Browse Month

July 2019

Senior Citizens & Tourism

Tom knows that we owe it to our seniors to help make sure they can enjoy their golden years in comfort and economic security. As governor, he will promote wellness efforts to help seniors and adults with disabilities receive home health assistance for as long as possible if they so choose. And Tom will fight for SeniorCare to make sure our seniors can get access to the affordable prescription medication they need.

Tom will crack down on the criminals who target Wisconsin seniors with security fraud scams, and he will continuously look for innovative solutions that protect seniors’ retirement savings and other financial assets.

Supporting Wisconsin’s Veterans

Wisconsin is home to over 400,000 veterans and nearly 30,000 brave Wisconsin men and women have served in the American operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When Wisconsin service members return home from duty or retire from the armed services, Tom understands that it is our solemn responsibility to ensure that we have tools and the resources necessary to support their continued service or transition to civilian status.

As governor, the Wisconsin National Guard will have the proper equipment, tools, training and support needed for responses to state emergencies or deployment in service of our nation. And Tom will make sure Wisconsin always treats its proud veteran sons and daughters with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Tom Barrett on Wisconsin’s tourism industry:

I have seen Wisconsin’s enormous potential to draw visitors from all over the world. Tourism has been a traditionally strong industry in our state, and I believe that we need to recommit to its ongoing success,” said Barrett. “As governor, I will revitalize Wisconsin’s tourism industry, leading to job creation and increased income for small business owners across the state.

The success of the tourism industry will be a major factor in Wisconsin’s economic recovery. With about 98% of the employers in Wisconsin classified as small businesses, an increase in visitors spending money at local restaurants, shops, museums and hotels would provide enormous benefits. Furthermore, Wisconsin is well-situated to capitalize on its premiere location between the large metropolitan areas of Chicago and the Twin Cities. In order to truly boost the number of people vacationing in our state, Wisconsin must continue to draw visitors from these high-population areas.

Tom’s plan to bolster Wisconsin tourism has three basic components:

Commit to Marketing Wisconsin

Support for a strong state tourism marketing campaign has historically been the most effective way to attract people to Wisconsin. However, Wisconsin’s commitment to tourism has slid in recent years. The 2010 tourism promotion budget was decreased by 17%. In 2009, the promotional investment for Wisconsin tourism remained flat.

As Governor, Tom will partner with industry leaders to assure that, even in tough budget times, the state and the industry can jointly find the resources to support a marketing campaign to compete.

The state of Michigan, for example, earned national recognition for its ‘Pure Michigan’ marketing campaign that brought 680,000 new visitors and $250 million in spending to that state.

Take 2 on Wisconsin

To generate the resources to invest in tourism without raising taxes, Tom proposes a new innovative idea called ‘Take 2 on Wisconsin.’ This initiative waives all tourist-related permits and registrations for two weekends per year – once during summer vacation and another over the winter months.

This will provide an open and appealing invitation to visit our great state and enjoy some of the best fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities available in the entire Midwest at a reduced cost. There is always something to do in Wisconsin, and once tourists get a taste of what it’s like to visit our state, they will be coming back time and time again.

Over these ‘Take 2’ weekends, the increased number of visitors will result in higher revenues in sales and hospitality taxes. This revenue would be re-invested in promoting tourism, giving Wisconsin a long-term plan to attract tourists and the revenue they bring into our state. Over time, this will add to Wisconsin’s efforts to position ourselves as a top travel hot-spot.

Recommit Hospitality Tax Revenue to Wisconsin Tourism

The hospitality tax should be used for its intended purpose – to further promote Wisconsin’s localities as top tourist destinations for visitors from around the world. Like what happens too often in Madison, this revenue has been used to fill budget gaps instead of reinvesting in local tourism.

Hospitality revenue dedicated to boosting tourism is a much more sustainable long-term plan, and will work to ensure that these revenues are used appropriately.

Our state, with its unique attractions and beautiful landscape, has always been an incredible getaway for visitors from around the world. As governor, the Department of Tourism will be emphasized as an economic development investment and jobs creator.

Keeping Wisconsin’s Agriculture Strong

Expanding prosperity for our farmers and rural communities

Agriculture is an essential part of Wisconsin’s way of life and our economy – generating $59 billion in economic activity and supporting more than 400,000 jobs.  With a committed partner in the governor’s office, we can leverage Wisconsin’s traditional strength in agriculture to increase diversity, profitability and innovation.  Tom has developed a comprehensive and detailed plan – highlighted below – to keep Wisconsin agriculture at the cutting edge for farms of all sizes.

Making Wisconsin America’s True Dairyland

Dairy and cheese processing make up $26.5 billion of the state’s $59 billion agriculture industry. Wisconsin is second only to California in dairy production, and Tom’s goal is to make Wisconsin #1 again.  His plan to position Wisconsin as the nation’s uncontested Milk State includes:

  • Supporting enhanced tax credits for dairy and dairy processing facilities. With dairy prices and demand on the rebound, Wisconsin is poised for a strong comeback. The Dairy Investment Tax Credit, which expired this year, allows dairy farmers a 10% income and franchise tax credit for expenditures on modernization and expansion. Tom supported extending the Dairy Investment Tax Credit until 2012 to help our Dairy Farms to continue to grow.
  • Increasing growth and profitability by balancing regulatory relief and environmental protection. Natural resource management and agriculture need not be at be at odds with one another.  We can safeguard the environment while allowing our farming operations to grow and compete, preserving farmland for agricultural use, and protecting the sustainability of Wisconsin agribusiness.
  • Promoting and protecting the integrity of Wisconsin’s Organic Dairy Industry. Wisconsin’s family farmers have faced enough challenges in recent years without the additional burden of competing with cheap counterfeits that have flooded the market. Tom will insist that the USDA enforce the “organic” law and level the playing field for Wisconsin farmers who are in compliance with U.S. organic standards.
  • Establishing an annual operating loan program through WHEDA. The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Association could provide an additional $100,000 loan to eligible dairy farms, to be repaid over a five-year period.

Expanding Other Value-Added Agriculture

Growing commodity crops is an important part of farming, but there are also opportunities in growing turning raw agricultural products into a processed product that commands high prices and delivers higher incomes.  To support this new agricultural environment, states can provide capital, technical assistance, and infrastructure support. As governor, Tom will build on existing programs to increase value-added agriculture in Wisconsin.

Energy Independence Through Agriculture

Biomass is Wisconsin’s most promising source of renewable energy, producing power continuously and relying on a supply of agricultural inputs that Wisconsin family farms have abundant capacity to supply.  Every year Wisconsin sends $16 billion in energy costs to other states and countries.  It’s time to keep those dollars here at home.  Through loan programs and by promoting the commercialization of biofuels, Tom will grow our biomass energy economy, strengthening the links between agriculture and an energy-independent Wisconsin.

Restoring the Wisconsin Idea to Production Agriculture

The Wisconsin Idea is based on the principle that education must be used to influence and improve people’s lives outside the classroom. As governor, Tom will ensure that the state’s universities and UW-Extension are fully funded with a clear mandate to work directly with the state’s farmers to continue to modernize our state’s agricultural economy.  Recognizing Wisconsin’s dairy industry of the future is knowledge-based, he will revitalize the Babcock Institute for International Dairy Research and Development – turning it into a full-fledged university department. Tom will also work to remodel the Babcock Hall facility to establish a state-of-the-art cheese making training facility.

Keeping Wisconsin’s Rural Economy Competitive

As governor, Tom will improve the quality of life in Wisconsin’s rural communities.  His plan includes:

  • Investing in local transportation systems
  • Empowering rural schools as economic development catalysts
  • Growing Wisconsin’s critical tourism economy and expanding agritourism
  • Increasing broadband connections and coverage in rural areas and schools
  • Improving health care and dental care in rural communities
  • Protecting use-value assessment to ensure that farmers are not taxed off of their land

Tom Barrett Owns a Long Record Fighting for Wisconsin’s Agricultural Economy

  • Tom earned praise for opposing legislation that “continues to devastate Wisconsin industries,” including Wisconsin’s agriculture and food processing industries. (The Capital Times, 8/27/09)
  • Tom cosponsored a bill to establish a minimum milk price equal to the national price of milk to provide price relief to economically distressed milk producers.  Tom Barrett also cosponsored a bill in 2001 that included plans to “revise and increase funding for the farmland protection program.”  (HR 224, 1997; HR 2375, 2001)
  •  Tom supported the Farm Security Act, investing $100 million in rural development programs (HR 2646, 1996, “Farm Security Act”)
  • Tom fought revisions the USDA wanted to make in the minimum prices bottlers and processors pay farmers for milk. The milk producers plan was pushed by farmers from outside the Midwest and would have hurt Wisconsin. (The Capital Times, 11/19/99)

To view Tom’s full plan to get Wisconsin working, visit