Spring 03-11
Executive Director-Dick Hartmann 715-635-8242 (Phone)
Administrative Coordinator-Margie Quinn 715-635-8236 (Fax)


Executive Director's Report, by Dick Hartmann


2011 has been very busy. The WCEDC has been involved in a number of positive endeavors, besides providing technical assistance, referral to other providers and resources for economic development and the marketing and management of six (6) Revolving Loan Fund programs to assist new and existing business and industry through the Washburn County Industrial Development Agency.


The EDC was recently awarded funds to make loans to boost small business development, create jobs, and strengthen the economy of the county. The funding is being provided through the USDA -Rural Development Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). This program provides direct support for small business by offering technical assistance and training to start-up new small businesses and to expand and strengthen existing small businesses and industry in Washburn County. It creates opportunities for small business to prosper by giving them access to capital when it is most critical.

The EDC will receive a $200,000 low-interest (2%), long-term (20 yr) loan to re-lend to eligible county small businesses (10 or fewer employees). Maximum loans will be made for up to $50,000, for a term length not to exceed 10 years at low competitive interest rates. Along with the loan program the EDC received a corresponding technical assistance grant to provide help to small businesses in areas, such as setting up their accounting system or to assist in creating a legal business structure for their operation, all at no cost to the participants. We also received additional financial assistance ($5,000), from Bank of the West and Xcel Energy to help match the grant portion of the funds.


The EDC will also now be providing a quarterly column to the Spooner Advocate Newspaper on its activities, programs, projects and services. The column started at the beginning of April and will come out in June, September and December.


A data base of second home owners that live out of the area and have $200,000 or more in improvements has been put together by the EDC. The data base will be the beginning of a targeted marketing campaign to see if any of these second home owners have businesses out of the area that they would like to move to Washburn County in a “Work Where You Play,” type scenario. The data base could also be used to determine what types of products and services could be successfully marketed in the county that do not exist now.


Another project that is being worked on is meeting with the county’s high school administrations to discuss what upper level students and teachers feel the area needs to develop, in the way of business and industry, to help lessen “brain drain” of the county’s best and brightest. To enable them to find jobs here.


Also, to work with county employers on potential cooperative education, so students graduating from High School could transition into an area technical college course of study that would qualify them to move right into a quality job upon completion of that course of study. Also to possibly receive a scholarship from that company in return for them to work upon successful completion of their studies. This will not only provide the means for students to receive a quality education but also for area employers to retain a quality worker. The WCEDC has 2 new Board Members. They are Jim Bethel from Banana Abstract in Spooner, who replaced Carol Dunn, of Northwind Book and Fiber in Spooner and Mike Bobin of Minong (formerly County Board chair and Village President), who is replacing Pete Paine who recently resigned. A big thank you to Carol and Pete for all their time and energy devoted to advancing economic development in Washburn County.


Also, a reminder that the Washburn County Economic Development Corporation’s “Annual Meeting” is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 4:00P.M. at the Birchwood Village hall. The Birchwood Village Hall is located right in the center of the village at 101 Main Street. All WCEDC members will receive a notice with the meeting information (agenda, previous meeting minutes, date, time and place). Hope to see you there. Remember in order to vote you have to be a member in good standing with your annual dues paid up to date.


Washbuen County's Unemployment Rate Falls Slightly



The State Department of Workforce Development (DWD) released its unemployment data for February. According to (DWD) Secretary Manny Perez, “The unemployment picture is shifting positively and this should motivate individuals who are on unemployment insurance, or who have abandoned their job search, to re-double their efforts to pursue employment opportunities.” Wisconsin added 10,100 private sector jobs in January, according to Perez. More job growth is expected with Wisconsin’s new business friendly campaign, “Wisconsin Is Open for Business.” 5,200 workers have re-entered the Labor Force in February and the state has entered the annual hiring cycle that goes from March to August. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was 7.4% , unchanged from January, but down 1.7% from the 9.1% rate this time a year ago. The nation’s unemployment rate dropped from 9.0% to 8.9%. Though January of 2011 Wisconsin’s unemployment remained below that of the other manufacturing heavy Midwest states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. All 72 counties in Wisconsin had higher rates in January than December, including Washburn



The Washburn County unemployment rate rose from 8.7% in December to 10.1% in january, but is 2% below the same rate this time a year ago (12.0%).  The county currently ranks 24th statewide, but ranks third in the ten-county region of Northwest Wisconsin.  Only Douglas and Price Counties' ranked lower in unemployment, while Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, iron, Rusk, Sawyer, and Taylor all have greater unemployment rates than Washburn.


Small Business Lending Fund Provides Capital for Small Business


 The U.S. Department of the Tresury has implmented a "Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF), to provide Tier 1 capital to qualified community banks.


Small businesses are the building blocks of the American economy.  Their sucess is a vital component of our economc recovery.  Many sall businesses continue to face challenges in finding and accessing the credit they need to maintian and grow thie operations.  Enacted, as part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (The Jobs Act), the "Small Business Lending Fund," is designed to provide $30 billion in capital to qualified community banks and other eligible organizations tha encourage lending to small buisness.


Through the SBLF, Main Street banks and small businesses can work together to help create or maintian jobs and promote economic development for local communities to help keep America working.


The money small business lender boorow from the Treasury is not part of the "Troubled Asset Relief Program, (T.A.R.P),"  Funds will have dividend rates no higher than 5% to a lender.  If a bank's small business lending increases by 10% or more, than their rate will fall as as low as 1%.  Banks that increase their lending by amounts less than 10% can benefit m rates set between 2% and 4%.


For a more detailed overview on the U.s. Treasury's - Small Business Development Fund and who the recipient banks and lenders are in your area, or if you want more information on how to participate in the program call for more information at 1-888-832-1147 (9:00A.M. - 7:00P.M. M-F).


New for 2010 .R.S. Small Business Tax Credits


New this year from the IRS is the "Small Business Health Care Tax Credit."  Included as part of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act, recently signed approved by Congress and signed into law.  More than 4 million post cards were mailed to small wmployers and tax exaempt organizations by the IRs to alert them to the benefits of the recently enacted Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.  The credit, is one of the first health care reform provisions to go into effect under the new act.  The credit, which takes effect this year, is designed to encourage small employers to offer health insurnace coverage for the first time or maintian coverage they already have.  According to the IRS Commissioner Doug Schulman we want to make sure small employers across the nation realize that effective this tax year they may be eligible for a valuable new tax credit.  Our post card  mailing is intended to get the attention of smll businesses and ecourage them to find out more.  We urge evvery small employer to take advantage of this credit if they qualify.  To be eligible the employer mut cover 50% of the cost of health care coverage for some of its workers based on the single (employee only) rate.  A qualifiying employer must have less than the equivalent of 25 full-time workers.  Also to qualify the employer must pay average annual wages below $50,000.  Both for profit and non-profit organizations are eligible.  Maximu credit is worth up to 35% (for profit) 25% (non-profit).


New W.H.E.D.A. Representative for Northwest Wisconsin


Diane Schobert is the new northwest Wisconsin Community Relations Officer for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. Diane whose background is in banking and finance comes to us form the Madison, WI area. She and her husband recently moved to the Birchwood area and live on Red Cedar Lake. Her main offices remain in Milwaukee. She replaces Janet Bewley, who had been the representative for the past seven years and is now a member of the Wisconsin Legislature representing the 74th District.

WHEDA was created in 1972 by the legislature as an independent authority, not a state agency. WHEDA as a lender has over $3 billion in assets. The authority works closely with banks, other lenders, developers, local units of government, non-profits, community groups and others to implement low-cost financing programs. They also support and assist with financing for economic development and agriculture through their guaranteed loan programs.


WHEDA programs do not rely on tax payer dollars, instead, proceeds from the sale of revenue bonds provide them the financial resources to fund financing programs to help stimulate housing and economic development throughout the state

nual dollar limits on coverage must comply with guidance from U.S. Sec. of HHS, these limits will be issued by June 20, 2010. Plans cannot have pre-existing condition exclusions for children under 19. New plans must provide preventative services and immunizations without cost sharing. New plans must meet internal and external review procedure standards for claims. Nondiscrimination rules formerly applicable only to self-funded plans are now applicable to new insured group plans.


Wisconsin Is Open for Business

The new push comes at a time when the governor of Minnesota is looking to increase taxes on the rich and the Illinois governor recently signed new legislation to raise personal and corporate income taxes by more than 50%. Its been a long time in coming for Wisconsin to change it’s past track record. Compared to our neighbors of Illinois who ranked No. 37 and Minnesota who ranked No. 15, Wisconsin remains in the bottom ten at No. 43.

Also, according to organizations, such as the non-partisan “Tax Foundation,” and it’s Business Climate Index (for all fifty states), Wisconsin is also near the bottom at No. 40 for taxation of businesses. Wisconsin’s governor has declared that he will be making, substantive changes to

Governor Walker’s election campaign promise to create 250,000 new jobs during this term is being bolstered by a new campaign to bring Wisconsin</