Open For Business
Local business community discusses effects of president's policies

By Ashley Haynes

Aug. 29, 2019

Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt (left) and Congressman Bryan Steil discuss the Wisconsin economy under President Donald Trump’s policies and regulations at Inpro Corp on Wednesday.
Ashley Haynes/Freeman Staff

MUSKEGO — Local businesses are singing President Donald Trump’s praises. More specifically, they’re crediting the president’s economic policies as a factor in helping their continued growth and success.

On Wednesday morning Congressman Bryan Steil, members of the Waukesha County business community and representatives from the Wisconsin Republican Party gathered at Inpro Corp to share their personal experiences with Trump’s efforts.

 “With the current administration, regulations are eased, we have less tax dollars taken from us so we have more money to put into the economy. It just starts a snowball effect that carries forward,” said Inpro Corp Chairman Steve Zigler.

He added that in the last three years, Inpro has not only added 50 jobs, mostly in Wisconsin with a few in southern states, but expanded its facility to a second floor.

Zigler also said the tax cuts put in place by the president has given Inpro more funding, which they use for seed money the following year. Gearbox Express CEO Bruce Neumiller said in the last eight years, the company has blossomed into the largest independent wind gearbox manufacturing business in the world.

Neumiller explained that the business sent out its first gearbox in 2012 and will have made $100 million in cumulative revenue by the end of this year.

But he said Gearbox is still waiting to take advantage of the economic policies put into place by Trump.

“It hasn’t impacted us yet because we were a startup, so we’ve had losses over the years. But going forward, we’re projecting nearly 50% this fiscal year. It’s going to have an impact on us — a positive impact,” Neumiller said.

Wendy Ward Sellers of Realty Executives Southeast said when the economy is doing well, that can affect several other markets.

“When people have more money, they have more morale and are looking to improve their quality of life, so housing is a natural place for them to go,” Sellers said.

She said the most common question she gets is how the market is doing, which depends on whether a person is a buyer or seller.

Sellers explained there are many more people looking for homes than there are homes to buy currently, but the market is still good for buyers — just more competitive.

She credits the strong housing market to “the strong economy, rising consumer confidence and morale, as well as low interest rates.”

Steil echoed these sentiments, and said there has been significant growth in Wisconsin over the last three years due to President Trump’s policies.

“In particular, you look back at the tax cuts that allowed companies like Inpro and Gearbox to invest. To invest in new jobs, to invest in new facilities, which allows further growth in our communities and then it has tangential benefits,” Steil said.

Bruce Neumiller, Gearbox Express CEO; Steve Zigler, chairman of Inpro Corp; Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt; and Congressman Bryan Steil discuss how President Donald Trump’s policies have affected local businesses.
Ashley Haynes/Freeman Staff

By the numbers

Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt provided statistics to back up his statement that Trump has delivered on his promises to bring back a strong economy.

Hitt said Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has decreased from 3.8% at this time last year to 2.8% and that since the Jobs Act of 2017, unemployment has dipped below 2.9% four times.

Hitt also said 53,000 Wisconsin jobs have been created under Trump, 8,000 of which are in manufacturing.

“The president has put a huge focus on cutting red tape. For every one new regulation, 22 have gone away, which is really remarkable when you think about how much regulation has grown over the years,” Hitt said.

He said the president has “delivered on his promise” to bring the economy back.

Not a full picture, says Democratic Party official

Matt Lowe, chairman of the Waukesha County Democratic Party, says Trump’s tax breaks work great for big business owners and corporations who can reinvest their money into the country, but when looking at the average worker, the deal might not be as sweet. Lowe said big businesses have not held up their end of the bargain in reinvesting in their workers through means like long-term higher wages.

“I think the economy is a very different story (for the average worker),” Lowe said.

He said that fears of a recession are common due to the “reckless Trump trade wars” and that tariffs are making products more expensive.

Lowe said Wisconsin has also been losing farms due to trade policies directly linked to Trump.

“They’re hurting Wisconsin workers and hurting Wisconsin farmers,” Lowe said.

As for the number of jobs created under the president, Lowe said that number can also be disputed.

He cited updated statistics from March 2019 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that say the U.S. economy had 501,000 fewer jobs than initially calculated by an earlier survey.

He disagreed with Republican sentiments that workers and the general population are feeling secure in the current state of the economy.

“America used to be a trade and economic leader and under the president, we have just ran isolationism in this country and that is detrimental for us because it’s a world economy,” Lowe said.