WI Secretary of Revenue: We may not get to 250k jobs mark in Gov's first termSubmitted: 09/06/2013

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter

TOMAHAWK - People in the Northwoods want jobs, but a sluggish economy can hurt growth.

Helping to promote more jobs is one reason Grow North Regional Economic Development Corporation formed in 2004.

They try and bring together economic groups to accomplish that goal.

Wisconsin Secretary of Revenue Rick Chandler spoke to the group Friday in Tomahawk.

He hopes changes in taxes attract more business and therefore more jobs.

"That involves reducing individual income taxes, creating new business with tax incentives and other things that make our tax structure more competitive," Chandler said.

Chandler is an appointee of Governor Scott Walker. We wanted to know if Walker could still reach his 250,0000 jobs promise in his first term.

"We're making progress in that area and we may not get all the way to 250,000," Chandler said. "I think it's good as an ambitious goal to reach for and everything we can do to get closer to that goal will help."

That's similar to Walker's statement on August 28th, to the Business Journal.

"By any measure — whether it's 100,000, 150,000, 149,000 or 249,000 or whatever it might be — we went from losing jobs to gaining jobs," Walker said.

Walker spoke to a conservative group in Seattle Thursday night with 300 protesters outside.

As the 2014 election gets closer, he can probably expect to answer that jobs question a few more times.

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MERRILL - With the season of giving upon us, many will be looking for ways to help out those who are in need this winter.

This year, you will only have to go as far as your closet to help families living in the Northwoods.

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PARK FALLS - Many people in the Northwoods go to church on Sunday mornings, and for some of them it may be begrudgingly.

But there are plenty of people, often elderly or sick, who want to go to church but have a hard time doing so.

Peace Lutheran Church in Park Falls wanted to change that. Since May, they've been undergoing some construction. On Sunday, the church had a dedication ceremony for a special new addition—an elevator.

Now people like 100-year-old Ruth Olson can worship with greater ease.

Before the elevator, Olson said she would get to church by literally pulling herself up the stairs using the railing.

Olson's story is like many. As the older population grows, church buildings don't evolve with them. The buildings are often old and sometimes lack accomodating features for the elderly or disabled, and takes money to update the buildings.

"We have churches where the people are getting older and it's very hard for people to get around," said Rev. Dwayne Lueck, the district president for the North Wisconsin District Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod.

Some parishoners couldn't do what Ruth used to do, and so they would have to worship at a service held across the street in the day care center, instead of in the beautiful church.

"Now all the services can be over here," said Rev. Dale Heinlein, the pastor of Peace Lutheran.

The congregation at Peace Lutheran believed in an elevator, so they paid for it.

"We been talking and planning this for...a long time," said Dick Ross, president of the congregation. "Pretty hard for some of the people, and I think you saw them, pretty hard for some of the people to worship here, so it was time."

"You can see it in their eyes more than anything when they know they have access and when they come up here and just enter the building and no steps, it's a great thing," said Buzz Peters, a parishoner who helped design the new elevator and space.

"We can finally have access for everybody to get into the worship facility, free access, that's what this is all about," Heinlein said. 

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MINOCQUA - It's that time of year again.

Minocqua kicked off its' Christmas celebrations Saturday.

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MADISON - New state data show that nearly 15,000 Wisconsin residents lost access to food stamps in the first three months of a new law that requires some recipients to seek jobs.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1Ple8j5 ) it obtained the data from the Department of Human Services under the state open records law.

The rule took effect in April for participants in the state's food stamp program, FoodShare. It requires able-bodied adults without children living at home to work at least 80 hours a month or look for work to stay in the program.

The DHS data show about 25 percent of the 60,000 recipients eligible to work were dropped from the program between July and September. But about 4,500 found work through a new job training program for FoodShare recipients.

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WOODRUFF - If they haven't already, people will start bringing out the Christmas decorations.

And it wouldn't be complete without that perfect Christmas tree.

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MADISON - Two Republican legislators have created a bill that would shift federal road dollars from local projects to major state projects. Opponents say the bill is a backdoor attempt to make sure federal prevailing wage requirements don't apply to local projects.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Duey Stroebel and Rep. Rob Brooks would transfer $47 million in federal funding from local projects to state projects and move $47 million in state dollars from state projects to local ones.

Stroebel says the swap would save money by removing local projects from burdensome federal regulations.

He has been a vocal advocate for doing away with prevailing wage statutes, which require minimum salaries for workers on government-funded construction projects.

Spokeswomen for GOP legislative leaders didn't respond to inquiries about the bill's chances.

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APPLETON - The U.S. Marshals Service says a convicted sex offender who was wanted for violating the terms of his release has been arrested in Appleton.

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