Dept. of Commerce: Governor Doyle Announces Wisconsin Wins National Recognition for Small Business Regulatory Reform

Tony Hozeny, Department of Commerce, 608-267-9661
Ethnie Groves, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2156

Governor Doyle today announced that the Wisconsin Small Business Regulatory Reform Initiative has won the national “Best Practice” award by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). The state Department of Commerce applied for this recognition by the SBA, and Wisconsin joined Maryland, Michigan, and Idaho as the only winners.

“I made business and entrepreneur development top priorities in my ‘Grow Wisconsin’ plan to help create better and higher-paying jobs in our state,” Governor Doyle said. “I’ve combined new resources and the most sweeping regulatory reform in our state’s history to foster a business climate that promotes the growth and development of entrepreneurs and small businesses. I am pleased to see that Wisconsin is being recognized for our efforts.”

The SBA noted that the Small Business Regulatory Reform Initiative shows a clear dedication to innovations in public policy that encourage entrepreneurs and provide an environment where they can flourish. It demonstrates market-based results and should be emulated in states across the country seeking to promote entrepreneurship.

In March 2004, Governor Doyle signed Senate Bill 100, which reduced the negative impact of regulations on small businesses in a range of areas. It appointed a Small Business Regulatory Coordinator within each agency to act as a contact person on small business regulatory issues and rulemaking activities; established a Small Business Regulatory Review Board to enforce the components of the Regulatory Flexibility Act and improve the way state agencies review rules for their impact on small businesses; and allowed for the judicial review of any penalties that result from actions (or inactions) taken by small business owners due to inaccurate or inconsistent information or advice received from state agency personnel.

Governor Doyle also provided new resources for small businesses. The Governor signed Act 255, which provides investment tax credits grants and loans to improve access to capital for high-growth entrepreneurs. In November 2004, the Governor announced the creation of the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Network, which will provide resources, education, and support systems to entrepreneurs at regional centers at UW-Eau Claire, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Madison, and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay. Other “Grow Wisconsin” initiatives to help small businesses include establishing a Bureau of Entrepreneurship at the Department of Commerce; establishing an annual Governor’s Business Plan Competition; and developing an online Business Wizard that quickly identifies regulatory requirements and support programs.