e just lived through a long political campaign where all the candidates spent a lot of time promising us that they were going to create jobs. Now that all the yelling is over, it’s time for them to follow through on those promises.
We need jobs and we need them now.
An easy place to start is by reforming Wisconsin’s old telecommunications laws. While it may seem like an odd way to create jobs, the evidence from other states is clear.
A new report from Wired Wisconsin shows that since Ohio and Illinois changed their laws earlier this year, they have already seen over 28,000 new jobs announced in the state and over $1 billion in investment combined. That’s a huge impact for a relatively minor change in state law.
Wisconsin could see the same kind of impact. Our state’s telecom laws were last updated in 1994. Since then, our phones have dramatically changed and improved.
Yet the regulations from the rotary dial era are still in effect, hampering our state’s ability to attract investment, and the jobs that come with it.
Another new study commissioned by Wired Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Technology Council shows that by updating Wisconsin’s telecom law, 50,000 jobs could be created.
These are jobs all across the economy, from manufacturing to finance to education to telecommunications to health care. These are real jobs for real people.
Even better: this simple, long-overdue policy change doesn’t require any taxpayer money. With Wisconsin facing a $3.3 billion budget deficit, Wisconsin needs reforms now more than ever that will create jobs and attract private investment – without costing any state money.
Governor-elect Scott Walker has already indicated his support for updating Wisconsin’s telecommunications laws – a pledge he made and a pledge we hope he keeps. One of the first bills the Governor-elect has promised to introduce when he is sworn into office in January is a jobs package. This needs to be part of it.
It is critical that when our state legislators go back to Madison, they make sure that telecom modernization is part of that jobs bill.
Bottom line: this is about jobs and getting jobs here. We simply can’t afford not to.
August 19, 2012 //
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