TUE AM News: Tariffs on China seen as ‘necessary evil’ by WMC members; Yahara WINS kept nearly 50,000 pounds of phosphorus out of waterways last year

— WMC President and CEO Kurt Bauer says the group’s latest survey of state business leaders shows they see tariffs on China as “a necessary evil.” 

Of the 204 survey respondents, 47 percent percent said the tariffs are having a negative effect on their business. But a larger portion — 67 percent — said they support tariffs imposed on China. 

Bauer said the results surprised him, because he’s been hearing from many members expressing concern about the tariffs and the impact they’re having on their bottom lines. He told WisBusiness.com he thought more members would be opposed to the tariffs, based on what he’s heard. 

But, he said, the data “clearly shows they support it.” And he said responses gathered from the open-ended section of the survey, where respondents can explain their answers, helped him understand the unexpected results. 

According to him, many of the surveyed members acknowledged in that section that tariffs are harming their businesses but said they still support the attempt to address “trade inequities” with China. 

WMC included in its release of the survey results one anonymous response: “Our company is being hurt by the tariffs, but I feel the U.S. needs fair trade throughout the world.” 

When asked about what the state government can do to help out businesses, 33 percent of survey respondents said they want health care to be more affordable. A further 21.5 percent say they want reduced taxes, and 19 percent said they want reduced or reformed regulations. 

See more: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2019/tariffs-on-china-seen-as-necessary-evil-by-wmc-members/ 

— The Yahara Watershed Improvement Network kept nearly 50,000 pounds of phosphorus out of state waterways last year, mostly by reducing agricultural runoff. 

The Yahara watershed stretches across part of south central Wisconsin, including lakes Mendota and Monona in Madison. The Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District piloted the Yahara WINS program in 2012, and then it became a “full scale effort” in 2017, according to the group. 

Last year, Dane County prevented 21,570 pounds of phosphorus from entering local waterways, while Yahara Pride Farms prevented 22,097 pounds. Rock County prevented 327 pounds from entering the small slice of the watershed located in the county. In all, 47,223 pounds of phosphorus were diverted from waterways in 2018. 

Last year’s efforts marked only the second year of the planned 20-year project, a release shows. The eventual goal is to reach 96,000 pounds of phosphorus reduction per year. 

See the release: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2019/yahara-watershed-improvement-network-partnership-continues-effort-to-keep-phosphorus-out-of-area-waters/ 

See more on the project: http://www.madsewer.org/Programs-Initiatives/Yahara-WINs 

— The Medical College of Wisconsin has received a $400,000 grant from the state through WEDC’s Targeted Industry Projects program. 

The money will support MCW’s Therapeutic Accelerator Program, which is housed in the college’s Drug Discovery Center in the pharmacology and toxicology department. TAP’s approach involves setting milestones in the funding process, detailing development plans and finding pathways to bring new therapeutics to market. 

According to a release from MCW, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. grant will support those efforts as well as two other main goals: training and educating “the next generation of southeastern Wisconsin biohealth workers,” and creating new collaborations between industry and academia to improve the region’s “innovation ecosystem.”  

“This partnership will further enable TAP to make a major impact in southeastern Wisconsin by developing drugs and therapeutics for improving health and quality of life,” said John Imig, a professor and director of the Drug Discovery Center. 

See more: http://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/190712-WEDC.pdf 

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has reintroduced a bipartisan bill that would provide tax incentives to farmers that invest in biogas technology, calling it a “commonsense” way to sustain business growth while protecting the environment. 

He’s introducing the Agricultural Environmental Stewardship Act alongside U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, a Republican from New York. 

In a release, Kind notes the state’s dairy farmers contribute $43.4 billion to the state economy every year. 

“By providing these tax incentives, we are making it more affordable and accessible for Wisconsin dairy farmers to pursue biogas technology,” he said. 

The bill would allow biodigesters to qualify for an energy tax credit “that is on-par with the 30 percent tax credit for solar energy,” according to a release. That would reduce the upfront cost of getting biodigester technology installed. Under the bill, farms would be able to produce qualifying biogas that’s at least 52 percent methane, the release shows. 

Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, calls biogas technology “important but expensive.”  

“The creation of this new investment tax credit also addresses the value of nutrient recovery technologies, which can transform manure into fertilizer for crops and bedding for cows,” Mulhern said. “This bill will help farmers incorporate these new technologies into their operations, for the benefit of everyone.”

See the release: http://www.wispolitics.com/2019/u-s-rep-kind-introduce-bipartisan-bill-to-make-alternative-energy-options-affordable-for-wisconsins-dairy-farmers/ 

See the bill text: http://www.wisbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/190715KindBiogasBill.pdf 

— Millennials in Wisconsin have the third-lowest average credit card debt across all U.S. states and territories, according to Experian, a consumer credit reporting company. 

A recent report from the company highlights the growing burden of credit card debt for millennials — anyone between the ages of 23 and 38, by the report’s definition. 

Wisconsin was beat out only by Puerto Rico and Mississippi, where millennials had $2,906 and $3,887 in average credit card debt in Q1 2019, respectively. In Wisconsin, that number was $3,889. 

By comparison, the top three states for average credit card debt for millennials were Alaska, Washington, D.C., and Hawaii. 

Nationwide, millennials each had on average $4,712 in credit card debt in Q1 2019 — lower than the overall U.S. average of $5,474. Still, millennials increased their credit card debt by 7 percent in the past year, the report shows. 

Experian is an Irish company based in Dublin that collects and analyzes information from more than 235 million U.S. customers and 25 million U.S. businesses. 

See the report: http://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/research/millennials-and-credit-card-debt-study/ 

— A Wauwatosa business called Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th is closing and laying off 39 employees, according to a notice sent to the state Department of Workforce Development. 

The notice shows the workers will be laid off by the end of September. 

DWD’s regional partner, the Milwaukee Workforce Development Board, will step in to help affected workers with resources aimed at getting them back into the workforce. 

See the notice: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2019/dept-of-workforce-development-wisconsin-business-closing-mass-layoff-warn-notice-saks-fifth-avenue-off-5th/ 


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– Duluth pursuing study of toxic chemical after refinery blast http://dailyreporter.com/2019/07/15/duluth-pursuing-study-of-toxic-chemical-after-refinery-blast/ 


– Tom Still: State economy should grow through 2020, but wild cards in deck


– James Matson: How can Wisconsin find its way with food, land and water?



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