Doyle vs. Green

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:40 pm

On Nov. 7, Wisconsin voters will decide who will be the state’s CEO for the next four years. The major candidates for governor are Jim Doyle, the incumbent Democrat, and Mark Green, the Republican congressman from Green Bay.

Which candidate would do a better job managing the state’s economy? Which candidate would be better for Wisconsin businesses? Small Business Times asked each candidate to answer a series of questions about issues that affect the state’s businesses community.

What is your assessment of the current state of Wisconsin’s economy?

Doyle: “Wisconsin’s economy has made big strides since 2002. We’ve created 177,500 new jobs since I took office in 2003. And while the rest of the country has lost over 400,000 manufacturing jobs, Wisconsin is actually creating them. In fact, out of the top 10 manufacturing states, Wisconsin is the only one that has gained jobs. Last year, 95 new manufacturing plants opened in Wisconsin. Now exports are up 52 percent, outpacing the rest of the nation. Average wages are up, and Wisconsin’s per capita income is up. Wisconsin still has work to do, but we’re on the right track.”

Green: “Good jobs are leaving our state, and we’re not keeping up with our neighbors in terms of new businesses coming in. Workers in Wisconsin make 10 percent less than the national average and pay 10 percent more in taxes – that is not a recipe for success. Gov. Doyle’s opposition to tax and spending limits, his support for trial lawyers and his passive attitude toward job creation are making it tougher and tougher to grow our economy and create good-paying jobs. Wisconsin has the people, the work ethic and the resources to attract great jobs. We don’t have a people problem, we have a leadership problem. As governor, I’ll make creating good jobs my top job.”

How can taxes for businesses be reduced in Wisconsin?

Green: “That’s easy. We need to stop the growth in government spending. Jim Doyle’s two state budgets increased spending by $2 billion – that’s a 20 percent increase. While I can and will find real spending reductions, if we simply stop the rate of increases, we’ll be able to finally lower taxes. Wisconsin’s crushing tax burden punishes current businesses while placing an artificial wall around our state preventing new businesses from moving here. A recent study found that Wisconsin has the 38th-worst business taxes in the country. That’s unacceptable.”

Doyle: “As governor, I’ve signed $700 million of tax cuts into law, many of them directed at business. After years of trying, we finally got the single-factor sales tax reform enacted to end the tax on companies that create jobs. I exempted energy used in manufacturing from the sales tax, signed $65 million of tax breaks for venture and angel capital investors and created $51 million in tax breaks for companies that create jobs.  The tax burden has dropped since I took office, and I will continue to make fiscally responsible efforts to lower the tax burden.”

What should be done to maximize the economic impact from stem cell research in the state?

Doyle: “This election will determine the future of stem cell research in Wisconsin. I support stem cell research wholeheartedly and want to continue investing in Wisconsin’s research and in new start-up companies trying to create life-saving products from stem cells. I will use my veto pen to stop Republican attempts to criminalize research or cut off funding. Congressman Green opposes embryonic stem cell research, voted against funding for it and voted to prohibit it eight times. He will stand with extreme right-wing groups trying to shut down the most promising avenues of stem cell research.”

Green: “By demonstrating the potential to create embryonic stem cell lines without the destruction of human embryos, scientists have removed the ethical dilemma that has surrounded embryonic stem cell research the past few years. I am committed to supporting these advances in the search for cures to a number of diseases. That is why I have called for an investment of $25 million over the next four years dedicated to advancing promising medical research without the destruction of embryos. The funds would be made available to WiCell for peer-reviewed research all done right here in Wisconsin. While none of us know the true potential for stem cell research, it could not only help cure diseases, it could result in jobs for thousands of Wisconsinites.

How can the University of Wisconsin System be improved to help the state’s businesses?

Green: “U.W. System campuses must become more connected with local communities and industries across the state to move our economy forward. We must build on the U.W. System’s current regional research development efforts by identifying specific research opportunities focused on applying the best and brightest minds to tackle some of the toughest social and economic problems facing Wisconsin. This is particularly true in southeastern Wisconsin, where a key cog in transforming the economy rests on our ability to enhance and develop U.W.-Milwaukee’s research infrastructure. That is why I have proposed a $15 million investment in research at UW-Milwaukee in my first budget. We also have to address the chronic waste and mismanagement we’ve seen in the U.W. System the past few years. The U.W. System spent $26 million dollars on a payroll system that never worked, and a recent audit found widespread abuse of the leave policies for the system. One of the first things I’ll do as governor is commission a comprehensive audit of the entire U.W. system to identify inefficiencies and waste. With the massive tuition hikes we’ve seen under Gov. Doyle – 50 percent in just four years – we need to restore taxpayer trust in one of the greatest assets our state has.

Doyle: “The University of Wisconsin is an important driver in our state’s economy. The U.W. educates the workforce, supports entrepreneurs, and generates groundbreaking research and new technology. To keep it strong, we need to make sure the U.W. is affordable by limiting tuition and increasing financial aid, just as we’ve done over the past four years. We need to expand access to the U.W. by providing the resources to allow them to create 2,800 new places for students. And we need to protect vital research underway including U.W.-Madison’s stem cell research and patents.”

How can the regulatory burden for businesses be eased in Wisconsin?

Doyle: “Working on a bipartisan basis, we have shown the way to reform regulatory burdens. By keeping standards high, but streamlining permit processes and creating predictable and shorter time frames, Wisconsin is accomplishing our goal of protecting the environment and encouraging business expansion. We also need to expand on our innovative Green Tier program to help businesses with strong track records expand and grow. In the last four years, Wisconsin has passed meaningful regulatory reform to facilitate business growth, agricultural growth, construction of energy infrastructure, and small business growth.”

Green: “Forbes Magazine recently ranked Wisconsin’s regulatory climate eighth-worst in the nation. To help turn that around, I have a plan to reform Wisconsin’s regulatory system by making it accountable to Wisconsin’s taxpayers. I’ve proposed establishing a deadline for every state-issued permit, and for every week that deadline is missed, applicants would be refunded a portion of their permitting cost. I would also conduct a comprehensive review of state government to make sure red tape isn’t getting in the way of job creation.”

Does Wisconsin need tort reform and caps on medical malpractice lawsuits?

Green: “Absolutely. Lawsuit reform is one of biggest differences between Gov. Doyle and me. When I served in the state Legislature, I helped author some of the most sweeping tort reform measures in the country. Unfortunately, some recent decisions by the Wisconsin Supreme Court have made it much easier for trial lawyers to sue Wisconsin’s job creators. Instead of working to restore common sense to the courtroom, Jim Doyle has vetoed just about every important liability reform measure to cross his desk – actions that caused the Wall Street Journal to label Wisconsin ‘Alabama North.’ My job creation plan includes six specific lawsuit reforms that will become law if I am elected governor – including protecting businesses from being sued for injuries caused by products they have no direct link to.”

Doyle: “Yes. I have signed medical malpractice caps into law. After the court struck down the state’s malpractice caps, I pushed the legislature to pass new caps that would pass constitutional muster. This effort was ultimately successful, and I signed those caps into law.”

Should the state be more aggressive in trying to attract businesses from outside of Wisconsin to move here?


Doyle: “The state needs to be aggressive in a mixture of strategies that include trying to attract out-of-state business, but also in retaining business, helping existing businesses expand, and catalyzing new start-up companies. My administration has successfully recruited companies like Bemis, Hospira, Abbott, Kettle Foods and many others. I have also promoted entrepreneurship, helped existing Wisconsin companies, such as Kohl’s, Northwestern Mutual, 3M and GE Healthcare expand, and successfully fought to reopen closed factories across the state from Park Falls to Manitowoc and Green Bay.”

Green: “In 2005, Wisconsin landed just 15 new manufacturing facilities. That compares with 510 in Illinois, 505 in Michigan, 176 in Minnesota, 169 in Indiana and 135 in Iowa.  That’s a terrible record and shows a complete lack of effort by Gov. Doyle and his economic development team. I’ve proposed an entirely new direction for Wisconsin’s economic development activity. I’d replace the current Department of Commerce with a public-private Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. that would move at the speed of business. I’d expand the 25 percent venture capital and angel investment tax credits to help lure new start-up businesses. I’d also enact tax credits for businesses that pay their employees 10 percent above the county salary, or cover their higher education costs.”

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