From WisBusiness.com …
— Michael Knetter, the UW-Madison Business School dean, is criticizing Sen. John McCain’s proposed summer gas tax holiday as “political pandering.”
Speaking at a global economics conference at the Fluno Center yesterday, Knetter knocked as flawed McCain’s proposal to suspend the 18.4-cent tax on gasoline (and the 24.4-cent levy on diesel fuel) from Memorial Day until Labor Day.
The Republican senator and presumptive GOP presidential candidate’s plan is also supported New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. Illinois Sen. Barrack Obama, who is battling Clinton for the Democratic nomination, opposes it. Though Knetter was most critical of McCain, he said wasn’t particularly impressed by any of the candidates’ economic plans.
The business school dean spent most of his talk on the nation’s international trade deficit, which he said didn’t greatly alarm him. He also said the nation’s business fundamentals are sound but predicted it may take some time before the country pulls itself out of the current slowdown.
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— Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says the state has settled a lawsuit with three Wisconsin electric utilities for violating state air pollution controls.
The violations relate to the renewal of the permit authorizing the utilities to operate the Columbia Generating Station.
The Wisconsin Power and Light Co. operates the facility it co-owns with Madison Gas and Electric Co. and Wisconsin Public Service Corp.. WPL failed to timely apply for reissuance of the facility’s operating permit, according to the complaint.
The permit expired March 7, and the facility has been operating without one since. The settlement calls for WPL to pay $285,000 in penalties, fees and costs for the violations.
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— PSC Chair Dan Ebert is leaving the agency later this month after more than three years on the job.
Gov. Jim Doyle has named Executive Assistant Eric Callisto to replace Ebert effective May 27. Ebert’s last day is May 23.
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— UW System President Kevin Reilly will recommend NorthStar Economics Inc. president David Ward to serve as interim chancellor at UW-Green Bay.
Ward, a UW-GB alumnus, is also a former UW System administrator. He would temporarily replace Bruce Shepard, who was confirmed as the next president of Western Washington University last week.
“David has a unique knowledge of the campus and the local community,” Reilly said in a statement. “He brings an in-depth understanding of the region’s economic needs and the importance of our Growth Agenda for Wisconsin.”
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— Forty percent of Wisconsin residents believe the use of fossil fuels are either extremely or quite problematic, but only 18 percent believe climate change will be extremely problematic, according to the latest Badger Poll.
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A Weekend of Success for UW-Madison Engineering Teams
Alliant Energy Announces First Quarter 2008 Results
Freedom Hums as Main Engines Complete Successful Testing
From Our Moms to Yours: The Taste of Home Winning Recipes Cookbook
Governor Doyle Thanks Public Service Commission Chairperson Dan Ebert for Outstanding Service
Great Wolf Resorts Obtains Construction Loan for Great Wolf Lodge — Concord, N.C.
Manpower Inc. Declares 37 Cent Dividend
Regal Beloit Reports 21% Earnings Per Share Increase
Third Wave Reports First-Quarter Financial Results
Wausau Insurance Sponsors National Playground Safety Institute Program to Encourage Inspector Certification
Wisconsin Toyota Dealers Offer Brewers Fans a Shot at Miller Park’s New Tundra Territory
ZBB Energy Corporation to Present at AeA Micro Cap Financial Conference
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Home Depot to close Beaver Dam store, 2 others in state: Home Depot announced Thursday it will shut down 15 “underperforming” stores around the nation, including three in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin locations affected are in Milwaukee, Fond du Lac and Beaver Dam. The closings will cost a total of 1,300 employees their jobs, but the company did not say how many workers will be affected in Wisconsin. The weak housing market gave Home Depot its first annual sales decline and lowered profits by about 24 percent for 2007. The company posted net income of $4.4 billion on $77.3 billion in sales, compared with net income of $5.8 billion on $79 billion in sales in 2006.
A.O. Smith stalls in U.S., grows overseas: Company looks to develop water filtration… A.O. Smith Corp., the Milwaukee-based maker of home water heaters, is riding a historic housing boom in China and India even as a housing bust in the United States has hurt its American business. Paul W. Jones, chairman and chief executive, said the company is working to develop new technologies in home water filtration. That’s a sector that experts see as a potential boom market as nations cope with increasingly scarce and polluted water supplies. “That’s the sort of thing that a lot of companies around the world are working on. And we are, too,” Jones said in an interview. Jones said it was possible that water filtration could develop into a division of the company as large as the water heater division.
Madison group heads funding for tissue regeneration firm: Tissue Regeneration Systems Inc., a medical device company developing bioactive implants for bone and soft tissue regeneration, on Thursday announced the close of a $2 million round of financing led by Madison-based Venture Investors and joined by the founders of TRS. The company is a spin-out of the universities of Michigan and Wisconsin, where TRS’ core proprietary technologies were developed over the past decade, and from which TRS has an exclusive option to commercialize. TRS currently is developing its first generation products aimed at the $6 billion spine market using its bioresorbable scaffold and bioactive coatings technology platforms.
JLG, military demand drive up Oshkosh profits: Oshkosh Corp. said Thursday that its earnings growth for the fiscal second quarter exceeded company estimates largely because of a sharp increase in global sales of specialty access equipment and military truck demand. The Oshkosh-based firm, formerly called Oshkosh Truck, posted net income for the quarter ended March 31 of $72.6 million, or 97 cents per share, a 43 percent increase compared with $50.9 million, or 68 cents per share, for the same period last year. The results topped management’s guidance of earnings in the range of 85 cents to 90 cents per share, but matched the expectations of analysts polled by Thomson First Call.
PSC chairman steps down, governor appoints assistant to post: The chairman of the state Public Service Commission says he’s going to step down. Dan Ebert says he’ll leave the three-person commission on May 23. Gov. Jim Doyle on Thursday appointed PSC executive assistant Eric Callisto to replace him. Ebert has served as chairman of the commission for 5½ years. Commission spokesman Tim Le Monds says Ebert felt the time was right to leave. He says Ebert hasn’t decided what he’s going to do next. Callisto will take over on May 27. The state Public Service Commission is an independent agency that regulates Wisconsin’s public utilities.
Sonic Foundry loss grows: Madison-based digital media company Sonic Foundry on Thursday reported that it lost more money in the second quarter than a year ago despite higher revenues. The company, whose flagship product is its MediaSite Webcasting product, reported a second-quarter net loss of $2.27 million, or 6 cents per share, on revenues of $3.92 million, compared to a year-ago net loss of $1.91 million, or 5 cents per share, on revenues of $3.82 million. Sonic Foundry said its total billings reached $4.5 million, up 9 percent from a year ago, while service revenues totaled $1.7 million, up 88 percent. As previously reported, the company has recently concentrated more of its selling efforts on the education sector and it said it is entering the two strongest seasons for U.S. educational buying.
Displaced workers at Nekoosa mill not eligible for benefits:
When John Gethers heard Domtar filed an application for federal Trade Adjustment Assistance, he thought he would receive extra help when his job is eliminated. Gethers, 51, is one of 500 people who will lose their jobs when the Port Edwards mill shuts down in June, but because he works at the Nekoosa mill, he cannot receive the federal assistance. “I’m just rather shocked because it’s one main event,” Gethers said. “They’re shutting down the mill, and I’m being bumped out of my job.” Because the Department of Labor considers the Nekoosa mill “a separate and distinct facility,” workers there do not qualify for the assistance, according to a written statement from Cindy Kiesling, program coordinator for the Wisconsin Labor Education and Training Center.
State responds to GM layoffs: The state begins its response Friday for the autoworkers in Janesville expected to lose their jobs this summer. The State Department of Workforce Development is holding its first meeting of a Rapid Response Team to deal with the layoffs announced at General Motor’s earlier in the week. DWD Secretary Roberta Gassman tells WCLO’s Stan Milam Show several groups will be part of the meeting. Gassman says applying for federal grants will top the agenda. She does offer hope for GM workers, saying they have skills valued by today’s employers. Gassman urges workers expecting to be displaced to take advantage of any programs offered.
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– Conference Explores Renewable Energy Options
ECONOMY (back to top)
– Procter & Gamble reports profit gain
– Exxon reports earning $10.9 billion in first quarter, the second-biggest U.S. quarterly profit ever
– Report: Public libraries boost economy
– Asphalt inflation limits city work
– Good news, bad news and the $3.5 trillion net
MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Pierce files suit over photos
– ‘A new era at Gehl’
– Regal Beloit posts rise in sales, profit
LABOR (back to top)
– Tramontina expanding cookware production at former Mirro plant
– Madison-based Physicians Plus noting rewards of letting employees volunteer on company time
– More charges exchanged in Woodman’s union dispute
– Few problems finding medical professionals
SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Eatery to offer good food at cool prices
– Door County Economic Development Corp. awards announced
– Keller Inc. honored for employee stock plan
– Journal to repurchase shares
– From ‘party house’ to award winner
– Progress on downtown development languishes
AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Rep. Kind Offers Farm Bill Conservation Provisions
– NASS Cheese, Farm Milk Prices Announced
– No problem at airport with Memphis shutdown
– Smaller market delivers
RETAIL (back to top)
– Wal-Mart proposal gets mixed reaction
– Area’s resale shop owners see little change in business
– Will superheroes save the day?
– Ho-Chunk can’t get Dejope refund, court rules
– DNR ready to hook fish virus law violators
– Oneida Airport Hotel Corp. buys Wingate
– Wis. Capitol hearing room prepared for filming of Depp movie
UTILITIES (back to top)
– CEO talks up new power plants
– State settles air pollution lawsuit against 3 electric utilities
– Task force weighs nuclear power
– Measles outbreak is national epidemic
– Dorn is Aurora’s clinic manager
FINANCIAL SERVICES (back to top)
– Fiserv first-quarter profits lifted by asset sales
MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– De Pere’s Mail Haus, FILL-PROS merge
– Johanson adds new division in Madison
– Pettit Center head to leave
– Boneparth, Jones join Kohl’s board
– Brewers sign front office executives to extended deals
BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Jacque Georgia: Bankers, brokers each have benefits
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