Coalition unveils ‘Bold’ economic plan for Wisconsin

“Be Bold: The Wisconsin Prosperity Strategy,” a new roadmap for state economic development, has been released to Governor-elect Scott Walker. The list of recommendations was compiled by officials from the University of Wisconsin System, Competitive Wisconsin Inc., the Wisconsin Technology Council, the Wisconsin Way and the Wisconsin Higher Education Business Roundtable.

The comprehensive strategy plan includes recommendations for the new governor, administration and the 2011-13 Wisconsin State Legislature on critical issues related to creating jobs, growing Wisconsin’s economy and addressing the state’s major financial challenges and opportunities.

“This bold vision for a prosperous state economy represents the best thinking of Wisconsin’s economic development experts,” indicated John Torinus, president and chief executive officer of Serigraph Inc. and one of the leading authors of the strategy. “It is a focused, guiding roadmap for the new administration and legislature and offers an opportunity to follow the direction of some of the brightest minds and comprehensive research compiled within one plan.”
Highlights of the plan include:

  • Creation of a $1 billion Wisconsin Prosperity Fund used for investment in start-up Wisconsin companies focused on innovative technologies.
  • Allowing utilities more flexibility in funding economic development.
  • An evolution of the current statewide network of angel investment groups to a network that includes more early-stage funds and could include investments from pension or public funds, such as SWIB or the proposed Wisconsin Prosperity Fund.
  • Restore Wisconsin capital gains exemption to 60 percent.
  • Support and execute an economic development cluster strategy in Wisconsin, in part, by creating a policy council for each existing cluster, with members selected from the exporting industry, the governor’s cabinet, the UW System and private colleges, the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), and the supporting service sector, and an entrepreneur and a venture capitalist in the field.
  • Create additional interdisciplinary technology centers in partnerships among universities and with private companies.
  • Raise the percentage of four-year degree holders, in part, by facilitating graduation in three years and with four-year guaranteed degree programs.
  • Enact legislative and administrative changes to allow the UW System to more quickly adapt academic offerings, market-based tuition rates, financial aid programs and administrative policies to the economic strategy of the state.
  • Creation of a lean government commission to consolidate and improve state and local government processes, to save money and improve outcomes for customers, namely the citizens of the state.
  • Charter an independent job creation board to replace the Department of Commerce.
  • Strategic investment in the state’s infrastructure, which includes a recommendation to segregate fuel tax revenues for road and transit construction.
  • Realignment of reimbursements to health care providers by paying for health care services based on quality, efficiency, cost effectiveness and service rather than volume.


“We can and must reinvent our economy. We have the tools and resources to do it; we have the roadmap within the “Be Bold Strategy;” now we need the leadership,” said Scott VanderSanden, president of AT&T Wisconsin and a participant in the report. “It is time to move Wisconsin forward; we are done with the conceptual phase; now we must execute this strategic vision.”

More details of the “Be Bold: The Wisconsin Prosperity Strategy” are available at


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