12 Jan Doyle names business and technology successes, plans for 2005
Madison, Wis. — “Wisconsin is on the move” was the theme of Governor Jim Doyle’s speech on the “State of the State” Wednesday evening in the state Capitol.
Doyle, a Democrat, delivered the constitutionally mandated address to both houses of the state Legislature, putting forth a mostly positive message and handing out praise and recognition to both Democrats and Republicans. WTN compiled this point-by-point guide to his stances on business and technology.
Forbes’ ranking: Doyle lauded Madison for ranking first among cities for business and careers in Forbes Magazine, with other cities including Appleton and Milwaukee making strong showings in the top 100.
Angel and venture investment: Act 255, the economic development package that Doyle has heavily promoted for its angel tax credits, got a small mention during the address as having boosted the state’s entrepreneurial culture. Recently Doyle also announced a Wisconsin Angel Network, a group that will be state-supported but administered by the Wisconsin Technology Council.
- Two guest columnists from law firm Michael Best & Friedrich analyze the state’s finance programs
- Read more about the state’ plan for an angel network
Entrepreneurship: The Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Network was announced in November as a way to coordinate regional outreach centers and resources for entrepreneurs. This and the angel network will likely work together to connect start-up businesses with funding.
- The Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’s network has $1 million a year in Department of Commerce money to start four regional outreach centers
Manufacturing: The governor called out manufacturing as a major source of job creation in the state over the last year. He supported additional support for the sector, traditionally a strong one in Wisconsin. What form that support will come in will have to wait until the budget is revealed, but it could improve further tax credits or easing of regulations. He also pointed out that Inc Magazine’ latest issue cited Wisconsin as making a “remarkable turnaround” in creating manufacturing jobs.
Energy: Doyle wants to put in place a standard for homes and businesses to use 10 percent renewable energy by 2015. He also said the state should reduce its dependence on foreign oil by encouraging biofuel research, which would put the strength of Wisconsin’s agricultural and biotechnology sectors into play.
- One Wisconsin company researching biofuel is Virent, which is making an engine that converts it into burnable hydrogen
Life-science research: Doyle wants the legislature to approve $3 million for research into Alzheimer’s disease, which would be a major focus of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, a planned research center on the UW-Madison campus that would cost about $375 in private and public money. The institute would also focus on bioinformatics, stem cells and other biotechnology research.
- Read more about the governor’s $750 million proposal for life sciences, including the Institute for Discovery
Savings on computer purchases: The state government saved $300 million a year by using its purchasing power to cut the cost of state desktop computers by $1000 each, Doyle said. Software savings of $125 per machine led to savings of $2.5 million, he said. The state is also consolidating its e-mail servers for an estimated savings of $1.6 million. Each agency has paid separately for the service until now.
Math and science education: Doyle proposed legislation requiring high-school students to take three, not just two, years of math and science. He said Wisconsin schools’ requirements were in the bottom 13 in the nation and below the entry standards of the University of Wisconsin.
Minimum wage: The first standing ovation, however, was for Doyle’s support of an increase in the statewide minimum wage to $6.50 from $5.15, and came only from the Democratic half of the chamber. Doyle said they and Republicans had an honest disagreement, but that the matter should be brought to a vote and not delayed.