AGC of Wisconsin endorses McCallum
By Jim Boullion
Feb. 6, 2002
Government Affairs Director
Associated General Contractors
Gov. Scott McCallum attended the Associated General Contractors of Wisconsin board of directors meeting on Feb.1 to discuss the state budget crisis and his plans for addressing it. During this meeting, the governor stressed his commitment not to increase taxes and to do everything he can to keep Wisconsin’s economy strong in order to generate more revenue.
The governor pointed out that this budget crisis has created an opportunity to look at making fundamental changes in the way we operate government in Wisconsin and how we spend our money. That is why he is taking a close look at the relationship between the state and local governments. He also wants the local governments to do a self-evaluation to see if they can find ways to become more efficient.
"Gov. McCallum understands that a healthy construction industry is going to be one of the engines that drives us out of this recession, and that is a major reason why the AGC of Wisconsin has endorsed his re-election," said Bob Barker, AGC of Wisconsin executive vice president. "He also spoke about accountability at all levels of government and keeping taxes low in order to attract and retain business and its most important asset – skilled workers."
As evidence of construction’s effect on the economy, the two Wisconsin chapters of the AGC issued a report stating that the economic ripple effect of Wisconsin’s nearly $11 billion construction industry was more than $24 billion in 2001. Because of this effect, the AGC chapters are encouraging federal, state and local officials to carefully consider the economic ramifications before cutting construction budgets to address published deficits.
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According to Barker, "The fact that for every $1 of construction spending there is a $2.20 multiplier effect of economic stimulus to Wisconsin’s economy compels us to ask our government officials to stimulate the economy by finding ways to maintain or increase current construction budgets. Our members are willing to do their part to help. However, we need to build the buildings, roads and bridges that Wisconsin needs to grow, rather than lay off workers."
Mike Fabishak, AGC of Greater Milwaukee executive vice president, added, "Construction’s economic ripple effect must be considered when looking at construction budgets. Construction is a unique industry in that most of the material and equipment utilized for construction projects are purchased through local suppliers and dealers. Additionally, generally 100 percent of the workers employed to build projects are Wisconsin residents. The multiplier effect of cutting construction spending negatively affects all of these entities and people, not to mention the sales, income and property taxes their wages generate."
According to Barker, "We support the governor’s effort to make Wisconsin a great place to live, work and build by not raising taxes. Naturally, we are concerned about a knee-jerk reaction to cut construction spending, because infrastructure investment has such a tremendous positive impact on the econ
omy. We need to make sure everyone is conscious of the effect that these cuts can have."
Fabishak added, "The governor has taken a lot of criticism for his budget proposal. However, one can consider it a shot over the bow of wasteful and unnecessary government spending. We are willing to help the governor and Legislature find ways to have construction lead us out of economic troubles without raising taxes while keeping Wisconsin an excellent place for companies to build and people to live."
Jim Boullion is the government affairs director for the Associated General Contractors of Wisconsin. He can be reached at 608-221-3821.