THU AM News: Wisconsin cities alluring to talent from the coasts; AARP Wisconsin, Cooperative Network voice support for task force retirement ideas

— Wisconsin’s cities, which feature a low cost of living and emerging downtowns, are attractive to talented workers looking to leave the coasts, tech industry leaders say.

A trio of stakeholders in the state’s technology sector participated in a Wisconsin Technology Council virtual event yesterday to discuss the state’s ability to attract tech talent.    

The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified problems facing tech corporations, companies, and start-ups in California’s Silicon Valley region, explained event moderator and Tech Council President Tom Still. In addition, the pandemic has created growing talks surrounding Silicon Valley’s future as the epicenter of America’s tech industry.  

High costs of living, which include skyrocketing rent prices, and the low chance of homeownership have contributed to a growing demand from tech employees to work remotely or in-person in places other than Silicon Valley, Still said. 

“They want to be somewhere that the rent isn’t so high,” said state Rep. Tip McGuire, D-Kenosha and co-chair of the informal Tech Caucus within the Legislature. “They want to feel comfortable being out in the community.”  

Read the full story at 

— AARP Wisconsin and Cooperative Network voiced support for proposals laid out by a state task force aiming to ensure Wisconsinites can retire with financial security.

Both industry representatives serve on the Governor’s Task Force on Retirement Security, which recently released a report with the five proposals. 

“Many Wisconsinites are working as hard as ever, but have no way to save for retirement at work,” said AARP Wisconsin Advocacy Director Lisa Lamkins. 

She highlighted the WisconsinSaves proposal, a state-facilitated retirement plan for nearly 1 million Wisconsinites without access to a plan through their employer. WisconsinSaves would be an auto-IRA enrollment program for Wisconsin businesses. Lamkins said it would empower Wisconsinites to save their own money for retirement, and also save taxpayer dollars in the long run.

Current projections show if nothing is done Wisconsin will have over 400,000 seniors living in poverty by 2030, and the state will need to spend $3.5 billion more on programs relating to senior care.

“As a trade association representing cooperatives from twelve different business sectors, we know that cooperatives are a vital component of rural prosperity,” said Jennifer Wickman, government affairs director for Cooperative Network. “Furthermore, fundamental to all agricultural cooperatives is the financial wellbeing of farmers. Retirement is a key component of that financial wellbeing.”

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— The Joint Finance Committee voted 11-4 to ensure Wisconsin businesses that received PPP loans get tax relief totaling $419 million through mid-2023.

It will now go to a vote of the full Assembly and Senate. If passed, the legislation would head to Gov. Tony Evers’ desk for his signature.

“WMC and our members urge legislators and Gov. Evers to support this legislation, which is crucial to upholding the promise that these funds would be available tax-free to all recipients,” said Cory Fish, the legal affairs director for Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.

Fish explained that Wisconsin businesses were told they could receive forgivable and tax-free PPP loans to help them through the economic downturn. The dollars were critical to thousands of employers and their employees. Without the protection bill, businesses could face a hefty and surprising tax bill, he said.

Dems argued the tax break for forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans should be more targeted to ensure only businesses that really needed the help were impacted. Rep. Greta Neubauer, D-Racine, said the majority of the tax cuts under the GOP plan would go to less than 10 percent of the businesses that received PPP loans.

Dems offered a series of amendments to the GOP plan, including one to ban companies from qualifying for the proposed tax break if they moved payroll out of state and another to disqualify those that received a PPP loan through fraud. Republicans rejected the amendments.

“We as a body owe it to the struggling small businesses in our state and the constituents that we represent to pass thoughtful policy that helps them make ends meet,” Neubauer said.

See coverage on the committee hearing at 

— To help businesses run remotely, Middleton-based Community CoWorks is launching a virtual mail service called Community Post.

Businesses, as well as freelancers and remote workers, can have their mail sent to the commercial address of 3030 Laura Ln., Middleton, Wis. Community Post will then scan the mail and securely send it to the business. The virtual mail service offers a variety of packages ranging from $10 to $150 per month.

The launch of the Community Post was supported by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.’s “We’re All In” small business grant, of which Community CoWorks was a recipient in December.

“Community Post is a centralized hub for decentralized businesses, which have become more prevalent in today’s world,” Community CoWorks Founder Kristi Warriner said. “This grant will help us get this new service off the ground so that we can continue helping solopreneurs, established businesses and everyone in between.”

— Wisconsin’s corn growers have elected one new director and re-elected two others to the industry’s market order board. 

Elected in District 3 is Zachary Soltvedt of Seymour, representing Forest, Florence, Marinette, Langlade, Oconto, Shawano, Door, Outagamie, Brown, Kewaunee, Winnebago, Calumet, Manitowoc, Fond du Lac and Sheboygan counties.

Re-elected in District 6 is Ryan Ripp of Dane, representing La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford, Richland, Grant, Iowa and Lafayette counties. 

And re-elected in District 5 is James Birchman of Fennimore, representing Sauk and Dane counties.

The nine-member Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board is responsible for overseeing the collection and use of approximately $1.7 million in assessment fees paid by Wisconsin corn growers. The money supports the corn industry through research, market development and consumer education.

— Milwaukee-based Rev Collective is expanding nationally to offer virtual collectives for women and women of color.

Rev is a community of female and non-binary professionals. Members are placed into curated groups — collectives — of up to eight people with similar professional goals and taught a framework for coaching one another through career roadblocks.

“In early 2020, women for only the second time in history, held more jobs than men in the US economy,” explained Co-founder Angela Damiani. “In December 2020, nearly all of the 140,000 jobs lost in the US economy belonged to women, effectively backtracking on all major gains made in the years prior. Women of color faced a substantial portion of those job losses.”

Damiani said the bottom line is that women need more support in every area of their lives. Members have access to a large online network, resources related to specific careers, coaching sessions and VIP access to professional development opportunities.

Applications are live here: This year, Rev Collective has also launched a scholarship fund for those who cannot afford to join due to economic hardships. 

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– USDA to Survey Wisconsin Feedlot Owners 


– Joint Finance moves some federal education funds to schools that held in person classes

– Madison Metropolitan School District beginning phased return to in-person learning


– Einhorns’ VC firm names new partner to manage deals from targeted $150M venture fund 


– Community-Based Vaccine Clinic In Rock County Aims To Reach People Without Regular Health Care Access


– Worker Shortage At Wisconsin Prisons Leaves 40 Percent Of Jobs Unfilled At Waupun


– Senators push USDA to distribute timber industry aid 


– Budget committee advances $540 million plan to cut taxes

– Evers orders flags to fly at half-staff Friday to honor former fire inspector


– Johnny V’s revised Wauwatosa apartment tower plans get rebuke by Common Council committee 

– Real estate execs launch diversity program for high schoolers 


– Simon in talks with Kohl’s about anchor spots, mall operator says 


– SentryWorld in Stevens Point to host 2023 U.S. Senior Open


– Jefferson County company’s tech helps nursing homes keep track of wandering residents 


– Mitchell International expects increase in parking revenue from WallyPark closure 


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

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