Economy & Business

Business news

Young professionals are gathering across Milwaukee this week, not only to network, but to also talk about their visions of the city’s future. Organizers of the second annual Young Professionals Week have arranged more than 20 events.

Farm Land

Wisconsin may soon allow foreign investors to purchase large parcels of land here. For more than 100 years, the state has limited foreign interests from owning more than 640 acres. However, Governor Walker’s proposed budget removes the cap, including for corporations. The Wisconsin Realtors Association asked for the change, according to spokesman Thomas Larson.

Milwaukee leaders plan to engage in an exercise to spur entrepreneurship. Dozens of people packed into a room at the new UWM School of Public Health Thursday, to hear about the plan. Milwaukee would be the first city in the U.S. to test the initiative.

Mark Sardella, Flickr

In less than a week, contract negotiations will begin at Caterpillar in South Milwaukee. The talks will be the first since the company took over former Bucyrus International in 2010.

A developer announced plans on Wednesday for a new five-story building to be constructed in the "The Brewery " neighborhood. The Brewery - a mixed-use development - is located on the northern edge of downtown Milwaukee, on the grounds of the former Pabst Brewery.

The rent-to-own industry has been working for years to change the way Wisconsin governs those shops. It now appears Gov. Walker is on board with change. As WUWM’s LaToya Dennis reports, he has included in his budget a provision bringing Wisconsin in line with most other states. His plan will certainly reignite a battle here between consumer advocates and an industry insisting it provides an option some shoppers need.

Earlier this week, the MATC Board and its teachers union reached a new one-year contract – months ahead of schedule. The pact takes effect next February, when the existing three-year contract expires.

Dave Reid, Flickr

The MATC Board and its faculty union agreed to a new one-year contract this week, set to take effect in 2014, when their existing three-year pact expires.

What makes the deal noteworthy is the fact it happened months earlier than usual and while courts consider challenges to Act 10. That relatively new state law prohibits most public unions from negotiating for anything except limited pay increases.

UWM CUIR graph

Wisconsinites would like to see the state spend money from its projected budget surplus on education and Medicaid, according to the results of a new poll released today.

The Wisconsin Economic Scorecard poll, conducted by UWM’s Center for Urban Initiatives and Research, asked 621 residents across the state how they would prioritize spending.  Forty percent of respondents said education should be the top priority, while thirty-three percent said additional Medicaid funding should be the most important.  An additional sixteen percent said income tax cuts should be at the top of the list, while ten percent thought it was most important to cover shortfalls in the transportation fund.

Fondy's Food Market

The Fondy Market at 22nd and Fond du Lac is one of the Near North Side’s success stories. There had been a farmer’s market in the area for decades, but about 10 years ago the market really took off in its present form, thanks in great part to Young Kim.

Many school systems in the Milwaukee area had to scramble last week to find a new milk supplier and 100 workers are looking for jobs after the sudden closure of the Golden Guernsey dairy plant. The 83-year-old milk producer went on to announce that it is filing for bankruptcy protection.

Social media tools continue to grow in popularity. About a billion people are now on Facebook, and half that many have Twitter accounts.

photo courtesy Afro Fusion Brands

  Earlier on today's show, essayist Kyle Cherek reflected that the word foodie is not just for trendy east or west coasters.  It’s a word that can – and is – used to describe people right here in the heartland that are passionate about food, especially locally sourced and prepared food.  But eating local doesn’t necessarily mean eating from a culinarytradition that is local.

UWM CUIR graph

It’s a week-and-a-half since the election, and the nation’s attention has turned to our economic fortunes.  A standoff continues over the so-called “fiscal cliff,” though there is likewise increasing talk of a so-called “grand bargain” to head it off.

In Wisconsin, many are looking both to today’s formal announcement by the governor over health insurance exchanges, but also further ahead to the next proposed biennial budget.

Susan Ruggles/ MATC

Our Project Milwaukee: Help Wanted forum recorded Tuesday evening at Milwaukee Area Technical College, included a 45-minute question and answer session between the audience and our six panel members, which we present here in its entirety.