The business stakes June 5

The Nicolet Bank Business Pulse surveyed its members about Tuesday’s recall election, and which result means what for their business.

The results are not particularly surprising:

… 74% of NewNorth Business Owners and CEOs believe the outcome of the recall will have a Significant (51%) or Moderate (23%) impact on their business. One-in-ten said it will have a Slight Impact; 14% said, No Impact.

There is a difference between CEOs of goods producing companies compared with service-based companies. Goods producers see the recall as having a greater impact (88% say Significant [59%] or a Moderate [29%] Impact) compared with 68% of CEOs in service-companies (Significant [48%] or Moderate [20%]).

In an open-ended question, CEOs described how a Walker win would impact their business. Nine-out-of-ten (91%) said it would have a positive impact; 9% said negative.

The specific comments are illuminating because they show what business owners – also known as “employers” – think is important to allow them to employ people and to serve their customers:

Business friendly regulations will remain in effect and I will have a better idea of what type of business climate will exist in Wisconsin.

Reduce my tax burden as a small business owner but reducing the cost of government. Will increase my employees overall spending ability due to reduced tax burden again by reducing the cost of government.

Hopefully some stability can come to the State, where businesses can make longer term decisions based on an economic and political environment that isn’t in constant turmoil.

Better employee candidates through better educators.

Trust in government doing the right thing will increase, and people will not be so afraid to move forward with construction, upgrading, and new ventures. Businesses will not be as afraid to increase the amount of employees and capital expenditures.

State economic climate will continue to improve meaning more homes will be built will directly impacts our business.

Unions will be exposed.

In the construction business it will be huge if Scott Walker wins. He will help the growth in and for the infrastructure. If Scott Walker wins the election we will be able to stay in business. If he does not win I do not think that is the case. Only with Walker, will Wisconsin continue to improve the business climate and attract new business (especially when competing against IL, IA, MN and MI). As a supplier, this has a significant impact on my business.

Customers will have a clearer understanding of what to expect in regards to taxes and support.

Very positive! Hopefully he and his supporters can continue the solid fiscal policies. We cannot go back to the “old” days.

If Scott Walker wins the election the general feeling about staying in WI will be significantly better. If Scott loses, and the legislature tries to undo what he has done WI will be in a terrible mess.

His business friendly attitude will continue without a dark cloud on the horizon as has been the case with the looming recall. Specifically, state agencies such as the DNR have shown signs under Walker of exercising more common sense in decision-making and appear to be more responsive. Also, municipal budgets appear to be healthier now that they have the flexibility afforded them by Act 10. That trend absolutely needs to continue.

It would send a clear message, that the voters understand fiscal responsibility and encourage our company to do more direct work for the State and add consumer confidence. It will also make for a more business friendly environment.

Reduce government interference in private business. Lowering the cost of government will be better for business.

[If Barrett wins] My taxes will most surely go up as will the people representing unions flocking around my non-union employees. They will be emboldened. I suspect that the ‘boycotts’ could start as well for those businesses that did not visibly support them. I also fear the local economy could ultimately tank as other businesses pull in their spending preparing for the hit.

[If Barrett wins] The divisiveness of our state will likely increase, leading to greater polarization, less fruitful problem solving, and increased posturing and radicalization of both sides. This will result in a stagnant economic climate in the state, and non-existent opportunities for a high-tech startup like mine.

Scott Walker has made the difficult decisions that needed to be made to improve the business environment. Change is never easy but the necessary change has been made and everyone had adapted to it. To go backwards, to return to the old ways, would have huge negative impact on the state.

I think it will finally get rid of the uncertainty the Dems and the left have created with this ridiculous recall. It will give businesses a clear signal that a pro-business Governor will be in charge of Wisconsin for the next three years and that Wisconsin is a good place to add jobs. We still have Obama care hanging over us. I hope that is resolved in the Supreme Court early this summer.

Restore confidence with business towards the future. This should have a positive effect on people investing in their business and pursuing growth, which ultimately will lead to more construction projects.

I doubt he will support an increase in renewable energy, so I think my business will stay about the same and continue to seek projects in Europe. Despite this I support his re-election.

I won’t buy a home Florida or Texas to live there 6 months and one day out of the year in order to keep more money in my pocket.

If Scott wins and is allowed to continue the reforms he started, we will continue to reduce the tax burden on business and individuals. We will also continue to STOP the strangle-hold the unions (specifically WEAC) have had on this state since Doyle was elected. The economy is just starting to turn, but electing a democrat will take it right back down the rabbit hole again.

My business is dependent on business spending. Most businesses are dependent on disposable income/discretionary spending. Sudden and drastic government spending leaves budgets short and jobs unsettled. That cycle prevents people in this small community from spending, ultimately having a negative effect on my business.

Investors and small business owners want some certainty about what they are facing ahead. While at the federal level the same problem will continue to exist until at least November, a Walker victory will bring some needed stability at the state level. This will impact small business owners positively and should encourage investment, hiring and overall spending. If Walker is defeated, watch all the small businesses sit tight regarding hiring and investment.

Governor Walker is making it easier for small businesses to “make it” in this economy. The impact of labor unions has been diminished – look at how “their candidate,” Kathleen Falk did in the Democratic primary. His goal is to stop private Wisconsin corporations are relocating their businesses to other states and other countries – a reform long overdue in my industry.

A balanced budget helps everyone. It is especially helpful to people in the financial services industry because it sends a “leadership” message of fiscal responsibility to everyone. Businesses have the need to grow but, until this foolishness of the recall is over businesses will not commit to spending and hiring for fear of getting caught with changing rules and legislation. In our industry we need businesses to grow, hire people and allow people to retire all without the fear of the Government intervention.

Scott Walker is a business friendly governor. The only thing that is holding us back from growing right now is the fact that we could get a governor in there who feels taking more from business owners will create new jobs. If Walker wins the election we will go ahead with our plans on growing the company. If he does not win we will hold back because we are too unsure as to what will happen next in Wisconsin.

Barrett will try to undo the good work Scott has done and we will be in a budgetary mess. Our state will be in as much trouble as Illinois. We simply cannot go back to the way it was under Doyle with no realistic budget.

We would expect a return to budget deficits and attempts to revert to the unsustainable public union contracts that threaten the state’s wellbeing. It would send a message to business that they can expect higher taxes and more regulations, like we saw under Jim Doyle where changes to regulations such as building codes, wetland restrictions, storm water regulations, increased the cost of building substantially. For example, a ditch in a farm field is not a wetland but it was under Jim Doyle’s DNR.

We would hold tight on any aggressive growth, expansion and hiring plans within Wisconsin due to the uncertainty about what pro-business reforms put in by Walker might be rolled back. It would also cause a lot of uncertainty regarding how he would address the state budget shortfall if he reverses the Act 10 collective bargaining changes. He has not said how he would address the resulting budget shortfalls.

I would expect the economy to tank again, with the state going back into the red. Naturally business taxes and regulations would increase, making Wisconsin the tax hell it has been for the last several years again.

I have great concern that too much energy will be focused on undoing prior legislation, leading to neglect of forward issues and leaving a large budgetary hole that will require significant tax increases without improving job creation or standard of living.

Oh well…we’ll turn into Illinois, have non-business people in the departments that are not responsive…in other words, like we had under the Doyle administration, and an untenable and unsustainable state budget.

Under Barrett’s watch, all privately held businesses will be plunged back into their concerns about taxation and the migration of businesses to other states/countries will continue/increase. I have a friend who is trying to start a small business and has been relatively successful but the taxes she has to pay–$700/month–eat up all her profits and ability to expand.

Business will be afraid to stick their neck out in fear that they have a governor that does not back business. There are already too many “free” programs out there and the people paying for those programs are getting sick of it. Why should one person have to go to work every day to provide a living for another who does not? It’s simple math, when the number of people taking the “free” money exceed the number of people handing it out things will fail.

If Tom Barrett wins, I’m moving to Canada.

Proving that not everyone is a Walker fan:

Negatively! Walker and the Republicans have not passed a single bill that supports small businesses rejecting bills to expand the angel tax credit, the biosciences initiative, and a new venture capital funding bill. Their reductions in support for education – esp. higher education, have made it harder for tech start-ups to fully utilize university based technologies. Instead, the Republican leadership have fostered a climate where public employees are disgruntled making them a challenge for small business to work with requiring more effort in nonproductive work. The days when Democratic leadership did little to help small business now looks like the good times.

“Jobs” aren’t coming back, no matter who wins. Automation is making unskilled labor obsolete. In that sense, if Walker does not make education a priority it could impact my ability to find technically skilled workers, the ones that are flocking to San Francisco and other places partially due to an increased atmosphere of intellectualism and technical environment.

Education will suffer which will affect my ability to hire quality employees. The rancor generated by this administration has been detrimental to the state’s image and impacts investment and young people’s willingness to stay. This impacts my business through capital access and hiring.

It all depends on what [Barrett] restores. The child tax credit can increase the funds available to our target groups. He will also need to [be] fiscally conservative in this market. Removal of ACT 10 is also important.

I do expect more support for education – a cornerstone of high tech small business. I also expect an attitude change in public employees for the better making them easier to work with. As for initiatives supporting small business I can only hope.

People on both sides will begin to work together again leading to a better state image and likelihood of investment.

There may be a swing too far backwards in spending initially, but a Barrett win will stop the worker-owner war currently raging in Wisconsin. I believe Walker cannot restore any balance given his dictatorial style and “worker be damned” policies. No one will benefit from a lack of moderation.

It is possible (though not assured) that the message learned will be that arrogance and divisiveness are ill-suited for problem solving, and that the result will be reconciliation, with more collaborations from both sides. Such a climate of reconciliation and a renewed focus of problem-solving would create opportunities for entrepreneurship and support the startup community.

I love (in the most sarcastic sense) the arrogance meme. I met Walker Friday. (He’s shorter than I thought he’d be, and possibly for the first time in political history, the media covering the governor was better dressed than the governor.) Whether or not you agree with his points of view, the word “arrogant” does not describe Walker’s personality at all. No one has ever accused a politician or candidate with whom he or she agrees of arrogance. (See Obama, Barack, supporters of.) The term “arrogant” in a political sense actually means you don’t agree with the candidate’s point of view, therefore you don’t like his personality either. As for being “divisive,” Abraham Lincoln was divisive.

There are middle, or perhaps undecided, views:

It will probably be very little because in theory, staying the course has value toward the issue of certainty. When investing capital, hiring, and making other growth related decisions, I would love to reduce the level of risk for shareholders. In reality, I think we will end up with Democrats owning the Senate, Republicans holding the house, and with either Walker or Barrett, we will not be able to change much. Both parties are driving in fear, which I believe is slowing down the consumer, who ultimately creates demanded jobs.

I don’t really know. The same issue applies to him as well. I don’t care for unions because I’ve seen how they reward mediocrity. However, I think it’s going to be difficult for unskilled workers to find work ever again. Tom might create more laws that make it difficult to innovate and stay competitive, though he could also help companies like mine stay alive through more tech investments.

Overwhelmingly (and I do mean overwhelmingly), however, business owners want a Walker win Tuesday. That’s important only if you’re interested in jobs being created in this state. Neither government nor public employee unions create jobs.

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