Probably one of the most important questions that should be answered during this debate is-
Could the Senate Democrats Healthy Wisconsin destroy the Wisconsin business climate?
What is so surprising is the fact that the Senate Democrats actually passed this plan in the budget without fully checking out all the facts, nor do they understand the full ramifications of their decision to pass this piece of legislation.
This is one of the most important questions that should have been answered long before proceeding with a vote on the Senate floor.
Before we go too far into this, let us discuss for a second a few questions that we need to think about.
- What if this is only bad news for 50% of Wisconsin companies? Is losing 50% of Wisconsin businesses acceptable? No- of course not.
- What if this is only bad news for 10% of Wisconsin companies? Is losing 10% of Wisconsin businesses acceptable? No- of course not. Even if we only lose 10% of our businesses that means unemployment skyrockets in Wisconsin.
- What if we lose no Wisconsin business, instead we only discourage new businesses from opening up? Is this acceptable? Of course not. Unless we continue to grow as state, we will not be able to sustain ourselves for very long.
Now the only folks that the Senate Democrats believe will be really hurt are the Wisconsin companies that do not provide insurance or provide inadequate insurance, and insurance companies.
I completely disagree with the Senate Democrats. This could devastate the business climate in every single county that is within driving distance of a Wisconsin border.
One of the tidbits of information that we received from the Senate Democrats at Thursday's meeting was that any Wisconsin resident that works in Illinois will have to pay the 4% just like everyone else in Wisconsin. However, the Illinois employer has to pay nothing.
Legally, under the Wisconsin Democratic Senator's plan, they cannot force any out of state business the 10.5% that they will be charge Wisconsin businesses.
I listened very intently to this tidbit of information, because I live in Kenosha and I work in Illinois.
Originally, when we heard about the Healthy Wisconsin plan, one of the first questions being asked down here in Kenosha, is how will this work for those of us employed in Illinois. As it is, over 30% of Kenosha County's workforce is working in Illinois. Our concern was that as employees, we would be stuck paying our employer's share of the Healthy Wisconsin burden.
However, we have been assured by Senator Erpenbach that we would only be charged 4%- the same as anyone else.
Now on the surface, you would figure that there are a ton of employers, that have to be thrilled. Their employees will receive insurance and it does not cost them a dime. There are many employers who will be turning backflips.
However, what does that do to Kenosha? Why would a single Kenosha business stay in Kenosha?
We are right on the border. Some can literally stand on their front porches and wave to their Illinois neighbors.
Illinois just is not that far away. A smart business would pick up their assets and move their business 5 minutes away, into Illinois. They can continue to keep their same employees and their same customer base.
In doing this, they save themselves an incredible amount of money in healthcare costs.
So how much work would it take to move some of our businesses to move to Illinois?
Not much, I am guessing.
Right now, Illinois is busting their humps to bring in new business to their state. They are literally paying companies to move to their state. They are also offering tax incentives and guaranteed business loans.
Smart business with be doing exactly this. Pick it up and move it. Illinois will help pay the moving costs for you.
The same is true for every single border county. Actually, not only border counties, but also counties that utilize interstates and major highways.
The drive is so easy down I-94, that businesses in Milwaukee and Racine counties are also in danger. Any county with-in driving distance of another state is in danger.
I know the Senate Democrats have themselves convinced that businesses from all over the country will be flocking to Wisconsin, because of the wonderful insurance plan.
Smart businesses will actually be flocking from all over the country in to set up camp just outside of the Wisconsin state lines.
I know that one of the Democrats goals for doing this was to take some of the pressures off of Wisconsin business and to improve the overall business climate.
If this passes- it sure appears as if they accomplished this goal.
Unfortunately, they improved the business climate in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota, not Wisconsin.