Jennifer Shilling

Senate Minority Leader

La Crosse, WI

Jennifer Shilling has been an active member of the La Crosse community since she was a student at UW-La Crosse. She served as a La Crosse County Supervisor and was first elected to the State Assembly in 2000. In 2011, she won a special election and now serves as a State Senator.

Jennifer serves on various Senate committees, including Senate Organization, Joint Committee on Employment Relations, Joint Committee on Legislative Organization, and the Joint Legislative Council. In the past, she has served as a member of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance, which is responsible for crafting the state’s biennial budget and reviewing state appropriations, as well as on committees dealing with colleges and universities, financial institutions, health services, insurance, and workforce development. She continues to be heavily involved in these issues and is also a member of the Wisconsin Technology Council Board of Directors. She has recently introduced two job creation bill packages – a Rural Jobs Initiative Package and a Manufacturing and Workforce Development Package – both of which she designed to build upon successful job creation programs and immediately provide a wide range of economic development and worker training incentives.

 

Pro-Growth Progressive Ideas Shared

Problem

Wisconsin’s construction industry supports 100,000 people in the state, with jobs located in urban and rural areas with public and private contract opportunities. Currently, a disparity exists between large and small construction companies being awarded public building contracts. Since 2015, Wisconsin’s five largest contractors were awarded 25% of the aggregate contracts, as large companies are often able to underbid smaller companies. Small businesses face hurdles when trying to increase their workforce, improve equipment and technology, and cut costs. Another issue facing Wisconsin is a workforce shortage of skilled workers who trained at certified apprenticeship programs, learning from experts in their field.

Solution

This proposal creates tax incentives for Wisconsin construction companies that invest in employee development, business growth, and process updates. Allowing small companies to compete and win contracts could create an influx of revenue in rural communities, while increasing family-supporting jobs, and potentially lowering costs to local governments. Incentivizing smaller companies to equip themselves to compete for larger public projects will increase market competition, while creating construction cost efficiencies; with these efficiencies Wisconsin will save tax dollars on necessary projects. Additionally, if a project is awarded to a general contractor in a rural area and they are able to hire more employees, the entire community will see microeconomic growth. To help communities across the state, we must invest in our small businesses so they are able to prosper equally.