needs, and economic development assistance.

o Business-to-business connector. Wisconsin will partner with the business

community to create a business- to-business connector database to encourage
more Wisconsin suppliers and more sales for Wisconsin businesses.

o Supply chain initiative. The Oregon Business Development Department has

formed a coalition of local manufactures for the wind energy industry to develop
a supply-chain that creates greater business activity within their state. A similar
supply chain initiative will be created in Wisconsin to include a network of
manufacturers to build local supply chains for several industry clusters. This will
build on existing private-sector initiatives such as the New North wind energy

• Incentivize construction.
• Home starts in Wisconsin are on the
rise for the first time in five years.
Unfortunately, recession has taken its
toll on the industry; the number of
builders issued at least one permit
dropped by as much as 70 percent
from 2005 to 2009, with a 60 percent
statewide decline in housing starts
since 2005.2 There are fewer
developers left in Wisconsin – many
smaller, independent firms were
unable to weather the downturn.
While the last four years saw a steep
drop-off in Wisconsin construction,
Green Bay began its comeback early – the only market to show increased housing starts
overall in 2009, a success attributed in part to local builders offering free upgrades as
incentives to those who may otherwise have purchased an existing house. Tight credit
for builders and stiff competition with existing home sales and below-market sales on
foreclosed homes still pose challenges for builders. As Governor, Tom will direct the
State Building Commission and the Public Service Commission to consider the
multiplier effect on local jobs and communities when approving new construction
projects and contractors.

Tom also will support the recovery of the construction sector by providing these
incentives for community impact development:

o A short-term 20 percent direct tax credit for builders for construction projects
completed in areas of the state targeted for economic redevelopment – including
infill projects, which focus on the reclamation of obsolete or underutilized
buildings that blight communities.

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o Public infrastructure bond guaranties to qualified local governments for approved
public infrastructure projects – putting builders back to work and revitalizing

o Investor tax credits for the rehabilitation or construction of high-quality,

affordable housing.

o Below-market rate financing for qualified for-profit or not-for-profit developers.

• Give business the workforce it needs to give our people the jobs. The Wisconsin Job
Center reports that there are over 23,000 job openings, and according to Wisconsin’s
Labor Market Information System, those jobs that need to be filled most quickly require
at most moderate training. Tom will:

o Support and implement the bipartisan C.O.R.E. Jobs Act, which creates a variety
of new tools for economic development in the state, including initiatives focused
on capital access, worker training, and business expansion.

o Launch a 12 in 6 program. Modeled after the successful 12 in 6 North Carolina

program, a partnership between the Department of Workforce Development and
Wisconsin’s technical colleges will be established to provide instruction and
training for 12 in-demand occupations in which training can be completed in 6
months or less. Those 12 in-demand jobs will be identified using state labor
market information, but local tech colleges will be able to identify additional
occupations to meet local/regional labor market demands.

o Offer back-to-school grants. A lot of Wisconsinites looking for work have a

partial college education. Many of them could not complete college because
either they could not afford to pay for the costs of tuition or they needed to return
to work to provide for themselves or their family, Back to school grants targeted
at in-demand degrees will provide immediate opportunities for those individuals
to complete their college education.

o Create a Quick Start program. Like the Georgia Quick Start program, Wisconsin
will create a rapid response-training program for companies looking to hire
skilled workers immediately. The Wisconsin Quick Start program will develop a
network of training specialists within the tech college system to provide pro-
active customized training. The typical, and federally funded, rapid response
system is designed to quickly find job placement for workers that have been
recently laid off. What is missing is a rapid response system for employers
looking to hire; the Quick Start program is designed to fill that need. The Quick
Start program in Georgia is designed to provide customized training for
companies looking to expand or locate within Georgia. The State of Georgia has
developed a network with their technical/community colleges to provide a pro-
active rapid response system to help ensure companies looking to hire they have

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a trained talent pool from which to hire. Quick Start covers two comprehensive
areas: manufacturing and service training. Businesses are eligible for training in
all segments.

o Offer Career Readiness Certificates and job profiling services statewide.

Wisconsin has just started to pilot the Career Readiness Certificate (CRC)
program. Other states in the Midwest (e.g. Indiana and Michigan) have used the
CRC statewide to match the skills of a job seeker with the skills an employer
needs to fill open positions. Wisconsin needs to catch up and offer the Career
Readiness Certificates statewide. The Barrett Administration will would offer
every citizen the opportunity to determine his or her career skill level, training to
raise their skill level, and have their skill level certified for employment. In
addition, businesses will be able to prepare job profiles and then match those
skill needs with job applicants. The CRC will serve as a common metric and
language to match the skills employers need with the skills a job seeker has.

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II. Reforming
II. Economic DevelopmentEconomic
Reform Development:
  Providing strong leadership and accountability


“Tom will set priorities and target state spending on meeting those needs, while cutting back on
  expenditures. Tom will set specific performance goals and measure outcomes.
  will eliminate waste, fraud and abuse and de-fund non-performing agencies and

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Tom will bring leadership, accountability, and fresh thinking to economic development in

Responsibility for economic development in Wisconsin is now fragmented. A 2006 Legislative

Audit Bureau report identified at least 152 economic development programs administered by at
least 26 agencies, councils, and other bodies. The State Department of Commerce is the focal
point of the state’s economic development efforts, but a large majority of its staff and budget is
devoted to enforcing the state’s building code and safety laws and to cleaning up leaking
underground oil storage tanks, worthy activities that have little to do with economic
development. University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Technical College campuses are often
crucial economic development partners, but their interest in local economic development varies
widely. Regional and local economic development capacity also varies widely.

In this case, there is no substitute for leadership from the governor. The governor is the only
person who can align all of state government around a shared goal of creating jobs. The
governor is the best possible cheerleader for business growth in Wisconsin. And the governor is
best positioned to reform the crazy quilt of economic development efforts across state
government and around the state. As Governor, Tom will:

• Focus the governor, the governor’s office, and the rest of state government on
economic development. Tom will be the chief economic development officer of the
State of Wisconsin. He’ll be a relentless salesman for Wisconsin, aggressively seeking
out ways to expand businesses and create jobs here. He’ll make sure that all his
appointees are aware of their role in job creation and focused on economic development.

• Reorganize state government to increase focus on and capacity for economic

development. Tom will move the Department of Commerce’s economic development
staff, along with Workforce Development, into a new Governor’s Office of Economic
Development – creating a true Office of Job Creation headed by a Jobs Director
reporting directly to the Governor.

• Evaluate existing economic development programs for effectiveness in creating jobs

and consolidate them into fewer, more flexible authorities.

• Create a comprehensive set of regional economic development associations and

strengthen ties between their private-sector leaders and state economic
development officials. The state has eight economic development regions – but twelve
counties are completely left out. Tom will make sure that the entire state is involved in
regional economic development and that key state economic development officials keep
in constant touch with these groups and use them to help identify opportunities to create
jobs. Tom will empower regional economic development associations and increase the
effectiveness of millions of dollars of economic development resources by consolidating
revolving loan funds regionally.

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Wisconsin’s Economic Development Regions

New North
Milwaukee 7
Grow North
7 Rivers
Momentum West
UP/WI Border Region

It is clear that business as usual can’t continue when it comes to spending tax dollars on
economic development. When tax dollars are used to lure businesses and spur private
investment to the State there needs to be a significant return on investment. As
Governor, Tom will ensure that tax dollars for economic development are not wasted on
corporate welfare or company bailouts.

Several of our neighboring states have taken action to reform their economic
development system. Illinois passed Corporate Accountability legislation and
Minnesota has been recognized as a national leader for its reform laws. It is time for
similar reforms in Wisconsin. Tom will bring fiscal discipline, transparency, and
accountability to economic development spending so economic development spending
produces good jobs at good wages. As Governor, Tom will:

• Institute a unified economic development budget. One of the first steps is to know
what investments are being made to create jobs and which are getting the best value. As
Governor, Tom will create a unified economic development budget that includes a
comprehensive inventory of all spending for economic development, including the cost
of subsidies.

• Create a performance review of all state economic development policies. Not only
will state dollars be evaluated for what is being spent and where, but top to bottom
performance reviews on economic development policies and programs will be
conducted. This review will be able to help determine which programs achieve the
greatest return on investment to the State. In addition, the performance review will look
at not only whether jobs are being created but also if they are good paying jobs.

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• Require greater transparency and results on job creation for corporate assistance.
Wisconsin taxpayers have a right to
know how individual projects and
assistance programs are making an
impact. To ensure greater
transparency and increased
disclosure Wisconsin will have
similar disclosure requirements to
those in our neighboring states.
Increased disclosure will include:

o Name of the company and

the agency/program that was
the source of the assistance.
o The total taxpayer investment for the subsidy.
o The number of jobs created/retained the assistance was intended to create.
o Report on the actual jobs created as well as the wages.
o Citizen access to expenditures via web and annual report.

To ensure that state economic development investments are used to create jobs rather
than bail out companies, greater accountability for how tax dollars are spent also will be
required. Companies receiving assistance will be required to reach job and investment
goals within time limits and be subject to full or partial recapture when those
requirements are not met. The Barrett Administration will:

o Target in-state investment to ensure that state dollars used to helping businesses
go to those businesses that are truly helping Wisconsin’s communities.

o Increase the job-creation return on state dollars by requiring major firms that win
state contracts to subcontract a substantial portion of the work to Wisconsin
businesses, and instituting a competitive bidding preference for Wisconsin-based
firms. This will help put more money into the hands of Wisconsin businesses,
stimulating our local industries, and directly creating more jobs for Wisconsin

o Require companies to pay back incentives if they fail to meet the objectives of
the deal. Job creation incentives are not intended to be corporate handouts; they
are two-way contracts. As Governor, Tom will ensure those contracts are
binding. Businesses that have received incentives for their expansion in
Wisconsin must be held to their end of the bargain; and if they don’t meet their
commitments, Tom will recover our investment through clawbacks – reclaiming
those incentives that were not verifiably earned. Illinois took back funds from 37
companies who did not fulfill their local commitments in 2008, compared to six
in 2005.3

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o Make incentives contingent on good wages, so that businesses are encouraged to
create high-paying jobs. Kansas and Rhode Island have strong examples in
place. Businesses that apply and receive incentives should at least pay their
employees a median wage given that incentives should be promoting a higher
standard of living.

o Grant tax abatements only after a business documents that it has in fact made the
investments in job creation, worker training and R&D that it promised in its
application to participate in a tax incentive program.

o Review the effectiveness of incentives and report their cost to the taxpayers. To
improve the fairness of the tax code and assure that corporate tax incentives
achieve their intended purpose, we should review all of their corporate tax
incentives as part of the biennial budget process.

• Appoint a Wisconsin Competitiveness Council. The best way for long-term economic
growth is to have a fully committed public/private partnership in which top leadership
actively participates. As Governor, Tom will assemble a competitiveness council that
will include state government agency directors, leaders of regional economic
development associations, university chancellors and tech college presidents, labor
leaders, and private sector executives that will meet on a regular basis to provide
strategic direction and build partnerships to position Wisconsin for economic growth.
Tom will provide hands-on leadership by co-chairing the council with a committed
leader from our state’s business community. Some of the issues the council will address
include: increasing the skill level of Wisconsin’s workforce, addressing demographic
changes in the labor market, increasing college access to adults, and targeting training to
the middle-skill jobs – those requiring more than a high school degree and less than a
four-year college education – that represent 54 percent of Wisconsin employment today
and will account for the largest share of new jobs during the next decade.4

• Strengthen Wisconsin’s regional delivery system. The Wisconsin Regional Training

Partnership (WRTP) is a national model in generating public/private partnerships to
developing family wage jobs in very competitive environments by offering three core
services: pre-employment training, manufacturing modernization, and incumbent
worker training. WRTP has built its success through workforce intermediaries. This
model needs to be extended throughout the state.

Of course, these improvements are only part of the effort Tom will bring to the Governor’s
Office to reduce governmental drag on business and to manage state agencies better. He will set
priorities and target state spending on meeting those needs, while cutting back on lower-priority
expenditures. He will set specific performance goals and measure outcomes. He will eliminate
waste, fraud and abuse and de-fund non-performing agencies and programs. He will detail all of
this in his separate Plan for Making Madison Work.

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III. Encouraging Entrepreneurship:
Creating jobs for the long-term

“The Wisconsin Entrepreneur’s Fund would be a fund-of-funds modeled after the best elements of programs
that have demonstrated effectiveness elsewhere in the nation. It is designed to be a partnership with the
private sector to develop a market driven sustainable venture capital community in Wisconsin that is capable
of serving a variety of sectors and various stages of development.”  

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The success of Wisconsin’s entrepreneurs will largely determine the success of Wisconsin’s
economy. Most job growth comes from young companies. According to the Kauffman
Foundation, businesses less than five years old created nearly two-thirds of net new jobs in the
US in 2007. Successful entrepreneurship requires a good idea, money to finance its
development, and management talent to make it real. Wisconsin has world-class institutions that
create new technologies. We need to do better in creating access to financing and deepening the
pool of experienced and talented people to manage new companies.

Encouraging and Commercializing R&D

Tom will evaluate the existing economic development programs and consolidate them into a
streamlined system with fewer, more flexible, more targeted programs. This effort will include
redirecting state economic development investments so more funding is spent on support for and
loans to research and development (R&D) firms, especially in our target sectors. As Governor,
Tom will:

• Create Centers of Excellence at the state universities. To focus on strengths, further

develop expertise, and rapidly commercialize scientific and technological breakthroughs
to market, New York established "Centers of Excellence" at its leading universities. The
Centers support high technology ventures through a collaborative approach among the
State, academia, private venture capital companies, and other private and public sector
parties. New York State’s Centers of Excellence initiative is the centerpiece of the
state’s regionalized economic development strategy. New York now has announced five
Centers of Excellence: bioinformatics and life sciences, photonics, nanotechnology,
wireless technology, and environmental and energy systems. The mission of the Centers
is to increase collaboration among universities, research institutions and businesses that
are doing related work within an industry cluster, and then to seek rapid
commercialization of the innovations that emerge from that collaboration.

• Create a Wisconsin Technology Transfer Corporation. Several other states have

created technology development corporations to foster the development of a technology
economy by enhancing the transfer of technology from universities and federal
laboratories to the private sector and fostering the growth of innovative companies in
critical or high growth sectors. The Maryland Technology Transfer Fund, for example,
encourages the transfer of technology between Maryland companies and eligible federal
labs or universities. Funds are used for research and development activities intended to
develop a specific technology or technology package for commercialization. Tom will
bring similar efforts to Wisconsin

• Eliminate 100% of State Taxes On New Patent and Software Royalties. This policy
would send a message to small businesses and individuals that Wisconsin is the greatest
place in the world to start and operate a knowledge-based business. We want inventors,
innovators and entrepreneurs to make Wisconsin their first choice when they decide
where to start a business

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• Create a state grant office to help the state, its universities, and its industries
identify and apply for federal grants. Illinois and Maryland did this and saw grant
receipts increase dramatically.

• Support commercialization of faculty research by working with WARF, WiSys, and

WEN to build a UW-Madison incubator for companies based on faculty research and
then leveraging the model statewide. The Incubator will be designed to include an
Entrepreneur-in-Residence program to help attract and retain management talent, and
will replicate successful models at MIT, Georgia Tech, and UCSD, seeking the bulk of
funding from WARF and private donors.

Increasing Access to Capital

• Create and manage a state venture capital fund. Wisconsin needs more venture
capital if its entrepreneurs hope to create the kind of high paying jobs that will transform
our economy to compete in the 21st Century. We are home to one of the greatest
research universities in the world. We have a skilled work force and a legendary work
ethic. However, we lag the region in venture capital availability and the region lags the
nation. The Wisconsin Entrepreneur’s Fund would be a fund-of-funds modeled after the
best elements of programs that have demonstrated effectiveness elsewhere in the nation.
It is designed to be a partnership with the private sector to develop a market driven
sustainable venture capital community in Wisconsin that is capable of serving a variety
of sectors and various stages of development. The Fund would:

o Commit up to $100 million to eight to ten venture capital funds over five years
that will raise at least $500 million in aggregate funding and commit to offices,
staff, and investments in Wisconsin.
o Create access to capital for Wisconsin entrepreneurs in various industry sectors
and different stages of development.
o Minimize and defer the cost to Wisconsin taxpayers, with a long-term goal of
significantly increasing Wisconsin’s tax revenue and eliminating the cost of a
sustainable program.

A tax credit enhanced fund-of-funds, privately managed to invest in traditionally

structured, experienced venture capital funds, is a tool that has been used in a number of
states (Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Oklahoma) to attract experienced venture capital firms
to a state. When coupled with the approach of the Kansas Biotech Authority, new tax
revenue generated from the investment activity would be used to retire the debt and
create a sustainable source of venture capital and entrepreneurial funding well into the

The fund managers would have to commit to opening an office in Wisconsin that was
served by a full time investment professional that resides in Wisconsin and would be
obligated to invest an amount of not less than the total commitment of the fund-of-funds
in qualified Wisconsin businesses. Qualified businesses would have to:

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o Be headquartered in Wisconsin.
o Have at least 50% of their employees in Wisconsin.
o Be in sectors widely backed by the venture capital industry nationally and meet
certain size and financing restrictions.

The primary focus would be economic development in areas that currently are
underserved by private venture capital firms.

• Promote legislation allowing the allocation of between 1 and 3 percent of state

employee pension funds to alternative “venture capital” investments.
• The state would establish an
investment board similar to those
in Pennsylvania and California to
oversee the investments within
guidelines established by the
legislature. All such investment
would require private matching
and be private sector-driven, not
state-initiated, and would focus on
early-stage capital needs of
technology startups. Wisconsin
should seek to replicate the success
of the Ohio Third Frontier Fund,
which combines pension fund investing, up to $125 million in state bonding, and a state
venture fund to achieve targeted growth objectives.

• Create a Capital Access Partnership. Under Capital Access Programs, funds are
committed by the State to provide cash collateral assurance to banks making loans to
companies that might otherwise not be credit worthy. The borrower and lender each pay
a 2-3% fee into a pooled loan reserve account, which is then matched by the state
government; the account protects lenders in case of defaults, which are quite low.

• Create an Investment Fund Act. We can replicate the Kentucky Investment Fund Act,
which provides 40% tax credits (up to 25% in any single year) to individuals and
companies that invest in approved venture capital funds. Contributions must remain in
the fund for at least five years, and approved funds must invest in Kentucky-based small
businesses. Projects may range between $1 million and $10 million in total size.

• Maintain state funds in Wisconsin banks to keep our money at work at home and to
help shrink “too big to fail” national financial institutions. Careful lending practices and
slow-but-steady growth are reasons why Wisconsin’s banks are in better shape than
those in most other states.5 In fact, two well-known independent financial ratings
services both gave two south-central Wisconsin banks the highest marks for financial
strength in 2009. In the meltdown of 2008, not only did many local, community banks
turn out to be more fiscally sound than the global risk-taking giants of Wall Street, but
many of them also have been there to help Wisconsin weather the storm. Of the $700
billion in federal Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds that bailed out the

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nation’s financial institutions, $2.5 billion went to Wisconsin, 93% of it to three large
banks. According to a study by the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future, small banks
(whether or not they received TARP funding) increased their lending from September
2008 to 2009. The large banks that did not receive funding decreased lending by 3
percent. The large banks receiving TARP funds decreased lending by over 10 percent.6
Tom wants to keep Wisconsin’s money in Wisconsin, working in our communities and
serving our citizens, which is why, as Governor, he will commit to banking state funds

Promoting Entrepreneurship
• Use the education system to
nurture and encourage future
entrepreneurs - Offer
entrepreneurship education at
public universities. Support faculty
entrepreneurship in the UW
System. Promote entrepreneurship
education in middle and high
schools, as well. Offer courses for
adults looking to start their own

• Evangelize entrepreneurship
among UW faculty and graduate
students. Utilize existing capabilities in WEN, WiSys, and the Technology Council, as
well as the creation of Entrepreneurship 101 training programs.

• Defer the taxes of qualified startup businesses for the first three years. Taxes would
be deferred for the first three years the business operates. If a deferral is approved, the
taxpayer must pay taxes on the deferred taxable income in five equal annual installments
during the five tax years following the three years of deferral. If the taxpayer has a net
loss during a tax year during the three-year deferral period, the loss may be applied to
any deferred taxable income during that period. The deferral helps new businesses from
a cash flow standpoint. Since the taxes are only deferred, not eliminated, the only long-
term cost to the state is the interest that would have accrued on the delayed tax receipts.
Since most startups are small, with relatively small tax burdens, the fiscal impact of the
tax deferral would be insignificant to the state, but could make an important difference to
Wisconsin startups during their critical first years.

• Promote high-tech start-up investment to family investment companies. Wealthy

families are increasingly using family investment companies (Faces) as an alternative to
family trusts. FICs actively pursue innovative investment opportunities, and Wisconsin
should do more to market its high-tech start-ups to these types of investors.

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• Create incubators for entrepreneurial companies statewide. Provide business
incubation services through physical incubators; Create virtual and remote incubation
options for rural and remote regions. Some of Wisconsin’s biggest entrepreneurial
success stories, like, Mirus Bio Corp., NimbleGen Systems Inc., Third
Wave Technologies , and TomoTherapy, Inc., have roots in at least six “incubators”
located in the area’s 35-plus research parks. These incubators, which include space
designed for lab-buildouts, access to cutting-edge research equipment, infrastructure,
and communications systems, help high-tech entrepreneurs save thousands of dollars on
monthly research expenses, while facilitating collaborative partnerships within the field
that accelerate business development. Two more such incubators are being planned in
Madison, including the city-planned Bio-Ag Gateway Park. While these incubators
thrive in Madison, more needs to be done to incubate entrepreneurs in the rest of the
state. Fast-growing firms in cities like Milwaukee, for example, are spread around the
city, without the benefit of valuable informal networks that arise in Madison’s
entrepreneurial clusters. As Governor, Tom will replicate statewide the private-sector
partnerships that make Madison’s well-funded incubators a success to create clusters of
entrepreneurial collaboration across our state.

• Expand the Impact of the Small Business Development Centers. In 2009,

Wisconsin’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provided small business
counseling to 5,000 clients and training to 9,000 clients and completed 257 business
plans. Their presence at UW campuses provides an opportunity for urban entrepreneurs
to access targeted continuous training in business management and business technology
in conjunction with the educational community. They provide access to specialized
financial services, technical assistance for starting a business – including grant
application counseling, entrepreneurial training, and on-to-one entrepreneurial support.
Tom will build on the strengths of the SBDCs to expand their impact beyond the 17 UW
campuses where they current provide services – particularly into rural regions of state
where few such resources exist for small businesses. There are currently no SBDC’s in
the entire Northeastern region of Wisconsin. Tom will support and fund the replication
of these one-stop centers, tailored to the needs of currently underserved communities.

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Encouraging Minority and Women Businesses
Wisconsin’s economy has benefited
from the gains made by minority-
owned businesses over the years.
Before the recession, minority-
owned businesses grew at a faster
rate than the national average. To
create jobs and encourage new start
up businesses, Wisconsin needs to
invest in one the most promising
growth sectors: minority owned
businesses. To encourage the
growth of minority-owned
businesses, Tom will:

• Help low- and moderate-income individuals become self-sufficient by starting their

own businesses. State government can help foster the growth of small businesses, help
low- to moderate-income working families, and displaced workers build assets and
obtain financial independence by initiating a state effort to support Individual
Development Accounts –savings accounts in which small, regular deposits are matched
by government or private sources. They can be used to pay for starting a small business,
or for a first house or education and training.

• Develop a “dashboard” of indicators to measure women- and minority-owned

business participation in state contracts.

• Revitalize and refocus Wisconsin’s minority and women business programs.

Coordinate approach across Commerce, WHEDA, SBA, WMEP, and other agencies to
increase jobs at minority manufacturers in particular.

• Target growth industries. Minority- and women-owned businesses need to be fully

integrated as a part of the sector strategies for high growth industries, e.g., clean
technology and health care.

• Encourage growth beyond “sole proprietorships.” The Kaufman Foundation reported

that 82 percent of minority-owned firms are sole proprietorships versus 71 percent for
other firms. To encourage expansion of minority-owned businesses, we need to create
opportunities for mezzanine-level financing to help them grow.

• Increase access to capital. Small and medium sized businesses have been hammered
from the finance industry. Many minority- and women-owned firms had challenges
before the tightening of credit and now face an even bigger challenge in getting access to

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• Create connections to supply chain. Minority- and women-owned firms need to be
more fully integrated into the range of supply chain networks within Wisconsin. Greater
business-to-business development needs to be fostered in which minority-owned firms
are an essential part of supply chain opportunities.

• Establish an Institute of Minority Economic Development to encourage, foster, and

sustain greater minority business development in Wisconsin. This institute would be an
organization representing the interests of underdeveloped and underutilized sectors of
the state’s economic base. Part of the mission would be to build capacity by forging
partnerships modeled after the Minority Economic Development Council in Ohio:

o Corporations and industries – facilitate commitments to supply chain diversity

with an emphasis around high growth industries.
o Entrepreneurial development services – provide support to new entrepreneurs
as well as help sole proprietorships to grow and expand.
o Professional services industry – build an advisory network for mergers and
acquisitions, funding, strategic business fundamentals and business management
o Successful entrepreneurs and corporations – encourage mentor-protégé
relationships, partnerships and teaming.

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IV. Growing Wisconsin’s Economy for the 21st Century:
Attracting growth industries and high-paying jobs

“To build an economy for the long-term, we first need a strategic vision of what we want the Wisconsin
economy to look like. This must focus on development of industry clusters with high-growth, high-wage
potential, based on Wisconsin’s assets and competitive advantages. Clusters must be private sector led and
regional in focus.”  

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To build an economy for the long-term, we first need a strategic vision of what we want the
Wisconsin economy to look like. This must focus on development of industry clusters with
high-growth, high-wage potential, based on Wisconsin’s assets and competitive advantages.
Clusters must be private sector led and regional in focus. As Governor, Tom will work with
regional economic development associations to develop cluster strategies and focus the state’s
efforts and overall state policy – including our workforce development programs, capital
investments, universities, natural resources, and financial incentives – on supporting them.

Tom Barrett’s Vision for the Future

Wisconsin has a higher percentage of
jobs in manufacturing than any other
state. Wisconsin is known around the
world for the quality of its
manufacturing products and
workforce. Manufacturing jobs
demand considerable skills and
training, and manufacturing accounts
for a large share of American research
and development spending. Indeed,
this sector is part of the knowledge

Maintaining our manufacturing base generates countless economic spin-offs, especially in the
small business sector. Selling more products manufactured in Wisconsin outside our borders
leads directly to more wealth and jobs in the state. Manufacturing jobs pay substantially more
than other jobs in Wisconsin, and the continued success of the manufacturing sector in
Wisconsin is critical to our state’s future. The local purchases of Wisconsin-based
manufacturers like Harley, Oshkosh Truck, Johnson Controls, and Bucyrus has a huge statewide
impact. One study, for instance, found that just three companies – John Deere, Harley, and
Oshkosh Truck – spent over $1.8 billion in our state with over 1,300 Wisconsin-based firms,
and generating economic activity in all but 4 counties of the state. The presence of a strong,
reliable, nearby supply base is a competitive advantage for us in attracting other firms to

But manufacturing is changing. The manufacturing sector is under intense pressure to become
more productive. Wisconsin has a disproportionate number of smaller manufacturing
companies. In the 1990’s, original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of high-value durable
goods (such as cars, appliances, farming equipment) began outsourcing an increasing proportion
of work to smaller supplier firms, while shrinking their own production base. Where 1970’s
suppliers contributed 40 percent of the value of OEMs’ output, today they contribute 80 percent.
For example, component-manufacturing suppliers are now key players in Wisconsin’s
manufacturing economy, employing 75,000 people and accounting for 20 percent of the state's
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durable-goods manufacturing jobs.7 Smaller firms with less than 500 workers, many of which
lag behind their larger competitors in adopting global best practices, particularly with respect to
research and development (R&D), now dominate Wisconsin’s manufacturing base.

Innovative manufacturers win in a global marketplace and more importantly, they add jobs that
drive the local and state economy. Eighty-five percent of Wisconsin-based manufacturers
acknowledge that customer-focused innovation is critical to their organization's success over the
next five years – but disturbingly, over half of those firms say that they have made average or
below average progress in this area. Two-thirds of Wisconsin manufacturers invest five percent
of sales, or less, in R&D.

We need to change these numbers. We need to make Wisconsin home to the most innovative
manufacturers in the world, and make sure and that the rest of the world has access to our top-
quality products. We need to accelerate the manufacturing economy by enabling our
manufacturing firms to invest in R&D – including new product development – and targeting
new markets.

An Example: Manufacturing Clean Energy Components

The growth in renewable energy generation will create a demand that – accompanied by the
appropriate incentives – will provide important new markets for manufacturers that are already
manufacturing equipment similar to the components that go into new renewable power
generation. With Wisconsin’s history as a national leader in manufacturing, and its proximity
and easy access to markets in the rest of the Midwest, the western states (which have the
greatest potential for solar and wind energy development nationally) and Canada, we are
uniquely positioned to be a supplier of wind and solar components to those regions that will
become major wind and solar energy producers.

The Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP) completed an analysis of the manufacturing
components needed to build modern, large wind turbine technologies, and states’ historic
manufacturing sectors. The results of this analysis were very encouraging both for the country
as a whole and for Wisconsin in particular. Depending on assumptions, Wisconsin stands to
receive nearly 14,061 new jobs and $1.6 billion dollars of investment in manufacturing
components to supply the national development of renewable energy. Wisconsin is ranked
fourth among states in terms of job gain, and fifth for potential investment. When the picture is
expanded to include other renewable energy technologies, the potential benefit to Wisconsin
manufacturing industries is even greater.8

The growth of the renewable energy industry will enable us to take our historic strengths in
manufacturing – the infrastructure in buildings, equipment, transportation, and a talented
workforce – and apply them in a growing, dynamic sector. Some specific examples of how this
evolution in manufacturing might look:

• In Michigan, a closed Ford assembly plant is being converted to a “Renewable Energy

Park.” The site is being retrofitted to manufacture equipment for wind and solar
projects, and is also expected to house other green businesses and a renewable energy

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training center. The park is expected to create more than 4,000 jobs, both at the park
itself and at area suppliers.9

• At the University of Texas, researchers are trying to develop solar patches that can be
mass-produced on huge printing presses like those used by newspapers.10 Our printing
industry has tools and skills that could quickly be refitted to produce these ultra-thin
solar cells, giving us a competitive edge over areas that would need to build
manufacturing capacity from scratch.

• Similarly, thin-film photovoltaics are a new technology that involves making paper-thin
solar energy panels. This technology is appealing because of the expanded applications
relative to traditional solar panels, and also because they use so much less material
(including certain types of silicon) than traditional solar panels. The industry is still
largely in the development stage – there are, for instance, a few places that are starting to
produce the photovoltaic films, including a company called Nanosolar in Palo Alto,
California that uses machines from the printing industry – but that just means that this
development should be occurring here in Wisconsin.

If we look forward and think creatively, we can apply our manufacturing strength to these new
opportunities and create new jobs in new green industries.

Clean Energy
The question the whole world is trying to
answer is: How do we move from a fossil fuel-
dependent economy to one that relies on clean,
renewable energy? That question has particular
economic urgency in our state: Wisconsin gets
two-thirds of its electricity from coal – the third
highest proportion in the U.S.11 – and over the
long run, fossil fuels aren’t getting any cheaper:
Wisconsin residents pay 39 to 70 percent more
than they did in 2001.

Cities and states across the nation, and countries around the world, are scrambling to jump into
the race to become production hubs for wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and other forms of
renewable energy, driven by growing concerns about global climate change and fossil fuel
availability. The Obama administration has already increased funding for renewable energy
development, and the momentum and funding are only projected to grow.

A 2006 study by the Energy Center of Wisconsin found that we are well poised to develop this
industry for several reasons, including: our strong agriculture, forestry, paper, and food
manufacturing sectors, which can provide diverse feedstocks; the large number of potential in-
state end users; our university system’s ability to provide research and development; our strong
workforce development system; and our multi-modal transportation network.12 This field is
especially exciting because it touches so many economic areas – forestry, agricultural, and food

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manufacturing wastes can be used as inputs; our universities can be tapped on to conduct
research and development; and advances could lead to manufacturing opportunities in
chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and durable goods.

While this is a relatively new field, it’s one in which the state already has a foothold. In 2007,
the University of Wisconsin-Madison received the largest federal grant in the university's
history – $125 million – to house the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. The Center has
become a cornerstone in the development of the UW Energy Institute.

As we move forward with bioeconomy development, we must be ever conscious of our role as
stewards of Wisconsin’s abundant natural resources, and take steps to ensure that farming and
forestry resources used in support of this industry are sustainably managed.

Demand-Reduction Technologies
Demand-Side Management (DSM) refers to programs designed to encourage consumers to
modify their level and pattern of energy usage. These technologies generally relate to increased
energy efficiency for products and appliances, and building weatherization. Building Efficiency
is one of Johnson Controls’ three specialties, so it is already in the game and could potentially
be an “anchor” in building a demand-reduction technology cluster in Milwaukee.

Building retrofit, weatherization, and efficient appliance programs can stimulate job growth in
the manufacturing and construction sectors. Increasing demand for energy efficient building
materials and appliances has the potential to invigorate domestic manufacturing centers to
produce advanced-performance windows, insulation, appliances, and other high-efficiency
durable goods. Demand in this area can be stimulated by building the capacity to conduct more
residential, commercial and industrial energy efficiency assessments and providing carefully
targeted incentives for consumers to act on the recommendations. Many construction workers
and trades people would need only moderate retraining and the proper certifications to enter the
building retrofit workforce.13

In general, the state can create demand for energy-efficient products by encouraging efficiency
standards and providing incentives (such as tax rebates) for consumer to buy these products.
The state can also provide home, business, and industry weatherization programs.

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Health Care and Bio-Tech
Biotechnology is technology based on
biology, agriculture, food science, and
medicine. The field has many
components: stem cell research, genetic
engineering, pharmaceuticals, medical
devices, bioinformatics (the application
of information technology to the field of
molecular biology), health care
information technology, and health care
services. It is the fastest-growing
segment of the Wisconsin economy,
with an annualized growth rate of nearly
7 percent. Biotechnology in Wisconsin
is an $8.7 billion industry with over 600
companies, roughly 25,000 employees,
and a total employment impact in Wisconsin of 71,600 jobs.14

What led to the development of this industry in Wisconsin? A history of biotech innovation
leading back to the 19th century; institutions such as the UW-Madison, the Medical College of
Wisconsin, the Marshfield Clinic, and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (which
supports the scientific research at the UW-Madison by moving inventions arising from the
university's laboratories to the marketplace); the University Research Park; and the leadership of
many other individuals and organizations over time have combined to produce the right climate.
It wasn’t created overnight, it developed over time.15

• It was UW-Madison developmental biologist Dr, James Thomson who was the first to
isolate embryonic stem cells and the fist to produce quality stem cells from skin cells –
without the need to create or destroy embryos. Dr. Thomson is in the good company of
120 other preeminent stem cell researchers centered around UW-Madison, making it the
largest and most experienced cluster of stem cell researchers in the world.16

• Our state is a growing player in the field of biotechnology, ranking:

o 11th best in Higher Education Degrees in Biotechnology Fields

o 13th best in Total Academic R&D Expenditures
o 15th best in Biotechnology R&D Expenditures
o 16th best in NIH Funding

• Wisconsin’s biotech jobs grew by nearly 16 percent, and the number of biotech
companies by 25 percent, from 2001 to 2008. Our state is one of only two specializing
successfully in all four biotech sectors – agricultural feedstock and chemicals, drugs and
pharmaceuticals, medical devices and equipment, and research and testing.17

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• Venture capital invested in state bioscience during the last six years totaled $295 million,
led by pharmaceuticals and human biotechnology, the report noted. The 2,187 patents
issued to Wisconsin inventors over the same period were diverse, led by surgical,
medical instruments and biotechnology. Since 2004, academic research and
development funding in Wisconsin has risen by almost 21 percent, with $440.1 million
of the state’s biotech research funding coming from the federal National Institutes of

• Recently, eight biotech companies moved here from other states,18 and Verona,
Wisconsin, is home to Epic Systems, the world’s fastest-growing medical software
company, which employs around 3,000 Madison-area workers at its 400-acre campus,19
In particular, “medical devices is one of our state’s “emerging clusters.” The Medical
Device Industry is a major feature of the State of Wisconsin and an important
contributor to the economic health of the state. Wisconsin’s medical devices sector
includes an array of instruments, machines, and medical devices for the diagnosis, cure,
treatment, or prevention of disease. This sector is closely connected with Wisconsin’s
emerging biotechnology, health-care delivery and health-care information sectors as well
as the historically strong manufacturing sector.20

This is a sector with high-paying jobs, so it is worth investing in. According to the US Census
Bureau, the median income in 2004-2005 in Wisconsin was $45,956. The average annual wages
in bioscience subsectors in Wisconsin was significantly higher:

• $75,012 in drugs and pharmaceuticals.

• $63,402 in medical devices and equipment.
• $57,339 in research, testing, and medical laboratories.21

Wisconsin should look forward and provide the incentives, leadership, and focus that are needed
to capitalize on our momentum so we can grow into a leading biotech center.

Madison’s economy is already moving toward health care and biotech. Much of the growth in
health care and biotech is due to efforts by the UW–Madison to work with local businesses and
entrepreneurs to transfer the results of academic research into real-world applications. The
University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics is an important regional teaching hospital and
regional trauma center, with notable strengths in transplant medicine, oncology, digestive
disorders, and endocrinology. The University has also become a leader in stem cell research.

The dominant economic development strategy for this region would be to target the health
care/biotech industry and try to turn the area into a regional or national hub for both research
and technology production. The state should strengthen the relationship between university
R&D and private sector needs, with a focus on health care/biotech. Upon investigation, it may
be determined that the region would benefit from an even more specific focus, such as stem cell
research or transplant medicine.

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Other areas of the state have the potential for growth in the health care and biotech fields, as

• Sheboygan, Oshkosh-Neenah and Milwaukee-Waukesha all have strengths in at least

one of the four biotech sectors.

• Kenosha’s largest employer is Abbott Laboratories, a diversified pharmaceuticals health

care company. It has three colleges, a hospital and medical center.

• The I-94 corridor centers on Eau Claire, approximately one hour and 40 minutes from
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Since the loss of several thousand manufacturing jobs
in the early 1990s (due to the closure of the local Uniroyal tire plant), the city's economy
has been reshaped by the opening of a number of plants engaged in the construction of
computer hardware, such as Hutchinson Technology's largest plant, and IDEXX
Computer Systems, a division of IDEXX Laboratories. The region has an assortment of
manufacturing facilities, including electrical machinery and equipment, glass, and rubber
and plastics. Additionally, the region has a strong health care industry. A promising
economic development strategy would be to build off of these strengths and try to
develop a health care technology manufacturing cluster in this region.

Advanced Manufacturing
There is no agreed-upon definition of advanced manufacturing. In general, it refers to the trend
in manufacturing away from large original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) towards more
specialized, small-scale, adaptable, diversified, networked producers and the changes in
management techniques needed to run this new type of operation.

It is also called Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS). APS simultaneously plans and
schedules production based on available materials, labor and plant capacity. APS may be used
in “Make to Order” facilities or places where different components are made in the same facility
compete for plant capacity. In many industrial sectors, the relationships and responsibilities
between large Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and their suppliers are in flux. Firms
are increasingly focusing their activities on their own core competencies and relying more
heavily on the outside to support the rest. At the same time, shorter product life-cycles,
increased product differentiation and greater global competition have required all firms to
innovate more quickly, effectively, and efficiently, which has required stronger partnerships
with others. Firms must form these more “intense” collaborations within an increasingly
network-centric manufacturing environment. Intense collaboration success will ultimately be
based on the trust between firms since traditional “arms length” competition-based relationships
have proven to be a barrier to the innovation process. As manufacturers begin switching from
arm’s-length relationships to more intensely collaborative ones, these newly formed and closely
integrated “value” networks will require new types of partnerships and governance.

Related to advanced manufacturing is advanced manufacturing technology, which are high tech
developments in computing and microelectronics designed to enhance manufacturing

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capabilities. Advanced manufacturing technology is used in all areas of manufacturing,
including design, control, fabrication, and assembly. This family of technologies includes
robotics, computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided engineering (CAE), MRP II,
automated materials handling systems, electronic data interchange (EDI), computer-integrated
manufacturing (CIM) systems, flexible manufacturing systems, and group technology.

State government can provide networking, business, and technological support for those
producers who are using this new model. For example, it could provide a database of in-state
manufacturers, or training on how to specialize and identify markets.

The Emerging Water Industry

Wisconsin has fresh water in abundance. We use
our lakes, rivers, and groundwater for recreational
purposes, agriculture, manufacturing, shipping, and
of course, drinking. We have historically worked
hard to protect our water resources: Wisconsin was
among the first states to create programs to begin to
address water pollution. That fifty-year history has
resulted in a concentration of talent and the
development of a water resources industry with the
potential to be an outstanding economic growth
driver in the region.

The value and scarcity of clean water is increasingly

being recognized by governments and industry.
With that recognition comes greater interest in
solving water problems. Milwaukee is on the cusp
of becoming a world leader in the water resources
industry; it already is a hotbed for water treatment.
There is a critical mass of water and wastewater
treatment companies there and it has access to a
well-educated workforce. With the right incentives to push the development of this industry,
Milwaukee stands poised to become the “Silicon Valley” of the water resources industry.

One reason Milwaukee has such great potential in this field is the state’s manufacturing density.
Many local manufacturing firms are major suppliers to the companies that are more directly
involved in water treatment. Even those firms that do their own or most of their own
manufacturing buy parts from other firms located in the region. For example, building a
wastewater treatment plant requires machinery, which translates into contracts for steel benders,
plastic makers, electronic controls, and all sorts of other parts. One reason solution-providers
have located here is that they can find most, if not all, of what they need in the supporting
manufacturing sector.22

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Milwaukee is not alone in recognizing the opportunity for job and wealth creation. Singapore,
Cleveland, and the state of Michigan are also working to develop their water resources
industries. Milwaukee is unique in the degree to which it already has started to build a “water
cluster” in response to this opportunity.23 The Milwaukee 7 Water Council, consisting of
members from business, academia and government, is working to make the Milwaukee Region
the world water hub for freshwater research, economic development and education. And
Marquette’s is the only law school in the Upper Midwest with a special course sequence in
water law.

Wisconsin needs to capitalize on this opportunity statewide: If we are going to become the
international center of water technology, we must be willing to commit significant resources to
the development of that industry now.

New Media and Film

Just as technology has infused everyday life and industry, it is also playing an expanded role in
the arts. The field of new media technologies includes digital art, computer graphics, computer
animation, virtual art, Internet art, interactive art technologies, and computer robotics. A related
field is the film industry, which consists of both the technological and commercial institutions of
filmmaking (i.e. film production companies, film studios, cinematography, film production,
screenwriting, pre-production, post production, film festivals, distribution, actors, film directors
and other film personnel). These exciting fields have the potential to provide yet more high-
tech jobs that are of particular interest to the young, highly-educated workers that Wisconsin
needs to keep.

While perhaps appearing ephemeral in light of Wisconsin’s hard-core manufacturing experience

and needs, this industry actually is central to our prospects for a brighter economic future
because of its role in attracting and retaining young people. One of our biggest exports is bright
young people – which is a problem. For decades, Wisconsin has been losing population mostly
among the young, who increasingly migrate out to find better job opportunities elsewhere. This
is particularly true among better-educated young Wisconsinites – which is particularly ironic
given our success in attracting them to our high-quality university system. We rank in the top
quartile of states in producing college science and math majors – but we rank in the bottom ten
for the percentage of science and math majors in our workforce. In short, we’re educating the
building blocks of a major technology economy here in Wisconsin . . . but then we’re losing
them to other states. We need to find ways to keep these high-value young workers here in
Wisconsin – and that means attracting the kinds of jobs and employers where they want to work.

Under Tom’s leadership, Milwaukee is moving to become a home to new media production.
The state’s economic development tools should be used to target the region between Milwaukee
and Madison, with its high-tech industries and concentration of universities and young people,
as a “hi-tech creative corridor.” The “creative class,” a socioeconomic group first identified by
economist Richard Florida, spans occupations in the arts, computer programming, research, and
engineering and design – as well as those in professional careers that use bodies of knowledge
to solve highly specific problems. According to Florida, the creative class will be a leading

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sector of growth in the new economy, with over 10 million new jobs requiring these “creative”
skill sets in the coming decade.

Tom Barrett’s Policies to Make This Vision Real

Promoting Innovation in Manufacturing
As Governor, Tom will make Wisconsin a
leading state in the country for innovation
in manufacturing. Tom will support the
strongest supply base in the country for
select industry sectors, an asset that will
enhance business retention and make
Wisconsin even more attractive to new
and relocating businesses, creating high-
quality jobs throughout the state. Tom
will restore Wisconsin’s traditional
manufacturing prowess – with a focus on
our interdependent OEM and supplier
manufacturers – and set us on a path to
“high road” growth into new and
promising fields for the 21st Century by:

• Doubling Wisconsin’s research and development (R&D) tax credit to 10%.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, R&D spending is the single
biggest driver of productivity increases in manufacturing. Wisconsin companies spend
less on R&D than the national average.

• Focusing Department of Commerce, and specifically the Wisconsin Manufacturing

Extension Program (WMEP), resources on supporting small manufacturers in
developing innovative products, especially in areas of renewable energy and energy

• Creating a lean manufacturing boot camp for small manufacturers, using WMEP,
UW, and WTCS resources. The Center on Wisconsin Strategy has shown that
cooperative partnerships between larger OEMs (like John Deere and Harley Davidson)
and smaller firms can increase competitiveness for both sectors. In the late 1990’s, a
pilot partnership between WMEP and the Wisconsin Manufacturers Development
Consortium, comprised of leading OEMs, provided advanced efficiency training for
1,600 employees of 50 supplier firms – resulting in modernization of operations and
quantifiable improvements in productivity (such as delivery time, cost, and plant safety)
as well as wages.24

• Working with large Wisconsin manufacturers to identify suppliers who could be

relocated to the state.

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• Supporting greater collaboration between UW and state manufacturers – rebuilding
the “Wisconsin Idea” for the manufacturing sector. Support manufacturing Centers of
Excellence at selected campuses focusing on locally-relevant manufacturing sectors
based on clear demand from the private sector.

• Increasing focus on export promotion. Work through regional economic development

associations to identify and provide technical assistance to companies that could benefit
from an international customer base. Leverage WMEP ExportTech program and
Commerce International Trade staff. Expand WMEP's ExportTech program which jump
starts participation by manufacturers in export opportunities

• Increasing linkages between manufacturers, educational institutions, and

workforce development boards to train workers and promote manufacturing careers,
building on the success of organizations like Northeast Wisconsin’s NEW
Manufacturing Alliance.

• Developing early-warning system to connect manufacturers with relevant resources

before they get into financial trouble. Work with multiple stakeholders (regional
economic development associations, chambers of commerce, educational institutions,
Commerce, WMEP, labor, etc.) to implement.

• Connecting up to the Midwest High-Speed Rail initiative. Our road, rail, and air
links are the essential infrastructure for business – enabling the flow of people, capital,
goods, and services that are vital to economic growth. Our state’s manufacturers in
particular depend upon our road and rail networks. As governor, Tom will preserve
essential infrastructure spending. In addition, the federal government has offered to
provide $810 million to fund a high-speed passenger rail line between Milwaukee and
Madison, the first link in a system that will eventually tie those two cities, the Fox
Valley, and Western Wisconsin to Chicago and Minneapolis. Construction alone will
create thousands of jobs, and the train itself will increase commerce and give people a
transportation options for years to come. Today’s Republican Party has forgotten what
President Dwight Eisenhower knew: investments in infrastructure can create economic
growth. Unlike his GOP opponents, Tom supports high-speed rail as part of
Wisconsin’s future.

• Helping manufacturers to incorporate more advanced technology into their systems

to reduce costs and increase output and efficiency. Advanced technology can play a
pivotal role in the competitive success or failure of manufacturing in Wisconsin. WMEP
currently provides technical expertise and business assistance to help small to mid-size
manufacturers adopt advanced business practices and technologies for increasing
productivity. In addition to technical assistance, however, many manufacturers seeking
to improve productivity need to make substantial investments. Tom will create a 10
percent Advanced Technology Tax credit, to be made available to qualified
manufacturing firms who, in consultation with WMEP, identify and invest in appropriate
technology upgrades designed to quantifiably increase productivity.

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Expanding “Cleantech” Industries
In 2007, Wisconsinites spent $21.6 billion on energy; two-thirds of it on fuel costs, providing
zero economic benefit to the state’s economy because Wisconsin has no native oil, coal or
natural gas resources. But as the costs of these energy sources continue to rise – and thus
demand for alternatives increases – Wisconsin can both save money and stimulate new
economic growth by developing clean, renewable, and locally-produced energy sources.
Hundreds of millions, and possibly billions, of dollars will be invested in cleantech – high
efficiency and clean energy and water technologies – in the next 10 years, including: smart grid
technologies, energy storage, water metering and purification, electric car recharging
infrastructure, and other fast-growing industries. As Governor, Tom understands energy
conservation is a journey not a destination and to move forward he will:

• Foster wind energy through improved transmission capacity. In 2008, Wisconsin

had the fourth highest rate of growth in wind capacity: up to 448 Megawatts.25 We
Energies wind farm projects will soon be under construction by three Wisconsin firms at
Glacier Hills Wind Park outside of Madison, which will generate 145.5 MW of
electricity, or enough to power 45,000 homes. While up-front construction costs are
high, once operational wind power produces very little in the way of operating costs –
and zero polluting emissions. Within the Midwest region, however, construction of
77,000 MW of wind power capacity is on hold, due to a lack of excess transmission
capacity that could pose problems getting new electricity to the grid. As Governor, Tom
will work closely with our neighboring states to coordinate transmission expansion to
maximize the effectiveness of our investments in renewables.

• Establish an interest-free Industrial Matching Loan program, initially in the amount

of $25 million each year over the next 5 years to be used as a match for federal grants to
develop innovative ideas to reduce energy in manufacturing and to deploy energy saving
technologies. Federal agencies, such as DOE provide millions of dollars on a
competitive basis, but these federal agencies require non-federal matching funds
sometimes as high as 50% of the total project costs. Wisconsin needs to capitalize on
these federal funds.

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Promoting Biofuel Availability and Use
While great strides have been made, the technologies to produce
such fuels are not yet fully developed for wide-scale commercial
deployment. As Governor, Tom will:

• Advance conversion technology commercialization.

While the current ethanol and biodiesel industry
continues to grow, it is crucial that action be taken to
mitigate risk in developing next-generation technologies
in order to speed the transition of new technologies to

• Broaden existing bioenergy incentives and create new

incentives that promote many uses of biomass, including
not only a range of different liquid fuels, but also natural
gas, heat and electricity.

• Develop next-generation regulation. New technologies can deliver environmental

benefits, but often do not fit neatly into existing regulatory schemes. This can create
challenges for regulatory agencies and industry. Collaboration is needed to develop
permitting rules for advanced technologies, share information about the environmental
impact of various advanced technologies, provide regulatory exemptions for novel
demonstrations to allow experimentation, and promote innovative regulatory strategies
that seek to reward projects with good overall environmental characteristics.

• Provide technical assistance to advanced technology projects. By funding front-end

engineering and design studies and other feasibility studies, providing business planning
and mentoring, and expanding technical capabilities, Wisconsin can help develop
advanced technology projects.

• Increase regional research collaboration. By coordinating state and private research to

develop an information clearinghouse based on advanced bioenergy research and
demonstration projects in the region. Identifying crucial research needs, organizing and
launching regional research and other initiatives addressing key challenges to
development of the bioeconomy, and promoting regional commercial-scale
demonstrations of various biomass feedstocks will also be effective tools in promoting
regional collaboration.

• Develop the Midwestern infrastructure for the manufacture of biobased products.

A key to the advanced bioenergy complex will be the profitability of the manufacturing
of biobased materials that are co-products of biobased fuels. This materials industry is in
its infancy, however, supporting research determining how the biomaterials supply chain
can mature in conjunction with the biofuels sector and how new products can achieve
economic viability.

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• Develop Midwestern biobased products. Adopt biobased product procurement rules at
the state level, participate in a regional biobased product procurement program with a
common list of products, and consider expanding the program further by creating a
regional certification program and promoting it through education and incentives for
business participation as a means to foster biobased product development.

• Overcome the difficulty of biomass feedstock logistics. Employ technical assistance

and incentives to projects that are seeking to develop a supply of cellulosic biomass for
bioenergy projects.

• Promote a perennial biomass supply. Because of the synergies between farm

economics, biofuel production and environmental objectives, supporting the
development of a perennial biomass supply should be a priority. Develop and expand
programs and incentives that encourage landowners to grow perennial crops and supply
products to a bioenergy plant in a way that targets improvements in soil/water quality,
wildlife habitat, soil erosion and carbon sequestration.

• Establish a Biofuels Fund in the amount of $15 million per year for 4 years to promote
the development of cost-effective breakthrough technologies to produce advanced
biofuels. If necessary these funds can also be used as a match for federal grants, provide
incentives to companies to relocate their companies in Wisconsin, and provide tax
credits to qualified investors. Like venture fund tax credits, Tom also plans to increase
Angel fund tax credits to 40% from 25%. This new policy will help Angel investors to
recruit additional members and increase the pool of money for start-up companies.

• Create a Wisconsin BioIndustry Export Assistance Office. Exports will become

increasingly important for Wisconsin and the US to emerge from recession. Biobased
products such as wood pellets, dried distillers grains, biofuels, biochemicals or other
biobased products are often produced and sold by small businesses that do not have the
amounts, budget or expertise to effectively compete internationally. These small
companies are often left with selling their products to large wholesalers at very low
margins. A state funded export office could assist Wisconsin companies with breaking
in to overseas markets, aggregate the output of small companies into large enough
quantities for direct export (wood pellets, distillers grains), and assist with other export
related activities. This office could help increase exports and help keep more profits in

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Expanding the Use of Biomass
Biomass-based industries are those based on technologies that turn organic matter (“feedstocks”
or “biomass”) into energy, fuel, pharmaceuticals, and other products. Biomass energy uses
organic matter such as wood or plants to create heat, generate electricity, and produce
transportation fuels that burn cleaner than oil. Biomass energy is growing rapidly and now
accounts for 45 percent of the renewable energy used in the United States, helping to improve
environmental outcomes and decreasing our reliance on oil. As Governor, Tom will:

• Push for policy incentives that shift our investments in oil to investments in biofuels
through the development of tax credits and loan guarantees for the development of
cellulosic biofuels and biodiesel, in particular, the four major areas of biofuels
development: feedstocks, deconstruction, fuels synthesis, and technologies.

• Explore incentives for public vehicles to use biodiesel. Biodiesel is a renewable fuel
that can be manufactured from new and used vegetable oils, animal fats, and recycled
restaurant grease. Although it is similar to petroleum diesel, biodiesel emits far fewer
greenhouse gas emissions and toxic air pollutants when consumed. As long as the
vehicle was manufactured after 1993, biodiesel can be used in diesel engines with little
impact on operating performance.

• Spread it around. In 2007, the University of Wisconsin-Madison received the largest

federal grant in the university's history - $125 million - to house the Great Lakes
Bioenergy Research Center. The Center has become a cornerstone in the development
of the UW Energy Institute. Since likely feedstocks include farm, forest, and food
industry wastes, there are possible productive sites all over the state. Siting
developments in distressed areas around the state will help revitalize local economies
while advancing science.

Building a Market for Demand Management Industries

• Enhance and increase funding for Wisconsin’s existing Focus on Energy program
through adoption of challenging goals to further reduce energy consumption. The
Focus on Energy Program is one of the best programs in the nation, and is unique
because it focuses on deployment of both emerging technologies by using a very creative
investment model and best practices by providing incentives as grants. Its annual energy
savings results are audited each year by an independent third party, it provides
significant benefit to cost ratio, and it has been recognized nationally.

• Launch a program to retrofit existing businesses and housing stock, creating jobs
especially in hard-hit construction trades. As Governor, Tom will authorize local
governments to create Energy Finance Districts to provide residential, commercial and
industrial loans to retrofit properties with energy-efficient systems, including tankless
water heaters, low-flow toilets, energy efficient windows and wall/roof insulation.
These loans would be repaid through future energy savings. Since 2008, at least 14

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states, including New York, California, Colorado, Texas, Virginia and Louisiana, have
enacted similar legislation.

• Engage utilities as aggregators and administrators in delivering efficiency

programs to customers. They are the entity that customers interact with most directly
and most often, so they could do more to advance efficiency – both through their own
programs and by advocating for state programs.

• Undertake a public education campaign targeting both commercial and residential

customers. Public service announcements, information included with billing, and
outreach in communities, can alert people to both the potential savings from adopting
efficiency measures and the programs available to assist them. This is already a core
industry strength in Wisconsin, thanks to such industry leaders as Johnson Controls in
Milwaukee and Orion Energy in Manitowoc

• Encourage use of energy-efficient appliances and technologies here in Wisconsin:

o Weatherization/Building Retrofit programs - insulation and window efficiency,

sealing air leaks and duct leaks
o Lighting efficiency
o Efficient refrigerators and other appliances
o Maintaining or replacing heating and cooling systems

• Provide consumer incentives including:

o Challenge local governments and communities to meet specific energy efficiency

goals and provide technical and financial assistance as needed.
o Engage utilities as aggregators and administrators in delivering efficiency
programs to customers. They are the entity that customers interact with most
directly and most often, so they could do more to advance efficiency – both
through their own programs and by advocating for state programs.
o Develop a combination of “carrots and sticks” that policy-makers can use and
help encourage greater efficiency and find ways for low-income customers to
manage the front-end costs of efficiency improvements.

• Encourage more efficient building standards. Wisconsin needs to examine residential

and commercial energy efficiency construction codes beyond International Code Council
model standards (including government buildings). The residential code would be
equivalent to the current Energy Star Homes standard (Energy Star currently is a 15
percent reduction from the International Energy Conservation Code) and the commercial
code will be capable of reducing energy consumption by 25 percent from the current
code. The building code would also apply to state buildings.

• Provide green building incentives for the private sector. With such great savings
possible from high construction standards, green building makes sense for both public

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and private buildings. States can encourage private developers to meet high performance
building standards by providing tax credits for building green. Under most systems, a
green building tax credit is awarded to taxpayers who construct a building that receives
LEED certification or meets certain requirements. There are several different criteria that
states can use to determine the eligibility for, and value of, the credit. These include the
floor space of the building, total square footage, LEED rating, and the percentage
increase in energy efficiency. Maryland, Oregon, and New York all have a tax credit
program to help offset the additional costs incurred by builders.26 If developers build an
“Energy Star structure,” they might qualify for preferential and/or lower-interest

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  V. Keeping Wisconsin’s Agriculture Strong:
  Expanding prosperity for our farmers and rural communities

“Tom wants to help make agriculture as much an “industry of the future” as all the others.”  

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When some people think of Wisconsin, they think of cheese. Agriculture is very much a part of
our economy, and has the potential to be an even greater part – and that means a whole lot more
than cheese.

Dairy will remain the centerpiece of Wisconsin’s agricultural economy – in fact, Tom’s goal is
to make Wisconsin the top dairy state in the country. But our agriculture industry is far more
extensive and innovative – we produce specialty crops like cranberry and ginseng valued
throughout the world, our wood products are some of finest in the world, we are one of the
leading organic food states in the country, and many of our farms are creating an expanding
range of value-added products.

Tom wants to help make agriculture as much an “industry of the future” as all the others
discussed in this Plan. Here is what Tom will implement:

Making Wisconsin America’s True Dairyland

Dairy farming is the largest industry in Wisconsin, generating $26.5 billion for the state’s
economy accounting for 54 percent of our state’s total agriculture revenue, and employing
150,000 people – including 13,000 family farmers.27 Our state is second only to California in
dairy production.28 Tom wants Wisconsin to be #1 again.

Unfortunately, the economic downturn has hit the industry hard, with high feed costs and low
milk prices. Milk prices averaged $13 per hundredweight in 2009 – reaching a low of just $9 –
down from $19.27 in 2008. Unlike California, however, Wisconsin has the advantage of
producing its feed grain locally. 29 As a result, we are better positioned to weather tough times;
where in California farmers were compelled to reduce their herds by 4.3 percent last year,
Wisconsin herds actually grew slightly by 0.3 percent.30 Nonetheless, dairy farmers lost an
average of $1,000 per cow in 2009, and farm income dropped by 56 percent to $1.1 billion, the
lowest since 2002 – amounting to statewide losses of $1.8 billion.31 Dairy farm indebtedness
rose to 18 percent of assets from 15 percent. While the dairy industry is still financially sound,
with an average debt-asset ratio of less than 20 percent, the hardship to family farms cannot be
understated: Wisconsin farmers have had to use equity- and personal lines of credit to keep their
businesses afloat.

As Governor, Tom will make Wisconsin the uncontested Milk State. Tom will:

• Support enhanced tax credits for dairy and dairy processing facilities. Wisconsin’s
dairy farmers have just weathered one of the worst years for business in recent history.
Given the losses that some have incurred, it seems counterintuitive to now invest in
operations improvements and expansion. Yet with dairy prices and demand on the
rebound, Wisconsin is poised for a strong comeback – and now is exactly the time for
many of our dairy farms to make the capital investments in the latest and best available
technologies that will enable Wisconsin’s dairy sector to recover in a stronger position
than ever. The Dairy Investment Tax Credit, which expired this year, allows dairy
farmers a 10 percent income and franchise tax credit for expenditures on modernization

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and expansion. This incentive helps create and retain jobs, and encourages our number
one industry to invest in growth. That is why Tom supported Assembly Bill 756, which
will extend the Dairy Investment Tax Credit until 2012, allowing up to $75,000 per

• Promote value-added opportunities for dairy farms of all sizes. Wisconsin needs its
dairy farms, from the largest to the smallest, in order to achieve our goal of being the
national leader in dairy products.

• Balance regulatory relief with environmental protection to ensure that our dairy
industry is able to grow and stay profitable. Agriculture has seen unprecedented
competitive pressure in recent years. Farms are businesses, and many Wisconsin farms
have been compelled to make greater capital investments and increase their scale of
operations in order to compete and survive. Just as Wisconsin needs its farmers, our
farmers need a state that provides an agribusiness-friendly environment in which to
grow. The Livestock Facility Siting Law enacted in 2006 has enabled farmers in our
state to expand their businesses, by cutting bureaucratic red tape and increasing
transparency. It allows, but does not require local governments to issue livestock facility
permits, and it protects larger facilities against arbitrary zoning discrimination that is not
based on established public health and safety grounds.

As the number of large-scale farming operations increase, we are presented with new
environmental challenges; protecting our water and land-quality is paramount. But
agriculture and natural resource management are often falsely presented as being at odds
– our agriculture industry is also dependent on these resources for its continued viability.
Farmers provide the backbone and life blood of our economy; they must not be vilified,
but engaged as key partners in the stewardship of our land and water resources. New
technologies for handling livestock waste and wastewater include anaerobic digesters
and waste dewatering that can help mitigate waste concerns.32 Furthermore, the
encroachment of suburban sprawl on agricultural land has had the dangerous effect of
concentrating large-scale farms into increasingly smaller areas. Growing farms on
shrinking farmland is not good for farms and not good for the land. As Governor, Tom
will continue to support the existing agricultural siting law that allows our farming
operations to grow and compete, while proactively pursuing policies to preserve farm
land for agricultural use, and working with industry to develop and adopt best resource
management that protect the sustainability of Wisconsin agribusiness.

• Establish an annual operating loan program through the Wisconsin Housing and
Economic Development Association (WHEDA). This program could provide an
additional $100,000 loan (maximum) to eligible dairy farms, to be repaid over a five-
year period.

• Promote and protect the integrity of Wisconsin’s Organic Dairy Industry

Wisconsin leads the nation in organic dairy family farms. These family farmers have
faced enough challenges in recent years without the additional burden of competing with
cheap counterfeits that have flooded the market. Organic farmers in Wisconsin have

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worked hard, and made large investments in developing a strong reputation for ethics
and quality. Unfortunately, federal rules have put the authenticity and integrity of
certified organic products at a level where large food processing entities can enter the
market by circumventing the sound organic-certifiable rules that Wisconsin’s organic
dairy farmers have proudly followed for years. These large conglomerates have entered
into the organic market by flooding markets, which violates both the spirit and letter of
U.S. organic labeling laws. Aurora Dairy, for example, a $100 million corporation with
five farms in Texas and Colorado, has been undercutting Wisconsin organic farmers by
fraudulently selling its products as “organic” to large grocery retailers across the country
that has contributed to the rock-bottom milk prices that threaten Wisconsin’s organic
industry. This corporation was found by the USDA to be in “willful” violation of at least
14 provisions of U.S, organic law in 2007. Yet the Bush Administration never took any
enforcement action, in spite of the billions in resulting losses imposed on compliant
organic farmers in Wisconsin and elsewhere. Since 2007, 19 class-action lawsuits have
been brought against Aurora for consumer fraud. As Governor, Tom Barrett will end the
unfair, illegal competition that is crushing our proud organic industry. He will insist that
the USDA enforce the law and level the playing field for the Wisconsin farmers who
choose business practices that are in compliance with U.S. organic standards.

Expanding Other Value-Added Agriculture

We need to find industries, companies, and jobs that can take advantage of the strengths of rural
life and complement them, rather than destroy or replace them – while still moving forward into
potential growth areas in the coming years.
This means looking at “value-added”
agriculture, turning raw agricultural products
– animal or vegetable – into a processed
product that commands higher prices and
delivers higher incomes to farmers.

There is more to farming today than simply

growing commodity crops. Farmers know
they can earn more by growing different types
of crops, growing organic crops, or by raising
nontraditional species of livestock. Other farmers are directly processing their crops into
finished products that they market themselves. To support this new agricultural environment,
states can provide capital, technical assistance, and infrastructure support that are not tied to the
production of a specific commodity.33

Wisconsin can profit from the same value-added agricultural development strategy as states like
California and Washington, which have successfully transitioned their declining hardwoods
industries into associated value-added activities as wood product manufacturing. There are
boundless value-added opportunities among the many unique strengths and advantages of our
rural communities and economy.

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In particular, the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has
worked to enhance the state's specialty foods reputation with development rooted in specialty
meats, livestock and dairy; promote strong market development efforts to create branded
products and promote a "From Wisconsin" brand identity with national and global recognition;
develop high-value industrial crops for nutraceutical (nutritional supplement) and
pharmaceutical uses, along with ethanol and fiber crop production; and establish industry-led
entrepreneurial agricultural with a state partnership and a proven development framework.34 As
governor, Tom will build on existing programs to increase value-added agriculture in
Wisconsin. Specific initiatives include:

• Agriculture Development and Diversification (ADD) Grant Program. Since 1989,

DATCP has funded 342 projects with $6.8 million in grants to stimulate and explore the
development of new value added products, markets, or technologies in Wisconsin.
Those grants in turn have leveraged $39 million in investment, and generated economic
returns to the state of $140 million – a good return on our investment.35 Current projects
funded include initiatives to develop sweet potatoes and walleye as cash crops, field
trials for hardy table grapes, and a feasibility study for a biomass aggregation facility.
GATT Grants, which are awarded competitively at up to $50,000 per approved project36
are an important resource for agricultural innovation, and can also help Wisconsin
farmers diversify into ready markets where demand is currently unmet. For instance,
most U.S.-grown ginseng is exported to China and Hong Kong, whereas most U.S.
consumed ginseng is imported from Korea.37 Opportunities for Wisconsin ginseng
farmers to develop domestic markets for their products should be actively pursued.

• Organic Agriculture. Wisconsin is a top-ranked state in organic agriculture. In 2005,

the most recent year for which national data is available, only California had more
certified organic farms than Wisconsin. In 2007, a survey of organic certification
organizations found that there were approximately 900 certified organic farms in the
state. Wisconsin is a leader in organic food production; it is first in organic dairy
production, and top-ranked in organic livestock production, and organic herb and
greenhouse acreage. It is among the top three states in acres planted to organic corn, hay
and silage, and number of organic beef cows. Additionally, the number of certified
organic processors in Wisconsin increased 30 percent from 2005 to 2006. Add to that
the seed, input and equipment businesses that support the organic industry and you have
201 companies operating in the state.38 As Governor, Tom will support the state cost
sharing initiatives in place for organic certification of farms. A good economic
development strategy for this region would be to help farmers develop and find markets
for value added agriculture, such as organic foods and food processing.

• Forestry. By exporting its natural resources as raw materials without manufacturing

finished products, a forested region also exports jobs. Today, the growing recognition of
lost opportunities in the timber industry is generating support for turning timber into
valued-added products: shingles, paneling, flooring, decking, cabinetry, wood paneling,
hardwood veneer, plywood, boxes and containers, log home kits, furniture, boats,
caskets, signs, musical instruments, games, crafts and gifts. Value-added forestry could
increase economic development in our state’s northern counties, where forestry is an

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important industry, as well as in other readily accessible counties with a manufacturing

• Agricultural Innovation – New Uses for Old Crops. Identifying and developing a
new use for an existing agricultural product or commodity produced from renewable
plant and animal sources is an important strategy for value-added agricultural
development. For instance, Wisconsin is the nation’s leading producer of cranberries,
and 25 percent of the production is shipped overseas. In these other countries,
cranberries are found in products where they are not found in the U.S., such as Maraca
Cranberry Kiss, a cranberry-flavored soft drink made in Australia; in France, cranberry-
flavored ice pops are shaped to resemble James Bond actor Daniel Craig; and cranberry
frozen pizza is a popular treat in Germany. The Cranberry Marketing Committee has
strongly focused on promoting cranberries in other parts of the world.39 Wisconsin’s
cranberry growers and food-processing industry should replicate their successes here in
the U.S. Food processing is a growth-oriented industry; Del Monte foods employees
1,250 workers at its three Wisconsin plants, and contracts with 114 local Wisconsin
growers.40 As Governor, Tom will support the expansion of food processing tax credits
that help every sector of our agricultural base to innovate and develop value-add
processed products that enhance revenues, create jobs, and promote an agricultural-
industry diversification.

• Wisconsin’s Brand.

The “Something Special

from Wisconsin” Program
has offered Wisconsin
farmers access to the
trademarked Wisconsin
brand identity since 1983
through a partnership of
DATCP, UW Extension, the
Wisconsin Grocers
Association, and Thrive –
regional economic
development entity. SavorWisconsin was launched in 2002 as a program to expand the
availability of Wisconsin products through technology – making online purchase and
direct-from producers purchase available to more consumers outside Wisconsin, from
delivery service to mail order access to local farmers’ markets and roadside stands. The
people of Wisconsin know this brand represents integrity and the highest quality – but
we need to get the word out to the rest of the country, and the world. One Wisconsin
product that has recently reached new heights in gaining national exposure is
Beechwood Cheese of Washington County, which just filled its largest ever order for
3,125 pounds of “Almost Famous” cheddar cheese curds for consumption on Midwest
and Frontier Airlines – where it is consumed by travelers en route to far flung
destinations. As Governor, Tom will launch a targeted marketing campaign in
partnership with the Something Special and Savor Wisconsin programs specifically to

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target marketing for specialty Wisconsin products to distributors with national and
global reach, such as providing complimentary product samples for participating
suppliers, airlines, hotels, and guest services contractors, which are uniquely positioned
to promote brand recognition and spur demand for the Wisconsin brand far beyond our

• Diversification. While last year brought daunting challenges to Wisconsin farmers, our
corn harvest, while late, produced a record yield, and should be a source of optimism.41
Wisconsin is one of the top producing states in the nation in corn, soy and dairy – Tom
wants it to be tops in these areas too.

• Family farming through modernization, expansion of markets, transition into organic

farming, farming education programs for small farmers, and other extension efforts.

• Incentives for farming cooperatives. As the cost of agricultural inputs continues to

rise and prices of commodities fall, farmers need ways generate more revenue. Instead of
only growing and selling commodities, many farmers have formed agricultural
cooperatives to process crops and return added value to producers, rather than leaving
these profits to middlemen. These new agricultural cooperatives are commonly referred
to as “value-added co-ops” or “new generation co-ops.” Tom will push for tax credits,
purchasing incentives, and grants or loans to encourage the formation of these co-ops.
Done in conjunction with a green energy agenda, the incentives can be targeted to
farmers in biodiesel production. Missouri has a program like this. The credit is
allocated specifically for incorporated cooperative facilities producing products
(including energy and fuel) derived from agricultural commodities. The tax credits are
only available to members of the co-ops, not to outside investors.42

• Local food production. Local food production has the potential to be a major economic
engine. Local food activists are working to boost that percentage dramatically and are
developing public policy recommendations to advance the growing, selling, safety,
marketing, access, distribution, preparation and serving of locally produced foods.
Examples of policies they are investigating include:

o Farm-to-school programs: These can include everything from gardening on

school property and teaching farm curriculum to helping kids cook and serving
local foods in school lunchrooms.
o Local food procurement for schools, hospitals, jails, and other institutions – Is it
possible for the food-service operations of schools, hospitals, jails and other
institutions to serve more local foods?
o Urban agriculture: Can zoning and other barriers be erased to benefit farmers
within city limits?43

• Aquaculture. Aquaculture is the fastest-growing agricultural sector in the world. The

transition from natural fisheries to aquaculture is occurring in part because there is more
demand for fish than product. Although U.S. consumer demand is increasing for
locally-grown products, the U.S. has a $9 billion seafood import deficit, with foreign

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imports coming primarily from China and South America. As Governor, Tom wants to
promote cooperation among all Wisconsin aquaculturists in order to best position
ourselves to enter new markets nationally and globally – and establish Wisconsin as a
leader in Midwest aquaculture. Tom will:

o Actively support stringent health and safety standards for seafood imports
to ensure our local aquaculture products can compete with foreign fish products
on a level playing field: foreign fish must continue to be tested for the harmful
antibiotics that were recently discovered in Asian bassa imports and which
threaten human health.

o Enforce seafood truth-in-labeling requirements to give Wisconsinites and all

consumers the choice to support our state’s local and renewable fisheries.

o Provide small business loans to help aquaculturists make the needed

investments in supplies and equipment to improve and expand their production.

o Expand ongoing technical assistance programs to fish farmers to help them

to continuously implement best-quality production practices based on developing
industry standards and research, and to meet environmental and safety

o Increase technical assistance and training support for aspiring fish farmers
who are transitioning from other seeking to supplement other forms of

o Work with Wisconsin’s Native American tribes UW Extension’s aquaculture

program is active in providing technical assistance in best environmental,
veterinary, and productivity practices to aquaculturists across the state.
Wisconsin’s tribal fisheries including the Lake Superior Chippewa Tribal Fishery
and the Midwest Tribal Aquaculture Network have also worked in cooperation
with UW Extension.

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Energy Independence Through Agriculture
Biomass is Wisconsin’s most promising source
of renewable energy. Unlike wind and solar
alternatives, which rely on particular
environmental conditions, biomass can produce
power continuously, and relies on a supply of
agricultural inputs – of which Wisconsin has
abundant capacity to supply. Wisconsin
currently ranks 10th among states for bioproduct
companies registered with USDA’s
BioPreferred Program.44 The accelerated
development of biomass-based power run on
homegrown fuels will be a boon to local
agriculture industries, with long-term energy
cost savings – since the cost of biomass is
linked closely with availability of local supply –
and the added benefit of cleaner air as we
replace coal-fired power.45 The University of
Wisconsin-Madison is in the process of
converting its coal-fired plant to a biomass-
natural gas hybrid that will power the university
primarily on biofuels by 2013. Investment in
pilot scale biomass plants such as this is one
way Wisconsin can lead in the development of
a biofuels market that is still in its infancy. At
$250 million, investments in new biomass
plants are not inexpensive, but Wisconsin now spends $20 million annually on fossil fuels from
elsewhere, all of which are sent out of state; we have no native coal or gas resources.
Investments in biomass energy production will keep more of our energy dollars in Wisconsin,
generating jobs, fueling economic growth, and spurring demand in an agriculture-based biofuels
market of the future in which we can position our state to be a national leader in energy

As Governor, Tom will support the development of our biomass energy economy, strengthening
the links between our agriculture sector and an energy-independent Wisconsin. Specifically,
Tom will:

• Support loans for anaerobic digesters for Wisconsin’s livestock producers.

Anaerobic digesters have the potential to resolve the land and water contamination
concerns posed by volume livestock waste, while converting harmful waste into a source
of renewable, locally generated energy. The two digesters located on the Crave Brothers
farm, which hosted the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in 2009, alone provide
enough electricity to power 550 homes.46 The Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Methane Digester Loan Program, as part of its Rural Finance Authority (RFA) revolving
loan fund, helps livestock producers install anaerobic digesters used for the production

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of electricity by providing interest-free loans to eligible borrowers.47 As Governor, Tom
will establish a Wisconsin Anaerobic Digester loan program that will provide direct
loans, or participate in loans provided by private lenders of up to 45 percent of the
principal to a maximum of $250,000 for direct or participant loans, with a maximum
term of ten years for qualified borrowers.

• Implement state policies that promote the commercialization of non-feed biofuels.

While Wisconsin should to everything it can to spur demand for locally produced
biofuels, we must be mindful of the unintended local consequences for local livestock
operations of driving up prices and competition for corn, or other inputs relied on as
feedstock by our existing industries. Plant sugars from cellulosic biomass, including
alternative energy sources like woody biomass, switchgrass, can be used to formulate a
“green gasoline” that is energy dense enough to make jet fuel or diesel, and has the
potential to become a cost-efficient primary transportation fuel without impacting
feedstock markets. In fact, Madison-based Virent was recently awarded $2.4 million of
$33.8 million in grant funds designated by the U.S. Department of Energy for its
research into bringing down the cost producing biofuels – and getting them into the
market. Founded in 2002 to deploy research at the University of Wisconsin – Madison,
Virent’s investors now include Cargill, Shell, and Honda. Its most recent work began in
2007 with a $2 million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology,
and now it employs 80 people.48 Advantages of the green biofuel would be that it could
be used as a pure biofuel, or blended with conventional gasoline, without requiring
major investments in new infrastructure. Its tailpipe emissions are estimated to be half
that of conventional fuels. And, the process for manufacturing the fuel uses less energy
than does ethanol, which requires an additional fermentation process. Fleet testing
evaluations will take place this year.49 Plans are in development for a commercial plant
within the next five years, though the location has not yet been determined. In order to
attract and retain this kind of valuable homegrown talent and technology that will
catalyze growth in both agriculture and high-tech industries, Wisconsin needs to take the
lead in developing the market for biofuels. As Governor, Tom will support early-adopter
tax incentives for companies that invest in biofuel related infrastructure – as well as for
individuals who purchase biofuels.

Restoring the Wisconsin Idea to Production Agriculture

The Wisconsin Idea is based on the principle that education must be used to influence and
improve people’s lives outside the classroom. For over a century it has been the cornerstone of
the University of Wisconsin education, and of the educational philosophy that Wisconsin
embraces at every level – as evidenced by our Number 6 ranking among university patents in
2009. It is a concept with self-evident value in moving ideas into today’s increasingly
knowledge-based marketplace – but the value of this principle to our agricultural industries has
been too often overlooked. Tom’s plan includes:

• Expanding Extension efforts. UW-Extension, the technical outreach arm of the

university is the embodiment of the Wisconsin Idea that values disseminating knowledge
throughout the state. While patents are an important measure of innovation, not all

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technology is patented before impacting Wisconsin’s agricultural community. As
Governor, Tom will ensure that the state’s three agricultural universities UW-Madison,
UW-River Falls, and UW-Platteville – along with UW-Extension are fully funded with a
clear mandate to work directly with the state’s farmers to continue to modernize our
state’s agricultural economy.

• Revitalizing the Babcock Institute for International Dairy Research and

Development with a program that lives up to its name, and Wisconsin’s industry.
Housed in the Animal Sciences building, the institute, with fewer than five employees,
serves as a networking institute that brings together the state’s leading dairy experts and
scientists from among academia and the private sector, and hosts international training
meetings.50 The Institute is an invaluable asset to the university, which does much with
few resources – which come mostly from USDA. But it is time for Wisconsin to
acknowledge that its dairy industry of the future is a knowledge-based one, and invest in
the Institute’s role as a global leader in dairy science by making Babcock a full-fledged
university department with dedicated funding for faculty and university resources for
conducting research and development. Babcock Hall is currently home to dairy
processing equipment and dairy product research facilities that are often utilized by the
private sector for product research –as well as a plant that boasts award-winning gourmet
ice-cream. As Governor, Tom will work with state’s building commission and
University of Wisconsin to remodel and modernize Babcock Hall to realize the vision of
a state of the art cheese making training facility at Babcock Hall that will be second to
none in the world.

• Creating a loan forgiveness program for the state’s large animal veterinarians. Cow
herd numbers are growing again in Wisconsin after a 20-year decline. This is a good
sign for our agricultural industry, indicating job gains and retention – but it also
highlights a shortage of large animal veterinarians in rural Wisconsin. In order to
encourage the professional specialization needed in-state to support our dairy and other
livestock-based agriculture Tom will create an incentive program to forgive state and
federal student loans for veterinary graduates of Wisconsin schools who practice
livestock medicine in-state for at least five years.

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Keeping Wisconsin’s Rural Economy Competitive
Wisconsin is beautiful and has
countless recreational
opportunities – not only in the
northern counties and Door
County, but in many of the
central and southern counties as
well. The abundance of woods
and water, plus quaint villages
and festivals, could provide a big
tourism draw from within the
state, from neighboring states,
and – if proactively and
aggressively marketed – even
from other parts of the country. But the things that make people want to visit Wisconsin are the
same things that make them want to stay: opportunities to enjoy nature, wildlife, and the state’s
natural beauty – but also its arts, history, and culture. It is also these same characteristics that
help attract college students to the state and then retain the graduates who live and work here. If
properly recognized and promoted, these are the qualities that will provide incentives for
industry and enthusiasm among their employees to locate and make Wisconsin their home.51

Wisconsin currently draws visitors who contribute billions of dollars to Wisconsin's economy
each year. In 2008, travelers spent $13.1 billion that also generated nearly $7.3 billion in
income, 310,000 jobs, and $2.1 billion in state and local taxes and fees.52 The tourism industry
provides jobs that range from unskilled manual labor to positions for highly trained and
educated professionals.53 By continuing to invest in the things that bring visitors to Wisconsin –
our natural attractions, our arts and culture – we can boost our tourism industry and our ability
to attract and retain companies that provide good paying jobs, and the highly educated workers
they need.

Tom will invest in the quality of life of communities throughout Wisconsin, in order to make
our state – and particularly our rural areas – an even greater place to live, to visit, and to start a
business. As Governor, Tom will:

• Invest in a sound local transportation system. Too many of our towns and villages are
suffering from bad, to very bad, roads. For instance, the village of Germantown – which
was named in 2007 by Money Magazine as the 30th most appealing place to live in the
U.S. – identified $15.4 million in high-priority road maintenance this year – but could
afford to address only $1 million of the work. The Pavement Surface and Evaluation
System, one tool to prioritize road maintenance, rates roads on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1
being the worst condition; in Germantown, some roads that rate a “2” on the scale will
not be addressed in improvement projects until 2015.54 While small state grants have
been made available, not enough is being done to keep our rural and town roads from
falling into disrepair – and when the town roads go, it’s not long before the towns are in
decline. Without adequate infrastructure, economic recovery will indeed be slow going.

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As Governor, Tom will provide state guaranties for municipal road bonding and the
grant funding available for urgent road repair. Repairing these roads immediately will
put the people of Wisconsin back to work, and help put our whole state on the road to

• Protect use-value assessment to ensure that farmers are not taxed off of their land.
Use-value taxation of farmland is designed to tax land based on the ability of the land to
produce income under its current agricultural use, as opposed to what it could sell for in
the open market (e.g., for development purposes). Over 40 states have laws providing
for preferential assessment of agricultural land for property tax purposes. In 1995,
Wisconsin was one of the last agricultural states to adopt such a policy protecting
farmers and their lands under agricultural production – 20 years after it was introduced
in the state legislature.55 Last year, use-value came under attack in the legislature in an
amendment that changed the definition of agricultural use. The state Senate proposed to
change the definition of “agricultural land” for purposes of use-value assessments to
exclude any land that is platted and zoned for residential, commercial or industrial use.56
While this change was eliminated from the final state budget, as Governor, Tom will
vigilantly protect Wisconsin’s farmers from any further attempts to undermine the tax
code that appropriately reflects the value of preserving land for agricultural production.
Use-value is not a tax break for farmers. It is an equity measure that reflects the value of
the land for its current use – which Wisconsin has a vested interest in protecting and will
keep Wisconsin rural economy vibrant and modern.

• Double the number of Main Street Communities. Every state dollar Wisconsin has
invested in local communities through the Main Street program has generated $42 in
economic benefit. From 1988 to 2007, every public dollar spent on Main Street
revitalizations in Wisconsin towns has generated an additional $4 in private investment –
and in some cases far more. Today, 34 Wisconsin communities participate in Main
Street. One example of a Main Street success is the Broadway District of Green Bay,
which thrived during growth of industrial commerce in the late nineteenth century. By
the 1990’s, the Broadway District was a high-vacancy, high-crime neighborhood,
neglected by any organized community development efforts for over 60 years. In 1995,
local merchants, neighbors and community leaders launched a Main Street revitalization
organization, On Broadway, Inc. Since its founding, the organization has developed a
new streetscape along Broadway, a partnership with local police that has significantly
reduced crime in the 48-block revitalization district, and the purchase of a 22-acre
industrial property for sustainable redevelopment. This site will house small businesses
and affordable spaces to live and work while minimizing the project's impact on the
environment. So far, 91 buildings have been rehabilitated, and nine new buildings
constructed. These efforts have resulted in the creation of 907 new jobs and brought 89
new businesses into the district. Public investment has been $4.3 million, leveraging
private investment of nearly $50 million.

As Governor, Tom will work to replicate successes like Broadway throughout

Wisconsin that will promote tourism and commerce while creating jobs. Tom will:

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o Double the number of Main Street towns and communities.

o Maximize private sector participation in Main Street projects through tax credits
for investments by qualified individuals or businesses in:
 rehabilitation of qualified historic structures.
 qualified community development assets like community centers, parks, or
community enrichment programs and
 cleanup of contaminated “brown field” properties.

o Create Satellite Main Street Communities. Not every community has the
resources to hire a full-time program manager and become a full-fledged Main
Street Community. Tom’s Main Street Satellite program would allow smaller
communities to apply for and receive technical assistance in completing a project
that revitalizes their downtown.

• Empower Rural Schools as Economic Development Catalysts. Every community,

regardless of its size and resources wants to create opportunities for new generations.
Some of our very small and rural communities have the desire, but do not have the
resources to devote staff to focus on economic development. Rural schools have a role
to play in working with their communities to understand the strengths and opportunities
in the economy and designing programs that give students the chance to be employed in
the community when they graduate.

• Promote rural art economies. An arts-based economy can enhance state efforts to
diversify rural economies, generate revenue, improve the quality of life, and attract
visitors and investment. Rural areas often feature various arts and cultural industries,
which, with some assistance, can become productive economic sectors. State arts
agencies can assist in economic development efforts. Tom’s specific strategies include:

o Integrating the arts as a formally recognized and quantified industry into state
economic-development planning as a part of overall investment strategies and

o Using traditional entrepreneurship and economic-development tools, including

incubators, start-up capital, and training.

o Attracting the arts community by offering incentives, supporting business

collaboration, and improving physical infrastructure.

o Using higher-education systems in training and business assistance efforts.

o Integrating the arts into planning and marketing to build sustainable tourism.

o Investing in cultural resources for rural areas by helping fund rural programming
and providing incentives for other entities to invest in rural communities.

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o Identifying, obtaining, and creatively using the wide variety of federal resources
available from sources including the National Endowment for the Arts and U.S.
Departments of Agriculture, Transportation, and Commerce.57

• Expand broadband connections and coverage (especially to rural areas and

schools). The state should expand coverage to the entire state – rural and poor urban
areas have a tendency to be underserved. Broadband deployment also comes into
contact with host of permit and licensing regulations, including environmental
enforcement and historic preservation, and "broadband often loses. Building codes and
permits also provide another layer of issues for network builders. For example, as it
built out its 33,000-mile fiber network, Williams Communications employed 400 agents
in field to apply for 10,000 different licenses and permits from various government
agencies. Nationally, permits used to account for about 10% of network costs and now
that figure is closer to 20%. According to the National Association of Regulatory
Utilities Commissioners, while most local governments are reasonable in their rates,
terms and conditions for telecom access to their rights-of-way and public lands, "certain
governmental entities" have imposed unreasonable and discriminatory right-of-way
(ROW) conditions that are impeding deployment of broadband and new narrowband
telecom network facilities, creating potential barriers to competitive entry.

As Governor, Tom will:

o Help coordinate and fund efforts by municipalities to use their authority and
purchasing power to provide inexpensive broadband access to all their citizens.
This policy also ties to one of the targeted economic sectors discussed in the next
section. The state could seek private-public partnerships and/or federal funding.

o Put incentives in place to encourage all owners and managers of local ROW and
public lands to provide prompt, nondiscriminatory access to requesting carriers at
reasonable rates and terms, consistent with environmental stewardship and other
management responsibilities, as Michigan has done. Michigan’s rules also call
for vigorous nondiscriminatory enforcement of existing ROW access laws,
adoption of ROW access laws where none exist, and review or reform of existing
policy to ensure local ROW access is not a barrier to broadband competition.

o Implement tax and permitting fairness through right-of-way permitting systems

to create common rules for all carriers and establishing one common fee system
to replace differing fee and taxation systems in place around the state today. And,
increase access to information through developing and enforcing quality-of-
service standards so that businesses and other purchasers of advanced
telecommunications services are able to plan ahead, and avoid disruptions to
business operations due to continual installation delays. Again, our neighbors in
Michigan have already enacted similar policies.

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• Expand agritourism. One important aspect of “value-added agriculture” is the revenue
that rural communities and farm families can derive from increasing interest in tourism
in rural areas – whether outdoor adventuring, heritage tourism, or just “getting away
from it all,” many Americans today are willing to pay a premium to visit our rural and
wilderness areas. Farmers can also profit from opening their lands for hunting and
fishing – North Dakota farmers, for instance, created a whole new industry for hunting
sheds by allowing hunters to use a portion of their lands for hunting, charging a small fee
for these “prime hunting spots” and thereby increasing the annual revenues from their
land – approximately $20,000 annually in additional revenues per farmer, in fact. The
state can help with such development in a variety of ways:

o Increasing advertising for rural tourism.

o Improving easy-to-access website information on rural and adventure tourism


o Enacting “hold harmless” laws for private landowners voluntarily to waive their
liability in exchange for permitting public use of their land.

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VI. Investing in Wisconsin’s Workers
  a skilled workforce for the in-demand jobs of tomorrow

“To create jobs now, position Wisconsin for attracting good paying jobs, and sustain job growth over the
long term investing in Wisconsin workers needs to be a top priority.”  

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As the recovery leads to job openings and businesses look to hire, competition for employment
will put a premium on highly skilled workers. Before the recession many employers were
struggling to find skilled workers. The National Association of Manufacturers, in its 2005 Skills
Gap Report, identified a serious shortage of qualified employees that a vast majority of U.S.
manufactures are experiencing is taking an increasingly negative toll on America’s ability to
compete. According to the study:

Today’s skills shortages are extremely broad and deep, cutting across industry sectors
and having an impact on more than 80 percent of companies surveyed.
Skills shortages are having a widespread impact on manufacturers’ abilities to achieve
production levels, increase productivity and meet customer demands.
High-performance workforce requirements have significantly increased as a result of the
skills gap shortage and the challenge of competing in a global economy, according to 75
percent of survey respondents.

Despite a recession that has created a large

labor pool from which employers can draw
upon, the skills gap persists. As the
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel recently reported,
“For all the talk of training people to fill green
jobs in the future, some businesses at the
Green Energy Summit say they're having
trouble finding qualified people to fill job
openings today…. Johnson Controls Inc.'s
building efficiency business is looking to
expand hiring this year but can't find qualified
engineers – and expects to hire engineering
students upon graduation and then train them,
Jim Simpson, director of higher education at
Johnson Controls, said at the Green Energy
Summit. ‘We simply can't find enough people
that are in the market to hire,’ he said. The
mismatch between employers, trainers and job
seekers is one of the key challenges for
expanding green jobs…. A new report
released by the non-profit think tank Center on
Wisconsin Strategy at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison found more coordination
is needed between technical colleges, government and employers to improve training for
workers who most need opportunity.”

The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) recently reported that experts
predict the skills shortages will intensify in the coming years as employers find the need to hire
more knowledgeable workers for high-skilled jobs that will help their organizations grow as the
economy rebounds. Anthony Carnevale, director of the Center on Education and the Workforce

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at Georgetown University, stated, “In a recession, the economy goes to sleep, but when it
awakes, there will be a need for higher-skilled people to fill skill-intensive jobs.” ASTD
identified two underlying causes of the skills gap: jobs are changing and educational attainment
is lagging.

In the next several years a labor shortage will start to emerge resulting from demographic shifts
in the labor market as baby boomers retire. The MetLife Foundation recently sponsored a report
produced by Northeastern University that stated that by 2018 with an expected return to healthy
economic growth, there will likely be more jobs than people to fill them.

To create jobs now, position Wisconsin for attracting good paying jobs, and sustain job growth
over the long term, investing in Wisconsin workers needs to be a top priority. The Barrett Plan
will launch several initiatives to meet the challenges of a changing economy with a more
modernized workforce delivery system. That system will be based on three needs:

Adaptability. Wisconsin’s workforce delivery system will need to be able to quickly

respond to a constantly changing and fast paced marketplace. Workers will need training
and education experiences that give them mastery of new skills that will constantly

Innovation. Just like Wisconsin businesses will need to innovate to remain competitive,
so too must our training programs and educational institutions. Programs and policies
will need to generate new solutions to the challenges of a competitive labor market.

Increased opportunity for learning. Workers will need the opportunity to continuously
improve their skills and capabilities. To keep pace with a competitive labor market, Tom
will focus on increasing Wisconsin’s college educated workforce while at the same time
provide middle skill training opportunities.

Tom knows how to make workforce development work, he created the Mayor's Office of
Workforce Development because the city's history on workforce development had not been
aggressive. Tom had already achieved success by creating a Summer Youth employment
initiative and locating a Job Corps center in Milwaukee.

Tom’s leadership in workforce development under the Milwaukee Area Workforce

Development Board has resulted in an employer-driven, responsive, coordinated, and well-
funded regional effort that has been championed by a single accountable leader. The City has
been a leader on many changes to the system and has been recognized by the U.S. Conference
of Mayors for its effectiveness.

As Governor, Tom will:

• Institute an applied baccalaureate program. One way to increase Wisconsin’s

college educated workforce is by offering individuals applied baccalaureate degrees at
Wisconsin’s four year and two year higher education institutions. Currently applied
baccalaureate degrees are offered by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the

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University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh.. The applied baccalaureate program counts
technical and associate degree-level courses as credits towards a degree. Wisconsin
needs to expand offering applied baccalaureate programs throughout our post-secondary

• Launch a Middle Skill Initiative. Middle skill jobs are those jobs that require more
than a high school education but less than a four-year degree. According to
Skills2Compete those middle skills jobs represent the largest share of jobs in Wisconsin
– some 54 percent – and the largest share of job openings into the next decade. Part of
the Middle Skill Jobs initiative will focus on a gap analysis on the training, occupational
credentialing, and industry certifications needed to fill the middle skill job demand and
the capacity within our training and education institutions to meet that labor market
demand. In addition, the Career Readiness Certificate will be used to provide a skill
credential towards middle skill jobs. Finally, school counselors at our high school will
receive training about the opportunities for middle skill jobs to high school students.

• Join the Complete College Alliance of States. According to the Complete College
Alliance, Wisconsin has 40% of adults aged 25-34 with a college degree. By the end of
the decade, more than 60% of jobs will require a college education. Currently 17 states
have joined the Alliance of States to increase college completion. Under Tom,
Wisconsin will join the alliance and commit to its three action items:

1. Set Completion Goals: Establish annual state and campus-specific degree and
credential completion goals through 2020.

2. Develop Action Plans and Move Key Policy Levers: Develop and implement
aggressive state and campus-level action plans for meeting the state’s college
completion goals, including strategies to:
• Ensure all students are ready to start and succeed in freshman credit courses.
• Redesign remediation efforts to substantially improve success.
• Increase the number of students completing on-time.
• Develop new, shorter and faster pathways to degrees and credentials of value
in the labor market.
• Utilize available financial resources to provide incentives to students and
colleges for progress and completion.

3. Collect and Report Common Measures of Progress: Use consistent data and
progression measures to create a culture that values completion. This includes:
• Using common metrics for measuring and reporting progress.
• Publicly reporting year one benchmark data and annual progress on college
completion, progression, transfer, job placement and earnings, and cost and
affordability measures.
• Disaggregating data by level and type of degree/credential, age, race, and

Page  63  of  67  
• Build a Career Readiness Certificate system. Every citizen will have the opportunity
to determine his or her career skill level, receive training, and have their skill level
certified for employment. Every business will be able to have occupational profiles to
determine the skill needs for open positions and then match those skill needs with job
applicants. The Career Readiness Certificate will serve as a common metric and
language to match skill needs employers are looking for with skill sets individuals
possess. About half the States have created, or in the process of creating, a Career
Readiness Certificate (CRC) program. The CRC utilizes ACT’s career readiness
assessment system (WorkKeys) to identify an individual’s transferable career skills.

• Create job profiles for new occupations – with an emphasis on “green” jobs. The
quality of state labor market information systems has deteriorated over the last eight
years primarily due to federal cuts by the Bush Administration. Wisconsin is no
exception. Labor Market Information (LMI) has largely been designed to gather and
report data rather than help drive allocation of resources to in-demand occupations. In
addition to more fully integrating and upgrading the LMI system, there remains the
challenge of how to identify the growth and skill needs of occupations that have not even
been created. This is especially true for green jobs. In today’s marketplace, many of the
future jobs have not even been created and the current LMI process for coding and
identifying the skill needs for new occupations have too long a lag time. A solution to
collecting and identifying the skill requirements for new occupations as they come on-
line is to create job profilers – especially green job profilers. This profiling system
would be modeled after the ACT WorkKeys system, which oversees the Career
Readiness Certificate. The job profiling program is designed to quickly determine the
skills needed for newly created jobs and then develop assessments and training programs
to quickly fill the available labor demand. Wisconsin should provide funding to create
job profilers and then fund profiles for in-demand occupations. This would position the
state to quickly identify and design training programs as new jobs, especially green jobs,
are being created.

• Invest in related manufacturing incentives and workforce development programs.

Building retrofit, weatherization, and efficient appliance programs can stimulate job
growth in the manufacturing and construction sectors. Increasing demand for energy
efficient building materials and appliances has the potential to invigorate domestic
manufacturing centers to produce advanced-performance windows, insulation,
appliances, and other high-efficiency durable goods. Demand in this area can be
stimulated by building the capacity to conduct more residential, commercial and
industrial energy efficiency assessments and providing carefully targeted incentives for
consumers to act on the recommendations. Many construction workers and tradespeople
would need only moderate retraining and the proper certifications to enter the building
retrofit workforce.58,59

• Deepen and extend relationships between employers and educational institutions,

working through regional economic development associations and private-sector led
industry initiatives like the NEW Manufacturing Alliance. Ensure alignment between
degrees and local employment needs.

Page  64  of  67  
• Prioritize education. High-quality jobs increasingly require post-secondary schooling,
and our K-12, tech colleges, and university systems are part of the foundation of the state
economy. Twenty-six percent of Wisconsin adults have four-year degrees – just under
the national average of twenty-eight percent. And while the University of Wisconsin is
attracting record numbers of students each year, less than eight in ten college freshmen
in Wisconsin return for their sophomore year. With a goal of having at least half of
adults credentialed beyond a high-school diploma, UW is pursuing more flexible and
innovative educational programs, and exploring how better to serve the needs of
working, adults, first generation college students, and minority students. Tom will
encourage these efforts systemwide, and will make these higher education goals a
statewide priority. As Governor, Tom will launch a Wisconsin Back to School
campaign in coordination with Wisconsin’s public and private institutions of higher
learning to make it easier for individuals with a partial college education to re-enroll and
complete their degrees.

• Maintain environmental and safety standards. Aside from all its other advantages, a
healthy environment protects human health, and the natural beauty of Wisconsin helps
us keep talented people in the state. Economic recession should not be an excuse to gut
environmental protections or workplace safety standards.

Page  65  of  67  
 Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan,
Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and
West Virginia.  
Rivedal, Karen. “Signs of life: slight rise in permits a small step toward housing recovery.” Wisconsin State
Journal. 28 Feb 2010.
Babwin, Dawn. “Corporate tax breaks get zapped.” The Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, UT). 3 Jan 2010.
“Wisconsin’s Forgotten Middle Skills Jobs” Skills2Compete Wisconsin. Oct 2009.
Newman, Judy. “Ratings Point to the Financial Health of Banks of Wisconsin.” Wisconsin State Journal
(Madison.) 11 Apr 2010.
Hardie, Chris. “Don’t blame community banks for meltdown of 2008.” La Crosse Tribune, WI. 4 Apr 2010.
Rogers, Joel. “Advanced Manufacturing Project.” The Center on Wisconsin Strategy. Copyright 2010.
REPP, 2006, pp. 4-5
Kho, 2009.
Price, 2009.
Content, Thomas. “Debate over Clean Energy Jobs Act centers on prices.” Milwaukee Sentinel Journal. 13 Feb.
Gordon, 2006, p. 31.
MGA, 2007, pp. 7-9; Bracken Hendricks B. G., 2009, p. 9.
BizTimes, 2009.
Still, 2004.
Still, Tom. “Five reasons why Wisconsin is positioned to ride the wave of stem-cell research.” Wisconsin
Technology Network News. 23 Nov 2007.
 Battelle Memorial Institute, 2010 “State Bioscience Initiatives” report.  
BizTimes, 2009.
Liebmann, Cory. “Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce’s Epic Blunder.” 11 Jul
White, 2008, pp. 7-8.
White, 2008, p. 1.
“The Advanced Manufacturing Project.” The Center on Wisconsin Strategy. Madison: November 2002.
Bivins, Larry. “Wisconsin windpower progress stalls because of outdated transmission system.” Appleton Post-
Crescent. 6 Jul 2009.
 AA, p. 15.  
Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) 2010.
Wisconsin Economy.
Kubisiak, Kristen J. “A Mooving Experience.” The Daily News (West Bend, WI). 26 Mar 2010.
Barrett, Rick. :Low wholesale milk prices cut farmers’ income.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 19 Jan 2010.
Calahan, Steve. “Dairy farmers look forward to a better 2010.” La Crosse Tribune(WI). 31 Jan 2010.
Berry, Bill. “Let facts prevail on livestock siting rules.” The Capital Times (Madison). 1 Mar 2010.
NGA, 2003
Novak, Bill. “State Farmers Looking for Added Value in Agriculture.” The Capital Times (Madison). 10 Feb
Mitchell, 2009, p. 2
UW, 2008.
Daykin, 2009.
“New Tax Credits will Help Dairy, Food-Processing Plants Grow.” Agri-View (WI) 14 Apr 2010.
Burns, Jane. “Overall 2009 was a ‘lousy year’ for state agriculture.” Wisconsin State Journal. 20 Jan 2010.
AA, p. 11.

Page  66  of  67  
Rem, 2009.
Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence. Bioproducts.
Bergquist, Lee & Thomas Content. “UW Biomass Power Plant a Gamble for State.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
(Madison). 18 Jan 2010.
“Economy Watch.” Wisconsin State Journal (Madison). 9 May 2009.
Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.
Content, Thomas. “Virent wins $2.4 billion biofuels grant.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) 4 Feb. 2010.
Content, Thomas. “Virent launches plant to create gasoline from plant sugars.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 23
Mar 2010.
Oncken, John. “Babcock Institute helps Ag efforts from UW Campus to China, Kosovo.” The Capital Times
(Madison). 7 Jan 2010.
Freeman, 2003.
The Economic Impact of Travelers in Wisconsin. Calendar Year 2008.” Wisconsin Department of Tourism.
Freeman, 2003.
Klein, K.L. “Budget crunch means many bad roads won’t get fixed this year.” Germantown-Menomonee Falls
NOW. 15 Apr 2010.
Paine, Laura K. and Mark J. Kopecky. “Use Value Assessment for Wisconsin Farmland.” University of
Wisconsin – Cooperative Extension. Nov 2002.
Larson, Tom & Mike Theo. “State Budget Completed; But is it Balanced?” Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine.
Aug 2009.
NGA, 2005.
MGA, 2007, pp. 7-9
Bracken Hendricks B.G., 2009, p. 9

Authorized  and  paid  for  by  Barrett  for  Wisconsin,  Catherine  Shaw,  Treasurer.  

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