Update from Rep Gruszynski

As I mentioned in my update at the monthly meeting, in the month of February we have voted on nearly 300 bills during only three floor days in the span of just ten days. With all of that work, there are a few big projects that we have been able to get across the finish line in the Assembly with broad, bi-partisan support that will be wins for the 90th Assembly District and will bring major improvements to the environment as well as the economy of Green Bay. There is also one bad PFAs bill that was introduced by Assembly Republicans in the dead of the night that we need the Senate to vote against. If you care about these projects please you’re your state senator. We can’t afford to fall behind on fighting PFAs in Northeast WI.

Senate Bill 295 – Cole piles are an issue that has plagued downtown Green Bay for decades. Moving this bill through the Senate will be good for our environment and our local economy. SB295 would provide Green Bay with a harbor assistance grant of 1.5 million dollars in order to make improvements related to port expansion and relocation of coal piles. This funding would allow Green Bay to repair the aging dock walls, replace a bollard and be the largest port expansion on the Great Lakes in two generations with an estimated 200 million dollars in economic impact. After receiving bi-partisan support in the Assembly, and support from the City of Green Bay, this bill has been in a holding pattern in the Senate for three months.

Senate Bill 721 – Tourism is an economic driver in our community, creating important jobs and bringing in an estimated 5.7 million annual visitors. That has an incredible impact on our community with over a billion dollars of economic impact. This bill would provide the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitor Bureau with an interest free loan to complete the funding for the construction of a new visitor and education center. With countless stakeholders in this project and much to be gained, this bill has passed the Assembly and it is important that the Senate gets this bill scheduled for a vote so it can be sent to the Governor’s desk.

Senate Bill 559 – Protecting Wisconsin families from the harmful effects of PFAS should be at the top of everyone’s priorities in Wisconsin. Sadly, this bill does nothing but hurt Wisconsin communities where PFAS are an extremely concerning issue. Rather than bringing the preferred CLEAR Act to a vote, or even the compromise bills AB842 and AB843, Assembly Republicans attached a poison pill amendment. With the amendment added this bill will significantly undermine the department of health and add redundancy in the DNR’s process. The CLEAR Act would have provided funding that they need for more testing and staff, and tools for remediation and protecting local communities. We also need to match the aggressive standards for PFAs that have been put forward by other states. We cannot move backwards on this emerging contaminant PFAs and I urge you to call your Senator and tell them to vote NO.

Manitowoc factory CEO: How Trump ‘trade chaos’ kills jobs in Wisconsin manufacturing Sachin Shivaram

“While a handful of primary metal producers benefited from trade protections, the rest of us further down the supply chain faced higher costs that hurt our competitiveness vs. rivals from countries that have lower metal costs.”

“Recession in the heavy manufacturing sector has dragged Wisconsin’s economic growth to among the slowest in the country.”

For USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinPublished 12:43 p.m. CT Jan. 15, 2020The manufacturing sector in the U.S. is in recession. Data released last week by the Institute for Supply Management showed that manufacturing activity has contracted for the fifth consecutive month, marking the worst performance since the depths of the Great Recession 10 years ago.

Here in Wisconsin the manufacturing recession is particularly palpable. Manufacturing accounts for over 15% of employment and nearly 20% of economic output. Employment in the sector has plunged in the past six months as demand for a range of manufactured goods has dried up. Indeed, in our business we laid off more than 10% of our employees late last year because we simply did not have enough orders to keep everyone busy.

Wisconsin manufacturers specialize in heavy equipment. Think tractors, mining equipment, engines — stuff that requires a lot of steel and aluminum. So, it may be especially surprising that Wisconsin manufacturers are not doing well even as President Trump has mounted a two-year campaign to protect the domestic metals and manufacturing industry through a host of trade barriers. The centerpiece of the president’s trade policy was a 25% tariff on imported steel and 10% on imported aluminum.

A groundbreaking paper published by the Federal Reserve last week confirms what many of us in manufacturing quietly suspected: Tariffs have hurt the very companies they were aimed to help. Only one of every six jobs in the metals industry is directly related to the primary production of metal — i.e. the people who melt raw materials and make new steel and aluminum. The other five jobs are related to using that metal to make things.

While a handful of primary metal producers benefited from trade protections, the rest of us further down the supply chain faced higher costs that hurt our competitiveness vs. rivals from countries that have lower metal costs.

But it’s about more than tariffs. It’s about uncertainty. From the vantage point of a small manufacturing business in Wisconsin, our national trade policy looks misguided and unreliable. It does not reflect how businesses actually make decisions. CEOs across America are increasingly worried about recession due to trade issues.

Businesses invest when they can calculate that they will earn a good financial return. A good investment project in our industry is one that returns 20% per year, which means that many good investments take five years or more just to recoup the initial cost. When uncertainty prevails, business investment seizes up.

The decline in business investment is a double whammy for Wisconsin. Like companies across the country, Wisconsin businesses have held back investments, which in turn reduces economic growth and employment. But even more importantly, when businesses invest, they buy precisely the types of capital goods that are our specialty here in Wisconsin: Air compressors, machines, cranes, turbines and the like.

Recession in the heavy manufacturing sector has dragged Wisconsin’s economic growth to among the slowest in the country.

So here we are, in the midst of the worst manufacturing environment of the past decade, not coincidentally following two years of the president trying to help us. Now we are seeing financial markets buoyed by headlines heralding a “Phase 1” trade deal with China, but details on what that means are scant other than that it has “great stuff in it.” The difficult realities of manufacturing in America have not materially changed.

If our aim is to create a better economy for American manufacturing, we must start by recognizing that the past two years of activity on trade policy has not meant progress. And we certainly should not celebrate the cessation of self-inflicted trade chaos as the end we were seeking

Resource-Economy

Information on how the economy is really doing – factual articles not just talking points.

There Are Economic Warning Signs for Trump in the Midwest
By Ben Casselman and Karl Russell Dec. 16, 2019
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/12/16/business/trump-midwest-swing-jobs.html
There are a number of interesting charts in the article.
Jobs during Trump’s tenure – Dec. 2016 to Oct. 2019 Percentage change in total employment
Midwest States fairing worse than other areas because of dips in Manufacturing and Agriculture
North Dakota 1.0%
Wisconsin 1.6%
Ohio 1.6%
Iowa 1.7%
Michigan 1.8%
Indiana 2.3%
Illinois 2.5%
Pennsylvania 2.6%

Chart of Federal Spending
Tiny portion for Food Stamps