Traveling around western Wisconsin, I've spent countless hours visiting with small businesses, family farmers, local manufacturers and producers, finding out what they need to weather this economy and create jobs here at home.
I believe America is a place where we can always do something to create new jobs, new opportunities, new manufacturing and new security for the middle class. That's why I'm working hard to support Wisconsin's small businesses. I wrote a law that will extend small business tax credits and wrote another that reduces the cost of health care for the self-employed. I've also been a consistent supporter of laws that reduce the red tape and make it easier for our small businesses to grow and create more good-paying jobs.
My top priority is promoting an agenda that will help get western Wisconsin back to work. I've laid out the following agenda to help businesses create good paying jobs in western Wisconsin.
1. Help Small Businesses. I support additional tax cuts to help small businesses continue as the engines of our local economies, including my microenterprise tax credit that would help entrepreneurs start and grow their small businesses. Unfreezing the credit markets for small business is also critical and I support increasing SBA lending and programs to incentivize community banks and credit unions to expand lending to small business.
2. Preserve Middle Class Tax Cuts. The last thing we need in the midst of a recession is to raise taxes on middle class Americans, who need more money in their pockets right now. I support extending the tax cuts for all families making up to $250,000 a year.
3. Strengthen and Preserve Families. Child care is a necessity for working parents. The number of two-income households has increased over the past few decades and I support expanding the child care tax credit to ease the burden on middle class families.
4. End Wasteful Spending. I'll fight wasteful spending that adds to our deficit and hurts our economy. Reining in Pentagon cost overruns and wasteful defense spending, reforming earmarks, and ending farm subsidies for big agribusiness are part of my plan to restore fiscal responsibility.
5. Workforce Development. I will support and encourage both public and private programs, like the Manufacturers Extension Partnerships that have been successful in western Wisconsin, that provide technical training and retraining, improve efficiencies and profitability, and help develop marketing and sales skills to build capacity and grow demand.
6. Infrastructure Investment. Much of our nation's aging infrastructure is crumbling; the Recovery Act provided Wisconsin $746,411,973 for such projects. I support continued investments that focus on sustainable infrastructure and energy-efficient growth.
7. Invest in Education. Increasing the number of students going into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields is essential so that our workforce has the skills to innovate and create. I propose increased research into effective teaching, getting kids involved in science and math early in their schooling, and increased investment in STEM education at the secondary and higher education levels.
8. Investing In New Clean Technologies. Investing in renewable energy technologies will help create high-paying jobs now and more sustainable energy sources. I propose tax incentives for new energy sources, such as biogas where Wisconsin is a national leader. It's also critical to continue programs that help companies make these investments; as part of Recovery Act, 3 clean tech companies in western Wisconsin, 15 in Wisconsin, received federal grants to finance their growth.
9. Build Domestic Manufacturing. I support tax breaks to encourage domestic manufacturing such as the 48c tax credit that seven Wisconsin manufactures have used to invest in clean technology. I'll also work to provide resources to help manufacturers find and develop new market opportunities so they can grow both here and abroad. In addition, I support closing tax loopholes that help companies that ship jobs overseas.
10. Encourage Innovation. I will work to foster innovation and encourage businesses and entrepreneurs to build, construct and grow here at home. I propose expanding and making the Research & Development tax credit permanent to promote cutting-edge technology and advancing regional cluster programs that foster collaboration between researchers and manufactures to help ideas become reality.