Wisconsin Re-writes History Books With Recall Elections
Whether or not you are fan of politics, June 5, 2012 was a historic night in Wisconsin (and national) politics for several reasons. First, the 2012 recall elections set a new state record for non-presidential voter turnout with approximately 172,000 or 57% of the eligible voters going to the polls. Second, Governor Scott Walker’s victory was the first time a governor facing a recall election has won. (The only two other governors facing recall both lost: Lynn Frazier of North Dakota in 1921 and Gray Davis of California in 2003.)Third, out of the 18 state legislators who have lost recall elections since 1913, Wisconsin has had more than any other state – five, or 28% of the total number of legislators. Finally, the total amount of money spent by the two gubernatorial candidates (Walker over $30M and Barrett over $3M) broke all previous records set in 2010.
Hopefully, more recall elections will not be added to Wisconsin’s history books anytime in the near future.
With Recall Elections Over, Job Creation Becomes Primary Focus Again
Now that the recall elections are over, Wisconsin lawmakers are refocusing their efforts on job creation and economic development. From the beginning to the end of the 2011-12 legislative session, one of the primary focuses of all lawmakers was to improve the business climate in Wisconsin so that new companies would locate here and existing companies would expand. To accomplish this goal, Wisconsin made meaningful changes and reforms in the areas of regulations, taxes, litigation and incentives for business to grow and expand in the state. Despite these changes, Wisconsin, like most of the country, continues to see slower rates of job growth than desired.
To improve our economy, the Walker administration and legislators from both sides of the aisle are reaching out to NAIOP-WI and other business groups, asking for ideas on how to make Wisconsin even more attractive to job creators. To date, NAIOP-WI has met with officials from Wisconsin’s Economic Development Corporation, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority and shared ideas on how these state agencies could help the commercial development industry. These ideas ranged from removing some of the regulatory barriers that continue to stop or delay commercial development projects, creating new financing programs that specifically target commercial development, and how to better utilize private sector experts in helping the state improve marketing efforts to companies located outside of Wisconsin.
Over the next several months, NAIOP-WI will continue to meet with current lawmakers and political candidates running for state office in November educating them on the important role that commercial development plays in both our state and local economies, and the impact that state regulations and policies have on our industry. If you have ideas for new legislation or program that would benefit the commercial development industry, please share them with Chris Korjenek (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tom Larson (email@example.com).