St. Croix EDC: Significant legislation marks first thirty days in Madison


Bill Rubin/Jacki Bradham

St. Croix EDC


“Open for Business” Actions can Benefit St. Croix County

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker called for a special session of the legislature immediately after taking his Oath of Office earlier this year. Five bills were released for the session that the governor said were designed to get Wisconsin working again. Just days later, Governor Walker crisscrossed the state with the announcement, “Wisconsin is Open for Business.” One of his stops included Hudson, Wisconsin (St. Croix County). He unveiled an Open for Business sign that was later erected along Interstate 94 at the Wisconsin-Minnesota border.

The five pieces of legislation included

– lawsuit reform,

– a non-refundable tax credit for income deposited in a health savings account (HSA),

– tax relief to small business, expansion of the economic development tax credit program,

– a new business relocation tax credit, and

– privatization of the Department of Commerce

“Businesses expanding or relocating to St. Croix County stand to benefit mightily from these early bills,” said William Rubin, executive director of St. Croix Economic Development Corporation (EDC). “St. Croix’s location at the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, along with the Interstate 94 connection to the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, make it a viable option for many growing companies.”

“The legislation advancing from the special session has something for just about every business and employee across the spectrum, large and small,” added Rubin. “The lawsuit reform creates a business friendly, job friendly environment. Wisconsin was among the last three or four states that did not have a tax deduction for HSAs mirroring the federal deduction. The small business tax cut reaches out to the vast majority of existing businesses already here. The $25 million added to the existing economic development tax credit program helps set the stage for capital investments. For businesses moving to the Wisconsin, the new business relocation credit exempts companies from income and franchise taxes for two years.”

“Many states have transitioned their economic development agencies into privately-run organizations,” observed Rubin. “Wisconsin’s bill shifts the Department of Commerce to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, which will concern itself exclusively with the state’s economic programs. The regulatory functions of Commerce would be transferred to the Department of Regulation and Licensing. The new president and staff of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation would simply concentrate on the state’s economic development activities.”

Rubin predicted additional legislation that will benefit to new and existing businesses. “St. Croix County never closed its doors to business,” he said. “This is a vibrant area and the action from the special session means positive steps have been taken to encourage new business development.”