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Governor Walker’s Small Business Agenda addresses many of the top issues facing businesses throughout the country today.

By the Numbers: U.S. Small Businesses

  • There are 28.8 million small businesses in the United States with a total of 56.8 million employees (U.S. Small Business Administration, 2016).
  • Small businesses, or businesses with fewer than 500 employees, account for 99.7% of all business in the United States (U.S. Small Business Administration, 2016).
  • Economic uncertainty rank first and regulatory burdens rank fourth as some of the biggest challenges of running a small business (National Association of Small Businesses, 2015).
  • Entrepreneur homeowners are 10% more likely to start a business than entrepreneurs who don’t (U.S. Small Business Administration, 2012).
  • Small businesses are six times more likely to be sued than to sue, according to a National Foundation of Independent Business Education Foundation study. As a result, the costs of litigation are a particularly large burden for small businesses.

Wisconsin Small Businesses

  • Wisconsin is a top 10 state for business (Chief Executive Magazine, 2017).
  • Wisconsin is home to 445,445 small businesses with approximately 1.2 million employees (U.S. Small Business Administration, 2017).
  • These small businesses account for 99.4% of all businesses in the state (U.S. Small Business Administration, 2017).
  • In Q2 2016, Wisconsin’s economy grew at an annual rate of 1.6%, which was faster than the overall growth rate of 1.2% (U.S. Small Business Administration, 2017).
  • Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is 3.4 percent – prior to 2017 the last time unemployment was that low was April 2000 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • Governor Walker’s observations based on conversations with Wisconsin’s small business owners:
    • One of the biggest issues raised by small business owners is that many of their employees will not take more hours or higher wages because they fear losing their benefits like child care. 
    • With a low unemployment rate and high demand for workers, Wisconsin cannot afford to have anyone sitting on the sidelines. 
    • Employers have positions open but one of the biggest challenges is finding applicants who can pass a drug test. 

Governor Walker’s Small Business Agenda

Step One: Reduce business costs

  • Lower property taxes
    We eliminate the state property tax and reduce the personal property tax.
  • Stop unemployment fraud
    We need to increase penalties for people who knowingly make false statements to obtain unemployment insurance benefits.
  • Streamline regulations
    State governments should sunset all regulations every seven years and a standing committee should review each regulation so that elected representatives have the final say, not bureaucrats.
  • Reduce frivolous lawsuits
    Wisconsin should continue to enact lawsuit reforms to protect small businesses.

Step Two: Prepare the workforce

  • Invest in K-12 education
    Our budget invests a historic $11.5 billion into K-12 education to drive student success and help build a strong workforce.
  • Increase worker training
    Our budget increases Wisconsin Fast Forward grants to help employers with customized worker training programs.
  • Expand opportunities in our technical colleges
    Our budget makes a significant investment in our tech colleges to create a highly skilled, dependable workforce.
  • Strengthen ties between the UW System and the workforce
    Our budget includes more financial support for the UW system to produce more graduates for high demand areas.

Step Three: Remove barriers to work

  • End public assistance benefits cliffs
    We eliminated the so-called "benefits cliff" for child care to encourage more people to work, take more hours, and advance into higher wage jobs.
  • Require able-bodied adults to work or receive employability training
    We are expanding public assistance requirements to include at least 80 hours per month of work or employability training to help individuals move from Government dependence to true independence.
  • Require able-bodied adults to pass a drug test before receiving public assistance
    We are expanding the areas where we require a drug test to get public assistance. Those who fail the test are offered rehabilitation so we can get them healthy and into the workforce.
  • Target specific populations to enter the workforce
    We are investing in training and accommodations for veterans, people with disabilities, and ex-offenders to get them back to work.

Step Four: Attract new talent

  • Market workforce opportunities within Wisconsin
    We need more workers in the state to fill our workforce needs - now and in the future. Part of our plan includes direct marketing to attract talent from outside of Wisconsin to live and work in our state.

The Governor’s Small Business was created with Wisconsin business owners and employees in mind. It identifies goals and accomplishments that address many of the challenges small businesses face throughout the country and works to create an even friendlier Wisconsin business environment.

More information on the Governor’s Small Business Agenda can be found here.