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Bible, Edward / Annual overall economic development program report, 1996/1997
(October 1996)

Chapter IV: Potentials and constraints to economic development,   pp. [unnumbered]-40 PDF (3.6 MB)


Page 37

particular scenario is authorized by the legislation which was passed this year. The Advance
Transformer, Inc. closing makes this area of the state an extremely strong candidate for
designation of a zone due to the distress characteristics which are displayed. It is the plant
closing which has precipitated the proposed development zone for the two counties. The regional
planning commission will be taking a leading role in establishing the new zone, but will be
working closely with the Grant County Economic Development Corporation and the Lafayette
County Extension office to develop the application and the subsequent plan which must be
developed. The zone's actual creation will not occur for several months, and is expected to be
designated in early November of 1996.
The zone offers several types of tax credits for businesses which commit to undertaking
new investments in plants and equipment and which commit to hiring targeted (economically
disadvantaged) workers. These include workers that have been laid off as a result of a major
plant closing, and other dislocated workers. A company can be eligible for a jobs credit of
$5,200 over two years for each economically disadvantaged worker it hires, as well as a resident
credit of $1,200 over two years for each resident of the zone it hires. Other tax credits available
include an investment credit or a location credit of 2.5% for making certain investments in
property and equipment, a sales tax credit on building materials and equipment purchased, a
7.5% environmental remediation credit, a child care credit of up to $1,200 per child for two
years of employment of a qualified worker, and an additional research credit for qualifying firms.
A local development zone advisory council is in the stages of being formed. The council
must make recommendations to the Department of Development concerning tax credits given,
and may establish its own local criteria in addition to the state criteria which governs the
program.
LABOR MARKET INFORMATION (LMI) SURVEYS
A labor market survey, sponsored by the Local Area Wide Coordinating Committee and
the Job Center in southwest Wisconsin, was conducted and analyzed by Professor Gary Green
of the Department of Rural Sociology, UW Extension, in the summer and fall of 1995. Assisting
with the survey were university students from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. The
purpose of the survey was to help determine the hiring and training needs and other concerns of
area employers and the types of services they would like to see. In addition to face-to-face and
mailed surveys of employers, telephone surveys of 2,000 households was also done to obtain
information on employment needs, skill levels, availability of workers, wage expectations,
obstacles to employment, and a better understanding of the depth of "underemployment".
A regional report, "Labor Market Conditions in Southwest Wisconsin" was published in
December 1995. County labor profiles were also developed as a result of the project. The Job
Center is now in the process of communicating the results to employers and setting up a dialogue
between employers and other interested parties to work on issues of mutual concern. The
principal issue is alleviating labor turnover and attempting to address the underlying issues of
wages and benefits, productivity, enhancing skills of the existing work force, affordable child
care, available housing and other issues of interest to employers and employees alike.
The report concluded that there are several structural and cyclical factors affecting the
local labor market. A changing demographics, a high labor force participation rate among
women, and a wage differential between southwestern Wisconsin and neighboring areas were
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