TUE AM News: COWS report claims state tax policy contributing to inequality; Hoskins lab getting grant funding for blood research

— A new report from UW-Madison’s Center on Wisconsin Strategy claims the state’s tax policy is contributing to inequality, as the richest Wisconsinites pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than poorer residents. 

The COWS report shows Wisconsin has less income inequality than the national average, but levels of inequality in the state recently hit a record high. 

By comparing the income of the top 1 percent with the average income of the other 99 percent, study authors found the richest one percent of state residents have an average income about 19 times greater than the average for the rest of the state — $964,358 compared to $50,953, for a ratio of 18.9 percent. 

For the Midwest, that ratio is 21.1 percent, while the overall U.S. ratio is 26.3 percent. 

The average income for most of Wisconsin is close to the national average, while the top earners in the state don’t earn as much on average as the top 1 percent for the entire country. 

According to the report, income inequality in the state is as high as it’s been in a century. 

Inequality was declining between 1928 and 1980, but that trend soon reversed as workers in Wisconsin saw a “considerable” wage decline in the 1980s, which left the median wage in the state nearly a dollar per hour below the national median wage. 

See more: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2019/cows-report-claims-state-tax-policy-contributing-to-inequality/ 

— Researchers at UW-Madison’s Hoskins laboratory are seeking new treatments for a category of blood disorders thanks to grant funding from the Edward P. Evans Foundation. 

These disorders, called myelodysplastic syndromes, occur when bone marrow can’t properly create red blood cells, which can lead to specific blood cancers including leukemia. According to a release from the university, treatments for MDS are currently limited. 

Scientists led by associate professor Aaron Hoskins are using genetically modified yeast to screen for potential therapies, which would inhibit the function of certain cellular “machinery” called the spliceosome. Many patients with MDS have mutations in the spliceosome. 

“The splicing machinery has emerged as a potential therapeutic target for a number of human diseases but especially cancers,” Hoskins said. “Many cancer cells have stressed their splicing machinery to its limit and small perturbations in splicing can lead to cancer cell death. This means that low doses of splicing inhibitors could potentially be used in cancer chemotherapy.” 

His team plans to screen more than 200,000 different drug compounds to see if they achieve the desired effect. They will use the Small Molecule Screening Facility at the UW Carbone Cancer Center in Madison. 

Their work is supported by $400,000 in funding from EvansMDS, a medical funding initiative from the Edward P. Evans Foundation. And Hoskins is getting another $26,000 for related research from the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, co-sponsored by the Carbone Cancer Center. 

See more on the research project: http://biochem.wisc.edu/news/2019/news-hoskins-evansmds-grant-study-splicing-inhibitors-2019-08-29 

— Rep. Melissa Sargent is introducing new legislation to create a task force on pollinator health, as honey bee populations struggle in Wisconsin and nationwide. 

The Madison Dem says protecting these organisms is “absolutely crucial” but often falls to the wayside during development efforts. 

“We depend on pollinators both agriculturally and economically, to secure our community’s quality of life and health,” Sargent said. “As a state, we must do more to understand the importance of pollinators in our community, and to learn how we can collectively bolster environmental health and develop a positive coexistence between ecosystems and our community.” 

The state developed a Wisconsin Pollinator Protection Plan in 2015 under DATCP, which gives guidance on protecting honey bees and other pollinators. DATCP says these creatures “need protection in Wisconsin, as they do everywhere.” 

In a release, Sargent notes that pollinator-dependent crops in the state account for more than $55 million in annual production, while honey and beeswax account for $3.5 million. But pollinator populations have been threatened by invasive species, human development, pesticides and other factors. 

“If we do not take meaningful action to improve pollinator health, populations will continue to decline, and our state’s agricultural sector will suffer,” she said. 

Her bill would create a task force on native pollinator health, consisting of 15 members, including two members from the Senate and two members from the Assembly. Other members would be appointed by DNR and DATCP, including stakeholders such as advocacy groups for farmers and beekeepers, and small business owners whose companies rely on pollinators. 

She says the task force would study the impact of pesticides on pollinators, and other issues linked to declining pollinator health. 

See more on the bill:  http://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/190829-Sargent-Pollinators.pdf 

— Madison-based developer W Capitol Group has raised $1.7 million of a $1.9 million target round, supporting an Eau Claire development called Cannery Trail Residences. 

The 71-unit three-story apartment complex, located downtown near Mayo Clinic, will include studios and one- and two-bedroom units. 

According to Tyler Warner, president of W Capitol Group, construction crews will break ground on the project next week, tearing down existing buildings at the site. 

Warner sees the Eau Claire area as a prime market, noting in a recent interview the region has less than 0.5 percent vacancy. 

“Eau Claire is centrally located, right next to the Twin Cities and close to Madison and even Milwaukee,” he told WisBusiness.com. “It’s a great area that’s basically surrounded east and west by large hubs… We’re excited to fill in some of the demand there on the mulit-family side.” 

Warner said the $1.7 million was raised from friends and family members, and funds will be used to support the development moving forward. All the funds were raised since Aug. 15. 

He expects Cannery Trail Residences will open August 2020. 

See the SEC filing: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1786476/000178647619000001/xslFormDX01/primary_doc.xml 

— The Startup Champions Network, a national network of entrepreneurial ecosystem builders, has picked Madison to host its annual Fall Summit Sept. 17-19 at StartingBlock, the organization announced recently.

According to a release, the summit will bring together startup leaders, meetup organizers, government and academic stakeholders, investors, Fortune 500 directors and more. Attendees will learn how ecosystem builders foster trust, form genuine collaborations and address obstacles and challenges together.

“We’re thrilled to share the best practices of Madison to the rest of the nation,” StartingBlock and Startup Champions Network Member Scott Resnick said in a statement. “We hope to pull in new ideas from the rest of the country and believe that Madison is the best place to convene that group mindset.”

StartingBlock and the Doyenne Group will both be the host organizations for the summit.

Register for the event here: http://www.greenvelope.com/view/.public-3f946ed8f4ff41eda8f54ac17006045731373134333535 


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# Lack of freight trains does damage to Wisconsin’s rural roads, advocates say


# Campaign to lure young workers abides despite budget slight


# Riverwest Brewery Syndicate brews first collaborative beer at Black Husky Brewing 




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– Midwest Champion Sheepdog Trials this Weekend


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– FFA officers to hold sectional leadership workshops



– Berghammer crews move ahead with mixed-use Foxtown development in Mequon

– Bill would exempt gear for certain out-of-state projects from sales taxes

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– Wisconsin hemp bill passes state Senate committee unanimously


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– Alro to double warehouse space at former Central Steel & Wire building in Milwaukee

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