Tag Archives: update

Time passing …

Oddly, the song that played in my head as I type the post title was Styx’ “Too Much Time on My Hands” and that does not fit at all!  Too much time though has passed since I last posted here.  Our other social media and day-to-day work has just taken all that time.  *

I don’t know about you, but on/near my birthday I have a tendency to reflect.  Not in a morbid or morose way, just in a “hmmm, where am I, where am I going, what are my current goals/dreams and where I am in meeting those I’ve held previously” way.  Tomorrow is my birthday and though I’m not anywhere close to social security age, but the information below from Hawkins, Ash CPAs caught my eye and actually made me chuckle due to the timing.

Deciding When to Start Receiving Social Security Benefits 
As you approach retirement age, you must decide whether to begin taking reduced social security benefits early or wait until full benefit retirement age (FBRA), or even later. In many cases, this decision will depend on factors other than trying to receive the greatest lifetime benefit from social security. Remember that while you have the option of receiving social security benefits as early as age 62, the eligibility age for Medicare remains at 65. So, although you may be able to replace a sufficient amount of your earned income with social security benefits beginning at age 62, you may not be able to adequately replace your employer-provided health insurance.

Even if you have sufficient funds to live on without considering social security, many people prefer to begin receiving benefits as soon as possible. For 2013, the benefits at age 62 are reduced by 25% of what they would be at age 66 (i.e., the FBRA); but, you will receive more social security checks if benefits are drawn early. In addition, drawing early social security benefits may allow you to leave tax-deferred retirement accounts untouched and growing for longer periods.

Another reason to receive benefits early is if you have children living at home. Children under age 18 (or up to 19 if a full-time student) may be eligible for benefits if you are also receiving social security benefits.

Furthermore, if you wait until the FBRA to draw benefits, it will take several years to reach the break-even point to make up for the years of payments that were not received.

Example: Receiving social security benefits at age 62 versus the FBRA.

Curt is single and plans to begin receiving social security benefits on his 62nd birthday in 2013 when his benefit, based on his earnings history, is $1,000. He will receive monthly social security retirement benefits of $750, or 75% of his benefit. Therefore, he will receive 48 benefit checks of $750 each (not considering annual inflation adjustments), a total of $36,000, by the time he reaches age 66 (his FBRA).

Curt’s benefit would have been $1,000 if he had waited until age 66 to begin receiving benefits. Therefore, it would take him 12 years (starting at age 66) before the additional $250 per month ($1,000 − $750) benefit caught up to the $36,000 he would have received between ages 62 and 66.

When the present value of future social security benefits is considered, it could be more favorable to start the benefits as soon as possible (if the money is going to be invested). However, if you are simply using early social security benefits to replace a similar amount of earned income, the short-term financial position will not be improved and the long-term outlook could suffer.

Another factor to consider in taking retirement benefits early is the increased tax cost. With a smaller social security retirement benefit, you may need to work or draw on other resources to meet expenses. If the additional taxable income you generate exceeds certain thresholds, 50% to 85% of your social security benefits will be taxable.

You might carefully consider the long-lasting advantages of waiting until FBRA based on the following factors.

Life Expectancy: Your life expectancy may be the biggest factor in deciding whether to receive benefits early. By age 62, you should have a good handle on your own life expectancy based on your current health and the longevity of your parents. In general, 77 years might be a good cutoff point. If you reasonably expect to reach that age, waiting until FBRA may be a wise choice.

Shortening the Retirement Period: A significant factor in retirement planning projections is the length of the retirement period. For example, if you want to retire at age 62 and you have a life expectancy of 85, you have a 23-year retirement period to fund. By working past age 62, you are shortening the retirement period and lowering the amount of money needed to fund your retirement regardless of longevity.

The Earnings Test: If you are considering receiving retirement benefits before your FBRA but you intend to keep working, you must consider the earnings test. For 2013, social security benefits are reduced $1 for every $2 in earnings above the exempt amount of $15,120.

Replacing Lower-wage Years: Your social security benefits are calculated based on your highest 35 years of indexed earnings. If you can replace lower-wage years early in your career with higher-wage years after age 62, the benefit can be increased. This can lead to a greater benefit when you retire.

Inflation Adjustments: Social security benefits receive an annual inflation adjustment. By taking early benefits, your starting base for these annual adjustments is smaller. For example, if your benefit was $1,000, but you retired early and received only $750, each year you would miss out on the compounded inflation adjustment of that $250 in lost benefits. In other words, the gap between the early retirement benefit you receive and the amount you would have received by waiting will get bigger and bigger.

The Effect on Your Spouse: Your decision to start receiving social security benefits before reaching FBRA may also affect your spouse’s benefits. If your spouse does not have a personal earnings record, he or she will only receive half of your retirement benefit.

After FBRA: If you delay receiving benefits until after your FBRA, you will receive larger benefits because of the delayed retirement credit. You may receive a credit of up to 8% per year for each year you delay receiving benefits until age 70.

If you are able to wait, the delayed retirement credit can have a significant impact. In addition to the higher retirement benefit you will receive, you will also shorten your retirement period and increase your spouse’s survivor’s benefit.




Friday update

It’s Friday!  *and the crowd goes wild*

Quick update for this end of week for our blog readers.  We want to make sure you are getting all of our updates for goings on here at the Chamber, with our members and in our community.  We can’t have you missing out!  Down at the bottom of each post are “share” buttons for you to be able to spread the words of the Chamber, but we haven’t made it easy for you to follow us via our other social media venues.  Time to fix that!!

The “Voice” here is Cheryl Detrick, President of the Chamber and link to that Facebook is HERE and the DPACC Facebook Page is HERE.

Our tweeter feed is HERE and Foursquare is HERE (though I’m not good about remembering to check-in! … Sorry Chris Knight!).

Friend, follow, etc etc… we do the same.

Have a great weekend everyone, hope it is enjoyable and you get some time to unplug and unwind!

It’s beautiful outside – but a Monday nonetheless!

Don’t get me wrong, any day you can get up under your own speed and get on with your life is a good day in general in my book; but, its a Monday and this week has too many To Do’s for the number of days in the week!   I have a  good amount of newsy, informational posts coming up for readers this week, but this morning – I’m just rambling.  I’ve got a fresh cup of coffee out of a fresh pot of coffee, join me?

I read an article recently about alleviating stress by eliminating a “to do” list and just focusing each day on the Most Critical Thing to Do and getting that done.  While I can find some logic in that sentiment, I never have just one thing to do and if I don’t write things down on my list, then they circle around in my brain and distract me from what I am trying to work on.   I’m really trying to unlearn doing more than one thing at a time and focusing on getting one thing done, but I’m very much struggling with it.

What is your personal time management strategy?

I have a giant list of everything I need to work on, large and small, personal and professional.  Then I create at 4pm each day  To Do list for the next day so I start the day organized.  On Sunday, I look at the whole week and get an overall plan in place for the week, plus see what evenings I’m not home for dinner, what nights kids have activities and then do meal planning for the week followed by grocery shopping.  My current giant list is nearly all checked off, so I’m about ready to create a new one.

It works for me, mostly – except for the inevitable interruptions and abrupt temporary course changes as things come up here at work plus at home.  I’m not saying it is the best way and I don’t *always* follow my planning process or my plan, but it does make me feel like I don’t have a million balls up in the air that may come bouncing down on my head at any moment!

I know that avoidance is, in fact, a problem-solving technique albeit not a great one – is delusion about organization a time management technique?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you do to get and keep organized.  I’m always curious what other people do because I like to pick up tips that may help me or others.

Have a great Monday!  I promise more informative stuff coming!

**Events this week and next**

Tuesday, May 4th, 7pm:  Girlfriend’s Event, Meyer Theater, Women’s Fund of Green Bay

Wednesday, May 5th 11:30, Go Red for Women, Oneida Country Club, American Heart Association

Wednesday, May 5th, 6-9:  President’s Gala – Cinco de Mayo Party at Sports Corner.  Register HERE AND NOW!!  Featuring those funny peeps from Comedy City and the great young band Orpheus.

Wednesday, May 12th:  De Pere at Dawn – public presentation of the Downtown Master Plan for De Pere.  The end of a year long process the City of De Pere has embarked upon and hired RDg Planning to complete.  Register HERE – RSVP deadline this Thursday 5/6.

Thursday, May 13th, noon, Chamber office: Main Street Economic Enhancement Committee meeting to discuss Downtown Master Plan and create recommendations for Chamber Board.

Friday, May 14th, noon, M&I De Pere:  Chamber Executive Committee

Wisconsin climate change legislation

NOTE FROM CHERYL:  this post has been in draft form here at my blog for over a month now.  I’m still trying to find concise, credible, non-slanted, non-partisan information this mammoth and important topic of legislation, but am very much struggling.  However, I read an article at OnMilwaukee.com that brought it back to mind.  So, first, my original blog post … and then below my post, excerpts from the article as well as a link to it.

Recently, Wisconsin’s Governor, Jim Doyle, announced his “Clean Energy Jobs Act.”  As you know, the De Pere Area Chamber of Commerce does not take political positions, but rather, I believe it is our role to provide as unbiased information as possible.  It is not easy with some issues, especially the most important ones, since those are the ones that are most polarizing and bring out the extremes touting their own “worst case scenarios.”

Climate change legislation is one of those issues.  In my mission to find good information, I’m starting with Wisconsin’s Legislative Council, which though it is a department of Wisconsin government is charged with providing non-partisan, unbiased information on proposed legislation to all in the Legislature and all who have interest.  I’m going to post snippets of information from them and links to the full read.  As this legislation develops, I’ll try to keep you updated with new information.

Climate change legislation will impact all of our lives, our families, our jobs, our businesses, our communities and our future in profound ways that we can’t begin to envision yet.  My biggest concern is the “Law of Unintended Consequences.”   We know it will happen so the best we can do is deal with those unintended consequences with immediacy and honesty when they happen.

The legislation was crafted after the work of the Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming.  The link is to the website for the group.

Today, I’m going to give just a primer on the legislation and revisit this over the next week (!! months??)  with more information on details.   The “summary” is 8 pages long and the “description” is 65 pages long!!  I’m not even going to include all of the summary, just the “highlights” and you can read it all when you are ready!  With that introduction .. here we go!!

Climate Change Legislation
2009 Assembly Bill 649 and 2009 Senate Bill 450

The bill:

  • Declares statewide goals for the state for GHG emission reductions, energy conservation, generation of electricity from renewable resources, and new building energy use, and goals for state agencies for GHG emission reductions, energy conservation, and energy derived from biomass.
  • Creates the Climate Change Coordinating Council, modeled on the Groundwater Coordinating Council, for the purpose of coordinating state programs and actions related to climate change and advising policymakers on related matters.
  • Establishes a multi-step process for the creation of a quadrennial report to the Legislature and Governor by the Climate Change Coordinating Council that evaluates whether the state is achieving its statewide GHG emission reduction goals and whether any state or local climate change related programs should be modified or created. This process includes the Department of Natural Resources (DNR):

o Periodically collecting or estimating GHG emissions data from man-made and natural sources.
o Preparing a state GHG emissions inventory and analysis of information in the inventory.
o Preparing an assessment for the Council of changes in net GHG emissions and whether current and future statewide GHG emission reduction goals are being, or will be, met.

  • Directs the Climate Change Coordinating Council to promote and coordinate state educational and training programs related to climate change, and directs DNR to establish and maintain the central state Internet site on climate change.

Now the article – it was posted the same week as I began writing this blog entry (January 13th):

The controversy over Gov. Jim Doyle’s proposed Clean Energy Jobs Act illustrates a deep philosophical divide that is emerging within Wisconsin’s business community.

In some ways, the emerging chasm pits the politics of tomorrow against the politics of yesterday.

On one side of the divide — in favor of the green jobs plan — stand the coalition for Clean, Responsible Energy for Wisconsin’s Economy (CREWE) and the Wisconsin Business Council.

The CREWE includes venerable companies such as CleanPower, Alliant Energy, EcoEnergy, Johnson Controls Inc., Xcel Energy, C5•6 Technologies, Axley Brynelson, Madison Gas and Electric, Orion Energy Systems, Forest County Potawatomi Community, Wisconsin Energy Corp., Poblocki Sign Company, Emerging Energies of Wisconsin, MillerCoors, American Transmission Co., WPPI Energy, DTE Energy Services and Kranz, Inc.

Wisconsin’s business community is a house divided

Gov. Jim Doyle’s proposed Clean Energy Jobs Act illustrates a deep philosophical divide within Wisconsin’s business community.
By Steve Jagler RSS Feed Twitter Feed
Special to OnMilwaukee.com

E-mail author | Author bio
More articles by Steve Jagler

Published Jan. 13, 2010 at 1:12 p.m.

Tags: clean energy jobs act, jim doyle, crewe, global warming, climate change, oil
The controversy over Gov. Jim Doyle’s proposed Clean Energy Jobs Act illustrates a deep philosophical divide that is emerging within Wisconsin’s business community.

In some ways, the emerging chasm pits the politics of tomorrow against the politics of yesterday.

On one side of the divide — in favor of the green jobs plan — stand the coalition for Clean, Responsible Energy for Wisconsin’s Economy (CREWE) and the Wisconsin Business Council.

The CREWE includes venerable companies such as CleanPower, Alliant Energy, EcoEnergy, Johnson Controls Inc., Xcel Energy, C5•6 Technologies, Axley Brynelson, Madison Gas and Electric, Orion Energy Systems, Forest County Potawatomi Community, Wisconsin Energy Corp., Poblocki Sign Company, Emerging Energies of Wisconsin, MillerCoors, American Transmission Co., WPPI Energy, DTE Energy Services and Kranz, Inc.

“CREWE strongly supports (Doyle’s) Global Warming Task Force recommendations and will support legislation that preserves the careful policy balance reached by the task force. We are currently reviewing the draft bill,” the CREWE companies said in a joint statement.

“We appreciate the strong leadership of the sponsors and thank them for hard work in preparing the draft. We look forward to working with them in the coming weeks and months to pass and implement legislation that will address climate change, increase energy independence, and create new, clean energy jobs for Wisconsin.”

The plan also has the support of the Wisconsin Business Council, which includes leaders from several of the state’s key businesses, including American Transmission Co., Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, AT&T Wisconsin, Commerce State Bank, Dean Health System, Midwest Natural Gas, MillerCoors, Mortenson Construction, Orion Energy Systems and Park Bank (in Madison).

Phil Prange, president and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Business Council, held several key positions in the former Wisconsin Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson’s administration.

“The Wisconsin Business Council was established to provide a forum for business leaders to come together in the search for mutually beneficial solutions, and we’re cautiously optimistic about the potential of the Clean Energy Jobs Act,” Prange said. “A flourishing private sector is critical to our quality of life and it is clear that environmental innovation also makes sense from a competitive standpoint.”

On the other side of the divide stands the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), which is joined by 22 other business organizations, including the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), in opposition to Doyle’s proposal.

Adding even more intrigue to this philosophical divide among Wisconsin’s business community is the fact that many members of the CREWE and the Wisconsin Business Council in favor of the green jobs plan also are dues-paying members of the WMC, the MMAC and the other organizations that are against the plan.

What will really happen if the bill is approved? For now, I guess it depends upon whom you believe.

I haven’t given up my search for good information, but rather than keep holding this post I want get it posted; especially in light of Tom Barrett (candidate for Governor and good friend of Jim Doyle) saying in the last several days that the legislation must change.  This one is going to be interesting!

Enhanced Energy Efficiency and Renewable Resource Programs
Under current law, a number of programs provide a broad range of energy efficiency and renewable resource services, the best known being the program called Focus on Energy. Among other revisions to these programs, the bill:
• Replaces the fixed funding of the current programs with a system that sets funding based on a determination of the energy savings that could potentially be achieved cost-effectively by the programs and the budgets necessary to achieve those savings, as determined by PSC.
• Expands the programs to address energy conservation in the use of liquid petroleum (LP) gas and heating oil, in addition to electricity and natural gas.
• Requires greater accountability of programs administered by utilities, retail electric cooperatives, and large customers, and requires the imposition of remedies in cases where a program has failed to meet its goals because the administrator has not made a good faith effort or has not adequately controlled conditions under its control.
• Authorizes the PSC to allow an investor-owned utility to earn a return on capital invested in energy conservation or efficiency equipment installed on a customer’s premises if the PSC
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determines that the investment is prudent and “a cost-effective means of advancing energy conservation or efficiency.”
Enhanced Renewable Portfolio Standard
A renewable portfolio standard (RPS) is a policy that requires electric suppliers (utilities and cooperatives) to ensure that specified percentages of the electricity they sell is derived from renewable resources. The bill revises the current Wisconsin RPS in three ways, requiring that:
• Certain standards be met earlier than under current law.
• Higher standards be met in subsequent years than under current law.
• In the later years, a portion of the standard be met with electricity derived from renewable resources located in Wisconsin. The bill also creates legislative findings that lay out the policy basis for this in-state portion of the RPS.
The bill also makes a number of changes to the sources of energy that qualify for compliance with the RPS. Specifically, the following qualify:
• Hydroelectric power from certain large facilities (with a capacity of 60 megawatts or more) located out of state. (Under current law, no power from large hydroelectric facilities qualifies.)
• Electricity derived from the burning of solid waste if the solid waste: (1) has recyclable and noncombustible materials removed; and (2) is burned in a facility that is owned by a county in this state and that was in service before January 1, 1998.
• Nonelectric energy derived from renewable resources, such as biogas, the thermal output from various sources, or usable light delivered by a solar light pipe.
Under current law, a credit is created if an electric provider has a surplus of renewable energy in a reporting period. The bill revises the statutes governing such credit, specifying that:
• Credits are created when electricity is generated from a renewable resource.
• Credits may be separated from the energy for trading, banking, or use in compliance with the RPS.
• Credits do not expire.
Under the bill, compliance with the RPS is demonstrated by documenting the generation or purchase of credits, rather than documenting the sale of renewable electricity.
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Renewable (“Feed-In”) Tariffs
The bill directs PSC to order investor-owned and municipal electric utilities that sell at retail to offer to purchase electricity generated at new small-scale renewable energy facilities within the utility’s service territory under standard purchase terms and conditions prescribed by PSC.
New Nuclear Power Plants
The bill makes a number of changes to the regulation of nuclear power plants by PSC, including the review and approval by PSC to construct a new nuclear power plant under the certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) and “nuclear moratorium” laws. Among other revisions, the bill:
• Applies the CPCN and nuclear moratorium laws to all sizes of new nuclear power plants, irrespective of plant ownership.
• Modifies the findings PSC must make under the nuclear moratorium law to approve a new nuclear power plant, including:
o Replacing the finding requiring a federally licensed high-level nuclear waste disposal facility with a finding on the plan for managing these wastes.
o Requiring consideration of the air pollution from the proposed plant versus feasible alternatives.
o Adding findings on the reasonableness of the cost of the plant, and on the entire output of the plant being needed and used to meet the expected requirements for electricity of utility ratepayers or electric cooperative members in the state.
• Specifies a set of legislative findings that provide the policy basis for the entire output finding in the nuclear moratorium law, and a nonseverability clause under which all of the changes in nuclear power plant regulation in the bill are voided if a court finds the requirement for the entire output finding unconstitutional.
• Adds requirements for funding the decommissioning of new nuclear power plants.
• Applies current PSC regulations regarding modification, operation, and sale of utility owned power plants to new nuclear power plants not owned by a utility.
• Delays the effective date of all of these changes until after PSC has initially implemented the enhanced energy efficiency and renewable resource programs and the enhanced RPS identified above.
Other Provisions Affecting PSC
The bill includes a number of other provisions affecting PSC. Among these, the bill:
• Expedites PSC’s review of proposals for construction of renewable energy facilities.
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• Reinforces prohibitions on PSC requiring utilities to conduct energy efficiency and renewable resource programs beyond those programs discussed above.
• Makes extensive technical changes to current statutes, including reorganization, changes in terminology, and repeal of obsolete statutes.
The bill includes a number of provisions addressing GHG emissions from vehicles, either through direct controls and limitations or indirectly through transportation and land use planning and transportation infrastructure. The bill:
• Directs DNR to specify, by rule, vehicle emission limitations identical to the California GHG emission standards and other emission standards applicable to passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles that are passenger vehicles and have gross vehicle weights of 10,000 pounds or less.
• Authorizes DNR to specify, by rule, vehicle emission limitations identical to the California zero emission vehicle standards, if DNR determines they would be an effective and efficient part of the state’s strategy for meeting the statewide GHG emission reduction goals described above.
• Prohibits operators of freight trucks from idling the truck’s primary propulsion engine, on or off a highway, for more than five minutes in any 60-minute period, except under any of seven specified circumstances.
• Directs DNR to specify, by rule, a state low carbon fuel standard that specifies the allowable weight of GHG per unit energy content of a transportation fuel, if: (1) the Midwestern Governors Association’s advisory group on these standards recommends their design; and (2) the advisor group’s recommendations are endorsed by specified Midwestern governors, including the Governor of Wisconsin.
• Directs the Department of Transportation (DOT), if it prepares an environmental impact statement or an environmental assessment for a transportation project funded partly or totally with state funds, to include in the statement or assessment an evaluation of the GHG emissions and energy use that will result from the project and alternatives to the project.
• Directs DOT, as part of the environmental evaluation of its long-range multimodal transportation plan for the 20-year period ending in 2030, to consider GHG emissions and energy use in the transportation facility or service needs addressed in the plan.
• Changes the preparation of state and regional multimodal transportation plans and transportation improvement programs by:
o Requiring DOT and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to set surface transportation GHG reduction goals; incorporate to the extent practicable, strategies
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identified by DOT for reducing GHG emissions from surface transportation into their plans and programs using methods and procedures developed by DOT; and assess and report on the implementation of the strategies and their progress in meeting their goals.
o Prohibiting DOT from providing financial assistance to an MPO unless the MPO has made a good faith effort to incorporate these strategies and use these methods and procedures in its plans and programs.
• Directs UW-Extension to develop a model market-pricing parking ordinance.
• Amends the local government planning grant program administrated by the Department of Administration (DOA) to:
o Require grant recipients to consider whether any area considered for “traditional neighborhood development” (TND) is one of the specified types of areas, and whether making any area a TND would result in a reduction in travel, energy use, or GHG emissions.
o Add a criterion for a grant application to receive preference – that the planning efforts funded by the grant must include consideration of TND.
• Authorizes the agencies administering five state economic development grant or loan programs2 to give greater weight in determining whether to award a grant or make a loan under the program to an application from a municipality or county if the application is for a project that will result in a reduction of travel, energy use, or GHG emissions, or is located in an area designated for a qualifying TND or subject to the green building code, identified below, or to a qualifying “Green Tier” project.
o Changes, where applicable, the required match by the recipient, amount of assistance, or other grant conditions in these programs to further encourage the implementation of qualifying projects.
• Directs DNR to conduct various studies relating to vehicle GHG emissions, including new California vehicle GHG emission standards and idling reductions by other types of vehicles.
With regard to building codes, the bill:
2 These programs, and their administering agency, are the Transportation Facilities Economic Assistance and Development Program (DOT), Brownfields Site Assessment Grants (DNR), Main Street Program (Commerce), Brownfields Grant Program (Commerce), and Forward Innovation Fund (Commerce).
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• Requires that the energy conservation portion of the commercial building code be at least as strong as the International Energy Conservation Code, and directs Commerce to create parallel energy conservation provisions in the 1- and 2-family dwelling code.
• Directs Commerce to establish a voluntary green building code that provides greater energy conservation benefits than the mandatory codes.
• Directs DOA to ensure that major state building projects conform to the new voluntary code and that other building projects conform to that code to the extent technically feasible and cost-effective.
• Directs Commerce to establish conservation standards for certain agricultural buildings.
To increase the efficiency of equipment used in the state, the bill:
• Establishes energy efficiency standards for compact audio devices, televisions, and digital versatile disc (DVD) players and recorders, based on standards in California.
• Requires the owners of industrial, non-utility boilers to annually inspect and adjust their boilers to ensure they operate at maximum efficiency.
The bill addresses GHG emissions from state agencies and local governments through the following:
• Directs certain state agencies (those with operations that produce significant GHG emissions) to assess their GHG emissions; set goals for reducing those emissions; and develop and implement plans to achieve those goals.
• Directs the Office of Energy Independence to work with interested school districts to engage voluntarily in the same process as the state agencies.
• Excludes moneys levied by municipalities for energy efficiency measures or renewable energy products from their levy limits.
The bill includes a number of provisions relating to the production of biomass as a feedstock for the production of fuel or energy. The bill:
• Creates an Energy Crop Reserve Program, under which the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) makes payments to land owners to subsidize the establishment and production of biomass crops.
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• Directs DNR, with several other agencies, to take a variety of actions to encourage the production of biomass for energy uses from private forest lands in Wisconsin.
• Directs DATCP, with DNR, to study the adequacy of current incentives, in the market and in government programs, to prompt producers to produce enough biomass for use as a bioenergy feedstock to significantly contribute to achievement of the state’s GHG emission reduction goals.
The bill addresses GHG emissions reductions through the following industrial efficiency incentives:
• Directs DNR, as part of its continual assessment and streamlining of air pollution permit obligations, to develop and implement measures to lessen these obligations for projects that would significantly reduce GHG emissions while not requiring a major source construction permit.
• Directs Commerce to annually dedicate 25% of the portion of the volume cap on federally tax exempt “private activity bonds” allocated to municipalities and corporations formed on their behalf for industrial development revenue bonds that are issued to finance a specified “clean energy manufacturing facility” or a “renewable power generating facility.”
If a federal cap and trade program is established or a regional cap and trade program is recommended by Midwestern governors, including the Governor of Wisconsin, the bill directs DNR to report to the Legislature and Governor on the program, including any legislation that would be necessary to implement the program in this state.
This document was prepared by John Stolzenberg, Chief of Research Services, and David Lovell, Senior Analyst.

New Blog Site & Round-up of News Articles!

Due to an unfortunate password issue, we had to get a new blog!  I’ll be figuring out how to add our old blog – but for now: HERE IS THE LINK FOR A GOOD NUMBER OF ENTRIES!! at our old blog site.

Now to new information:

SBA has a new pilot loan program, it began July 1st and is for auto, RV and other dealerships can apply for SBA guaranteed floor plan financing, which will make it easier for these small businesses to borrow against their inventory and increase their cash flow.  More information here and HERE

An interesting article from the Wall Street Journal on how businesses are caring (“coddling”) their customers more in these more challenging times.   How are you caring for YOUR customers?

This one, regarding the “death of the corner pharmacy” reminded me of working with my Grandparents in the inventory service, when the local corner pharmacy was THE business to have.

Good article for buying & selling small businesses.

Finally!  Did you know that Main Street De Pere turns 20 in 2010??  Incredible work has been done in De Pere by amazing people during the last 19 years. I got the following report from Wisconsin Main Street on the first 20 years of the program in the state of Wisconsin.  Check out this information:

The twenty (20) Year figures as reported in the 2007-2008 annual report:

Promotional Events:                       2,583 (10 years)

Total Attendance:                     5,731,369 (10 years)

Public Improvements:                       1,336

Public Investment:                $208,647,686

Building Rehabilitations:                 4,791

Private investment in

Building Rehabilitations:       $280,134,440

New Businesses:                              3,542

New Jobs:                                       15,930

New Buildings:                                    248

Private Investment

in New Buildings:                  $277,739,154

Buildings Sold:                                 1,411

Private Investment

in Buildings sold:                   $207,021,468

New Downtown

Housing Units:                                     511

Total Private Investment:      $764,895,062

Total Public & Private

Investment:                          $973.542,748

That is almost $1 Billion increase in value.  That pays for a lot of local, services, schools, technical colleges services, and even removes the snow.

Until next time!!