On a chilly late February evening, the state's deepest-pocketed business lobby held its annual awards event at Milwaukee's Pfister Hotel to celebrate its most successful legislative session in memory.
Members of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce toasted state Sen. Glenn Grothman there for spearheading the "most exemplary public policy initiative in support of manufacturing in more than 35 years," a news release says.
There's good reason WMC was so excited: The new policy effectively eliminates state income taxes for many of Wisconsin's corporations, factory owners and agricultural producers by the time it's fully phased in.
"We had to do something to change the business climate in the state … and this does it big-time," says Grothman, R-West Bend.
Slipped into Gov. Scott Walker's 2011-2013 budget at the last moment, the domestic production tax credit will cost the state $360 million in revenue over the next four years and some $130 million each year thereafter, according to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Critics warn the impact could be even greater, a key point in a state still struggling with budget shortfalls.