WisBusiness: State, local politicians welcome Google to Madison

By Greg Bump


With a thriving computer science program at the University of Wisconsin, Gov. Jim Doyle said it’s no surprise that Google decided to locate its first state office in Madison.


Doyle said he was only half kidding when he told the gathering, “I’m looking forward to the day when we’re here and Google announces they’re moving their corporate headquarters” to Madison.


Doyle, U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin were among the dignitaries Wednesday night to welcome the Internet search company at the opening of its data center at 301 Blount St. The office will also act as an operational site for regional commerce.


Cieslewicz said the office was part of the renaissance of the city’s East Rail Corridor, which is hoped to some day include commuter rail.


Matt Dunne, Google’s U.S. manager of community affairs, wouldn’t divulge how many employees will be housed in the office, but he said there is room to grow in the office.


“This is an example of industry going to the talent rather than the talent coming to the industry,” Dunne said.

Doyle also discussed the condition of the state’s budget, saying he would be reluctant to roll back the repeal of tax cuts on Social Security income, medical insurance premiums and child care costs, because there would be “fairer” ways to raise revenues.

While Doyle said “everything’s on the table,” he can’t see a scenario in which the state would go back on its repeal of the tax on Social Security.

“This is something that I fought really hard for and people have been counting on it. We’ve been phasing it in, and I’m really proud of the fact Wisconsin no longer taxes Social Security,” Doyle told reporters. “I really don’t think we should go there. If you have to raise tax revenue there are probably better ways to do it than essentially tax Social Security. I’m not sure why we ever did it in the first place.”

The governor has said he would only look at raising revenues through an income tax surcharge or an increase in sales tax as a last resort, and said he is still scanning the budget for cuts.

“I think the real challenge now is to first see where do you really go to the point you can’t go any further with the cuts. Where do you go where you’re not willing to take that next step of really devastating the schools or really making tuition at the university go to levels that people can’t even afford. We’ve got some work to do to get to that level, so we’ll see,” he said.

Read more budget news in the WisPolitics Budget Blog