July 22, 2014

Survey shows business support for mining bill

Many of Wisconsin’s small businesses appear to be in favor of a proposal to build an iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin. Survey results released by the state’s chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business show almost 82-percent of their members support changing state laws to make it easier to allow mining.

NFIB State Director Bill Smith said “small business owners see the potential for vast opportunities that could transform the state’s economy” through the proposed mine in Iron and Ashland counties. Supporters of the mine have argued it would bring a $1.5 billion investment to the state and could create thousands of jobs.

The number of small businesses answering the federation’s survey was not disclosed, but the group said it represents over 11,000 small business owners in the state. Only 8.4 percent disagreed that new mining legislation should be passed, and nine percent were undecided.

Smith said his group believes that Gogebic Taconite’s proposed iron ore mine would be a boon to the economy, and create jobs throughout Wisconsin. Smith said his members wanted to be part of the debate, and “the results of this survey should be influential toward guiding our elected officials to make the right decision about mining in northern Wisconsin.”

The bill has already cleared a pair of legislative committees and is currently before the Joint Finance Committee. Leadership has indicated they want to bring the bill to the floor for a vote by early March.