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Wisconsin Stirring From Recession

Key state economic leaders say while businesses appear to be stirring from the toughest recession in recent memory, the 2010 growth climate is lacking in some major respects.

``In Wisconsin, the economic and political situation parallels the national environment. Agriculture and manufacturing, two of the stateís signature industries, have been hard hit and the state budget is already $2 billion in the hole for the next cycle, which doesnít even begin until 2011. In fact, a recent study issued by the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Center for the States ranked Wisconsin one of the 10 most fiscally troubled states in the union,'' says Kurt Bauer, president of the Wisconsin Bankers Association, an organizer of the annual Wisconsin Economic Forecast Luncheon to be held on Jan. 14.

``The stateís economic competitiveness has also suffered from the passage of at least 90 new tax and fee increases amounting to a 28 percent increase in governmental costs to Wisconsin businesses.''

Bill Malkasian of the Wisconsin REALTORS Association says:

``Most economists project the national economy will grow in the fourth quarter of this year, and continue to grow into 2010. The Wisconsin economy should begin to grow as the national economy grows. A potential drag on the Wisconsin economy was highlighted in a recent Pew Center study, which revealed significant fiscal problems in the state. Fundamental changes will need to be made to state spending patterns to avoid creating an anti-business climate which can hinder the economic recovery.

``There are some promising signs that the national economy is finally beginning to emerge from the long and deep recession and this will help the Wisconsin economy, given our manufacturing base. However, the state economy will remain weak until firms start adding workers.''

``Deals are being made, just not as many,'' adds Tom Still of the Wisconsin Technology Council, concluding ``the worst may be over.''

Other economic leaders voicing some cautious optimism are: Roger Cliff of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Jim Haney of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, and the Wisconsin Hospital Association's Steve Brenton.

``As a state, Wisconsinís recovery may already have begun, albeit slowly. But real job growth and sustained growth in tax revenues is at least 12 months off. And the next state budget cycle will be breathtaking in its challenges for lawmakers and for taxpayers,'' Brenton says.

To see all the analysis, click: http://www.wisbank.com/econforecast2010

The 2010 Wisconsin Economic Forecast Luncheon is scheduled to take place noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday Jan. 14 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison.

This yearís speakers include a senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Wisconsin School of Business Dean Michael Knetter. The program also includes a bonus session on business credit availability.

To register for the Jan. 14, 2010 Wisconsin Economic Forecast Luncheon, go to http://www.wisbank.com/EconomicForecast

For more information, contact: Patty Rogers, 608/441-1209, progers@wisbank.com  


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