TUE AM News: Talking Trade with Maureen Muldoon, Trek Bicycle Corp.; LeMahieu: Moving to 3.25 percent flat tax would keep state competitive

— In the latest episode of “Talking Trade,” recently retired Trek Bicycle Corporation executive Maureen Muldoon discusses industry trends and how the company weathered COVID-19. 

Muldoon, who was the vice president of international business development for the Waterloo-based bike maker, highlights the “bike boom” seen early in the pandemic. 

“They wanted to get bikes for their kids so they could do some things outside, people were buying bikes because they were doing stay-cations, etcetera,” she said. “It ended up being that there was this sort of boom of sorts. We reacted quickly to that, we increased our [purchase orders] with our vendors.” 

Looking forward, she expects the trend of increased sales to slow down as people return to more typical buying habits. 

“Things are going to settle in, they’re starting to settle in now,” she said. “But what we’re seeing is we’ll land the plane at a higher level than what we were pre-pandemic.” 

She also discusses the effects that supply chain disruptions had on the industry. 

“There’s so many different parts that go into a bike, if you’re missing a disk brake, you can’t build a bike,” she explained. “So in some cases, our vendors had a lot of product, a lot of inventory … but they couldn’t build a product because they were missing one item.”

Watch the latest episode here: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2023/talking-trade-with-maureen-muldoon-former-vp-for-trek-bicycle-corporation/ 

“Talking Trade” is now available in audio form on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. Subscribe and find more episodes here: https://www.wisbusiness.com/category/talking-trade/ 

— Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu pitched his idea to move Wisconsin to a flat tax of 3.25 percent as a needed step to keep the state competitive, while Dem Gov. Tony Evers dismissed it as a sop to the rich.

The plan would phase in the flat tax by tax year 2026 through annual reductions in the rates in each of the four existing brackets.

The move would reduce taxes by $2.1 billion in the first year of the upcoming budget and another $2.8 billion in the next, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

That price tag would move to $4.3 billion in 2025-26 before hitting more than $5 billion in 2026-27 and annually thereafter.

In an interview Friday, LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, said Minnesota is the only other state in the Midwest with a top tax rate as high as Wisconsin’s. The plan is being circulated for co-sponsorships.

“If we want successful people to come move into Wisconsin, to invest in Wisconsin, to stay in Wisconsin, we need to give tax breaks not just to low-income people, we need to give tax breaks to all incomes and simplify our tax code. It’s that simple,” he said.

Evers, who has said he won’t sign a budget that includes a flat tax, quickly criticized the proposal.

“When we deliver tax relief, it should be targeted to the middle class to give working families a little breathing room — not to give big breaks to millionaires and billionaires who don’t need the extra help to afford rising costs,” Evers tweeted. “That’s just common sense.”

See more at WisPolitics.com: https://www.wispolitics.com/2023/230113report#story-1 

— Nine projects aimed at expanding Wisconsin exports have been selected for about $700,000 in total funding, DATCP announced. 

The grant funding comes from the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports, which has now provided $1.2 million since getting its start in 2021. The program’s goal is to increase exports of dairy, meat, crops and other agricultural products by 25 percent by June 2026. 

“These grant projects will help Wisconsin businesses engage in trade opportunities and facilitate valuable connections between buyers and sellers,” DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski said in the agency’s release. 

According to DATCP, recipients must provide matching funds equal to 20 percent of the grant award. The projects funded in the first round of grants have begun, while the latest projects selected for funding will begin early this year. 

Recipients include: Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, with $90,000; Wisconsin Beef Council, $50,000; World Dairy Expo, $100,000; Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, $100,000; Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association, $100,000; Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, $49,950; Center for Dairy Research, $43,980; UW-Madison, $49,719; and UW-River Falls, $100,000. 

See the release: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2023/dept-of-agriculture-trade-and-consumer-protection-announces-export-expansion-grant-recipients/ 

See more on the program here: https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/AgDevelopment/WisconsinInitiativeForAgriculturalExports.aspx 

— The Madison International Trade Association has appointed three new members to its board to serve three-year terms starting this month. 

The new members include: Nicole Hess, a customs specialist and vice president of import operations for M.E. Dey & Co. in Milwaukee; Alison Jacobs, a trade compliance expert with FTI Consulting, Inc., based in Washington, D.C.; and Jenny Patzlaff, supply chain practice director for UW-Madison’s E-Business Consortium. 

See the full list of board members here: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2023/madison-international-trade-association-announces-board-of-directors-election-results-2/ 

<br><b><i>Top headlines from the Health Care Report … </b></i> 

— The Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health is calling for more resources to help address rising levels of mental distress and disconnectedness among youth in the state. 

<i>For more of the most relevant news on COVID-19, reports on groundbreaking health research in Wisconsin, links to top stories and more, sign up today for the free daily Health Care Report from WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com.</i>

Sign up here: http://forms.gle/o8FtqTLviGJPja8C9


# Milwaukee-based movie theater corporation continues post-pandemic recovery


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– Evers appoints farmer to DNR board


– Groups: Proposed Wisconsin DNR rule could cost CAFOs over $2 million


– Kask, Fitzsimmons join state Soybean Program staff



– Milwaukee-area buyers want condos, but developers aren’t building them



– Low snowfall totals across southeast Wisconsin are impacting snow removal businesses, recreation



– Wausau water treatment plant removes PFAS from city water


– Conservationists, We Energies celebrate 30th anniversary of program to reintroduce peregrine falcon population



– Papaya salad and laab sizzle at Hot n Spicy on Monona Drive



– Mercyhealth reopens south-side Janesville urgent care it shut 3 years ago



– Employer-employee dynamics at heart of shifting labor markets


– Johnson Controls acquires Norwegian firm


– GOP leader proposes flat income tax; Evers opposes 


– Uniek moves into new Greywolf industrial facility in Madison

– Madison housing debate heats up over higher density near bus lines


– Q&A: Ken Krahe, Jeff Tredo discuss MSI General’s recent acquisition of Tredo Group

– Royal Capital planning lifestyle campus in Brown Deer


– Q&A: La Follette eSports team captain smashes the competition



– Iron Horse Hotel business improving as it navigates Chapter 11 bankruptcy


– Industry watchers offer mixed forecast for Milwaukee hotels in 2023



<i>See these and other press releases: 

https://www.wisbusiness.com/press-releases/ </i>

Badger Institute: Commends new flat tax proposal for Wisconsin

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