WIB: Health, Sales Tax & Business Contracts Top 2005 Small Business Agenda

The success of Co-op Care and the defeat of efforts to expand the sales tax base top the legislative agenda for members of Wisconsin Independent Businesses heading into 2005. WIB is in its 28th year of serving owners of small businesses and farms throughout the state.

WIB will work aggressively to assure the success of Co-op Care, the health insurance purchasing pool program being developed by the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives. Co-op Care is expected to be operating in Northwest and North Central Wisconsin within the first six months of the new year. “We are deeply committed to Co-op Care and we are prepared to do anything necessary to help market the program and to develop any new legislation needed to expand the program,” said Wayne Corey, executive director of WIB.

Defeat of any effort to expand the sales tax base shares the top spot on WIB’s agenda. The Governor’s Task Force on Education Excellence proposed raising $752 million a year by expanding the sales tax to business services and farm machinery. “We hope Governor Doyle will not even consider a new tax targeted at small business and farm owners but we are will do whatever is necessary to convince lawmakers that a huge new tax on the backbone of our state’s economy is a very bad idea,” Corey said.

WIB will again be working to pass legislation to protect small businesses from unscrupulous hidden automatic renewal clauses buried in the fine print of equipment and service contracts. This legislation won Senate approval but ran out of time in the Assembly on the last day of the 2003-04 session.

Doubling of the small claims court jurisdictional limit to $10,000 and a ban on the use of equipment depreciation when determining a farm family’s income eligibility for BadgerCare are also WIB priorities. “We will also be supporting legislation to keep local communities from establishing their own minimum wage, opposing legislation to allow counties to establish a hotel/motel room tax and working to eliminate the personal property tax and to rescind the state law that unfairly makes a business pay a fee to act as the state’s tax collector.

“We will also encourage the legislature to operate in a more civil and less contentious manner. Our members, most of whom have lived in our state for decades, are fed up with bad behavior at the State Capitol. Our members want us to speak out on this issue and we will,” added Corey. “We look forward to a more productive and less raucous 23005-06 legislative session.”

For more info: Wayne Corey

WIB serves 50,000+ people with ownership interest in 16,000 businesses and 9,000 farms.