WisBusiness.com

Real estate pros lukewarm to Walker’s HSA relief proposal; some disappointed by high-speed rail loss

Wisconsin’s real estate trade association had vigorously backed Scott Walker’s bid for governor, but individual real estate professionals appear underwhelmed by Walker’s proposed tax break on health savings accounts and divided over his decision to kill high speed rail. Although real estate professionals, who are largely self-employed, say any break on health insurancecosts is a step in the right direction, they say job growth and mortgage loan incentives would be more likely to rescue their struggling industry.

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Mining equipment sales would mean more sales tax, but not necessarily new jobs

This was an exclusive story for WisBusiness and its sister site, WisPolitics. It explored a new, as yet unreported aspect of a highly controversial proposal by Gogebic Taconite to build a strip mine in northern Wisconsin. This story — which showed that the project would not create jobs at Wisconsin’s heavy equipment manufacturers, and would bring in some, but not a great deal of sales tax — ran just days before the Wisconsin state legislature was to vote on the matter, providing lawmakers with vital information.

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Experts caution worst-case scenarios even for well-prepared retirees

Wisconsin’s longtime senator Herb Kohl, who owns the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team and whose family started the former Kohl’s supermarkets and current
department store chain, retired in December at age 77. “I’ll still be involved, in public interests and in my private interests,” Kohl promised, following a luncheon in his honor hosted by the Wisconsin Coalition of Aging Groups.

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Iron ore strip mining: Economic boon or environmental blight?

A leading supporter and a leading opponent of a proposed Gogebic Taconite iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin agree on one thing: Moremining projects could be in the works throughout the state, if new mining legislation that eases the permitting process gets approved. Scott Manley of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (pictured, right) says that’s good news.

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Caterpillar exec sees minimal impact from proposed Wisconsin mine

A proposed iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin is unlikely to create jobs at Caterpillar Global Mining near Milwaukee, and even if it did, those workers would likely come from out of state, a company executive said Tuesday. John Disharoon, vice president of industry relations for Caterpillar, told the Milwaukee Rotary Club that mining is a vital industry that produces the minerals and fuels needed for the world’s rapidly growing and increasingly urbanized population.

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Old-fashioned factories and farms outweigh biotech hopes

Manufacturing and dairy farming still drive Wisconsin’s economy and are the key places to focus future resources, despite struggles during the Great Recession and despite a disdain in some sectors for those industries’ old-fashioned, blue-collar image, a comprehensive new study shows. But enthusiasm in recent years for promoting Wisconsin as a biotech or life sciences hub isn’t realistic — at least when it comes to allocating the resources of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., a WEDC representative and an industry analyst told members of the Milwaukee Rotary Club on Tuesday.

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First lady looks for ‘big splash’ in Midwest visit

Calling water “the original energy drink,” First Lady Michelle Obama visited Wisconsin Thursday to boost a nationwide campaign on the benefits of drinking water. “This isn’t just a drop in the bucket; we want to make a big splash,” the first lady joked during her visit to Watertown High School in Jefferson County. The White House chose Watertown, located between Milwaukee and Madison, to highlight the concept that “every town could be a water town.”

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Tommy Thompson ponders angel fund; won’t rule out future political run

Former GOP Gov. and national health secretary Tommy Thompson said he hopes to sell off four of his businesses within the next year and start an angel fund to help Wisconsin start-ups focusing on health care technology. Thompson made the comments in a presentation Thursday to about 50 entrepreneurial hopefuls at a Wisconsin Innovation Network meeting in
Wauwatosa.

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