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Volume 5, Issue 50, May 1, 2023
 Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, Eau Claire, Wis.
Published the first business day of each week
Business Advocate Past Issues
Public Meetings Calendar
Chamber Events Calendar
The Chamber's Advocacy Principles
The Chamber's Business Issues Agenda
Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs


Eggs & Issues: Washington Update with the US Chamber
Join us for insights on federal policy issues and their impact on business from John Kirchner, Vice President, Midwest Region, Congressional and Public Affairs Division, US Chamber of Commerce. John will fill us in on critical topics including the federal role in solving workforce shortages, immigration, permitting reform, and concerns about federal overreach from agencies like the FTC, SEC, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, DOJ, EPA, and the IRS. We'll also learn about the US Chamber's new tool to assess the public policy risks faced by business, and what you can do to impact federal policies.
 • Friday, May 19, 7:00-8:30 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

Also coming up:
Working Mothers Luncheon
 • Wednesday, May 10, The Florian Gardens
Chamber Royale
 • Thursday, May 18, Eau Claire Golf & Country Club

In this issue: 
 • UW System Business Partnership Award recognizes Mayo Clinic
 • EC City Council: Fireworks, ARPA decisions still pending
 • May 4 deadline: Applicants sought for EC District 1 City Council vacancy
 • Altoona leaders outline priorities at Eggs & Issues
• Courtney Olsom joins Chamber staff as Workforce Initiatives Director
 • UWEC hosting "The future of free speech on campus" on May 1
 • Assembly Republicans unveil shared revenue proposal
 • US Chamber launches border security, immigration reform initiative
 • Mark your calendar
Note on article links: A subscription is required for those marked with "$"

Publications known to have article limits for non-subscribers are marked with "+"


UW System Business Partnership Award recognizes
Mayo Clinic collaboration at UWEC
Further affirms value Science Building will bring to the local economy
   Mayo Clinic Health System was recognized last Monday as the inaugural recipient of the UW System Regents Business Partnership Award. System President Jay Rothman and Regents Vice President Amy Bogost presented the award to  Dr. Richard Helmers, Regional Vice President of Mayo Clinic Health System in Northwest Wisconsin. 

   “The partnership between Mayo Clinic Health System and UW-Eau Claire is exemplary,” said Rothman. “From research to internships, Mayo and UW-Eau Claire are working together to benefit our students, the region and our state.”
   Mayo Clinic Health System in Northwest Wisconsin and UW-Eau Claire signed an initial five-year collaborative agreement in 2017 and, in February 2023, extended the research work for 10 years while expanding research opportunities across a range of disciplines.
   “Our many collaborations with UW-Eau Claire across research, education and clinical practice will bring benefits for decades to come, improving the health and well-being of the residents of northwest Wisconsin and training the health care professionals of the future," said Helmers.
   See the UWEC news release linked below for a detailed list of the partnership initiatives, which include the Blugold Biomedical Innovator Program, student opportunities for clinical rotations, addressing workforce needs in healthcare professions, locating a diagnostic imaging and sports medicine center at the County Materials Complex, Mayo employment of UWEC graduates in the area, and more. 
Mayo contribution to planned Science & Health Sciences Building
   Mayo Clinic Health System is also contributing $13.7 million in philanthropic contributions to support the cost of creating and occupying a 10,000-square-foot shared research workspace in the new Science and Health Sciences Building on UW-Eau Claire’s campus. Completion funding for the building is still pending action by the Wisconsin Legislature for the 2023-25 biennial state budget. The Chamber strongly supports its inclusion, as proposed by the UW System Board of Regents and by Governor Tony Evers in his proposed capital budget. The Chippewa Valley Legislative delegation has been united in working to ensure it is included so that the additional benefits from the Mayo partnership and academic needs are met. 

More information:
Mayo Clinic Health System receives UW System Regents Business Partnership Award (UWEC news release)
Mayo Clinic and UWEC awarded for research collaboration (WEAU 13 News)
County Materials Complex: One year after groundbreaking (Leader-Telegram $)
Mayo Clinic Health System cardiologist teaches one-of-a-kind course to UW-Eau Claire Honors students (UWEC)

EC City Council: ARPA funds, fireworks location still pending
Applicants sought for District 1 Council Member vacancy
   At its Legislative Session last week, the Eau Claire City Council failed, on a tie vote, to make a decision about the location of the 2023 July 4th fireworks display, and postponed a decision regarding 
allocation of the City's remaining American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, the location of the Independence Day fireworks.
May 2 work session planned on fireworks
   The Council tied 5-5 on a vote to adopt a staff proposal to move the launch location of the July 4th fireworks to the High Bridge, primarily for safety and cost reasons. The traditional site is Carson Park, which the Eau Claire Express baseball team has urged be retained (see pages 25-26 of the Monday Agenda Packet linked below). The Council will hold a work session on the topic on Tuesday, May 2, at 4 p.m. Its next Council meetings are on May 8-9. 
   The ARPA discussion related to the $4 million in federal funding that the City has not yet allocated. City Manager Stephanie Hirsch is proposing spending $3 million of that amount on a series of priorities including affordable housing; services for the unhoused; initiatives that increase access, equity, and connection; and an inclusive community program. The remaining $1 million was scheduled to be acted upon at the Council's May 9 meeting and would include set asides for acquisition of a day shelter, and for fiscal stability one time projects (see pages 12-24). At last week's meeting, the Council decided to postpone the decision on the first $3 million to consider it together with the final amount.
Applicants sought for District 1 Council member vacancy
   The Council is seeking applicants for appointment to fill a vacancy for the District 1 seat on the Eau Claire City Council. There is one year left on the 3-year term, which has become open because current Council Member Emily Berge was elected City Council President at the Spring election.
   An applicant must be a current resident of District 1, which covers the northeast area of the City: click here for the district map. The deadline to apply is May 4. Eligible applicants will be invited to an interview with Council on May 10 or 11, and asked to make a brief presentation at the City Council meeting on Monday, May 22, at 7:00 p.m.  The Council will consider the appointment at its Legislative Session on Tuesday, May 23, at 4:00 p.m.
Click here for full details on requirements and how to apply
More information:
Eau Claire City Council
 • Monday, Apr 24, Public Hearing Agenda Packet (43 pages)
 • Tuesday, Apr 25, Legislative Session Agenda Packet (142 pages)
Link to videos of city meetings (City of Eau Claire)
City Council Online Comment Form (City of Eau Claire)
Contact information: City Council members (City of Eau Claire)
Eau Claire ponders location change for July 4 fireworks (Leader-Telegram $)
Who Wants to Be a City Council Member? In Eau Claire, It Could Be You (Volume One)

City planning more uses for APRA funds (Leader-Telegram $)
Downtown businesses, pickleball club request ARPA funds (Leader-Telegram $)
Eau Claire's July 4 fireworks display in limbo after Tuesday evening vote (Leader-Telegram $)
Our View: Fireworks timeline isn't as long as it seems (Leader-Telegram editorial $)

Eggs & Issues: Altoona highlights accomplishments, goals
   Altoona Mayor Brendan Pratt, City Administrator Mike Golat, and members of the City's leadership team led a presentation on April 21 at River Prairie Center for the Chamber's annual "State of the City - Altoona" Eggs & Issues program. 

   Among the information shared were plans this summer to replace the back-in parking along streets in River Prairie to more traditional head-in parking. City leaders also talked about space needs created by the City's growth, some of which will be addressed as it takes over the Eau Claire County Highway Department's facilities when it moves to a new building soon.
   The City also presented two awards: Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association was given the “Extra Mile Award” for their construction of the Perseverance Park Pavilion. Bob Adrian, the owner of Rump’s Butcher Shoppe was also presented the “Chairman of the Board Award.” Adrian has sold the popular business to Kyle Neidermire, who also attended. Click here to continue reading...

Meeting this week:

Eau Claire Plan Commission
Plan Commission 2023 Work Program
 • Monday, May 1, 7 p.m., Agenda Packet (23 pages)

Eau Claire Board of Education
• Monday, May 1, 7 p.m. Agenda Packet
Board of Education members and information

Courtney Olsom joins Chamber as Workforce Initiatives Director
   Courtney Olsom became the newest member of the Chamber team on March 28. As the new Workforce Initiatives Director, Courtney hopes to expand the community’s awareness of numerous ways to enter the workforce, including on-the-job training, apprenticeships, various higher education certificates and degrees, and many more.
More information:
Meet Courtney Olsom, the Chamber’s new Workforce Initiatives Director (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

More local stories:

Reverb Music Festival coming to Eau Claire Aug 19 (WEAU 13 News)

Chippewa Valley Technical College receives $500k donation
(WEAU 13 News)

Trust's $500K donation will add onto CVTC facility
(Leader-Telegram $)

North High event: Getting financial lessons into schools
(Leader-Telegram $)

RCU hosts North High financial literacy event, State bill aims to require financial literacy classes for high schoolers
(WQOW News 18)

United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley Executive Director departing from organization
(WEAU 13 News)

Community Foundation initiative aims to help officers' mental health
(Leader-Telegram $)

Riewestahl: mental health fund will boost awareness
(Leader-Telegram $)

Start of construction celebrated for new humane society building
(WQOW News 18)

IT SEEMS TO ME: More good news from county government
(EC County Board Chair Nick Smiar, Supervisor Nancy Coffey)

Menard Center for Constitutional Studies to host
"The Future of Free Speech on Campus" event May 1
   What does the future hold for free speech on the American college campus? This event is a panel discussion with three of our country’s leading commentators on free speech on campus. Are panelists include: Donald Downs (Prof Emeritus- UW-Madison), Greg Lukianoff (President & CEO at FIRE), and Amna Khalid (Associate Professor- Carleton College). This event is cosponsored by the Menard Center for Constitutional Studies, Pre-Law Club, and Criminal Justice Association. This a FREE in-person event with a virtual option.
The Future of Free Speech on Campus
Click here for details
• Monday, May 1, 5:30-7:00 p.m. In person: Room 100 of Hibbard Hall, UWEC
rtual: Click here to register

Episode 16: Business Matters Podcast
Lar Xiong, Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce
   VP Investor Engagement Kaylynn Winegar takes time to learn more about Lar Kong Xiong, Business Specialist with the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce. Through conversation we learn more about their new office in Eau Claire and what they plan to do to help business growth in the area.

Click here to listen (14:39)


Assembly Republicans release preliminary
details of shared revenue proposal
20% of sales tax would go to local governments
   As part of a series of news conferences around the state, area Assembly Republicans were joined by local municipal and town officials at Altoona City Hall this past Thursday to unveil preliminary details of their plan to increase shared revenue to local governments.
   Legislators at the event included Reps. Dave Armstrong (R-Rice Lake), Clint Moses (R-Menomonie), Warren Petyrk (R-Town of Washington), and Shannon Zimmerman (R-River Falls). Zimmerman is also a member of the Joint Finance Committee. Local officials included Altoona Mayor Brendan Pratt, Eau Claire City Council President Emily Berge, Town of Pleasant Valley Chair Dan Hanson, and Town of Garfield (Jackson County) Chair Steve Dickinsen.
   The broad outline of the proposal includes devoting 20% of the state sales tax to local governments. Legislators said the exact revenue sharing formula will be updated, but is still being worked out. They said it will include at least a minimum 10% increase for all units of government, plus $300 million for an innovation fund to encourage specific areas of expense savings through intergovernmental cooperation.
   In response to questions, Legislators said the Governor's office, League of Municipalities, and the towns and counties associations have been involved in the negotiations leading to the proposal. They expect a bill to be introduced soon to provide the framework for including the funding in the 2023-25 biennial state budget.
More information:
Republicans release broad strokes of plan to boost local government funding (WPR)
Area Assembly Republicans, local officials on proposal to put more tax dollars into small communities (WQOW News 18)
Local Assembly Republicans address shared revenue proposal with local municipal, town officials (Leader-Telegram $)
Assembly Republican share revenue plan: More money, Milwaukee tax hikes, strings attached (The Center Square)
Audio and transcript: Weekly GOP radio address - Rep. Kurtz explains a revenue proposal to increase funds for local state governments (WisPolitics.com)

More state and regional stories:

Republican lawmakers set to strip out more than 500 items from Gov. Tony Evers' proposed state budget
(Journal-Sentinel +)

MMAC: Business Outlook Survey: Second quarter, 2023

DWD Celebrates Another Record-Breaking Year in Youth Apprenticeships

Wisconsin Assembly passes limits for unemployment aid

Wisconsinites with disabilities could help address labor shortage, but face obstacles

Wisconsin Senate GOP leader wants income tax cut for all taxpayers

Wisconsin Elections Commission member Julie Glancey to resign
(Wisconsin State Journal)

Cleanup underway following derailment that sent cars into flooded Mississippi River

Containers secured to shore after Wisconsin train derailment

Wisconsin’s only oil refinery to reopen after 2018 explosion

More people, more jobs, more housing: New plan seeks big growth for Downtown Milwaukee

7 Catalytic Projects For Downtown Milwaukee
(Urban Milwaukee)


US Chamber: LIBERTY campaign launched to address
border security, immigration reform
   The U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched the LIBERTY Campaign (Legal Immigration and Border Enforcement Reform This Year) with a letter to members of Congress, calling on them to address the crisis at our border and the critical workforce shortage before the year’s end. The LIBERTY Campaign is comprised of over 430 business associations from all 50 states, spanning a host of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, restaurants, hospitality, retail, construction, agriculture, engineering, and food processing, among others.
   “Our elected officials keep talking about securing the border and fixing our broken legal immigration system, but nothing ever seems to get done. And the problems just get worse. This coalition of over 430 business organizations has a simple message: ‘inaction on border security and legal immigration is unacceptable,’” said Neil Bradley, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer. “As a nation we cannot afford to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. We know there are reasonable compromises that can help secure our border and meet our workforce needs. We are pushing Congress and the administration to turn those compromises into law.”
   The vast majority of American voters – both Republican and Democrat – support policies to strengthen border security and make it easier to immigrate to the U.S., according to a recent Fox News poll. Three-quarters of voters favor making it easier to immigrate (73%) and increasing the number of border agents at the southern border (74%).
More information:
LIBERTY Campaign website
Coalition letter to Congress (US Chamber of Commerce)
U.S. Chamber and 430+ Business Groups Call for Action on Border Security and Legal Immigration (US Chamber of Commerce)
Eggs & Issues: Washington Update with the US Chamber
   To learn more about immigration reform and other important federal issues, join us at our May breakfast with John Kirchner from the US Chamber.
 • Friday, May 19, 7:00 a.m. CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

More national and economic news:

House votes to pass debt ceiling bill in win for McCarthy

Rep. Derrick Van Orden backs debt limit bill after pushing Speaker McCarthy to make biofuels concessions
(Journal-Sentinel $)

Kevin McCarthy Shores Up GOP Lines as Debt-Ceiling Battle Looms
(Wall Street Journal $)

U.S. GDP rose at a 1.1% pace in the first quarter as signs build that the economy is slowing

Key inflation gauge for the Fed rose 0.3% in March as expected

Major blue states hemorrhaging tax base as red states reap rewards
(Fox Business)

The U.S. economy is stupendous, despite what you might be hearing.
(Kevin D. Williamson, The Dispatch)

Economic Viewpoints - current key indicators
(US Chamber of Commerce)

The Flip Side: Collection of Right and Left viewpoints on national issues

COVID-19 Updates 

COVID-19 Resources: 
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Information Hub (Eau Claire City-County Health Department)

Mark your calendar:

Working Mothers Luncheon
 • Wednesday, May 10, The Florian Gardens

Chamber Royale
 • Thursday, May 18, Eau Claire Golf & Country Club

Eggs & Issues: Washington Update with the US Chamber
 • Friday, May 19, CVTC Business Education Center

The Chamber's Golf Day in Eau Claire
 • Monday, August 7, 2023

Public Meetings Calendar
Click the link above for the our regularly updated schedule of public meetings.

Thanks for reading this issue of Business Advocate.
If you have comments or questions, contact Scott Rogers, Vice President G
overnmental Affairs, at 715-858-0616 or rogers@eauclairechamber.org

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