Letter to State of Wisconsin, State Senators and
State Assembly Representatives:
I’m writing to you because I’m worried and frightened about the proposed Healthy Wisconsin legislation. I own a small environmental and food testing lab business that I bought five years ago. It is 107 years old, founded in Milwaukee. We are currently in the midst of expanding and relocating it to New Berlin, with a state-of-the-art commercial lab design that will enable us to double or even triple our sales.
With the improved facility, we will be better able to compete on the national stage with competitors from outside of Wisconsin that are serving Wisconsin businesses. In other words, we are capturing a greater share of our own market.
Specifically, after four years of planning and preparing, we are finally under construction and our expanded lab business will open in early 2008. However, the investment in our new facility will double our debt payments to the bank, SBA, and WCEDC (which financed our business to help us further automate and create jobs). We currently have 32 employees, with a number of scientific professionals educated here in Wisconsin. With the new facility, we will have the capability of doubling those jobs with the growth of sales and profitability.
On the dark side, we have a growing cancer in our profit & loss statement. Our health care costs have increased from 1 percent of sales in 1987 to 4 percent of sales today, despite the fact that sales have quintupled and the employees are sharing 30 percent of the cost of health care premiums. We have managed to keep that ever-increasing cost at no more than 4 percent of sales, and afford the doubling of debt payments that will arise as we finance this local expansion in the Milwaukee 7 market.
I estimate that the proposed Healthy Wisconsin plan will increase our costs by 50 percent, further growing this cancer to almost 6 percent of sales. Our health care costs have ranged from 5 percent to 8 percent of payroll since 1998.
This bill will force us to pay 12 percent of payroll, increasing our health care costs by 50 percent.
The proponents of this bill think that this will help the market. You can see that an increase of $50,000 or more, in fact, will hurt our small business and its potential for growth to compete in the marketplace with labs outside of Wisconsin. Since the numbers to finance our business expansion were already tight, I told my banker that I don’t know how I would pay our debt payments if this health care bill passes. To pay for this mandatory tax, I would be forced to consider layoffs instead of hiring employees, negatively affecting morale, plus other expenses would have to be cut; weakening the enterprise in the market.
Furthermore, I worry that because of this situation, I may be forced to consider selling my small business to one of the large labs outside of Wisconsin or moving my lab outside of the state in order to generate a profit to grow it! It is already difficult to do business in our state because of high taxes and regulations. This would add to the burden and push businesses out of the state and be a force against businesses moving here too.
Please vote against this Healthy Wisconsin bill. It is unhealthy for business and jobs. There must be a better way! We are working in the private sector to find better ways.
David L. Kliber
SF Analytical Laboratories Inc.