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Senator Lassa: Economic development incentives necessary


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- Not everyone in the State Legislature sees eye-to-eye when it comes to economic development and offering incentives to businesses. A central Wisconsin Senator says it’s not a Democrat versus Republican thing. Democratic Senator Julie Lassa says there are divisions in the parties when it comes to offering incentives. The Stevens Point Democrat says the divisions are most noticeable in the Republican party. “There is a split in the Republican caucus in both houses, where some Republican members believe the that state should not be doing any type of economic incentives or giving any type of assistance to businesses because it creates an unlevel playing field.”

Lassa says she’s disappointed, because there has been a lot of talk about job creation but not a lot of legislation passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. She believes Wisconsin must consider the right economic development incentives to compete with other states. “This is not a perfect world, and we know that other states are certainly offering incentives to Wisconsin businesses right now to leave, or to create new jobs in their states, and we have to be able to compete.”

Lassa says she hopes Republicans in their own caucuses will come together because there is already an uneven playing field and not considering incentives is bad for Wisconsin. She says we are lagging behind Minnesota and some other states in job growth and recovery, and it will take a bipartisan effort without disagreement within parties to move forward. “We need good jobs in this state, and we need to do more in terms of job creation and economic development, and that there already is an unlevel playing field but we need to be able to compete and really help our businesses be able to add good jobs that our communities need.”

Lassa says Wisconsin has a lot of talented people looking for jobs. She is also on the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) board, which is the public-private partnership designed to spur new business and job growth.