WisBusiness: Dems join with business and union officials for economic task force

By Andy Szal


MADISON — Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan joined fellow Democrats, union officials and business leaders in unveiling the Partnership for a Stronger Economy task force Monday.

Reps. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, and Louis Molepske, D-Stevens Point, will co-chair the effort, which will hold hearings around state in the hopes of, Sheridan said, soliciting ideas to spur economic recovery. Assembly Dems touted 47 companies already signed onto the effort and said they’ll work to bring more on board.

“A lot of these businesses … are hiring, expanding, or actually moving into the state,” said Sheridan, D-Janesville, crediting the latest state budget for helping their efforts. “We’re starting to see the signs of an economic recovery.”

In addition, James Buchen of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and Phil Neuenfeldt of the state AFL-CIO addressed the Capitol press conference and will participate in the task force’s efforts. Sheridan also said he had reached out to Assembly GOP leader Jeff Fitzgerald of Horicon, and hoped to include a Republican and possibly members of the Senate in the group

Assembly Republicans held hearings with business leaders earlier this year through their Wisconsin Jobs Now task force and unveiled a package of legislation in September.

“Ultimately, the state can only help create jobs, and businesses do the hiring,” Sheridan said.

Buchen, whose group represents the state’s business interests, said he’s confident the hearings will identify problems in Wisconsin’s business climate. While he said his members may not agree with Democrats on many tax issues, WMC will work toward help with state regulation and business incentives.

“We want to position Wisconsin to lead the way out of the recession,” Buchen said. “We want to lead the parade.”