VERONA, Wis. – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett unveiled a job creation plan Thursday that relies on targeted tax breaks, a reorganization of economic development programs and an emphasis on helping startup companies.
Barrett did not have a cost for the plan, saying that would hinge on how much money is available under the state budget. The Milwaukee mayor said his goal would be to create at least 180,000 jobs in his first term, which is roughly how many have been lost since the recession began two years ago.
"This is the blueprint for the house," Barrett said at a news conference inside Full Compass, a Madison-area audio-visual equipment supplier. "We'll have more specifics as we move forward."
One of his main ideas is to create a new job creation office within the governor's office that would be responsible for consolidating and organizing economic development efforts across state government. Barrett said the plan would be modeled after programs in Oklahoma and Texas.
Barrett wants to streamline the regulatory approval process so companies will not be lost in a sea of red tape awaiting approval on projects. He also proposed creating a $100 million venture capital fund over five years that could be used to assist startup companies.
Barrett also voiced support for expanding the state's film tax incentives, a program that current Gov. Jim Doyle gutted in his budget last year.
Most of Barrett's proposals would require legislative approval, although some could be done administratively.
State Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, was at the news conference and said he thinks the Legislature would be receptive to the plan.
"Anything that is going to spur job growth immediately is a good thing," Erpenbach said.
The Legislature is currently controlled by Democrats, but the makeup for the new governor will be determined following the November election.
Even though it lacks an overall price tag and details in many areas, Barrett's 67-page economic development plan is by far the most expansive of any of the three major candidates for governor.
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann, the two main Republicans running, have broadly discussed their economic development ideas.
Both have supported repealing tax increases approved by the Legislature in the past two years that raised taxes on large businesses and people earning over $300,000 a year. Barrett supports keeping those taxes in place.
Barrett's plan did not include any tax increases.
Walker has said that his six-point economic development proposal would create 250,000 jobs within four years. Walker's plan calls for lowering taxes, improving health care, education and infrastructure, ending frivolous lawsuits, and reducing regulations.
Neumann, who supports cutting taxes and government spending, has not put a number on how many jobs he could create if elected.
Tom Barrett: http://www.barrettforwisconsin.com/
Mark Neumann: http://markforgov.com/
Scott Walker: http://www.scottwalker.org/