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Doyle: Making Progress on 'Grow Wisconsin'

Gov. Jim Doyle released his "Grow Wisconsin" economic plan in September of last year and already the Legislature has passed a number of related bills.

Taking a special look at Wisconsinís economic development picture, Corporate Report Wisconsin Editor Paul Zukowski interviewed Doyle about his administration's plan to boost the stateís economy.

Paul Zukowski: Letís start then. I wanted to get some kind of checking-up-on-how-things-are-going kind of questions out of the way and then maybe move to some more philosophical ones. But you campaigned on an ambitious set of ideas you call Grow Wisconsin. After a year, how many of those ideas have become reality? In other words, how are you doing with that?

Gov. Jim Doyle:
Well, a large number of them have become reality and others weíre well on the way to making happen. The Grow Wisconsin plan is a very specific set of actions to be taken, so itís very easy to just go down the list. Thatís what itís intended to do for us as an administration and for people who are watching us, to be able to go down the list and see whatís been done and what hasnít been done.

And itís also based on the idea that whatís really been needed in Wisconsin for a number of years is a real action plan. We certainly have studied this problem enough. We know that we donít, you know, I wasnít going to call for another study to determine that 2 million of our college graduates are leaving the state, or that we do not have sufficient early seed stage capital to back up some of the great research thatís going on, or that we need to make a more targeted and intensive investment in worker training. We know these things. Theyíve been studied, they have been documented, and we know we need, that the state for many years has fallen behind.

So weíve done a number of things, very specific things, that have, we have accomplished. And I donít think many people thought we could in the first year. But thatís the most dramatic, was basing a $3.2 billion deficit and passing a budget that addressed that deficit, gave us the first balanced budget in 20 years, and did it without raising any taxes.

The, weíre one of a minority of states in the country that did this in the face of the deficit and, in fact, as of last year when I took office, our deficit was, by a group that has studied these, was the worst in the country per capita. So to have done that, made tough decisions, cut state government significantly in order to do this without raising taxes, I think was one of the very major accomplishments.

I also set out to try to show that this is a good state to do business. And there have been several measures that have been around for years that never could get passed that I have not only fought to get passed, but have gotten signed into law. Among them are the single sales factor tax, which says to companies in Wisconsin weíre no longer going to tax you for job creation.



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