(WisBusiness) WED News Summary — 29 Oct. 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— The state’s new commerce secretary said Tuesday that recent state budget numbers may have underestimated the size of a potential deficit.

“The governor said we have a $3 billion dollar shortfall. I think he easily could have said $4 billion,” Commerce Secretary Richard Leinenkugel told the Wisconsin Economic Development Association at a conference in the Wisconsin Dells Tuesday.

The former beer company executive said the state is facing tough times.

“State government is in a hiring freeze. We’re putting together a 10 percent budget reduction. The warning bells went off in August. Sales tax receipts were down 10 percent, income tax down 4 percent. We’ve seen a further slowdown in September and October will not get any better,” Leinenkugel said.

To counter the tough economy, Leinenkugel offered the Doyle administration’s proposal to retain existing businesses, speed up tax breaks for “angel investors,” and promote what he termed “Next Generation Manufacturing.”

Read more from Leinenkugel:


— Retired labor economist Terry Ludeman addressed the conference as well, opening by saying “I’m here to provide you with a list of things you may not wish to know.”

He told the audience about a litany of problems facing Wisconsin’s economic future, including aging population, declining wages for workers and pitfalls for economic development.

The only way to solve this predicament, Ludeman said, is to develop businesses that add to the wealth of communities, improve the tax base so government can improve its infrastructure and work to improve the wages and quality of life for those earning the lowest wages in our communities.

“Because economic development is enhancing the life of the community,” Ludeman said.

See more from Ludeman at www.wisbusiness.com

— Two companies have notified the state about 155 layoffs likely to happen this December.

Ameritech announced 85 layoffs from its center at 918 North 26th Street in Milwaukee, and the Woodbridge Group in Brodhead said a reduction in business could result in as many as 70 layoffs.

See details:


— It may seem counterintuitive in the midst of the current economic meltdown, but one Madison executive says now is a good time to invest in start-up diagnostic or drug discovery companies.

“The overall marketplace is in turmoil now” and the biotech industry has not escaped the fallout, says Jim Prudent, co-founder and CEO of the drug discovery company Centrose. He is the former chief scientific officer at EraGen.

But he senses an opportunity to woo investors because many have no interest in putting their money in the extremely volatile stock market.

With a start-up company like Centrose, if its drugs are successful, the potential annual profit is 8 percent to 16 percent over four to five years. With the Dow or NASDAQ, some of the companies listed may no longer exist by 2013, he said.

“The conservative person may say ‘I know people are going to need drugs,’ so if I put my money into four or five small companies that have a good management team, a small burn rate and can survive this environment we are in now for a few years, maybe that’s not too bad of an investment,” he said.

Read more from a new interview with Prudent:


— Milwaukee-based Marshall & Ilsley Corp. announced Tuesday that the U.S. Treasury Department will purchase $1.7 billion in M&I stock as part of the $700 billion federal bailout package for the banking industry.

See details: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/10/28/#m-i-to-receive-17-billion-in-federal-bailout-funds



**NOV. 3: New UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin**

Madison Club

11:45 a.m.

The next WisBusiness.com Luncheon at the Madison Club, organized by the Madison Club, Madison Magazine, and WisBusiness.com, is slated for Monday, Nov. 3 at 11:45 a.m. The guest is new UW-Madison Chancellor Carolyn “Biddy” Martin.

To learn more about Chancellor Martin visit: http://www.chancellor.wisc.edu/

The event is open to the public, and the price for lunch is $19. Call the Madison Club to register at (608) 255-4861. The luncheon starts at 11:45 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m.

**NOV. 18: A post-election look at where the state economy is heading**

Discovery World


7:30-9 a.m.

Featuring: Commerce Secretary Richard Leinenkugel, former Commerce Secretary Cory L. Nettles of Quarles & Brady, Competitive Wisconsin Director and former Commerce Secretary William McCoshen, state Sen. Ted Kanavas, a member of the Senate committee on economic development, and UW-Madison political scientist Ken Goldstein.

Moderated by Mike Gousha of the Marquette Law School and host of “UpFront with Mike Gousha.”

Presented by WisPolitics.com/WisBusiness in cooperation with Competitive Wisconsin, MMAC and Discovery World. Quarles & Brady is an initial sponsor of the event.

See details: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=139211



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Press Releases
· Citizen Action of Wisconsin: New Wisconsin health insurance cost ranking finds regional disparities on cost and health care inflation
· Clean Wisconsin: Wisconsinites overwhelmingly oppose Alliant’s coal plant proposal
· DNR, Wisconsin REALTORS® Association: Informational tools aim to protect wetlands, help landowners ID wetlands on a property before they buy or build
· UW-Madison: Proposed Google settlement could propel UW book digitization efforts
· Wisconsin Insurance Alliance: Wisonsin consumers can free up income by reducing insurance costs
· Wisconsin Public Service Corporation: Wisconsin Public Service plans electric power outage on October 30

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


M&I to sell shares to government: The largest Wisconsin-based bank is getting a cash infusion from the government. Marshall & Ilsley Corp. has received preliminary approval from the U.S. Treasury Department for a $1.7 billion investment under the government’s capital purchase program, according to a press release.

Anchor Bancorp wants to join in federal bank bailout: Madison-based Anchor Bancorp, which has seen its share price drop 80 percent this year amid the global financial meltdown, is looking to participate in the federal government bank bailout program. Anchor said in a regulatory filing Tuesday it was considering selling preferred stock under the U.S. Treasury’s bank stock purchasing program.

State’s new tourism campaign emphasizes people: In September, Wisconsin launched a fall advertising campaign that strays from traditional advertisements. It is the first ad campaign within the state’s new branding platform, “Originality Rules.” The brand platform announced in March focuses on people, the single attribute identified by the Department of Tourism as differentiating Wisconsin from other states. The fall campaign embraces this theme by highlighting two “Wisconsin Originals,” Leinenkugel Brewing and rock band The BoDeans. While no one can argue the campaign’s originality, the campaign’s focus has received mixed reviews from those in the tourism industry.

Great Lakes states urged to write rules for offshore wind turbines: Imagine sections of the Great Lakes dotted with rows of gleaming, 12-story turbines, blades whirring in the stiff breeze as they generate electricity for homes and businesses onshore. It’s only an idea — for now. But government regulators are bracing for an expected wave of proposals for offshore power generation in a region that never seems to run short of wind.


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

BIOTECH (back to top)
– TomoTherapy reports third-quarter loss

– McFarland company has an answer for drug-polluted water

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Financial crisis affects Megabucks annuity

– Greenville growth means tax bills dip

– Milwaukee Shakespeare abruptly shuts doors

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Manufacturing is at a ‘crossroads,’ expert says

– Bemis Co. reports income rise, record sales for quarter

– Plexus Corp. logs record results on sector growth in fiscal ’08

– Ladish eagerly awaits end to seven-week Boeing strike

LABOR (back to top)
– Team Fox Cities aims to entrench major employers

– Gannett to layoff 10 percent of newspapers division

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Urban Processing owner focuses on keeping her business expense local to help money in local economy

– Entrepreneur had to break out of Hmong circle to bring in business

INVESTING (back to top)
– Riverfront growth fund launches at Baird

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Shopko TIF gets the green light, allows Dumkes to move forward with northside Oshkosh development

– Aloft Hotel project receives assistance

– Museum space for rent

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Dodge County farm honored at World Dairy Expo

RETAIL (back to top)
– Wal-Mart to cut back on opening supercenters

– Kohl’s to get jump on holiday shopping season

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Milwaukee among top energy users

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Aspirus Inc. aims to make system more transparent by posting its health care prices online

– ‘Joint camp’ helps patients at Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital

– Centene profit up 13 percent

– First Business Financial Services profit rises

– Binder appointed to Associated’s board

– Fiserv third-quarter profits drop

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– General Growth demotes executives

– Shain leaving local IT post

– Marquette’s Wild receives leadership award

– Children’s Hospital names new leader

Media Partners
Small Business Times
Madison Magazine

National Business Roundups ( back to top)
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–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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