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Jobs must be the number one priority

To The Telegram: Murphy Oil wants to expand. Currently, they employees 156 people in Superior with a payroll of $18.4 million. Recently, I took a tour of their existing operations. They also contract for as many as 1,000 workers during maintenanc...

To The Telegram:

Murphy Oil wants to expand. Currently, they employees 156 people in Superior with a payroll of $18.4 million. Recently, I took a tour of their existing operations.

They also contract for as many as 1,000 workers during maintenance updates. Overall, they spend $60 to $70 million on goods and services.

Now, they are looking to make a $6 billion investment in Superior and Wisconsin. Hundreds of new, permanent jobs and more than 1,000 construction jobs would be added. Plus, the city believes that three times as many jobs would be added when factoring in all of the suppliers and others doing work related to the expanded operations.

With this in mind, why would Gov. Jim Doyle propose an oil franchise tax on gross revenues? This new tax, along with combined reporting, will cost Murphy Oil $2 million per year.

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In addition, the governor's budget includes $460,000 generated from the permits to discharge ballast water. These new restrictions will require a standard 100 times (and in some cases, 1,000 times) those set by the International Maritime Organization and five other Great Lakes states, including Minnesota.

Enactment of these new restrictions will push ships out of the port in Superior and over to Duluth. The shipping industry has a $200 million economic impact on Superior and provides over 2,000 direct and indirect well-paying jobs. Why push an agenda that will cost us jobs?

Gov. Doyle and others talk a lot about using one-time federal funds to "stimulate" to save or create jobs in the future. Sadly, several of his policies are costing us jobs in northwestern Wisconsin right now.

We can do better. We can work to make it easier for businesses like Murphy Oil to expand and create more jobs in Wisconsin and we can protect jobs within our ports (while protecting our Great Lakes at the same time).

To do that, jobs -- and not alternative political agendas -- must be our number one priority.

-- Scott Walker

Milwaukee County Executive

Wauwatosa

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