(WisBusiness) WED News Summary — 27 February 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Speaking Tuesday afternoon at “Business Day in Madison” at the Monona Terrace, Gov. Jim Doyle made a pitch for the hospital assessment as part of the solution to the state’s revenue shortfall.

Doyle said the assessment on hospital profits could be used to leverage $450 million each biennium in federal money. The federal money would increase the medical assistance reimbursement for hospitals, and could provide $125 million for state Medicaid costs, reducing the burden on the state’s general fund, he said. He said the tactic is used by many states, but the Legislature rejected his proposal in the state budget.

“To me, I can’t understand why we’d turn our backs on $450 million in federal money,” he said.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has projected state revenues will fall more than $600 million short this biennium, which Doyle said is mainly due to sluggish sales tax collections since Jan. 1. But he said he’s confident the deficit can be solved without raising taxes. The hospital assessment is not a tax despite what some detractors call it, Doyle said.

“I’d like to know why it’s a tax when the hospitals get more out of it than they put in,” he said.

— Doyle announced Tuesday that Universal Pictures has committed to shoot portions of its upcoming film “Public Enemies,” directed and produced by UW alumnus Michael Mann and starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale, in Wisconsin.

The company reached agreement today with the Wisconsin Department of Commerce on tax credits from the new Film Production Services Tax Credit Program.

See the release:

— A bill requiring health insurers to cover treatment of autism spectrum disorders passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support Tuesday.

The bill passed 23-8, with GOP Sens. Fitzgerald, Glenn Grothman, Ted Kanavas, Neil Kedzie, Alan Lasee, Mary Lazich, Joe Liebham and Dale Schultz voting against.

— Also Tuesday, new Commerce Secretary Jack Fischer was confirmed by a unanimous Senate vote.

— The Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group has announced a report it says shows that smoke-free ordinances have not harmed local economies.

The report found that requests for liquor licenses in Madison and Appleton have increased since the implementation of the smoke free ordinance in those communities, with 365 licensed liquor establishments in Madison in January 2008 compared to 332 in July 2005 before the ordinance, and with Appleton seeing a continuous waiting list for Class B liquor licenses with 8 currently on the waiting list.

See the WISPIRG press release:


Explore “The Issues and Science behind the Pending Great Lakes Water Compact” March 5 at a special Blueprint Briefing at Discovery World on Milwaukee?s lake front.

The briefing, open to the public, will feature “Great Lakes Water Wars” author Peter Annin; Kevin Wilson, assistant deputy minister of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources; Todd Ambs, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource’s water division chief and member of the board of the Great Lakes Commission; Matt Moroney, executive director of the Metropolitan Builders Association of Greater Milwaukee; and Ann Beier, director, Office of Environmental Sustainability,
City of Milwaukee.

UW-Milwaukee officials also plan a briefing on the science and research behind the policy immediately following the panel discussion.

The special briefing is being presented by WisPolitics.com-WisBusiness.com, UW-Milwaukee, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), the Government of Canada, and Discovery World.

See more and register:



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Press Releases
Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Wisconsin’s food and ag laboratory earns international accreditation
Didion Ethanol: First bio fuel production facility named green travel destination
Knupp & Watson: Seventology to Crustin Timberbake: Knupp & Watson honored for diverse portfolio
New North Inc: Recruiting businesses for wind energy conference and trade show exhibit space
Wisconsin Farmers Union: WFU member to be part of reaction panel at upcoming health care forum
WISPIRG: New report: Smoke free laws do not harm bar and restaurant business
WMC: Business leaders look for no-tax-hike solution to deficit
WMC: Opposes new health care mandate that drives up costs

For these and more releases visit http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Content=82


Jury awards SC Johnson $147 million in kickback case: A jury awarded consumer products giant S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. $147 million in damages Tuesday to compensate for losses suffered in a trucking kickback scheme. The Racine-based maker of products like Ziploc and Glade sued its former transportation director, Milton Morris, and a dozen other people and companies alleging a widespread scheme to bilk it out of millions of dollars. The company had asked for more than $100 million in damages. The company claimed Morris, trucking company owner Thomas Buske, and others inflated rates and pocketed the excess.

‘Major retailers’ looking at new Regal line: Marcus Collection will debut at Chicago expo… Housewares manufacturer Regal Ware is in discussions with “several major retailers” for a new line of West Bend-produced celebrity endor-sed cookware, a spokeswoman said Monday. Which stores will carry the Marcus Cookware collection when it becomes available should become apparent by mid-March, when the company unveils the professional-level pots and pans at the 2008 International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago, said director of communications Pat Seitz.

Governor stands by goals: Gov. Jim Doyle drew a warm response from Wisconsin’s business community on Tuesday as he reiterated his economic goals for the state in a speech at the annual Business Day in Madison, organized by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. Even with a projected state budget deficit of $652 million and growing concerns about a nationwide recession, Doyle stuck to his plan, called “Grow Wisconsin – The Next Steps, “which calls for incentives for research and development, for renewable energy and for angel investors. “This is the time for us to make major investments, smart investments,” Doyle said. “As the economy slows, we cannot hide under a rock.”

Festival chairman passes the baton: Minahan to lead Summerfest board… After leading Summerfest with his accountant’s eye for the bottom line, Howard Schnoll passed the chairmanship of the Milwaukee World Festivals Inc. board to Daniel Minahan, the president of Continental Properties. It may be fitting that the new head of the nonprofit board has a real estate background, given that major renovations to the south end of the 75-acre festival park top the organization’s planning agenda for 2008. Minahan’s selection to the chairmanship was approved unanimously by the board of directors on Tuesday.


GREGG HOFFMANN: Contributor, WisBusiness.com

TOM STILL: President, Wisconsin Technology Council

JENNIFER SERENO: Senior manager, Wood Communications Group

STEVE JAGLER: Executive editor, Small Business Times

TOM BURZINSKI: IT executive and consultant

TECHNOLOGY (back to top)
– Religion casts nanotechnology as immoral in U.S.

– Third Wave reports wider 4Q loss

– Criticare accepts $68 million buyout offer

– Phishing attacks cripple TDS e-mail

– Computers in waiting room

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Firm’s new ‘green’ building will be featured on national TV

– Didion Ethanol Project Finds Favor with DNR Report

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Doyle believes economic development plan can clear Legislature

– R.R. Donnelley lands $800 million order

– Residents mindful of shifting economy

– Kenosha’s Flannery Fire Protection lands $6.8M federal contract

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– ENCAP’s technology goes deeper than grass seed in town of Scott

– Neenah Paper to release earnings

– East Shore Industries’ mop cuts waste

LABOR (back to top)
– UAW strike hasn’t affected Janesville

– Senate bill would require U.S. workers for state contracts

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Former downtown art gallery to become music institute

INVESTING (back to top)
– Oil price sets record close

– Plexus to buy its own stock

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Foreclosures grow closer to home

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Minnesota/Wisconsin Dairy Policy Conference Being Planned

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– DNR taking helm on ships’ ballast

– Design of Highway 51 to be topic of hearing

RETAIL (back to top)
– Advocacy group says Madison, Appleton doing fine without smoking

– New distiller to sell vodka here

– Wilde Pontiac closes

– Chili’s Grill & Bar coming to Green Bay’s west side

REGULATION (back to top)
– Senate votes to require autism care

– Assembly not likely to pass autism bill

– State Assembly Okays Ag Ed Council, Electrician Licensing Bill

– Lance Armstrong to visit Madison to promote state smoking ban

TOURISM (back to top)
– More notice for tourist spots allowed under bill

– Johnny Depp will shoot part of movie in Wisconsin

UTILITIES (back to top)
– MGE profits decline on fuel prices and maintenance costs

– Appleton eyes 12% water rate hike

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Watertown Area Health Services and UW Health approve partnership

– Psychotherapist joins Aurora Health in De Pere

– Senior housing OK’d for Summit

– Healthy Lifestyles Cooperative of Brown County loses its carrier

– Paperwork pulls money from housing grants

– Fitch places MGIC on negative rating watch

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Bradley Center board says state law allows renaming

– Hammel Green, Mass. firm hired for UWM master plan

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Mike Ivey: Birkie, weather return smiles to Hayward area

– Tannette Johnson-Elie: Accomplished attorney makes history at law firm

Media Partners
Small Business Times
Madison Magazine

National Business Roundups ( back to top)
–YAHOO FINANCE: http://finance.yahoo.com/
–CNBC BUSINESS NEWS: http://www.cnbc.com
–ABC BUSINESS NEWS: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/business/
–GOOGLE NEWS: http://news.google.com/news/en/us/business.html

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