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VIDEO: Gov. Scott Walker Gets An Earful From Area Employers

Train people to have soft skills and technical skills, find cash, get them paid on time, help them reduce their costs with unemployment claims and help them navigate government regulations better -- and these business owners are ready to hire.

Gov. Scott Walker held an economic forum at Modine Manufacturing Tuesday with officials from the private sector, state officials, and small business owners.

Employers talked about their frustrations and what prevented them from adding staff. They discussed the difficulties in finding capital funding, having to litigate unemployment claims, navigating the bureaucracy at local municipalities to gain permits, working through the state regulatory process, and finding skilled workers.

Walker vowed to work on issues with staff and help create legislation that would address issues ranging from everything from tort law reform to looking at how technical education is taught.

Russell Gnatt, president and CEO of The Spectrum Group, said small businesses are having problems finding capital from banks, but they are also having problems with cash flow.

"One thing that I hear from the executive round table I participate in…. is that small businesses are saying that 'If I do something for GE, I have to wait 105 days to be paid," Gnatt said. "Capital that is something that has to flow. Collecting it somewhere doesn't do anybody any good. So if businesses aren't responsible enough to keep the money flowing, I don't know what the government can do."

Gnatt told Walker he would rather have his taxes raised to 20 percent rather than have his customers pay 60 days late. And he would hire people if his clients were paying him on time.

"Going from 30 to 60 days (in not being paid) would kill me, but another 10 to 15 percent increase in taxes would just be uncomfortable," Gnatt said.

Walker said he'd like to fix both problems because his goal was to help businesses create 250,000 jobs. Those jobs would come 10, 15, and 20 at a time and not in groups of 100.

"So we need to be mindful to what happens to small and mid-sized businesses," Walker said. "And that's where the job growth is."

Walker said the forum helped him connect with job creators to understand what issues they are facing.

Terry R. Kreuser November 11, 2011 at 02:35 AM
Your a plant...vegetable I believe...why do republicans always distort what they hear...it is obvious to me that Gnatt WAS comparing apples to oranges with his statement but he obviously didn't mean to say he believes raising his taxes would help GE pay him faster.
Terry R. Kreuser November 11, 2011 at 02:44 AM
You're blaming american consumers for lost jobs...what a joke...another idiot republican contortion...using foriegn cheap labor started long long before consumers ever reaped any benefits from lower prices. Corporate America got their goods cheaper but those greedy rich bastards never passed the savings on to customers and while their profits soared the workers received little or nothing back.
James R Hoffa November 11, 2011 at 05:23 AM
@Terry - Spoken like a true Nissan/Toyota/Honda/etc. owner! Good for you! If what you say is true, then please provide us with a representative example and concrete facts to support and back up a logical analysis and conclusion. Until you can do this, I suggest you leave the real discussion for the adults! You can go back to marching on Wall Street or what ever it is you do!
James R Hoffa November 11, 2011 at 05:31 AM
@Terry - Why would a businessman ever even suggest raising taxes, even in the context of giving an "apples to oranges" comparison, as you suggest? Where's the logic in doing so, and what's the take away point exactly? His main point appears to be that he's not getting paid quickly enough by his business customers. So, in proposing solutions that government can implement to help his problem so he can create more jobs he brings up raising taxes? COME ON!!! The obvious solution to his problem is that he needs to dictate more forceful contracts with his customers, find new customers that will accept his contract terms, or restructure the other aspects of his business around the reality of the delayed payments. Can I now charge him $50k for a consulting fee? It's no wonder this guy can't secure any financing! He's obviously not that bright when it comes to business!
James R Hoffa November 11, 2011 at 05:37 AM
Congrats on cleaning up your personal situation and I sincerely hope you're successful with it! There's no better feeling than finally getting debt free on your own! Cash only is the best way to go! However, I did end up upsetting the car dealership when I literally walked into the showroom with a briefcase full of hundred dollar bills to purchase my last car with - they actually proceeded in checking every single bill with one of those anti-counterfeit markers! I was with the dealership's cashier for close to two hours and had every other customer backed up waiting on my transaction to close! Oh well, they got over it - and it's a great story to share :-)

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