Celebrating the 110th Anniversary of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company
This week we celebrate the 110th anniversary of an American icon -- Wisconsin's own Harley-Davidson Motor Company.
Over 100,000 people are expected to be in Milwaukee to commemorate the 110th, and I'll be riding my 100th Anniversary Edition Road King during some of the rides this week. On Wednesday, I had the honor of participating in the House of Harley-Davidson 110th Military Appreciation Day Ride which benefited Fisher House Wisconsin. The Fisher House is a private-public partnership that helps military service members and their families in times of need.
On Saturday, we'll be roaring down the streets of Milwaukee during the official Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary Parade that begins at Miller Park, and on Sunday, I'll also be a part of the 110th Women Rider's Day Parade, benefitting breast cancer research. Harley-Davidson and all of its riders have done a tremendous job honoring our service members, law enforcement professionals, and other great causes this week with charitable giving, and we applaud them.
Earlier this year, I was proud to attend the opening of a Harley-Davidson dealership in Tianjin, China. It was an honor to be there, and now I'm excited to welcome some of their employees to Wisconsin this week. Their attendance is a reminder of Harley-Davidson's growing influence around the globe.
I've been looking forward to getting out on the road to commemorate the 110th all summer long. Harley-Davidson is an American classic and is one that centers on celebrating the freedoms we hold dear. Congratulations to the Harley-Davidson Motor Company and all of its employees on 110 years of success.
Third Annual Governor's Small Business Summit
Recently, I announced details of the third annual Governor's Small Business Summit. This year's summit will be held on Wednesday, September 25, at the Stevens Point Convention Center. The annual event will include panel discussions with cabinet secretaries and speakers discussing issues like employing people with disabilities and exporting products across the country and around the world.
We're hosting the summit again this year in order to hear from more job creators and dive into issues like increasing exports and hiring people with disabilities. Our economy is growing and we are continuing to move Wisconsin forward.
Registration is now open for the event and can be accessed here http://www.wheda.com/root/SmallBizSummit/. Additional details will be posted on the website in the future.
Wisconsin's Credit Rating
Last week, I met with bond rating agencies to discuss Wisconsin's credit rating. These annual meetings give us a chance to discuss the state's bond rating, the fiscal impact of our state budget, and the status of the economy in Wisconsin. Thankfully, we have a great story to tell. We turned a $3.6 billion budget deficit into more than a half a billion dollar surplus, we have the largest rainy day fund in state history, and our state pension fund is the only one in America that is fully funded. Also, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia just ranked Wisconsin third in the nation for growth during the last three months. This is best ranking Wisconsin has ever received and Wisconsin is improving at the strongest rate it has since January 1995.
Wisconsin's Exports Increase
The value of Wisconsin's dairy exports for the first half of 2013 have increased and overall exports have increased when compared to the first six months of 2012. Dairy export values increased 23 percent in the first six months of this year, totaling $171 million. Wisconsin now ranks fourth nationwide for the value of dairy exports.
The growth in our dairy industry is due to the hard work of the farmers and processors who produce quality and safe dairy products. Wisconsin is growing beyond being America's Dairy Land, and our agriculture industry continues to be a strong cornerstone of our state's economy. The overall increase of Wisconsin exports is good for our economy and the hardworking employees who help produce great products.
Dairy-related products were Wisconsin's most valuable agricultural export during the first half of 2013. Overall, Wisconsin exported $1.6 billion worth of agricultural products to 132 countries in the first half of this year. That is an increase of nearly 10 percent over last year, ranking Wisconsin 13th overall for agricultural exports.