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Category: Public Policy News

Here you’ll find out who’s making the decisions shaping our community: Policy-makers are always busy creating new ways to advance the Madison region. Stay informed on the latest policies that may impact the way you do business.

Photo by Richard Hurd

Chamber, Building Trades Align on Endorsements for Madison Common Council

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (March 6, 2019)

Contact: Erik Greenfield, Communications Manager, 608-443-1952 (office), 608-669-7884 (cell)

MADISON – Today the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors announced its endorsements in the April 2 elections for Madison Common Council. The endorsement of the 44-member Chamber board signals a candidate’s strength on business and economic issues and is based on several factors, including alignment with the Chamber’s two-year Access Agenda.

Once again, the Chamber’s endorsement decisions mirror candidates endorsed by the Building Trades of South Central Wisconsin. Both organizations are focused on building a vibrant, prosperous economy in Greater Madison.

“These candidates are the clear choice of both business and labor because they are entrepreneurs, small business owners and community leaders who understand the value of a healthy business community and a strong, talented workforce,” said Chamber President Zach Brandon. “From growing our advanced industries to fighting for a more inclusive economy to supporting the basing of the next-generation F-35A jets at Truax Field, each of these individuals has demonstrated their commitment to building and accelerating Greater Madison’s economic momentum.”

The Chamber endorsed the following candidates for Madison Common Council:

District 1: Barbara Harrington-McKinney
District 3: Lindsay Lemmer
District 5: Shiva Bidar-Sielaff
District 7: Donna Moreland
District 8: Avra Reddy
District 9: Paul Skidmore
District 10: Kristin Johnson
District 11: Arvina Martin
District 12: Syed Abbas
District 13: David Hoffert
District 14: Sheri Carter
District 16: Michael Tierney
District 19: Keith Furman
District 20: Christian Albouras

The release from the Building and Construction Trades Council regarding their candidate endorsements is attached here. Candidate responses to the Chamber’s endorsement questionnaire can be found at madisonbiz.com/advocacy/elections.

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with nearly 1,300 organizations – ranging from one-person shops to corporations with more than 10,000 employees – working to bring the Greater Madison area to its full potential. The Greater Madison region is a leader in innovation. From cutting-edge technologies to distinctive retail shops to inventive services and products, our members vary greatly but are united by the region’s entrepreneurial spirit. More information can be found at madisonbiz.com.

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Photo by Richard Hurd

Chamber Shares List of More Than 1,700 Together Truax Supporters with U.S. Air Force

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (March 8, 2018)

Contact: Erik Greenfield, Communications Manager, 608-443-1952 (office), 608-669-7884 (cell)

MADISON – Today the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce shared with the United States Air Force an initial list of more than 1,700 individuals who signed up to join Together Truax, an initiative co-led by the Chamber and Badger Air Community Council (BACC) dedicated to assisting the effort to base the F-35A aircraft at Madison’s Truax Field. The Air Force announced in December the selection of Truax, home of the 115th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard, as one of two preferred sites to receive state-of-the-art, next-generation aircraft.

“With the active backing of more than 1,700 individuals through Together Truax, business leaders and a bipartisan coalition of federal, state and local elected officials, the F-35 basing at Truax Field already has strong support throughout Greater Madison and across Wisconsin,” said Chamber President Zach Brandon. “This community is proud to stand with the 1,200 men and women of the 115th Fighter Wing and the essential role they play in growing our economy, ensuring our national defense and providing vital services to our airport and college students.”

“The 115th Fighter Wing of the Wisconsin Air National Guard continues to receive unparalleled community support in carrying out its missions at Truax Field,” said Colonel (Ret.) Jeff “Ace” Wiegand, Executive Director of the BACC and former Wing Commander of the 115th Fighter Wing. “For the last 70 years there has been an uninterrupted Air Force mission at Truax Field, from when the F-51 Mustangs were first assigned to the squadron at its formation in 1948, to becoming the first Air National Guard unit to fly a modern jet fighter with the F-89A Scorpion mission in the 1950s, to the F-102s in the 1960s to 1970s, to the A-10 Thunderbolt in the 1980s, to the assignment of the F-16s in the early 1990s, to the announcement of the F-35 mission in December. This continuity of missions is not just a recognition of the legacy of excellence the Wing has established, but also a very strong recognition of the community that has supported the men and women of the Fighter Wing over the last seven decades.”

The 115th Fighter Wing is an important asset to the Greater Madison community and state of Wisconsin, generating $100 million in annual economic impact and giving $1 million in tuition assistance annually to hundreds of student Guard members. Equally important as the federal mission that the 115th Fighter Wing carries out are the domestic operations it provides for the State of Wisconsin. Those operations include supporting relief efforts during natural disasters, Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) response in all 72 counties in Wisconsin, a mobile ER, a Fatality Search and Recovery Team (FSRT) and RC-26 counter drug incident awareness assessment operations. The 115th also provides all emergency and fire services for Dane County Regional Airport, at a significant savings to the airport and county.

Truax is set to receive the jets in 2023, pending an environmental review and scoping process currently underway. As part of that process, there will be an Open House Information Session on March 8 from 5-8 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4402 E. Washington Ave., where members of the public can learn more about the basing, the jet technology and the positive impact this will have on Greater Madison. While this event is not a public hearing, the public will have a chance to ask questions with Air Force officials. More information can be found at http://angf35eis.com/.

About Together Truax:
Launched in June 2016 by the Chamber, in partnership with the Badger Air Community Council, Together Truax is a program dedicated to assisting the effort to base the F-35A aircraft at Madison’s Truax Field. The initiative has included advocacy, marketing and lobbying, generating more than $100,000 in private investment and enlisting more than 2,100 supporters. More information can be found at togethertruax.com.

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with nearly 1,300 organizations – ranging from one-person shops to corporations with more than 10,000 employees – working to bring the Greater Madison area to its full potential. The Greater Madison region is a leader in innovation. From cutting-edge technologies to distinctive retail shops to inventive services and products, our members vary greatly but are united by the region’s entrepreneurial spirit. More information can be found at greatermadisonchamber.com.

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Photo by Richard Hurd

Non-Stop Flight from Madison to San Francisco Coming This Summer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Jan. 8, 2018)

Contact: Erik Greenfield, Communications Manager, 608-443-1952 (office), 608-669-7884 (cell)

MADISON – Today it was announced that United Airlines is adding a non-stop flight from Dane County Regional Airport to San Francisco International Airport starting this summer. Adding this flight was a key component of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce’s Access Agenda, a two-year policy roadmap at the local, state and federal level, and a survey of Chamber member businesses in early 2016 yielded strong support for this direct flight. As part of its popular Pressure Chamber startup pitch initiative, the Chamber also annually leads an exclusive Madison-area startup delegation for meetings and networking opportunities with top Silicon Valley venture capital firms.

In response to today’s announcement, Chamber President Zach Brandon released the following statement:

“This new non-stop flight is more than a transit connection; it is an economic connection between the global tech capital and the world-class innovation hub right here in Greater Madison.

“More and more, Greater Madison is being recognized as a national leader in technology and entrepreneurial growth, and this direct flight will only fuel that momentum. We know that connectivity to Silicon Valley investors increases both the likelihood of startups being funded and their long-term success. Having this convenient access to San Francisco and Silicon Valley is exciting news for our entrepreneurial ecosystem and efforts to attract new investment and recruit world-class talent.

“Thank you to County Executive Parisi for his advocacy on this issue and to everyone who worked to make this day possible.”

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with nearly 1,300 organizations – ranging from one-person shops to corporations with more than 10,000 employees – working to bring the Greater Madison area to its full potential. The Greater Madison region is a leader in innovation. From cutting-edge technologies to distinctive retail shops to inventive services and products, our members vary greatly but are united by the region’s entrepreneurial spirit. More information can be found at greatermadisonchamber.com.

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Photo by Richard Hurd

15th Annual First Business Economic Survey of Dane County Shows Fourth Strong Year in a Row; Predicts Robust 2018

The results of the 15th annual First Business Economic Survey of Dane County were released today. Each fall, First Business takes the pulse of local businesses through an annual economic survey in Dane County, the Greater Milwaukee Region, Southeast Wisconsin, and Northeast Wisconsin. The survey focuses on the current year’s actual and next year’s predicted: sales revenue, total operating costs, capital expenditures, profitability, number of employees, changes in wages, and changes in pricing.

First Business underwrites the survey to help business owners achieve a broad-based and up-to-date understanding of the local business climate to better plan for the coming year.

“Our 15th annual First Business Economic Survey shows widespread optimism for 2018 among Dane County business leaders,” says Mark Meloy, CEO of First Business Bank. “It’s notable that while they had very high hopes for 2017, 80% of respondents felt their expectations were met this past year, which is exceptional. It’s also significant that more than three quarters of businesses reported higher wages in 2017, beating the previous high in 2006. We are also encouraged to see that Dane County business leaders plan new investments in their workforce in 2018.”

“With fifteen years of data now in our survey, it’s interesting to see the trends in Dane County and statewide,” said Dr. Moses Altsech, a faculty member at UW-Madison and President of Altsech Consulting, the firm conducting the survey. “Dane County business leaders remain positive in most aspects of their business growth in 2018 — 99% expecting improved or unchanged performance, and with good cause. Most experienced positive sales and profitability in 2017, reporting record wage increases, as well.”

This was the fourth strong year in a row, both in terms of sales revenue and profitability. Although it didn’t measure up to the historic highs attained in 2014, it was still one of the best years in the 15-year span of the Dane County First Business Economic survey. The number of companies adding new staff was just below historic high levels, and nearly 8 out of 10 increased wages, exceeding the previous historic high observed more than a decade ago. The number of companies that decreased capital expenditures marked a new historic low, and more than 9 out of 10 companies increased or maintained their capital expenditure levels.

The outlook for 2018 remains very optimistic: The number of companies projecting increased sales and profits is slightly lower but remains very strong, and those projecting a decline in sales and profits are at or near historic lows. Those expected to increase hiring are at a new historic high, and 8 out of 10 respondents expect further improvements in overall business performance in 2018; just 1% expect a decline.

Although some uncertainty could affect business activity (such as possible changes to healthcare, corporate and individual tax rates and deductions, and potential political upheaval), it doesn’t seem to have affected current business performance or optimism for the year ahead. Business leaders say they’re capitalizing on the positive results by planning to diversify their client base in 2018, create processes for generating innovative business ideas, and creating or expanding leadership training tailored specifically to their needs.

A summary of the Dane County findings presented at today’s economic forum included:

  • Strong sales and profitability performance in 2017
  • Record increase in hiring and wages
  • 92% of respondents reported that capital expenditures remained steady or increased
  • 32% of respondents expect to increase capital expenditures in 2018
  • 8 out of 10 companies increased wages in 2017
  • Hiring projections for 2018 are at record highs
  • The outlook for 2018 is positive, with 99% of companies expecting improved or unchanged performance.

Download the full First Business Economic Survey Report for Dane County Wisconsin at www.firstbusiness.com/survey.

About First Business 
First Business Financial Services is a Wisconsin-based bank holding company, focused on the unique needs of businesses, business executives and high net worth individuals. First Business offers commercial banking, specialty finance and private wealth management solutions, and because of its niche focus, is able to provide its clients with unmatched expertise, accessibility and responsiveness. For additional information, visit www.firstbusiness.com.

Photo by Richard Hurd

Madison’s Truax Field Chosen to Receive State-of-the-Art F-35A Aircraft

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Dec. 21, 2017)

Contact: Erik Greenfield, Communications Manager, 608-443-1952 (office), 608-669-7884 (cell)

MADISON – Today the United States Air Force announced it has selected Madison’s Truax Field, home of the 115th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard, as one of two sites that will receive state-of-the-art, next-generation F-35A aircraft. Madison had been one of five finalist sites previously announced by the Air Force in December 2016. In response to today’s announcement, Chamber President Zach Brandon released the following statement:

“We are extremely proud and excited about today’s announcement for the 1,200 airmen of the 115th Fighter Wing, as well as for Greater Madison’s economy. The selection of the 115th to receive the F-35A ensures the benefits of the base – including $100 million in annual economic impact, emergency services for Dane County Regional Airport and tuition support for area students who serve in the Guard – will remain in Greater Madison for decades to come.

“This selection would not have been possible without years of commitment from the Wisconsin Air National Guard, the leadership of the 115th, the advocacy of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation, state leaders and local elected officials from Dane County, the Chamber’s partnership with the Badger Air Community Council and everyone who has shown their support through the Together Truax initiative. We are incredibly thankful to all of them for their hard work and dedication to making this day a reality.

“We look forward to welcoming the F-35A to Madison and continuing to stand with the men and women of the 115th.”

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with nearly 1,300 organizations – ranging from one-person shops to corporations with more than 10,000 employees – working to bring the Greater Madison area to its full potential. The Greater Madison region is a leader in innovation. From cutting-edge technologies to distinctive retail shops to inventive services and products, our members vary greatly but are united by the region’s entrepreneurial spirit. More information can be found at greatermadisonchamber.com.

About Together Truax:
Launched in June 2016 by the Chamber, in partnership with the Badger Air Community Council, Together Truax is a program dedicated to assisting the effort to base the F-35A aircraft at Madison’s Truax Field. The initiative has included advocacy, marketing and lobbying, generating more than $100,000 in private investment and enlisting more than 2,100 supporters. More information can be found at togethertruax.com.

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