Lawmakers work to create jobs in the Chippewa Valley
Unemployment is a big topic on the minds of Chippewa County residents. And while getting a job is on the mind of many of our residents, creating jobs is the mind of our lawmakers in Washington.
"More work needs to be done," Representative Ron Kind says. "I think we're seeing a stabilization in the economy right now but until you're starting to see some robust job creation so everyone looking for a job can go and get a job, that's what the goal is for our economy right now."
Wisconsin's unemployment rate stands at 8.7 percent. That's up from 5.9 percent a year ago. Kind says he sees small businesses as a way to improve that number.
"I've been working with a lot of the small businesses and the Small Business Administration to make sure that our small businesses, who will be the locomotive to job creation, helping pull us out of this bad economic recession, has access to the credit that they need," Kind says.
Kind says he is working on a small business loan program to get companies going and growing. He plans to do that by encouraging lenders to work with small business owners.
"What we're starting to see it happen already--as far as the freeing up of some credit," Kind says. "Talking with a lot of the local lenders, they are working with local businesses to ensure that they have access to the credit that they need."
Senator Russ Feingold is working on tax credits to fuel job creation across the country and in the Chippewa Valley.
"I'm one of the leaders of the idea of a refundable temporary job tax credit," Feingold says. "For any size business, large or small, if they increase wages, hours or employees, they get a 15 percent credit on their payroll and 10 percent the second year. That would be direct encouragement of jobs where we most need it."
Lawmakers do say their efforts to create jobs won't pay off right away. But many say they are confident we're on the road to recovery.
There are also a number of efforts to spur job creation on the state level. This week, Governor Doyle visited Eau Claire and called on the legislature to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act. That bill would create at least 15,000 new jobs in Wisconsin by 2025.